Just as the Moon is to the Sun, Yin is to Yang, so is Rajashree to Bikram – a balance in harmony.
Rajashree Choudhury, wife of Bikram Choudhury and mother of two, has been involved in the practice of Bikram Yoga ever since she moved to the US from India. She is the embodiment of leading by example, not opinion; she believes that through the heart, mind, and body connection, a practitioner will determine the best style of yoga for them. As she says, with a consistent practice, “Yoga speaks for itself.”
Born in Calcutta, yoga has always been a large part of Rajashree’s life, just as it is an important part of Indian culture. From an early age, she was taking part in competitions, trained intensively, studied yoga therapy, and by 19 had achieved a Bachelor’s degree from the Yoga Training Institute. Based in California since getting married, this year she and Bikram celebrated their 28th anniversary.
An ambassador for the 26 posture and 2 breathing (26 2) series, Rajashree conceptualized the 9 week Bikram Teacher Training course that she started with her husband in 1994; the recent 416 Spring 2012 graduates are the 39th group to have become teacher certified. These days, she’s also involved in coordinating Yoga Championships and is making inroads to have the general practice accepted as an Olympic sport. A former yoga champion many times over in India, she knows it would be a positive step forward. “Yoga competition is my heart’s desire,” she tells me.
In the more immediate future, Times Square will welcome Rajashree on June 20th, where she’ll be leading the Bikram Yoga class as part of the Summer Solstice event. Scheduled for midday – this timing will provide a temperature similar to the hot room - it will be one of the many yoga classes taking place in the landmark spot in honour of the longest day.
Here are a few snippets of my conversation with Rajashree, this past Sunday.
RAJASHREE’S THOUGHTS ON THE BIKRAM SERIES
A Unique System of Fitness
“I think Bikram Yoga is a unique technique in the Modern Age. It is a 26 2 series in 90 minutes.
It is unique and beautiful because Bikram is the first one who actually created this series as a proper way of fitness... If you believe in yoga because you believe in yourself, this is the best system of fitness you can have… Yoga was never practiced in this way, ever… To make the person fit, it’s done in 2 ways: physically and mindfully. The coordination between body and mind: that’s yoga. Fitness and also therapy - you are getting this through the Bikram Yoga.
Some see the Bikram Yoga extreme, but Bikram can be practiced moderately based on the limitations of that day… And that is the therapy; that is the rehabilitation… You put yourself into it, go through your hard work - or if you want to take it easy , you take it easy as much as you can, but you’re still moving. The body carries emotional baggage and you’re just getting rid of this baggage.
I try to practice every day. Even if I am not in the class, I practice in my home because being in the class is not always possible. I travel alot too… My practice is my practice; I do it for myself. It’s something I can do some place else because it is very safe, everything is just about balance. Maintaining general health - physical, strength, flexibility, and endurance; you get everything in that 26 2.”