Say what you like about Bikram Choudhury. His fans call him an egomaniac, a multi-millionaire yogi blowhard, yogi’s biggest asshole, the Pablo Escobar of yoga. And I won’t mention what his critics call him. But early on, Bikram Choudhury understood two important things.
- Yoga would become more popular, and
- people associate sweat with effective workout regimen.
So, he packaged up his product, and sold it franchise style to yoga studios, with clear instructions to janitors to crank the heat and follow up with a good mop and bucket. And here in America, Starbuck’s drive through professionals, and busy Mom’s with kids in daycare like checked luggage embrace the intensity.
Sweat is the by product of intense effort. Gatorade and Nike commercials show athletes drenched in sweat in all the right places. Bikram yoga has folks embracing sweat. Many argue that mixing yoga with heat is like drinking and driving. There are simple, more gentle poses reserved for the sauna bench. Sauna yoga is probably a more realistic practice.
But a few rounds of sauna after a work out (bike, run, etc.) need not be packaged and sold franchise style. This is truly authentic, therapeutic, and uncontroversial.