Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yoga Tantrum

Hmmm, I've had a few weird experiences with yoga teachers lately.  A few weeks ago one came over and yelled at one of my students telling him he was disgusting.  The reason?  He was smoking.  Now, surely there is a nicer way of asking a person not to smoke rather than vilifying them in front of an audience?  Surely all the yogic meditation and relaxation could come in handy there?  After all, the student was smoking because the staff at the place had given him an ashtray and indicated it was ok to do so.

Then today (which is my day off and saw me stumbling around the internet) I found this article in LAWeekly (don't ask me how I go there) of an interview with Bikram Choudhury.  Since I don't have Bikram's response to the interview I'll take it with a grain of salt realizing that reporters can hold grudges and be biased just like the rest of us, but the story did make me laugh.   You can read the full story here but I have inserted some select quotes below.

Not that I want to compare myself to the guru status of Birkam Choudhury, but please, if I ever start to make comments like this about yoga, my students, or my life, I hope at least someone will realize I've gone off my rocker and will reach out to slap me back into my senses.

(FYI Bikram is currently involved in legal battles with a former student claiming he has copyright over a sequence of yoga poses he put together.  Not sure how the US copyright office could have accepted such a claim in the first place but then I am not an expert or even slightly knowledgable in such things).

Choice quotes from the interview:

"I am going to go to trial to get him punishment, to make him an example, so no one will ever have the guts to do that same kind of shit," says Choudhury, a man so synonymous with yoga that people often are surprised to learn he is still living and not just a mythical icon.
"I always forgave my students, like Jesus," he says. "But I reached a point where I have to protect my regular legal schools."
"I kind of run this city," he says. "They depend on me."
Choudhury felt a sting of betrayal at seeing his protégé take on a new mentor. "He said, 'You cannot be a fucking prostitute. You cannot have your feet in two holes.' "

"You cannot steal somebody's intellectual property. Law and justice protect," Choudhury says, leaning close to be heard amid the roar of conversation, his small brown eyes red with exhaustion. "Because I'm a sweet, kind guy, everybody thinks I'm an idiot, I'm weak. Now I have to protect my franchising. If I don't, nobody will buy my franchising anymore."
When he returns to the table, Choudhury turns to me. "Greg Gumucio, he's finished," he says. "He's ass in the grass."

The guys at Freakanomics who put together interesting bits and pieces have some interesting things to say about copyrighting yoga.