The Bikram Story - Part II

Yoga teacher trainings has become a huge pyramid scheme, teaching wannabes yoga instructors for thousands of dollars with the promise that they will in turn make a good income. The reality is that as the yoga teachers they will not generate enough revenue even for the basic needs.

Bikram Yoga "teachers" need to be certified, credentialed directly from Bikram, and most of hot yoga studios are looking for them.

Eager yoga students passionate about their Bikram practice and wanting to progress to teaching are forced to take expensive "teacher trainings" now performed in Mexico, to be "certified" as a Bikram yoga teacher.

On other hand, the Yoga Alliance (a non-profit organization) is doing pretty well because of the certifications, the organization reported revenue of over $4 million in 2017, which represents a 30-percent increase over the millions generated in 2016.

Yoga is a big business but don't expect to became rich so fast. Yoga teachers are typically paid per class, from my experience in Toronto, starting around $25 per class. This fluctuates where you are in the city, at gyms versus yoga studios and by the teacher's experience. Some studios pay per student in class, again, from my experience around $5 per student.

Private yoga sessions can be anywhere from $35-$150 per one hour – again depending on so many things. Yoga teacher celebrities, of course, make much more.

There's money being made, but it may not be by you as a yoga teacher – you must own a studio and have this offering of "teacher trainings."

A Sad Story

Today, the famous hot yoga guru, Bikram, is seen as a disgusting sexual predator, a narcissist, a yoga charlatan etc... But to be quite honest, most yoga practitioners know nothing of the man, only his yoga sequence. So really who was Bikram?

Bikram Choudhury was a yoga guru who has built Bikram Yoga empire. At its peak in 2006, Bikram had 650 yoga studios worldwide. Only Bikram could approve a teaching license or studio application. He created corporate franchise that allowed him to go after his "teacher training" female students.

And he did. He has been accused of a range of sexual misconduct, including rape and settled millions of dollars' worth of civil suits, and a list of a half dozen women have come forward with open allegations against him. But at the same time, he gave the U.S. a great solution for how to make the human body healthier.

Bikram yoga was so popular, effective, exotic and authentic. He selected a sequence that worked every muscle of physical body, every organ, every bone, and he turned on the heat to allow the body to loosen faster.

The first Bikram studio was opened in San Francisco, sometime in 1973, then another one Beverly Hills, and another one, and another... Over the next decade, he was expanding the business and the teacher trainings. It was a fitness revolution.

Since discovering the original form of hot yoga six years ago, Bikram has been the one constant in my life. Cities, jobs, and boyfriends have all come and gone—but Bikram has been my rock. There are few things in life that make me happier. -  Monika Pietrowski

No one challenged his authority. He was viewed as a guru meant to be followed. The business of Bikram Yoga continued. At it's pick of popularity Bikram charged over $10,000 per student to attained his teacher training. In one single teacher training he earned over $4 millions dollars.

Yoga supposed to be a contemplative and spiritual endeavor, but Bikram never was, and never even pretended to be spiritual. He drank Coca-Cola, ate fast food, wore a Rolex. And no one noticed the clear signs of corruptions...

This is a real scandal and such a shame. I started Bikram classes four or five years ago and find them so effective and therapeutic. I'm 72 years old now and put a lot of my fitness and good health down to these classes. Choudry seems evil and my local studio has changed its name and approach. In the end of the day its just 26 asanas in heat with classes 7 days a week 6 times a day. No booking, just turn up and get fit. This is the really attraction for me... not the spiritual stuff. - Tony Mort

Here the story ends. More about life of Bikram you can read here...The rise and fall of Bikram, a famous hot yoga guru.