Falling in love -- Bikram style

Posted at 02/07/11 7:12 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Bikram Choudhury claims that he works 23 hours a day, doesn't sleep and hardly eats.

So how does he survive? By "loving" himself through yoga.

Choudhury is a prominent figure in today's yoga practice. He created a series of postures done in a hot environment and named it after himself -- Bikram yoga.

"If you do yoga, you can live 500 years not eating anything," he said during a recently held lecture in Manila, which was attended by Bikram yoga practitioners including Tessa Prieto-Valdes.

It may not be a good idea to take all his statements (such as what was previously said) at face value, but Choudhury did have a point when he said that love can only begin from one's self.

He said that it is only from there that a person can learn to genuinely care for others.

It's a simple concept that can be used by anyone. People have different approaches in learning about self-love, and Choudhury has yoga to achieve that end.

"What's most important is you learn to like and fall in love with yourself. Yoga is marriage with one's self. Then you'll be able to love others, your country, etc.," he explained.

He continued, "What is the most important thing in your life? You! If you die tonight, what will be important in your life tomorrow morning? Nothing, because you don't get to see tomorrow anymore."

Selling life and love

Choudhury's methods seem to be working, at least according to his supporters in Manila, who claimed that they have achieved not only peace of mind but also a fitter and healthier body after practicing Bikram yoga religiously.

His classes, which Choudhury calls "torture chambers," teach students to control their bodies and build up their tolerance to a different extent, to the point that "nothing else in the world will bother them."

"I put a mirror in front of your face, a cosmic mirror, to let you see through yourself, see your humanity," he said.

Since it was established in the early 1970s, Bikram yoga continues to soar in popularity even if it has been the subject of much debate through the years. This caused people to call Choudhury the "world's richest yoga guru."

While showing off his expensive watch, Choudhury proudly said that money is no object when one wants to attain self-realization and be able to lead better lives.

He certainly knows what people need, and how to make a profit out of it.

"(Life and love) are the biggest-selling products in the world," he ended.

E-mail the author at karen_flores[@]abs-cbn.com.