I've been talking quite a bit about Bikram himself in the last couple days after introducing my friend Tanya to his class. Suddenly our friends from yoga all want to know, "what is he LIKE?" (They never asked me that... hmph!)
I always have trouble describing him because he loses so much in translation! He says these things that make him sound like a total asshole on paper, but when you hear the same things in person, you're rolling on the floor laughing. Tanya put it really well, actually: "It's definitely tough love, but you always feel the love part." Yeah, he acts like a total lunatic, has a huge mouth, and makes some ill-advised business decisions. But the thing that I was most struck by when I met him in person the first time was how affectionate he is! All smiles and hugs and "sweetheart"s, all totally sincere.
Anyway, since I am in a Bikram-appreciation mood, here are two of my favorite interviews.
Bikram on 60 Minutes - I'm always surprised when people haven't seen this piece from 2005, because it was on the front page of the Bikram website for EVER. I forget that not everyone is obsessive like me. I've watched this over and over, and even though the interviewer grates a bit, Bikram totally manages to charm her and it cracks me up every time. "Not THINK! That's the only way it works."
This article from LA Yoga Magazine (also from 2005) is really fun too, cause the interviewer just quote him verbatim. If you read it after watching the video, you will hear his voice SO clearly. I love the bit where he talks about why he does this work; it resonates with me so much. And the metaphor at the end, just classic. "People are born as babies and they die as babies before they even know who they are. How sad. Every human being is a gold mine."
This guy needs some better media representation, and so does Bikram yoga in general, come to think of it. Somebody should do something about that....