(Yes, hannahjustbreathe, that was for you.)
Some clever person (over at Bikram HQ, I'm guessing?) just posted a handful of absolutely classic vintage yoga videos.
I discovered these yesterday morning while I was finishing up some desk work at the yoga studio, and I called over a couple of teachers to watch them with me. We must have spent half an hour just screaming over these videos. His hair!! And the crazy yoga tricks! Oh man! Bisu runs over Bikram with a motorcycle while he's lying on a bed of nails! Bishnu Ghosh is on some kind of Japanese talk show! And holy hell, what is that dude doing with those frogs?!? (I loved Cristina's response when I posted that one on facebook: "Don't know if I will laugh or cry or do both at the same time!")
The video that I'm posting below is mainly just interviews with Bikram and his students. I'm trying to figure out what year this footage is from. It must all be late '70s or early '80s. Kareem Abdul-Jabar started with Bikram in 1976 (according to Wikipedia!) and Juliet Prowse must have been with him a few years earlier, since she was the cover model for the red book that also came out '78. Here's the crazy part. Bikram's in his early 60's now, so he's gotta be in his early 30's in this videos.
He is exactly the same.
(Except for the hair.)
Ok, I'll be serious. His hair is completely different now, and he's finally getting a couple wrinkles. But seriously, when I listen to the way he talks and look at his face and his mannerism and his body, there's essentially no change. It's absolutely uncanny.
He even says the same things. I think my favorite part of this video is the bit where Bikram's in his speedo and Juliet Prowse is in this shiny black unitard and he's coaching her through a TV yoga demonstration. She goes into padahastasana, and right away he says, "Pulling is the object of the stretching!" Pretty much verbatim dialogue, and this must be almost 20 years before he ever wrote that thing down. (Incidentally, anyone happen to know what year the dialogue made its first appearance at teacher training? I believe it's relatively recent - more than 10 years ago, but not too much more.) And then: "From the side, at the beginning everyone look like an American club sandwich. But now she looks like a Japanese ham sandwich!"
As I was telling my friend, you really have to give respect to a guy who believes SO strongly in what he's doing that he'll stand around in his underwear repeating the same thing, over and over, to more and more people, for 40 years or longer! Don't you think it would get just a little bit old? But he still teaches with energy. I've still seen him hop down off the podium and come across the room to come help a first-time student get their arms wrapped the right way in eagle. Wow, Bikram... who are you?!
For your viewing pleasure. Share and enjoy!!
The rest of the uploads are here. It's awfully orange, but be sure to check out the Ghosh TV videos when you've got 10 minutes to kill. They are pure gold.