Our particular style of yoga was developed from the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, a spiritual leader who dedicated his life to spreading the teachings of Kriya Yoga as a practical and scientific path to Self-Realization. Hatha yoga postures were a part of this system. In the 1920’s he came to the US to make Kriya Yoga available to the West, and in time created the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF). He is also the author of the famous “Autobiography of a Yogi” – a seminal text that is said to be the only book Steve Jobs had on his personal iPad!
Yogananda’s brother, Bishnu Ghosh then formed a therapeutic yoga school in Kolkata, India, offering a prescription of Hatha Yoga postures for an individual’s specific ailments. He also combined weightlifting and bodybuilding with Hatha yoga practice to promote physical and mental wellness.
In the late 1960s, after studying with Bishnu Ghosh for years, Bikram Choudhury distilled this particularly powerful sequence from the broader teachings of yoga and his personal, practical exploration of the health of the human body and mind. With Bikram Yoga, his vision was to maximize the therapeutic benefits for beginners and beyond, to make this yoga accessible as a healing tool for people all over the world.
And we know from our own practice it works. Even now, the journey of yoga, the lineage continues – one person, one yoga practice at a time. From Paramahansa, to Bishnu, to Bikram, to each BYSJ Teacher, and to every person practicing on their mat.