Over my 16 years of teaching, I’ve been blessed to be in the presence and in conversations with Rajashree Choudhury, Bikram’s wife. My first encounter was at Teacher Training, 2001 where she not only taught classes but was the “Mother Teresa” to all 300 of us as she lovingly held us with her kind words and genuine concern in the midst of our long days and nights stressing over dialogue and achy bodies.
I admired how she worked with Bikram and despite their disagreements on any topic, she held herself always with grace. She in fact, became a symbol of Grace within the Bikram community bringing some much-needed softness in a very dialog commanding atmosphere. She has a megawatt smile and just hearing her voice provides a soothing balm to a racing mind. She’s fun and loves girly stuff like shoes and pedicures. We’ve had the honor of hosting her three times at BYSJ so, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know her as a kindred Taurus, my age, and now, my friend.
“Stress that we create with our thoughts affects the circulatory system and can cause spasms in the body. Our prana or life force is disturbed.”
“Emotions are the difference between feeling good and looking good. You can balance emotions with yoga. Every emotion has a body part. When you feel the pain, don’t run away. Change is happening. The pain is releasing the emotion.”
In the spinal strengthening series, Rajashree emphasizes the importance of doing these 4 poses: “These four affect blood pressure. Make sure that you compress the kidneys and more the adrenals to get the benefit of regulating blood pressure. If the adrenals are plugged up, it can cause hypertension which will later affect the heart and eventual long term heart failure.”
Rajashree’s background is in Ayervedic medicine and she is established as a yoga therapist – she knows so much about what each pose is doing. “The endocrine system in conjunction with the nervous system will control the production of hormones and their release to the circulatory system. The endocrine system regulates mood, growth and development, tissue function and metabolism.”
Rajashree is visiting here this weekend, Sunday, October 22, so don’t miss what might be the very class you need. She will rattle off so many profound comments that you’ll be taking it all in well beyond the class itself.
In addition, despite her charismatic ways, she’ll command that you “don’t give up” as she pushes you to greater extents than you thought possible throughout the class. Rajashree will believe in you more than you believe in yourself and that alone will shoot up your determination dismissing any under estimation you’ve had in yourself.
Her Own Identity
Today, Rajashree is out there working on an identity of her own. She leads retreats, hosts seminars, leads panel discussions, attends and speaks at conferences along with being a great mom to Anurag and Laju. In addition, I know she’s spending more time in India increasing her knowledge in Ayurveda and becoming more of an expert herself in the Hindu traditions and the wealth of healing these wise ways provide.
Rajashree exemplifies the strengths woman and really every in general need to possess to navigate well in our modern chaotic world. She’s warm, open and compassionate yet internally she’s very strong and deliberate. With Bikram, class is meant to “kill yourself” and with Rajashree, class is meant to “kill yourself with kindness.” She’s the yin in the yang and quite honestly an approach we all should abide by: it’s not the more active yang that we need today but a more subtle, all accepting, patient yin that will yield us all greater results in all we do.
Our world is not black or white. It’s grey. The truth of our existence doesn’t lie in laws or rules but in spirit and character. It’s not easy to be when our world wants us to do. Rajashree embodies a reminder to us all that we are complete as we are now, that anger isn’t the answer but compassion is, that we can live side by side when we accept ourselves fully first. And justice makes its way up always not by vengeance but by process, life’s process that continually sets things straight beyond our narrow self-centered perspective. Rajashree gets it and is a soul agent lifting us to view things from higher means using our highest potential. I asked her if she wanted to talk about anything in particular after class and she said simply, “let’s just be positive.” Perfect – let’s do class and come out feeling good emotions balanced and live in a state of perfection, one with all and positive!