Thank You, Bikram!

Mardy and Jeff and the Taj Mahal

Mardy and I spent the entire month of October 2015 in North Calcutta at the Ghosh’s Yoga College, the same place that Bikram and Rajashree Choudhury learned yoga from Bishnu Charan Ghosh, the younger brother of Paramahansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi and founder of the Self Realization Fellowship.

We shared three small rooms at the yoga school with seven other seekers for this very first training, practicing in the same yoga rooms adorned with pictures of Rajashree, Bikram, Dr. Prem Das, Biswanath Ghosh, and many others. We felt as if we were transported back in time. We experienced the roots of Bikram Yoga; one-to-one teacher to student instruction, yoga “prescriptions,” yoga as a therapeutic tool in the absence of medications, yoga exercises in addition to asanas, and practicing yoga in the natural hot and humid environment of Calcutta.

Ghosh's Yoga College

Muktamala Mitra, the granddaughter of Bishnu Ghosh, invited us into her parents’ home (the Ghosh’s Yoga College) for the duration and trained and cared for us as family. Neighborhood visits to the homes of Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Vivekananda, and Mother Teresa added to the cultural and historical immersion. India is a place of extremes, and Calcutta exemplifies this.


What we could sum up after the four weeks of training was pretty simple: The Bikram Yoga sequence of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises is the absolute best gift we have received in the “West” from India for improving our overall health and well-being. As Bikram says, “It’s never too late, it’s never too bad, and you’re never too old or too sick to start from scratch again.”

Rajashree's family

We see examples of this time and time again, through the lenses of our students. Their testimonials of remarkable mental and physical transformation inspire us to keep doing our karma yoga; to keep spreading the healing powers of Bikram Yoga. This is why our teachers are all Certified Bikram Yoga Teachers. This is why we are PURE Bikram Yoga.

For this precious gift that we have received, at this season of Thanksgiving, we honor and thank our teachers, Bikram and Rajashree Choudhury.

~ Jeff and Mardy Chen


Explore the rest of our blog page for inspiring testimonials from our students, and visit our 501(c)3 nonprofit Pure Action, Inc., the organization Mardy and Jeff started in 2011 to fund research in yoga as an alternative to mainstream medicine, as well as bringing yoga to underserved communities. Pure Action impacts Austin, New York City, and Portland, Maine. Special thanks to Jeanne Heaton, Kelly Benson, and Tedd Li for spearheading our work in addiction and recovery centers in these States.

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