Bikram Choudhury, founder of the Yoga College of India and Bikram yoga, began learning yoga in his native India, at the age of three. At five, he began studying with Bishnu Ghosh, the brother of Paramahansa Yogananda (well known author of the Autobiography of a Yogi) and quickly became a regional yoga champion. At age eleven, he was the youngest contestant to win the national India Yoga Competition. At age 20, a weightlifting accident crippled Bikram. He retired from the sport and began practicing yoga professionally. Six months later, with the guidance of his internationally renowned teacher, Bishnu Ghosh, Bikram came to realize that yoga can cure chronic physical ailments. Bikram decided to teach his curative methods of yoga to other enthusiasts, and thus, Bikram yoga began.
Bikram arrived in the United States in 1973 and quickly became the foremost yoga teacher in the West as celebrities, athletes and others began to flock to him. Since that time he has been healing thousands of students at his school in Los Angeles and traveling the world extensively, bringing the benefits of Bikram yoga to millions of students worldwide.
In addition to anecdotal evidence regarding the benefits of a regular practice, Bikram has engaged in research with some leading research hospitals. In a medical research project at Tokyo University, Bikram helped doctors prove that yoga practice helps regenerate tissues and alleviates chronic ailments. There are currently several exciting studies being done to confirm the medical benefits of Bikram yoga, including one by University of Southern California and one at the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center testing bone density improvement through Bikram Yoga.