At about 15 minutes or so into the interview, Roosh bursts out, “That ‘s why I left my country” or words to that effect. He left to avoid the coarsening of American women. I left my country for the increasing abandoning of reason, and the sacrifice of the human mind to society’s, that is, women’s vague, amorphous insecurities. I refer you to the numerous posts on Ayn Rand and her works on this blog.
As I opened the orange Bikram book*** that I sometimes read before my morning solitary practice, this is where the page fell open to:
Breathing and the Lungs
Improving the function of the lungs is almost always the first repair that needs doing. That’s why the first thing we practice is pranayama , a breathing exercise that increases your puny lung capacity. Don’t feel bad; you and your lungs shouldn’t take that personally. Most people spend their entire lives rarely using more than 50 percent of their total lung capacity.
At this point I’d that this maximum 50 percent lung capacity limitation also applies to men and women who lift weights to develop strong chest muscles. I don’t care if you feel that your lung capacity is as large as it can get when your chest dimensions increase from a skinny boy or girl’s puny chest to whatever its present dimensions have gotten to. I don’t care how many laps in the swimming pool you swim. Swimming feels better than lifting weights or any activity conducted standing on your own two feet because water is doing the work of gravity, which in turn implies that, wait for it, you are using a crutch, implying that you are practicing another type of water-supported yoga, which means your lung capacity will still not reach its full capacity, as 90 minutes in a hot room under Bikram’s copyrighted instructions.
I understand that Bikram studios are not available to everyone in the world. I can point to my family in Bombay that I visited in October, 2014. As soon as I practicing to Bikram’s instructions diligently in October 2003, I made a trip to India in December. I showed my family members, my brothers, my parents, my sisters-in-law what I learned and what I could do. I still recall my two-year-old niece coming into the room while I was standing in Posture #8, Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose, aka, Dandayamana-Bibhatapada-Paschimotthanasana, and saying in surprise and glee, “I cannot do that!” then she’d run to her mother, who is young enough to be my daughter, drag her to my room to show her what I was doing. This is how I ended up showing them all the poses. AND YET THEY REFUSED TO PRACTICE. Why?
After they saw what I could do, they asked me why these poses and instructions were not available in Bombay. I answered that Indians in India and abroad consider Yoga to be in the public domain, and so it shouldn’t be copyrighted and profited from. Remember that when Indians (whatever generation Indians they may claim to be) claim this for Yoga they mean for it to cover its past, present and future. Think about that and then tell me what that means for the a modern lifestyle! I continued to explain that Bikram’s copyright only covers the instructions, that is, the dialogue used by certified Bikram teachers, and the specific sequence in which the 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises are taught. (This last point is inaccurate, but I was too full of enthusiasm and got a bit carried away). Nothing else! All of my family listening at the time understood the issue clearly. I continued with further encouragement as follows: “you live in Bombay, a humid and tropical climate. All you need is the sequence and the pictures in Bikram’s book, and you can practice it on your own. You do not need the dialogue because the heat and the moisture in the air will help you get to the pictured pose easily.” As evidence I pointed to my own practice, particularly Posture #12, Toe Stand, aka, Padangustasana.
I couldn’t do this pose in the Dallas studio but I could do it there easily. In fact, I recall getting into the full expression of toe stand in the parking lot as I was chatting with my brother while he was washing his car. In the image above, Bikram is not holding his palms together but resting it on his knees. If you recall further, he smashed his knee when young and rebuilt it without surgery with the help of his guru, Bishnu Ghosh, ignoring doctors’ prognostications that he would never walk again. Compare it to his tree pose shown below.
Bikram is still able to stand on one leg, thanks to his lifelong practice. But bending down to balance on one toe in toe stand continues to put the same amount of pressure as before without a corresponding increase in his knee’s flexibility.
My family understood the issue fully by then. But I didn’t have books for them. So when I saw them again in two or three years I took one or two copies for them. So now they had all they needed to practice in private. YET THEY REFUSED TO PRACTICE.
When I’d ask them they’d plead lack of time, or the difficulty of memorization (this from Brahman brothers and father who regularly recite their secret mantras daily), and my mother who taught us all our prayers as she remembers hearing it, and my sister-in-law who knew and taught Bharat Natyam, one of the Indian Classical dances.
OF COURSE I DID NOT MAKE ANY OF THESE CONNECTIONS AT THE TIME. I took their statements at face value like I always do. In either 2006 or 2007, I created self-recorded home videos showing me performing each pose and reading out its benefits from Bikram Studio websites for my mother and emailed them to her in bits and pieces. But even though each posture was its own file, I recall labeling them sequentially which probably added up to more that 28 postures, but I was not counting. As soon as I was assured that she had received and was able to look at all of them, I saved them to portable drives and deleted them from my computers. At the time I had two computers – a desktop and a laptop. Remember that the sequence of poses is available on Bikram’s main website. So I don’t recall feeling a sense of violating his copyrights on the sequence. It’s also in all the books.
BUT NONE OF MY FAMILY INCLUDING MYSELF REALIZED THIS CONTRADICTION BETWEEN MY INITIAL EXPLANATIONS AND THE SEQUENCE CLEARLY OUTLINED IN BIKRAM’S BOOKS. Very Strange!
Let’s continue with more from Bikram Choudhury..
”… In the beginning your lungs will feel tight and small, which is perfectly normal. With each additional class, you will find that your breath becomes deeper and fuller. Your lungs are like balloons – they must be properly inflated and stretched to become more flexible and capable of holding and processing more oxygen with greater efficiency.
The lungs are a high-powered purification plant, separating environmental pollutants from the essential oxygen in the air. If the lungs failed to filter out carbon monoxide, for example, death would result almost immediately. When the lungs do their job, they send fresh oxygen throughout the body, purifying the blood and allowing it to travel more efficiently via the arteries and the heart. But when the lungs aren’t functioning optimally, they’re unable to keep up, to constantly purify 100 percent of the supplied air. Maybe they are only capable of purifying 40 percent of the air supply, leaving a full 60 percent unfiltered. To add further insult to injury, you may even insist upon smoking cigarettes! At this stage, your immune system goes into a veritable coma, paralyzing your defenses. …”
Here I’d like to add another perspective that agrees with Bikram overall perspective. My father is a lifelong smoker. So are at least a couple of my brothers and one uncle that I know of. While they exhibit some evidence of asthma, meaning shortness of breath, their immune systems remain active and intact. Is this a contradiction?
When my father visited the US in 2000 – 2001, I couldn’t stand the smell of cigarette on his breath. When he visited the second time, I didn’t notice it as much, but I attributed that to the cold climate up North where I am less sensitive to alcohol and cigarettes. But when I visited Bombay in October 2014, I still didn’t even notice my father smoking, my brothers smoking and or drinking. In fact, I shared a nice glass of port wine with them on my 50th birthday on October 7. On the one hand I was older, visiting Bombay at the worst possible time and the entire trip was laced with smells of spicy Indian food or the tastes of salty Italian food from the plane trip onwards. I barely ate a thing throughout my flights. Yet I did not experience the same revulsion to cigarettes and alcohol as I did ten years ago, when I was ten years younger, duh!
WHAT IS THE MISSING INGREDIENT IN THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CIGARETTES AND THE ROBUSTNESS OF AN IMMUNE SYSTEM?
Let’s finish with today’s excerpt from Bikram Choudhury.
”… This creates all sorts of problems such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema and even accelerates the aging process.
That’s right: People are aging much faster than they should because of this slow death by oxygen deprivation. … “
Some more rounding of Bikram’s perspective is called for, in my opinion. I promise I’ll finish today’s excerpt.
When I visited my family members each of the time mentioned above and many more times, I noticed them putting on weight but mostly around the chest area. Ah! Their skins remained clear, always a good sign that they were not accumulating excess toxins in the body. So the other explanation was that they were feeling stressed and this stress was increasing day by day. As a result, their bodies automatically started accumulating fat, but this fat, instead of migrating around the hip area was gathering solely around the chest. Aha! I recall a Bikram teacher named Farki, stiff as a board like all men, commenting about what this might mean. We had a conversation where I recall complaining to him about my family including my aunts and uncles (on my father’s side), who still refused to practice at home from the Bikram book I had taken to them, and he suggesting that if the fat was accumulating around the chest then it wasn’t a good sign because it indicates growing uncontrollable anger unable to express itself effectively. I have been thinking about it since then. I understood his point, but I couldn’t pinpoint precisely what the source of anger might be.
Recall that at one point in Roosh’s interview on Ukrainian Talkshow, there was a gentleman in a pale green long-sleeved T-shirt who feeling threatened, insults Roosh, doubting his sexual capacity, specifically its longevity, at around 3:00 minutes in. His build fits to a tee what Farki’s was talking about. More importantly, I recall Roosh doubting the meaning of being detached from the outcome of an interaction two years ago in a few of his blog posts. I think this interview amply demonstrates that he practices being detached from the outcome, as you will see if you watch the interview all the way through to the end.
All right, I am being a prima donna here who keeps coming back for her swan song, but I promise to finish this excerpt.
“… Doctors don’t know how to help people breathe properly to prevent disease. They do their limited best by providing medication, but that’s not nearly enough. Only the yogis know this. Proper breathing and control of the breath are parts of the yogic discipline and have been for thousands of years. …”
VERY TRUE. MY FAMILY KNOW THIS WELL.
When I visited my family in October 2014, I was on a mission to find the truth. I know that practicing Bikram yoga in private has progressively removed obstacles from my mind, long enough to reveal old abandoned truths – those pertaining to my mind and how it lead me to my husband. In short, what did I have in common with him? Irreverence for established religions and doctrines that depend on their power merely on unquestioning obedience to the word of authority. Did not and does not mean that we don’t have sympathy for those who choose to belong there, we do. Who else do I have this in common with? Where else do I see it exhibited in my every interaction? Why! My family, of course. My parents, my brothers, their wives and their children.
After the good food, wine, cake and lots of picture taking, one of my brothers decided to show me his yoga practice. He practiced daily for half an hour where he’d take a series each day – so one day it would be the lotus series, the next day it would be the inversion series. Earlier I had noticed that he had achieved a strange combination of calmness of mind and strength of purpose. His eyes were shining with joy when he came to fetch me for lunch at his home. He immediately touched my feet, something he had never, never done in his life. We are not that sort of a family. So when he started showing me how his practice was shaping up, (no Bikram mind you – no copyright violation), I took it as a sign that it was okay for me to suggest improvements and maybe add a posture that might take his practice further. I suggested improvements that would help him build and strengthen his courage – typically the back bending postures – but didn’t suggest any new postures to his repertoire. I was still concerned about copyright violations.
WE ARE A STRANGE FAMILY WITH A PASSIONATE AVERSION TO STEALING COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. YOU CANNOT BUY THIS QUALITY IN ANY MARKET PLACE!
What I had said in my explanations remained with them while what they could see with their eyes they ignored. I think this is because they have a strong core of practice consisting of listening attentively. This went equally for both men and women. They couldn’t practice from the literature I had left for them. If they did, they soon got bored, or suffered hardships, including life threatening ones.
To conclude, as you watch Roosh’s interview you can see how as the truth comes out from separate individuals, each of whom know only a small part of the truth, the gentleman in the green long-sleeved T-shirt comes around to empathize with Roosh’s situation as an American unable to communicate in the local language, especially when the regional Playboy representative joins in, followed by the guy with a mission to expose the “victimization” of Ukrainian women. This last raises hackles everywhere with his scam tactics using counterfeit money, no less, that threaten the nation’s image in Western eyes. Roosh is quick to pounce on this opening, comparing his wily courting that give women exactly what they want with that of the guy who takes from women in return for fake money, that is, he offers nothing in return.
As for me I finally feel comfortable enough to quote from the Bikram book I use in my solitary practice. It is that third book that I resisted buying until last year. The practice recommended in it is not quite what is taught in the studios. It is biased towards the masculine perspective. I include the first example here and the remaining few in the next several blog posts. I start with the excerpt and will add my comments at its end.
The knees are the weakest link in the human body and one of the most difficult parts to strengthen. By doing this powerful posture you not only strengthen them, but also develop the yogi’s discipline, determination and patience. Toe Stand looks intimidating, but you are now sufficiently warmed up and focused to do it, and I promise you, your knees will not break. (Note: If you have a very recent injury or an acute knee problem, just do a Second Set of Tree instead.)
To begin: Stand with your feet together, and focus your attention on a spot on the floor 4 feet in front of you. Like in Tree Pose, shift your weight onto the right leg and life your left foot up onto your right thigh. Bring your hands to prayer position in the middle of your chest. (Whether or not you actually chose to pray is your business, and nobody else’s.)
Now bend the right knee and lower yourself on one leg as far as you can go with your hands still together. Bend forward from the lower spine, reaching down and placing the fingertips of both hands on the floor for support. Then continue to sink down slowly until your coccyx bone is sitting on your right heel. Your right foot isn’t flat on the ground; you’re balancing yourself on the ball of the foot. Keep your chin down and your eyes on the floor in front of you.
Now straighten the spine, and suck in your stomach. Pick up the right hand and put it back in prayer position on your chest. Stabilize yourself again and then move the other hand to meet the first. Slowly look up, then raise your chin to parallel. Stay here for 10 seconds. (Start counting after you achieve your balance.)
Put both hands on the floor in front of you. Come up by reversing the way you went down, straightening the right leg until the leg is locked. Then lower the left foot from the right thigh and shake out the left leg.
Other side: Find your concentration spot on the floor again and, raising the right foot onto the left thigh this time, repeat the posture. Ten seconds. (No Second Set.)
If you still can’t do this after trying the right way for a few weeks, try this alternate technique: Squat down, put your foot up on the opposite thigh, and only then try to balance. Put the fingertips of both hands on the floor, on either side of the body, at first, then try with one hand. Then none.
Toe Stand strengthens the knees and is therapeutic for rheumatism of the knees, ankles, and feet. It also opens up the knee and hip joints, and helps cure hemorrhoid problems. As noted earlier, it develops mental strength as well.
Ready for a nice rest? Prepare to enjoy two full peaceful minutes of Savasana, Dead Body Pose, next in our Sequence. This is the ultimate in rest and relaxation.
Toe Stand was the first post I noticed that was different from the way it was practiced in a studio setting. So far in all the one-legged balancing postures we first balance on the left leg and then the right leg. This is the first pose where we do the opposite – we balance on the right leg first. I spent at least 30 minutes re-reading it and then everyday I’d open the book to this section and examine it with fresh eyes to make sure I had not made a mistake in reading it. Nope. That’s what he says. I have two copies of the same book and they both say the same, just to make sure that I hadn’t landed with an extra special copy.
The practical reason for this switch was Bikram’s knee injury. By this time the shattered knee would have reached a strange stage of elasticity where the knee joint and surrounding tendons keeping it in position lose most of their strength and become like a rubber band – not stable enough to support the torso on its own. Its time to relieve it of these demands and let the other side lead for a short while.
The romantic reason for this switch is as follows: “she works and works and works and then he takes the ball and rushes the final yards to score the touchdown while she rests on his shoulder. Then she repeats his actions and scores their second touchdown because now she sees how it can be done. So both together score two touchdowns. She is rejuvenated by seeing him score! That’s all she needs to score on her own!
What ever the case may be, it is useful to switch the order of legs to be balanced upon. Classroom dialogue does not follow this pattern. Bikram probably brought in this respite due to his responsibility to the needs of his shattered knee.
I first realized the import of this issue upon seeing the picture of Bikram holding Posture #6, the Standing Bow Pose, aka, Dandayamana-Dhanurasana. On March 14, 2014, I wrote the following in the margins of page 127:
“While most practitioners have to keep the knee joint in tension with muscles on either side, including tendons and ligaments pulling the patella from both the top and bottom, with Bikram it is a different problem. Bikram’s knee was smashed when he was in his teens or early 20s. He has to constantly keep the elements of the knee joint together. With the crushing of the knee, the number, shapes, joints, configurations of the pieces have multiplied dramatically. He has to focus on keeping a degree of compression in the knee joint that us lucky practitioners do not have to worry about. Yet he also has to lock his knee, in the sense of keeping muscles engaged. But he does not have a backup plan in a manner of speaking. We can focus on kicking high, pushing ourselves without worrying about the knee joint falling apart. But for Bikram he has to in some small corner of his mind, be thinking of “what if the knee comes apart”. Kick yes, lock yes. But remember the knee. A completely different set of problems.”
***Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment by Bikram Choudhury. Copyright 2007.