Hot Stuff 高温瑜伽在发烧
A traditional form of exercise is getting hot, both figuratively and literally 发热的传统运动在发热
Madonna swears by it. Gwyneth Paltrow can’t live without it. Nicole Kidman is a recent convert. They’re all talking about “Hot Yoga”, a new twist on an old exercise that has beautiful people all over the world rushing to sign up for yoga classes.
Yoga itself is very old – a key part of classical Indian philosophy. The word itself means “to unite”, and its aim is to unite the body with the mind and the soul. Yoga first spread to the west in the 1950s. But the newest fad is “Hot” or “Bikram” yoga, named after its “inventor” Bikram Choudhury.
Whereas traditional yoga is characterized by slow, peaceful stretching exercises, Bikram yoga involves vigorous stretching in a room heated to 35 degrees. The combination of heat and movement makes people sweat, which is supposed to remove toxins from the body. All this sweat has to go somewhere though and Bikram yoga classes are easy to spot because of people carrying around extra towels.
Hot yoga has its critics, who say that it can lead to heat exhaustion and muscle injuries. Choudhury is quick to respond that no one has been injured in his classes, and that the heat actually helps protect the body.
Others are angry that Choudhury has copyrighted a sequence of 26 yoga exercises, none of which were invented by him. He insists that anyone teaching these exercises needs to first graduate from his training program, and then pay him royalties. With over 900 schools worldwide, Choudhury and his lawyers have the resources to sue smaller schools out of business. “His whole attitude is what’s most upsetting,” says Lisa Pullman, a yoga instructor in San Francisco. “This idea that you can somehow ‘own’ yoga goes completely against the entire philosophy behind yoga.” Perhaps, but if Pullman catches Choudhury’s attention, his lawyers will be getting in touch.