From my corner I braced myself. I was prepared for a myriad of behavioral... um... oddities. Most of which I am happy to report, I saw. On day one we got the obligatory fat comment. "Are you a teacher? Yes? What happened to you between teacher training and now? Did you open a burger-joint?" Followed immediately by the odd dietary restriction, "You eat strawberries from now on. They are the perfect food. Nothing but strawberries."
I witnessed the little old (he may not look it, but let's not forget this is a 60-something man sporting a banana-hammock) man bouncing backwards across the stage, butt out, hands forward, "PUSH, PUSH, PUSH!!"
I also heard the man claim greater longevity and fame than Jesus Christ and Buddha combined -- one hour after telling jokes containing the word, "pussy." For the more sensitive readers, you can pretend it was the whiskered sort.
All this I was prepared for. All this and a cart-load of shouting that I didn't hear. What I was not prepared for was that this man was, in general, nice. If I had to summarize the man I would be as likely to chose the word, "nice" as the word, "garish." This is not at all what I expected.
We had several children in the room, which he doted on. He called them to do demos, helped them into poses and only spoke shock-talk when they were not present. He even had one of the children sit on her dad's back to get him deeper into final stretching. While I would not call the man selfless, you could certainly see it in him when he taught.
His dancing across the stage was not to get attention to himself, it was to get us to push harder. And we did. It lightened the mood too. This man would do anything to get you to your potential. Dancing, laughing, telling bad sexual jokes, calling you fat.* He clearly did not give a rat's posterior what anyone thought of him. If you needed him to be mean, lively, outrageous or deep, he would be that for you, critics be darned. The man really put himself out there for his students and I found that a very nice thing to do.
* Let's be clear on two things:** 1. He did establish that she was a teacher before chiding her. This is important because it means she has specifically sought out his guidance, requested he push her hard and proclaimed herself worthy to carry on his teachings to others. 2. He called out a potentially sensitive issue and poked at it. Intentionally. This doesn't address the physical issue, it addresses mental one. If she has a healthy body image and is comfortable where she is, what Bikram said shouldn't touch her, she would let his disapproval roll right over her knowing she is at her personal best. If she isn't at her personal best, then he is correct, she can change it. As for her reaction, she laughed. Right answer, chika. He loves it when you laugh.
** Heaven help me, it's going to sound like I am blindly condoning whatever the man does. I swear this is my honest opinion and that if the man tried killing a student I would not try to justify his actions. I don't think so, anyway.