What is yoga?
Our school’s lineage
If you’ve ever tried more than one of our classes here at Hot Yoga Ibiza, you may have noticed a distinct similarity between the asanas and the sequence in which they are practiced. This is because our classes hail from the Bishnu Ghosh lineage of yoga as studied by our founder Sebastien Carincotte, under the renowned teachers, Tony Sanchez and Bikram Choudhury. So who are all these yogis and why are they so important to your practice? Let us enlighten you…
The tale begins in India in 1903, with the birth of Bishnu Charan Ghosh, who grew up to become one the most influential yoga masters of the 20th century. Ghosh first learnt of yoga thanks to his older brother and guru Paramahansa Yogananda – a world-renowned yogi, spiritual master and author of the highly acclaimed book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’.
Originally Ghosh practiced physical culture (the combination of yoga and weightlifting) and in 1923, he opened his own PE college in Calcutta before developing his own style of yoga based on 84 asanas that included spiritual inspiration along with the disciplined physical practice. Starting to sound familiar?
Over the years, Ghosh became famous around the world for his abilities, and also his proven beliefs that yoga could help cure physical ailments. Enter Bikram Choudhury. According to the self-confessed guru’s story, he began practicing yoga at the tender age of three years old and was introduced to Ghosh at the age of five, when he began studying yoga with him. Bikram was a natural, excelling at the physical elements and winning the National India Yoga Championship for three consecutive years.
In 1966 however, his yogic dreams were crushed, quite literally, in a crippling weightlifting accident. Doctors told him he would never walk again and so Bikram looked to his guru Ghosh, a man who had helped heal so many before him, for guidance. Bishnu Ghosh treated Bikram’s injury using a technique that involved specialised knee exercises and within six months under his tutelage, Bikram says he recovered completely.
After his seemingly miraculous recovery, Bikram followed his guru’s instructions and formula to help treat and heal other regular people with injuries and illness in India. Frustrated by the limited amount of people he could treat in this one on one style in the course of a day, Choudhury designed a series of 26 postures with two breathing exercises practiced inside a room heated up to 105 Farenheit with a humidity level of 40% (sounding even more familiar yet?). This was done with the guidance of his guru and designed stimulate every muscle, joint and organ of the body and proved hugely beneficial. He opened a string of yoga schools around India before moving to Japan, then the USA to continue spreading the new form of yoga with the world.
This is the story of Bikram, as he tells it and this is Bikram Yoga as we know it. Hot, sweaty and healing. But as many of our students can also confess, Bikram is not for everybody. And so now we meet Tony Sanchez, a former student of Bikram’s who was also certified by Ghosh’s College of Physical Education. After a stint as director of Bikram’s San Francisco Yoga College of India from 1980 to 1984, he then moved out of Bikram’s self described torture chamber and into a room temperature studio, creating a new style of yoga called the Yoga Challenge (1, 2, 3 and 4), hailing from Ghosh’s original 84 Hatha yoga asanas, practiced without any heat at all.
Later on, Tony went on to teach what he called a ‘master core system’, a series of 40 postures are taught as an introduction to the full sequence. It is this system we now know as CORE 40, a name adopted by Tony’s teaching disciples after training with him. Today, Tony is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Hatha Yoga.
Here at Hot Yoga Ibiza, we offer traditional Bikram classes, Tony Sanchez’s CORE 40 classes without heat and our own Hot Yoga classes, which are based on the Ghosh lineage and practiced in a room heated to 40 degrees Celsius. Sebastien – who is a dedicated follower of the Ghosh lineage and considers Tony Sanchez as his own guru – believes you should practice whatever style suits you best and you feel comfortable with. Why not combine all three?