Bishnu Charan Ghosh

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B. C. Ghosh
Bishnu Charan Ghosh.jpg
Born(1903-06-24)24 June 1903
Died9 July 1970 (1970-07-10) (aged 67)
NationalityIndian
OccupationBodybuilding
Known forModern yoga, training Bikram Choudhury

Bishnu Charan Ghosh (24 June 1903–9 July 1970), known as B. C. Ghosh, was a Bengali bodybuilder and Hathayogi. He was a younger brother of the yogi Paramahansa Yogananda, who became world-famous through his book Autobiography of a Yogi. In 1923 he founded the College of Physical Education, Calcutta. He influenced the development of modern yoga, including by teaching yoga to Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram Yoga.

The annual yoga championships in Los Angeles are contested for the Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup, named in his honour.

Life[edit]

Ghosh's elder brother Yogananda with Hatha yoga disciples practising Mayurasana (Peacock Pose), Mt Washington

Bishnu Charan Ghosh was born in Lahore, the youngest of eight children of Bhagabati Charan Ghosh (1853–1942) and brother of Mukunda Lal Ghosh, better known by his spiritual name, Paramahansa Yogananda.[1][2] His parents' guru was Lahiri Mahasaya, who taught Kriya Yoga.[2]

Yogananda introduced Ghosh to yoga at his Ranchi School for Boys in Bengal, where he was one of the first seven pupils. As well as Yogananda's set of 84 "Yogoda" asanas gathered from different sources, his brother taught him the dramatic abdominal muscle isolation exercise traditionally used in hatha yoga as the purification (shatkarma) known as nauli; Yogananda had used the exercise to impress Western audiences with his muscle control. In 1923, at the age of twenty, Ghosh opened the College of Physical Education in Calcutta, today run by his granddaughter Muktamala Ghosh under the name Ghosh Yoga College. In 1925, he trained in physical education at the University of Calcutta, taught according to India's traditional (medieval) physical culture of training, diet, and lifestyle. The equipment consisted of rough "nal" stones with a hole for use as a handle.[1][3][4]

In 1930 he published his book Muscle Control, which relied heavily on the German bodybuilder Maxick (Max Sick)'s 1913 book of the same name.[5][1][2]

In 1939 Ghosh went to America and taught at Columbia University, New York. In 1968 he went on a lecture tour of Japan.[2]

Bikram Yoga[edit]

Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram Yoga, was taught yoga by Ghosh.

According to Bikram Choudhury, Ghosh, having taught him yoga, sent him to teach yoga to sick people. The experience inspired Choudhury to develop a system of teaching yoga to groups that became Bikram Yoga. Ghosh further instructed Choudhury "to leave India and to teach hatha yoga to the world."[2] Choudhury taught in Japan and Hawaii before settling permanently in America, teaching his fixed system of 26 asanas in a heated room in 90 minute sessions.[2]

Philosophy[edit]

Bishnu's muscle control was strongly influenced by Yogananda's Method Yogoda, as described in his 1925 book on that subject,[6] which in turn was based on Maxick's Maxalding technique. This "Body Perfection by Will" relied on the use of weights and special apparatus for musclebuilding. Added to this was the weaving in of traditional asanas from Hatha yoga; he became well-known in India as a Hathayogi, teaching a yoga that was "a fusion of asanas, physical culture, and the muscle manipulation techniques that Ghosh had first learned from his brother".[1][7][2]

The yoga researcher Mark Singleton has argued that Ghosh's method contributed significantly to the development of modern yoga.[1] It has been stated that Ghosh also influenced the development of Sivananda Yoga's sequence of 12 basic asanas.[8]

Legacy[edit]

The Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup, awarded annually at the International Yoga Asana Championships in Los Angeles, is named in his honour.[9][10][11]

Pupils[edit]

Works[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Singleton 2010, pp. 132–135.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Knight, Bonnie (11 October 2014). "Bishnu Charan Ghosh and His Influence on Modern Postural Yoga". History of Modern Yoga. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  3. ^ Newcombe, Suzanne (2017). "The Revival of Yoga in Contemporary India". Religion. Oxford Research Encyclopedias. 1. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199340378.013.253.
  4. ^ "Bishnu Ghosh Biography". Bikram Yoga Vancouver. 8 July 2012. Archived from the original on 3 September 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  5. ^ Maxick 1913.
  6. ^ Paramahansa Yogananda: General Principles and Merits of Yogoda or Tissue-Will System of Body and Mind Perfection, Originated and Taught by Swami Yogananda. Los Angeles 1925.
  7. ^ Ghosh 1980, p. 249.
  8. ^ Singleton 2010, p. 135.
  9. ^ "International Yoga Asana Championship". The New York Times. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  10. ^ Beck, Sara (11 June 2012). "Yoga Is Not Just Posing as Sport at World Event". The New York Times. Silence prevailed during the yoga asana routines of the ninth annual Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup ... Onstage, a garland-draped image of Bishnu Ghosh, Bikram’s guru, looked on while seven judges sat with pencils raised, critiquing the routines.
  11. ^ Whitworth, Melissa (7 June 2010). "Are you cool enough for competitive yoga?". The Daily Telegraph.
  12. ^ "The Indian Atlas". The Indian Express. 3 July 2005. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
  13. ^ "Monotosh Roy". Sandow and the Golden Age of Iron Men: The Online Physical Culture Museum. Archived from the original on 27 December 2002. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Monotosh Roy: The first Asian to be crowned Mr. Universe (1917 - 2005)". Mr. Universe 2011. Indian Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2012.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]