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Bikram’s Tricia Donegan On Elitists, and How Celebriyogi Lady Gaga Will Change the World

in Celebriyogis, YD News

Tricia Donegan Bikram YogaWell-known in the NYC Yoga world as owner of Bikram LES, and perhaps more widely recognized now as Lady Gaga’s yoga-undie-partner teacher, 41-year-young Tricia Donegan is featured this week in yoga fanzine The New York Times.

Shout outs go to the flair of 105 degrees Fahrenheit, her dedicated student, Lady Gaga, Yoga Freedom Project and changing the world one sweaty asana at a time. Read on.

Tricia shares her thoughts on why Bikram is special, without elitistism:

I don’t believe in elitist exercise or elitist well-being, and I also don’t believe in isolation, no matter what’s going on in your life and body. And I feel this room does not let isolation happen. This room creates a practice of self-compassion, creates a process of allowing you to see yourself in other people, which creates change. And I have not found another sport or another type of yoga that cuts through so simply and so deeply, because we do use heat, which makes these changes.

On participating in Yoga Freedom Project and being the change:

I believe that my studio and I are situated within the community as a role model for change. The studio has been open for seven years, and we’ve raised over $20,000 for the Lower East Side Girls Club, for example. Personally, I get involved because I believe in the power of yoga, and I believe in people who might not be able to believe in themselves yet.

We find the way this question was asked interesting, so here you go – on celebriyogis:

NYT: Every time a celebrity is spotted with a yoga mat, the industry gets a boost. Isn’t there something contradictory about the superficiality of celebrity endorsement and the inward-looking nature of a yoga practice?

No matter why you come in, for whatever benefits — whether they’re “superficial” or “physical,” or “deep down” and “spiritual” — if you practice the right way, you will walk out being a nicer person, whether that’s your goal or not, because that’s what happens in Bikram yoga. If you do it the right way, you’ll become someone who can see themselves in others, no matter what your role is in society.

Oh and yes of course, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, whom we know more informally as Lady Gaga, and how she will change the world because she’s a yogi:

Lady Gaga is something very special, because she is a woman of service. She uses her talent to make this world better, and that’s because she practices yoga. We are using her celebrityism so that people will listen. She is blessed that she has talent, but what’s special about her is that she’s going to change the world. When I teach yoga, I teach a practice of self-compassion. When you ask, how do I teach my clients, the answer is, the way they do anything is how they do everything. So if they’re successful in one part of their life, they will be successful in Bikram.

[NYT]

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5 comments… add one

  • dayita

    that’s some great logic there regarding the big G, Ms Donergan…

  • David

    Well, she sounds great. But it sounds to me like she’s talking about anything but Bikram yoga. Bikram Choudhury a great teacher of compassion? This is bringing on a major cognitive dissonance attack. On the other hand, I’ve taken exactly one Bikram class. Mostly what I know about Bikram is what I’ve read on blogs. So, maybe I need to be sent to one of those FEMA re-education camps.

  • Craig

    This makes some great points, but I don’t think Gaga is overall a net force for good yet, but I’m glad she’s taking the steps to get there.

    ” If you do it the right way, you’ll become someone who can see themselves in others, no matter what your role is in society.”

    That is beautiful and true.

    Just say no to FEMA camps though… =D

  • SRJB

    What does the room/heat have to do with change? When I hear yoga teachers BS about “change” in terms of “the room” or “the heat” my BS detector starts beeping. So much of what yoga teachers spout off is such vacuous crap. In Bikram the heat, the mirror, and the microphone replace the self-improvement “spiritual” talk found in other types of yoga. I appreciate yoga teachers that don’t cook me like a rotisserie chicken or torture me with amateurish “spiritual” talks.

    For the past 20 years I have dropped into Bikram classes while traveling. I go to a Bikram as a last resort. I practice yoga three or four days a week. I’m an atheist.

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