London, September 24 (ANI): Bikram yoga, which has devotees like Pippa Middleton, David Beckham and countless British Olympians, gets its name from creator Bikram Choudhury - a fabulously colourful 66-year-old yoga guru who lives in Los Angeles.
A hot form of yoga featuring 26 positions, Bikram yoga is even used by the Buckingham Palace guards to train for standing in those sweltering bearskins for hours on end.
Bikram, who is rumoured to own an 8,000 square feet mansion in Beverly Hills and a fleet of more than 40 Rolls-Royce and Bentleys, has even admitted to sleeping with some of the thousands of trainee instructors who flock to his courses.
He told a source that he does so "only when they give me no choice!"
Ten years ago, Bikram controversially patented his 26 signature yoga, so all Bikram yoga studios must pay a licensing fee to open, and monthly fees to run.
Some Hindus were outraged, arguing that claiming a practice dating back 5,000 years as 'intellectual property' is the equivalent of Christians trying to patent the Lord's Prayer.
Nevertheless, Bikram is now estimated to earn about 3 million pounds a year through his training courses, officially-certified studios and branded products.
Not content with that, there are even plans for an all-Bikram TV channel and a reality show.
However, Bikram isn't the only power behind the astonishing rise of hot yoga, whose celebrity followers also include Daniel Craig, Madonna, Demi Moore and George Clooney, as even his wife of 28 years Rajashree Choudhury has helped build their international empire by creating the training programme, as well as developing yoga for expectant mothers.
Today the couple, who have a son and daughter both away at college, live in Los Angeles, where they run their school.
Rajashree also has a mission of her own - to have yoga accepted as an official Olympic sport.
"My lawyers are speaking constantly to the Games organisers but I can't disclose anything yet," Rajashree said.
"By the time it happens, I will be too old to compete. But I hope that future generations will benefit," she added. (ANI)