The well-known teachers in this lineage cover almost 100 years and a variety of expertise and interest.
Paramhansa Yogananda was the older brother of Bishnu Charan Ghosh. Yogananda traveled abroad extensively in America and Europe, becoming quite famous. His approach was far more mental and spiritual than Bishnu, who focused intently on physical elements including feats of strength and health. Early on, the two brothers tried to combine their expertise to make a comprehensive method of instruction, but it did not last. Still, some elements of Yogananda's teaching remain in Bishnu's methods, and some of Bishnu's remain in Yogananda's.
Buddha Bose was the first star student of Bishnu Ghosh in the 1930s. They traveled around India and the world giving lecture/demonstrations of yoga, often accompanied by Paramhansa Yogananda. Bose published a beginning book of 24 postures in 1939 and wrote a vast manuscript of 84 postures that wasn't published until 2015. After Ghosh's death in 1970, Bose opened the Yoga Cure Institute in South Kolkata, teaching therapeutic yoga. It is still operating today, run by Bose's daughter Rooma.
Gouri Shankar Mukerji (GSM) was Ghosh's star pupil, close friend and personal doctor in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. By this period, their purpose as yogis was focused on bringing health to ordinary people all over Bengal. GSM went to Germany for a couple years to become a medical doctor, and wrote a book describing 84 postures along with extensive medical explanations and some of the first scientific research into the physiological effects of yoga.
Reba Rakshit was a well-known contortionist and physical culturist who traveled and demonstrated with Bishnu. She wrote a regular column about yoga for women in the Bayam Charcha magazine, pioneering yoga practice for house holding females. Little is known about Reba, though new research is forthcoming.
Kushala is the oldest in the Das family (see the next two entries). For decades she has run a yoga school for young girls just down the road from the Ghosh school. She was one of Rajashree's (see below) main teachers.
Prem Sundar Das
An accomplished practitioner of the advanced asanas, Dr. PS Das still works at Ghosh's Yoga College once or twice per week, writing prescriptions for the students there. Many yogis in the West know him from his presentations at some of Bikram Choudhury's (see below) teacher trainings. His pictures are all over the school, and he is the author of the book Yoga Panacea.
Dibya Sundar Das
The younger of the Das brothers, Dibya was also very proficient at advanced asana. Alongside his brother's, his pictures grace the walls of Ghosh's Yoga College. He founded the World Yoga Society in Kolkata, prescribing yoga to patients and students.
Bishwanath Ghosh was the youngest son of Bishnu. In his youth he focused on feats of strength, "taking his first elephant" on his chest at age 16. He broke thick chains and lifted dining tables with his teeth. In later days, he emphasized simple therapeutic exercises that helped ordinary people get and stay healthy.
Karuna & Jibananda Ghosh moved to Japan soon after their marriage in 1970. Karuna was the youngest daughter of Bishnu Charan, often demonstrating and modeling exercises, including for her father's publication Yoga Cure. She married Jibananda Ghosh (whose name was already Ghosh) who was also a dedicated student of Bishnu. They established the Ghosh Yoga Institute Japan to bring the yoga of India to the population of Tokyo, where Jibananda still lives and teaches.
Bikram Choudhury was a student of Ghosh and GSM in the 60s, a bodybuilder and then a yogi. He left India to teach yoga in Japan and then the US. He teaches a specific set of 26 postures done in a heated room, and his passionate advocacy of therapeutic yoga has inspired many teachers and studios to adopt his style.
Rajashree Chakrabarti Choudury was a student of Prem Sundar Das and Kushala Das (see above), studying at Ghosh's Yoga College from a young age. She learned therapeutic yoga and won several yoga competitions as a young girl before coming to the US to marry Bikram Choudhury. She is the founder of USA Yoga, a proponent of both yoga competition and yoga therapy.
Tony Sanchez was an accomplished pupil of Bikram Choudhury when Bikram first came to the US in the 70s. He won two international asana championships and ran a studio in San Francisco before retreating from the mainstream teaching world to practice in solitude. He still teaches occasionally to all levels of students and teachers.
Muktamala Mitra (pictured above) is the granddaughter of Bishnu Ghosh. She currently runs Ghosh's Yoga College in Kolkata, teaching therapeutic, prescriptive yoga to students and aspiring teachers. She is a direct descendant of Ghosh, teaching in the tradition of her father and grandfather.
All of the characters above are students (or 2nd generation students) of Bishnu Charan Ghosh, except for Yogananda, who was his brother and contemporary.
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga. This blog is about their experience with yoga practice, study and teaching.
- The 113 Postures of Ghosh Yoga
- Make the Hamstrings Strong, Not Long
- Understanding Chair Posture
- Lock the Knee History
- It Doesn't Matter If Your Head Is On Your Knee
- Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
- 5 Reasons To Backbend
- Origins of Standing Bow
- The Traditional Yoga In Bikram's Class
- What About the Women?!
- Through Bishnu's Eyes
- Why Teaching Is Not a Personal Practice