Critics such as Ezraty bristle at that sort of ambition, not least because they view Choudhury's athletic, feel-the-burn brand of yoga as potentially damaging, physically. Among other things, Bikram yoga discourages the use of bricks and other aids that help reduce strain on developing muscles. And since the contest is designed around Bikram poses, Ezraty notes, it serves only to promote that type of yoga.
"I know what that contest is going to look like--lots of hyper-extended legs and crunched lower backs. It won't be pretty," says Ezraty, whose approach blends ashtanga, hatha and other types of yoga. "And just because something comes from India doesn't mean it's good. India is a huge country. A lot of crazy things happen there."