Summers are for beach weekends, ice-creams by the bucket and podcasts — lots and lots of podcasts. To accompany you on your next staycation as you lay in your cabana and sip on a fruity drink, here are three new shows to sink your teeth into.
30 for 30: Bikram
The #MeToo and Times’s Up movements have caught up with almost every industry so far: films, politics, education, IT, media... the list goes on. The world of yoga has not been spared, either. Chronicling the troubling rise and fall of Bikram Chaudhary, the enigmatic founder of Bikram yoga, is ESPN’s 30 by 30 podcast. Hosted and produced by Julia Lowrie Henderson, who is herself a Bikram yoga practitioner and has managed one of their yoga studios for several years, the riveting five-part series is a departure for the documentary-style podcast that previously only did single-episode arcs.
Early in the episode, author Benjamin Lorr is heard saying: “He’s created a yoga that has healed and helped tens of thousands of people at minimum and that has hurt and destroyed thousands of lives. And there’s no arguing with either sides of those coins.”
And it’s exactly that alarming dichotomy that Henderson explores through Bikram, as she dives into his story, tracing Chaudhary from his childhood in Calcutta through to his unmatched success in the US and finally his fall from grace as sexual abuse allegations began to pour out against the man.
You’ll find some of the stories and the sentiments from the Bikram series echoing those of other documentaries we’ve watched or listened to in the near past: whether its Netflix’s Wild Wild Country, a look at Osho’s fall from grace, or the podcast Dear Franklin Jones, hosted by Jonathan Hirsch, looking back at his childhood spent in the community of the controversial spiritual leader Franklin Jones.
The cultish appeal of these communities is reflected in Bikram’s own clique, and the podcast wonders if it’s possible to separate the man from the practice? To find out, tune in.
We love us a podcast that aggressively takes on issues that pop up in the intersection of pop-culture and identity. And Still Processing, hosted by The New York Times’ Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, is exactly that. Their latest episode Asian-Americans Talk About Racism, And We Listen is a masterpiece in the art of giving voice to those who are under-represented. From Pablo Torre (ESPN) to Emily Yoshida (Vulture) to Parul Sehgal (The New York Times) and more, the episode offers up stories about childhood traumas, politicisation, pop culture and hierarchies of oppression as they relate to Asian-American identity. Part two of the episode is set to drop on July 5.
Happier in Hollywood
Looking to reshuffle your daily habits to create a more productive and balanced work-life situation? Veteran television writers/producers/showrunners Liz Craft and Sarah Fain may have the answers. Friends since high school and writing partners for 17 years, the duo host Happier in Hollywood, which they claim “lives at the intersection of friendship and work”.
You don’t have to be a writer in Hollywood to learn some life tools from these empowered women, either. Liz and Sarah provide concrete and actionable ideas to suit just about anyone from any walk of life. All you need to do is open your ears, as well as your hearts.