Nineteen year old Rikta Bhumi may look like the typical Bollywood dancer; with her petite frame and long dark hair, few would believe her physical transformation from flab to fab happened in just the last year. But just over seven months ago Rikta had a Body Mass Index of 34.4 and was considered obese! What was her trick? The Yoga Diet.
“I had my annual physical last year, and my doctor told me I needed to lose weight. I didn’t know how—I had always struggled with it—so I asked him for suggestions and he told me about Yoga,” said Bhumi, demonstrating a perfect One Fingered Two-Branch Tree pose.
Bhumi’s primary care physician, Dr. Dan Des Lionnes, explained his use of Yoga to the Phoenix, claiming “I’ve been in medicine for over 45 years, and every year they come up with something new. I had heard about this Yoga thing, I knew the Patels or whomever brought it over from their country, and Rikter [sic] looked like a nice girl who could benefit from learning the ways of her people. It seems she’s lost all of that baby fat anyway, those Asians have different metabolisms and they just have to learn how to tap into them.”
Rikta got her hands on a book by Swami Abhedananda called How to Be a Yogi, a sacred and exotic text published in 1902 about the science of Yoga. She “ignored all the boring introductory parts about spirituality” and focused on the sections pertaining to weight loss; Rikta then began attending hot Yoga sessions and following the strict diet outlined by the book.
“I feel like an archaeologist! I discovered ancient practices for weight loss and made them relevant to my modern life. The book said some yogis don’t eat for several weeks at a time, and when they do they follow a vegetarian diet. And I guess there was some stuff in there about spiritual hunger versus physical hunger, but I honestly just skimmed it. I had all of the info I needed, and it worked!” said Rikta. The Springfield native has already lost 94 pounds on the Yoga Diet, and she’s just getting started.
Rikta’s Yoga instructor, Paul, mastered the secrets of Bikram Yoga and the Ayurvedic lifestyle in his travels to India and Nepal. “I stayed at an ashram for six months, where I learnt the secrets to that really Asian type of skinniness, you know? My guru told me all about ghee and turmeric and all that good stuff, so I taught Rikta everything I knew. She makes sure to eat whole chili peppers, and drink hot water with ghee every morning. It really purifies the system and staves off those hunger cravings,” said the 33-year old Berkeley native, “oh, and I taught her about incense too, so that should help with her chakras. Namaste.”
Rikta, a sophomore at University of Illinois, is studying psychology in hopes of becoming a doctor. “When I first started losing so much weight with the Yoga Diet, I thought maybe something was wrong. I went to the school counselor and she said that Indian women don’t really get eating disorders, that it was probably genetic and that I was good to go. She encouraged my Yoga practice and said it was just what I needed,” said Rikta clenching her teeth in a grimace she swears is a smile. Although Rikta isn’t a Bollywood dancer, she has promised her Instagram followers that she will pose with her very own bindi after she loses the next ten pounds.
“I was really concerned when I saw how much weight Rikta was losing. She didn’t really go to meals and stuff, and kept doing Yoga even when she was really tired,” said her roommate, Sophie Cromwell, a gymnast and debate team captain from New Jersey. “But everyone kept telling me that it was just part of her religion. They showed me pictures of those really skinny girls in India and tried to convince me that it was just the way Indians were. I wasn’t so sure, there’s a lot of Indian people in my hometown and their bodies vary as much as white people’s. But I check in with her a lot and she always says she’s doing fine. Should we really be celebrating her extreme weight loss with a news interview, though?”
The Yoga Diet may just be the next sensation to sweep the nation: Rikta already has 200,000 Instagram followers tracking her success, and lots of copycats. Could this ancient Ayurvedic treatment from the land of spices be the secret to weight loss success? Only time will tell.