Educated in France according to principles of openness, Bini Dauchez has never been able to burn the bridges that connect her to her native India. Whether in Bombay or Paris, she never stops her quest of understanding both cultures. And today she opens the first place where all types of yoga can be practised. Let’s take a moment to look back on where her path has taken her.
There is this old pink sofa, as classic as can be, from which she speaks to you, her legs crossed. There is that affable smile that lights up her face ; she feels so much joy at each moment.
This is how one would behold Bini. A very beautiful woman with a determined look, madly petite, impeccable simplicity, no jewellery, no artifice ; she doesn’t have to try to look natural.
If you ask her about her life the only aspect that she will make a point about is the importance of truth to her. Bini will then slowly turn the pages of her romantic past with you for as long as you like. She talks with total discretion about her birth into an important Indian family.
She relates with respect and without devotion, the time she spent when very young at the Missionary Sisters of Charity in Calcutta. She talks, without getting carried away, about the “miraculous” medal that Mother Teresa apparently gave her and of which she has no recall.
And without sentimentality or pathos, because India has a different notion of parentage than we here in the West, Bini tells us about the divorce of her parents and her adoption by a French family where culture and elegance go hand in hand.
She talks with simplicity about her adoptive parents. A father who was a friend of her grandfather, both high officials in their respective countries. A mother from the distinguished lineage of old French aristocracy. She elaborates with wisdom about their deep sense of humanity.
Without moving a single centimetre, her legs still crossed, at ease in her pose, Bini acknowledges how much India is still a part of her, how strong a hold it has on her.
She talks about how her parents loved it. But she also remembers the Jesuit father who guided her from her teenage years towards essential literature relating to her origins. Or Eric Meyer at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, who wanted to expose her to a different side of India, to encourage her to understand this civilisation by applying an enormous amount of discernment.
Then there is yoga, that she thinks she almost discovered as a kind of cliché. Or because it appeared in her Indian astrological chart.
More specifically, she talks of this friend who introduced her to Bikram yoga. A practice that she detested first of all, but whose beneficial properties she recognised immediately. So much so that she ended up going to the United States to train in the practice.
She goes back over the decisive encounters with an Indian dancer and choreographer who opened the doors of the Centre de Danse du Marais to her. She fell completely under the spell of the prestige and beauty of this place and it was here that she took her first steps as a teacher.
She remembers with interest this very tenuous niche designated to her on Friday evening at a centre in Montparnasse. She introduced classes that were held in candlelight that enabled her to gain a better understanding of the psychological background of those practising Bikram yoga and to open them up to other forms of yoga.
And then, for the first time, Bini becomes animated when her eyes turn to the window and she talks about how she realises the great value of a life that is devoted to openness, diversity and wonderful encounters.
It’s funny ; this is exactly what Bini wants to offer today to pupils, but also to teachers in the ‘temple of all forms of yoga’ that she will open in September. Can you guess where ? In Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
We are very excited about it. It is so very ‘“now”.
5 May 1978.
First visit to France.
8 February 1982.
Practised yoga at the ashram of Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry.
9 February 2006.
Took her first Bikram class.