This is a “get it on the record” post.
We noted that Bikram Choudhury faces a few lawsuits and accusations of rape back in the Spring when the suits were filed.
Now it has gotten a lot crazier. First, Yoga Journal put up a post about the rumblings within the Bikram world on how to pull back from Bikram the man:
A quiet turmoil surrounds the Bikram Yoga community in the aftermath of several lawsuits filed this spring that accuse Bikram founder Bikram Choudhury of sexual harassment and rape. But while most of the discussion is taking place behind the scenes, there are a handful of teachers and studio owners who are publicly separating themselves from the Bikram name.
Then, the bigger piece, courtesy the site that de-Friended Anusara, Yoga Dork. It got the details on a new lawsuit against Bikram filed by his former legal advisor. It paints a pretty dramatic picture:
– Bikram Choudhury created a hyper-sexualized, offensive and degrading environment for women by, among other things, demanding that female staffers brush his hair and give him massages. Plaintiff was often required to conduct business meetings with Bikram Choudhury while he was receiving such massages. Plaintiff was on a number of occasions required to meet Bikram Choudhury in his hotel room typically at night. During one such meeting, Bikram Choudhury climbed into bed, and patted the bedspread next to him (indicating to Plaintiff to come and sit/lie down next to him in the bed). Plaintiff moved away from Choudhury and the bed and went and sat at a desk to conduct a telephone conference.
That’s an excerpt I can run, since we seem to have established this blog as a PG-rated one. Yoga Dork has the full filing, too. (A direct link to it is here.)
I’ll admit I was surprised that the rape accusations from earlier this year didn’t get more attention. I suspect we’ll see this one land on the virtual pages of at least a few newspapers. And from there?
A reminder: We are passing this on because of the history of yoga gurus falling. We believe in the importance of surrendering oneself to a teacher, but it has to be a discriminating surrender. A person needs to keep the ability to determine when things aren’t right. After all, ultimately no one but the individual is going to push them through to samadhi. (I probably skipped a few steps there, but I hope you get the idea.)
Posted by Steve