Bikram Choudhury calls himself the “most respected living Yoga Guru in the world.” Six women who attended his intensive, week-long teacher trainings call him a rapist.
Court hearings for allegations brought two years ago against the Los Angeles-based yogi were finally scheduled this week. According to the New York Times, the first of six lawsuits accusing Choudhury of rape or assault will be heard in August, and the other cases are moving forward, though no trail dates have been set. A statement issued by Choudhury’s lawyers denies the allegations, stating, “Mr. Choudhury did not sexually assault any of the plaintiffs.” His lawyers note that, for lack of evidence, Choudhury currently faces no charges.
Choudhury’s particular brand of yoga involves 26 postures that are performed in a studio or “Torture Chamber” (seriously) kept strictly at 105 °F and 40% humidity. Although some Bikram studios are now severing ties in attempts to dissociate themselves from their speedo-clad figurehead, many others remain loyal to the 69-year-old’s brand. And the mood at Choudhury’s headquarters on Olympic is seemingly Zen. An employee today told us that “everything is good.”