After years of bellicose prosecuting and intimidating of folks practicing “hot” yoga, it’s not surprising to read the new allegations brave women are levying against the founder of Bikram Yoga, Bikram Choudhury.
According to a new lawsuit, Minakshi Jaffa-Bodden, is suing the yoga guru claiming he threatened to have her and her eight-year-old daughter deported for looking into allegations of racism, homophobia and sex attacks.
This suit follows two separate lawsuits where female students accuse the 67-year-old of rape, with one also accusing him of false imprisonment, discrimination and harassment, among other counts.
According to Jaffa-Boddon, Choudhury run his Bikram Yoga College of India “like a cult.”
The Huffington Post reports Choudhury referred to female employees as ‘bitches’. Speaking about gay people, the lawsuit quotes him as saying: “AIDS is caused by gays, it is the truth, but these f*****g a*****e guys love me, they love Bikram.”
The file also says Choudhury said African-American students “just don’t get my yoga” and treated them differently to other students.
Minnard told the Huffington Post: “There’s a great desire to keep Bikram’s conduct in the dark. It shows an inability by anyone to restrain an individual who is a dangerous person.”
Jaffa-Bodden says that when she found out about allegations of sexual harassment and assault, she was told it would be best if she “not look into it any further.” She claims she was forced to resign in March this year.
According to LAist, there are reports that Choudhury name dropped his powerful clients, such as Bill Clinton and Jennifer Ainston, in reference to his brand of yoga’s miracles.
“He climbs onto a chair perched like a throne on a large mirrored cube, and dons a headset,” the Times said of his teaching approach. “His introduction ranges from the compassionate to the profane, from the incomprehensible to the profound. Now, he is a soulful Indian. Now, an abuse-spewing Hollywood executive.”
These allegations seem pretty consistent with folks who have tremendous power and influence over seemingly mysterious disciplines. Yoga’s relatively newness to Western culture apparently allows Choudhury to cloak lots of brazen abuses behind a discipline that gives practitioners tangible benefits. Time to let the courts do it’s work and see what is true and what’s speculation.