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BREAKING…First Bikram Studio In Manhattan Drops Bikram Name Amidst Rape Allegations

in Business of Yoga, YD News

tribeca-yoga-loftBreaking news…Bikram Yoga Soho is the first in Manhattan to drop the Bikram name. In operation for a few years, Bikram Yoga Soho opened amidst the beginning of the rape lawsuits filed against Bikram Choudhury — which would total six to date and which are still ongoing. Based upon customer feedback and their own issues against continuing to carry the name, the owners decided to make the change to as of November 1st. Bikram Yoga Soho is now The Yoga Loft of Tribeca.

In a newsletter sent out earlier today, the owners wrote, “As a female-owned business in the most progressive city in the world, we strive to create a safe, supportive, healing environment for everyone who walks in the door. We cannot tolerate the thought of even one person feeling uncomfortable or unsafe in our studio because of these allegations.”

The Bikram Yoga Soho website is already redirecting to a holding page for theyogaloftoftribeca.com.

Additional reasons to change the name had to do with expanding and diversifying the studio’s offerings. “There were many reasons for the change,” co-owner Monique Crous told us in email. “We have gotten feedback that people don’t feel comfortable coming to a Bikram studio because of the allegations. Also, Bikram [Choudhury] has made it very clear that he does not want any Bikram studios to have any classes besides the traditional 90 minutes. We have added 60 and 75 minute Bikram variations as well as adding low impact, high intensity hot Pilates.”

Now that we know Bikram can’t sue anyone for teaching the famous 26-posture sequence in a heated room, there’s much more freedom and leeway for yoga studios wanting to go beyond the franchised requirements and limitations. Bikram Yoga Soho isn’t the first to want to offer other styles and classes, and they’re not the first to change their name, as others have already done so (while others have their reasons not to) but we’d be willing to bet it’s a sign that more will be following suit. As of right now, it appears to be a smart business decision.

Here’s the full letter that was sent out to students and posted to the Bikram Yoga Soho facebook page.

Dear Yogis,

While we were in the middle of opening our studio, several lawsuits were filed against Bikram Choudhury and Bikram Yoga, Inc, containing allegations of sexual assault. Despite our misgivings, we chose to continue to carry the Bikram name simply as a way to describe the type of yoga we practice. The decision has weighed heavily on us.

We would like to make it very clear we have never paid Bikram Yoga, Inc., one penny for affiliation.

After much thought and debate, we have decided to change our name officially as of November 1st. As a female-owned business in the most progressive city in the world, we strive to create a safe, supportive, healing environment for everyone who walks in the door. We cannot tolerate the thought of even one person feeling uncomfortable or unsafe in our studio because of these allegations.

We have a deep appreciation for the yoga. We are separating ourselves from the name, not the practice.

Going forward, you can expect the same great classes, same amazing teachers, and same prices, plus a few exciting surprises we will be unveiling in November.

We are so grateful to you, our yoga community, for making our first 22 months such a joy. We can’t wait to share this new chapter with you.

Welcome to The Yoga Loft Tribeca.

Namaste.

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