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Is Bikram Choudhury Gone For Good? Reports Say He’s Packing Up And Going Back To India

in Featured, YD News


Could this be? A news report out of India says hot yogapreneur Bikram Choudhury is closing up shop in the U.S. and is heading back to India. A series of lawsuits and allegations of sexual assault, rape, and abuse of power along with the subsequent major public fallout could be to blame. Or maybe it’s just Bikram himself who could be to blame. In any case, apparently he wants out, even if he still does deny any wrongdoing.

According to the report from India-based news outlet Mid-Day:

Bikram Choudhury has closed his international HQ and flagship LA studio to move his teacher training programme to Aamby Valley and is looking to open centres in Mumbai.

Amresh Sahay, from the sales department at Aamby Valley City, confirmed the news to Mid-Day:

“We have created a 15,000 sq-ft closed space, which can accommodate 500 people, where he conducts his sessions at a temperature of 42 degrees Celsius. The first one started on May 1 and will end on July 3.”

Former Bikram legal adviser, Minakshi Jafa-Bodden (who won her case against Choudhury in January with a mind-swelling $7 million awarded in damages) told Mid-Day:

“Bikram closed his international headquarters and flagship studio in Los Angeles following the verdict in the case, and has moved his teacher training to a resort in India at Aamby Valley. In the US, we understand his teacher training numbers are significantly down, with less than 50 paid attendees.”

If this is the case, this is truly some crazy news. Maybe the petition worked?

Yoga studios across the country have already begun stripping the Bikram name from their businesses, and with him getting out of dodge, we can only assume there will be a whole lot more. Or maybe he’s hoping it will all blow over and people will forget about it if he leaves the country.

We won’t be forgetting about anything too soon. Bikram still faces multiple lawsuits here in the states.

Tidbit from the end of the Mid-Day article:

On May 5, a Superior Court Judge Ruth A Kwan, ordered the yoga guru to show up for a deposition over claims he raped a former teacher trainee. The judge was visibly agitated after Choudhury’s lawyer Linda Hurvitz said the yoga guru was presently “consumed” with a nine-week yoga teacher training in India. The judge said Choudhury can’t testify by video just because he’s conducting trainings in India.

As for India…we know you’re his homeland, but are you ready for this guy? Is he going to try and compete with the insanely popular Baba Ramdev? Will he join forces with Prime Minister Modi? And what about his wife Rajashree who filed for divorce but still defended her husband’s antics in court? It will be interesting to watch how this all unfolds.

It’s all been a little too real with this narcissistic, power-hungry creep. Peace out.



47 comments… add one
  • “but are you ready for this guy?”

    google about the sexual antics of swamis and gurus IN India, and that will answer your question. google “raped by swami” and report back. 😉

  • Jamie

    Another psycho s’bag celeb teacher who brainwashed a whole generation of American yoga students. I’m surprised he didn’t go to Colorado with John Friend.

  • Dwayne

    Of course, Bikram couldn’t go to Colorado because he has to get all his assets out of the USA in order to protect them from upcoming verdicts. As well as personally ducking the trials, etc. This was an easily predictable development. (I leave it to legal wizards to research the extradition issue.)

    • James Watkins

      Question raised by many seems to have no answer! Logically speaking, if Bikram did all the raping and forced sex etc., why the District Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles (domicile of Bikram and his company) did not file any charges? As an attorney I looked into this matter a bit and found the fact that every lawyer representing the plaintiffs (accusers) tried but failed due to the facts that according to the District Attorneys findings “there were not a single complaint with merits that qualified or met the threshold of criminal acts by Mr. Choudhury” Having said this by the District Attorney, it is obvious that the guru was cleared of any wrong doings but anyone can file a civil case against anyone with or without a probable cause! It still remains to be seen what the final outcome would be from these civil cases. It is interesting to note that despite so many accusations against the yoga guru not a single one stuck as far as the District Attorney’s office goes! So what’s behind all this hot yoga business disputes and unfounded accusations with the exception of complex civil litigation that in reality does not prove one’s guilt except seeks financial gains!!! May be too many are jumping on the band wagon hoping to get their hands on a some sort of a loot of some kind!!!!!!

  • Spread Your Wings Not Your Legs

    Yes, and how did those “brainwashed” Anusara and Bikram teachers end up? Anusara teachers are all psychological manipulators and power-trippers. It’s fine to want to punish the apex of the pyramid, especially since it’s usually but not always male. How comforting if you’re a woman? Now look at the rest of the system? How uncomfortable if you’re a woman.
    These are all spiritual “pyramid schemes.” Power flows up from the base and benefits everyone along the way. And even worse, the chief enforcers and senior lieutenants of these systems are almost always women. They are the gatekeepers, the ones that close the “deal” psychologically, and provide the gender cover. They nurture the newbies into denial. When has it ever been different? Worry less about the priest in his faraway temple than the priestess on yonder street corner?

    • Edspyhill

      I have to agree that Yoga as we know it is a pyramid scheme. It is purely entrepreneurial. Studios run endless teacher trainings and skim off the top one or two talented students with natural teaching abilities. “Serious” students buy all the workshops offered by teachers and studios. “Serious” students go to every kirtan. “Serious” students become Hindu lite. And we have to support the fragile egos of teachers with strange complexes. I was once talking to a teacher who said she missed a certain male student because he used to clean her bathroom once a week. That was it. I think it was a veiled request for me to fill that slot. I came to understand that many people who dropped J.F. after his scandal just needed a good reason to get out from under his control.

      • Spread Your Wings Not Your Legs

        All of those wannabes, from Amy Pimp-a-Little to Elena “The Frog” Brower to Christina Sell-Out were desperate spiritual climbers that looked to Friend promote them; then they realized Jumpin’ Johnnie was really in it to win it — for himself. They all knew what he was up to and couldn’t have cared less where he put his pee-pee. One might usefully inquire where they were putting their Vadge the whole time?

        One you mix spirituality with commerce and power, all sorts of unholy things start to occur. It’s inevitable. But what’s remarkable is how truly gullible the American consumer is — even supposedly educated and enlightened people. That empty soulless feeling that typifies so many Americans; suddenly the mere smell of saffron wafting from the East renders them sheep incapable of resisting the entreaties of these self-propelled spiritual vampires. In 6 moths, people go from lost and depressed waitress and dog-walker into neighborhood faith healers — and people lap it up eagerly and start promoting it to their friends like ecstasy.

        Everyone really really needs to read Benjamin Lorr’s book HELL BENT. It’s a critique of the Bikram empire, and Bikram personally, but really, in fact, it’s a devastating critique of American yoga culture as a whole. He really zeroes in on the source of the problem: NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER or NPD. It’s not just one person, it’s a syndrome that spreads throughout all levels of the pyramid. Yoga at the top attracts people oriented this way to begin with and also fosters a related syndrome, sometimes called ACQUIRED NARCISSISM SYNDROME or ANS. People who are pretty nice to begin with but given the chance to lord over unsuspecting waifs in desperate need of self-esteem — or just a self — turn into predatory beasts themselves

        Many of these teachers make no secret of their ambition to gain control over as many souls and psyches as they can, and they practice various occult techniques to do so. Many many are involved in one version of Wiccan or an other. It fills up their own sense of inner despair and emptiness.

        Yoga on a group level is like some kind of human centipede — but they may be an insult to annelids everywhere.

        • Dwayne

          Yeah, I’ve read the Lorr book. Pretty good.
          I’ve referenced this article on another thread (disclaimer: I’ve no connection with author or website):
          Some good passages, e.g. paragraphs 5-9.
          One way to avoid the nonsense: practice yoga at home and f**k that “guru” s**t.

          • Boodiba

            Yep. Just practice at home. When I was into the ashtanga scene (India trips, my life revolving around my “practice”) I always thought I had one foot firmly out the door, but in the clear view of hindsight I realize I was eyeballs deep. Still, I was always level headed enough not to worship the teachers. “My teacher” in that world so often means “my guru”, but I was never all into that. So much power tripping involved. And the male teachers were, almost invariably, SO possessive… it was like the students were all chattel, and if a student would practice with another they’d act as angry, wounded and betrayed as a lover. Bizarre…

        • Rin Tin Tin Foil

          Sounds like you believe occult techniques are effective. Stay away from the Black Sabbath records.

        • Spreading Nonsense

          Elena and Christina resigned Anusara way before any scandal was public. Those two did the right thing. If you want to rebuke teachers, there are plenty of examples of those who did not resign even upon the scandal being public information. That you have a personal vendetta is apparent from the facts.

          • Spread Your Wings Not Your Legs

            They knew what was coming — obvs. A whole string of them resigned one after the other. I just know the beast(s) of Anusara — and their lineage, which you can never escape. What you call a “vendetta” is nothing more than the preservation of historical memory and conscience. Like after the dirty wars in Chile and Argentina, when so many apologists said, let’s forget it about it all and rehabilitate everyone — until the voice of the people was heard, and the tribunals were formed – and some measure of clarity and justice as achieved. Wow, did you climb out of the same delusional snake pit?

        • Ronica

          So much of your comments are filled with hate-yet you clearly consider yourself better than those you say vile things about.
          “All of those wannabes, from Amy Pimp-a-Little to Elena “The Frog” Brower to Christina Sell-Out were desperate spiritual climbers”- do you actually know these people? Have they done things to you or have you seen hurtful things done by them? And yes Bikram is a scumbag and anyone who enabled him, but your comments go much further.
          I read all your comments-you seem to find women particularly troubling- and sex-negative, “occult techniques” and “wiccan” as evil in and of themselves- “Occult” means hidden, yoga is filed with tecniques to alter our physiology, mind and connect to Spirit. I don’t think it was meant to be consumed on mass as it is in the West (out of context.)
          You sound extremely fearful. Noticing overlap of NLP techniques with some yoga tech is like saying lemonade and ice tea are the same-yes they are both liquid.
          At root all I”m saying is you present no evidence for you attacks on the women mentioned, you paint ALL YOGA and Yoga practitioners as having “evil” agendas or being sheep. It’s clear you think you’ve found the solution and yet you keep it a secret. I sense a deep fundamentalism and rigid adherence to your religion that makes you see anything else, as evil. Even your chosen name “spread…” is attack against women, as generally that phrase is not used against men, spreading your legs is what allows procreation and allowed your birth and you to sit and type at your screen-it’s not a lewd act unless your mind makes it so- and as society as continued to use such language to judge, shame and belittle women, the very mothers without which none of us would be here. ALL I’M SAYING TO those reading this persons words is note the degree of HATE & JUDGEMENT. And all you are saying oculd be applied to any, organized group, religion or spiritual sect at one time in history or another and to certain individuals. Does a charismatic Christian cultist make all Christians leaders bad and Christian followers worthy of vile name calling? I know I speak for many who simply don’t want to respond to someone so obviously biased- so they remain silent.

          • Spread Your Wings Not Your Legs

            Shakti had to die completely to herself — commit suicide, in fact — to re-emerge as Queen Parvati and to earn the great privilege of sitting upon a throne in spiritual partnership with Shiva, her King. It takes great courage and a spirit of self-sacrifice, anathema to someone still so impressed with the tiny muscles of their callow youth.

    • dave

      “Anusara teachers are all psychological manipulators and power-trippers.”

      What? That sounds a lot to me like ‘all colored people (pick any color) are…’

      • Spread Your Wings Not Your Legs

        No, in this case, it’s an organized agenda of a small group of stupid white people. It’s defined by the methodology and pedagogy they imbibed from Jumpin’ Johnny and the guru Muktananda, one of the great Tantric power trippers of our times. Anusarans were schooled in the techniques of neuro-linguistic programming, which when done on a collective scale with a power agenda gets everyone on the same vibrational wavelength or frequencies and allows you to channel into other peoples psyches. This is Cult 101. Please do some research before you express yourself so ignorantly again.

  • I hope we as a yoga community get thru these frequent scandals, unethical behaviors and the cult of personality soon. But then, isn’t this more the norm than the abnorm in the world today? Its not just found in yoga….

  • It’s really sad to see this situation happening on the yoga community, but we have to be aware and do some search before starting any kind of course. This article is a good way to open the eyes to all the people in the community. Thanks

  • Amy

    Believe me, female yoga teachers are using sex to sell their classes and workshops. Seen them prey too often on the unsuspecting male practitioner. The whole yoga enterprise has morphed into a really sleazy business.

  • Wondering

    Months ago I saw a flyer advertising a workshop in my town with Sienna Sherman…not sure who she is, but she was wearing a skintight tiger print body suit, the workshop title if I remember correctly was ” ride the Tiger”. I’m wondering if she is one of the highly respected/advanced practitioner/role models of today’s yoga that people flock to?

    • Dwayne

      I’m not much for yogalebrities (once took a few classes from Richard Freeman, but that’s it). Sianna Sherman gets a lot of mentions on the Yoga Journal website (whatever that means), and recently offered a course on “Goddess Yoga” which seemed to be woman-oriented. Not sure what sex would have to do with her “mythic feminine-powered brand of yoga”, but it’s not my bag anyway.

    • Spread Your Wings Not Your Legs

      Sherman is Anusara, of course. Learned at the knee — or some other body part — of John Friend.

      They would consider you such a prude! This is the erotic spirit of the Divine Yoga Goddess. She’s the living embodiment of Shakti!

      And besides everything casts a shadow. rAAAARRRRRRR

      • Spread Your Wings Not Your Legs

        It is inevitable that some part of yoga industry merges with porn, escorts and prostitution.
        We are seeing the first glimmers of this. There are yoga porn sites, and there
        are individual women getting busted for having sex with men while saying they are offering yoga privates w/ massage.

        Yoga rather naturally lends itself to this hybridization, and the industry, like our society, has broken down the boundaries between mere callistenic exhibitionism, eroticism, sexualization.

        Google “yoga porn” and see what you get. Of course, some yoga movements are like floating bath houses any way — the guru Osho in the 1990s in the US and the MISA yoga movement in Europe today. And there are just so many people getting their groove on with and through yoga connections anyway.

        People often criticize critics for singling out yoga for this or that offense — but this is one area where yoga really stands out. You’re playing with a lot of sacred energies — often in a decidedly un-sacred way, and naturally that leads to trouble.

        • pal

          your inner stewart lawrence is shining through today sywnyl, good job.

      • Dwayne

        Oh good grief, I didn’t know Sherman came from Anusara. [Speaking of which, I can never hear/see “Anusara” without the Beavis/Butthead-type reaction “…he said Anus!…snicker…”] In the wake of the Friend fiasco, I expected the term “Anusara” to rapidly fade away, and am surprised to occasionally encounter it. I can say that the one Anusara-trained teacher whose classes I’ve attended is reasonable.
        No doubt I’m prudish, boring etc., and am not in the target demographic anyway (being male), but the “mythic feminine-powered” thing seems a tad, uh, far-fetched. That said, big-name yoga teachers are consistently knowledgeable, charismatic and conduct enjoyable classes, and I expect SS is no different. However, her schtick not being relevant to my practice, I’ll never know. 🙂

        • Spread Your Wings Not Your Legs

          Dwayne, you’re a hoot but you’re also incredibly small-minded. Of course you can be part of the “mythic feminine-empowered” thing: Just assume the position?

          I really like your use of “SS” when referring to a member of yoga’s self-appointed fascist elite. Was that an accident? Bless you my son.

          I also agree: These days the AnalSorans, relegated to their own fragmented diaspora, don’t have the vampiric staying power they used to have. I think they just prey on each other. And no, the label “Anusara” hasn’t faded because it’s so useful in everyday discourse: Anusara I borrowed your wife. Anusara I smoked all the weed. Anusara I can’t be part of your pathetic little cult anymore.

          But remember, it’s all good, because the Spirit of Shakti is with us always…..(Shiva? No that would require his sword of discernment, can’t have that!).

  • IMHO

    The Amby Valley resort already experienced one rape committed by a “Chaudhari” in 2011, so defendant Choudhury should feel right at home. http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-police-crack-amby-valley-rape-case-1494794.

    As you all know, ego should play no role whatsoever in the teaching of yoga. Even the simple use of “I”, “me” or “my” should be avoided in speech and writing, because it destroys the yoga philosophy of oneness, but this shriveled predator took it to the opposite extreme. Those studio owners who still immorally cling to the “Bikram” name continue to use salacious phrases like “Take the nooner class”, “Look great naked” and so forth, so they are masters of their own demise. Even Bikram’s own niece pawned off her New England studio to another sycophant over a year ago.

  • Duh, haven’t read article yet but that headline was my first thought-“oh well he’s gonna go back to India, FAST!”

  • pal

    people, i can’t reply in thread, and it probably needn’t be said but: ignore spread your wings, and anyone using hindu stories to push their own theology, in this case a strain of catholicism. my thanks.

    • Spread Your Wings Not Your Legs

      That’s pretty pathetic. You can’t even engage the many issues being raised by so many people here about the state of yoga and the quality of the yoga teacher corps and its impact on students. I would never issue a blanket recommendation for ignoring anyone’s contributions to any discussion, especially one based on your style of vague ad hominem attack. It’s really a sign of intellectual weakness on your part. Of course, you can “reply in thread” and explain your points. Did your mommy/mate/guru tell you you couldn’t?

      Pick anyone else’s contribution here and reply to that if you fear me so much — which you clearly do. My thanks.

      Just Hindu “stories”? You’re kidding right?

      • pal

        the thread is three or four deep so wordpress doesn’t have a reply button. just a headsup on your abuse-by-overlay-of-values on whatever story you’re referencing, not anything else. don’t worry i’m too weak to take your bait.

  • pinkgirl

    He’s leaving to escape from paying lawsuits, court dates, lawyer fees. He probably can rape a lot more women in India and get away with it. Wake up yogis! You are sheep!

  • pinkgirl

    He’s leaving to escape from paying lawsuits, court dates, lawyer fees. He probably can rape a lot more women in India and get away with it. Wake up yogis! You are sheep!

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