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Bikram Yoga NYC Drops Bikram Name For Brand Relaunch

in YD News

Bikram goes dodo with Bode. | image via Bode facebook

Bikram Yoga’s got a brand new vibe, and it has less and less to do with Bikram. It’s happened. NYC’s first Bikram Yoga Studio has officially dropped the namesake and is no longer limited to the strict, stick-to-the-script 26 pose practice made famous by the foul-mouthed philanderer himself, Bikram Choudhury.

Choudhury, in case you missed it (because you were blissfully meditating under a yoga mat for the past few years? understandable, by the way), is still entwined in multiple lawsuits and allegations of rape and sexual assault. The latest news was that the Rolex-adorned adulterer was trying to weasel his way out of paying the close to $7 million he was ordered to pay his former legal advisor after losing the sexual harassment case. That, and he skipped town and there’s a warrant out for his arrest.

Believe it or not, some people don’t want to be associated with the ‘Don’ anymore, though not too long ago they appeared to be some of his loyalest supporters. To the man or to the practice? Can they be separated?

Bode, the studio formerly known as Bikram Yoga NYC might be hoping so. After 18 years on the Bikram blitz, all four of the Bikram Yoga NYC studio locations have undergone a full transformation complete with a cute new logo and an expanded menu of offerings including Reiki, Yin Nidra and special core-focused classes. According to the press release, co-owners Donna Rubin and Jennifer Lobo “felt the need to rebrand to reflect its new approach with the addition of classes to give its clients a more well-rounded experience.”

While Bikram style classes still remain on the schedule, the move to distance themselves from the man, and to essentially diversify is none too surprising. They’re also not the first to drop the name; Bikram Yoga Soho did their own sidestepping by renaming their studio The Yoga Loft in 2015 and basing their decision heavily in response to the serious allegations Choudhury was facing.

At the time, the owners wrote in a newsletter to their students, “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.”

Rubin and Lobo have made no such announcement, but explained the big change this way: “We believe that the combination of a consistent Bikram Method practice which has the beauty of simplicity, coupled with new challenges for the body and mind enables one to have continuous growth. We look forward to seeing our clients’ continued growth as they explore our other offerings,” Donna said via the press release.

Growth. Moving on. Exploring. Sure. Or maybe no longer keeping a glaring association with a flagrant asanahole who preyed on the vulnerability of his students and staff.

But who needs (wants?) the Bikram name anymore? Bode already touts their own signature Hot HIIT classes—one-hour core-focused classes focused on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Pilates done in a heated room (a bearable 98 degrees).

And so, the student surpasses the teacher.

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4 comments… add one
  • This article is so helpful. I’m really very grateful. Thanks For shearing This Article.

  • Spread Your Wings Not Your Legs

    The student hasn’t surpassed the teacher — no more than the remnants of AnusSewer Yoga have surpassed John Friend. I am not a Bikram Yoga fan but this is still Bikram Hot Yoga. The only thing gone is that over-the-top mischievous and mercurial charm of the founder who to his great credit and everlasting honor spread yoga wide and far in America. Withoiut most of you would be flopping around in torn leotards at a Jazzercize class.

    Let’s see if the extreme pathology of his devotees, amply documented in the book Hell-Bent by Benjamin Lorr (some of your read it, how quickly you forget) also survives.

    The studio owners say they want their students to be “safe.” If so, why are they teaching Bikram Hot Yoga which is demonstrably not safe

    Oh, because some girl is running the show now? Please, no more “fake news” feminism? We’ve already suffered through John Friend’s little zombie “inheritors.” Really, most of us have had enough.

    If you’re a critic, have the honesty to admit: It’s not the man it’s the method.
    If not, rise and chant after me —

    THE KING IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE KING.

    • Spread Your Wings Not Your Legs

      It would be good to see an article about how many women became empowered to become studio owners and business women through the the Bikram franchise model? Can any other model in the yoga industry compete?

      How much did Bikram teach women about business compared to say, Elena Brower or Kathryn Budig or Tara Stiles? Is there a Budig style of yoga on par with the influence of a Bikram? Yoga performed half-nude in Toe Sox, perhaps?

      And where is Bikram’s sleazoid ex-lawyer now? How much of that absurd settlement — no judge in his or her right mind should have made that award — has she devoted to helping women in yoga?

      Has she set up a yoga foundation? Is she bringing yoga to the underprivileged? Is she donating the money to the right-wing Hindus? What? Is she just the next Bikram, but without any real vision?

      Surely out of $7 million, there was $2 million perhaps she could have set aside for some constructive purpose other than say buying a new condo in Mumbai?

      What about sharing a portion with the other co-plaintiffs who — thanks in part to her — will probably never see a dime now? Anyone asked her?

  • KG

    Wow, I’m blown away by this ‘downfall of Bikram’ story! Amazing example of how the ego can sabotage opportunities that life gifts us with. I was a Bikram yoga student many years ago. It’s a great form and style of yoga. Life is always changing and evolving. Thanks for sharing!

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