WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) – Bikram Choudhury, 75, is the namesake behind countless Bikram Yoga studios nationwide.
The studios specialize in hot yoga and owners typically train with Choudhury after paying thousands of dollars to use his name and teachings.
FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis spoke with Kendra Blackett-Zibinga, the owner of Bikram Yoga in Ivy City [a small neighborhood in Northeast Washington, D.C.].
She says she paid $10,000 to train under Choudhury for nine weeks back in 2011.
She defends him, describing the new Netflix documentary as, “rehashed stories and sensationalism.”
The documentary features several women explaining how Choudhury allegedly sexually assaulted them.
TMZ reports The L.A. District Attorney’s Office *acknowledges* a case was submitted in 2013 involving 4 accusers — but at the time “it was determined that there was insufficient evidence to file criminal charges.
Choudhury apparently fled the country after being the subject of a nearly $7 million dollar judgment from a former lawyer who also accused him of sexual harassment.
Most recently, Choudhury reportedly responded to the allegations denying raping anyone … Read more.
Doc raises sexual misconduct allegations against Bikram yoga founder
Dec 8, 2019
CBC News – The Netflix documentary, Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, is following the lead of several recent films in its attempt to spark calls to action and bring attention a high-profile figure accused of sexual misconduct.
“If there’s a way for the law to catch up with Bikram, I think that’s the aim of this,” Australian filmmaker Eva Orner told CBC News during a sit-down interview in Toronto. “I mean, he should come back to America, and he should face the music.”
Bikram Choudhury, who founded an empire based on the practice of hot yoga, is currently in Mexico and continues to offer training sessions and travel around the world, according to his U.K. representative. The 90-minute proprietary Bikram yoga routine consists of 26 poses performed in a room with a temperature of about 40 degrees Celsius.
The documentary chronicles the rise of hot yoga — which many in the film argue has helped cure both physical and mental ailments — in Los Angeles in the 1970s.
Choudhury created a string of studios and franchises, keeping tight control of his methods.
He was known for sporting a black Speedo in class and a Rolex watch.
Photos show he was embraced by celebrities, including Shirley MacLaine, Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson.
“I felt so instantly connected to this person,” former yoga teacher Sarah Baughn, who says she once suffered from scoliosis, said in the film.
“I wanted to be a teacher so badly and I wanted to be a good teacher so badly … We grew to understand that the only way that you could be a good teacher was through him.”
Teacher training can cost thousands of dollars but is the only way to become certified in the specialized routine. The certification has to be renewed every three years.
“I came back over and over again [to his training] expecting different results,” Baughn says in the film. “And I know that’s the definition of an idiot … ” Read more.
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