Bikram Yoga Founder Accused of Sexual Harassment
The creator of the Bikram yoga craze, Bikram Choudhury, has been accused of sexual assault by one of his former students.
The lawsuit comes from Sarah Baughn, 28, who wants Choudhury charged with sexual harassment, discrimination and defamation, according to The New York Times. As a former world-class competitor, Baughn is also an accomplished yogi.
In her complaint, Baughn said Choudhury repeatedly flirted with her in inappropriate ways and sexually assaulted her numerous times. Among other occurrences, the complaint listed one incidence when Choudhury pressed his body into Baughn and "whispered sexual things" to her while “pretending to assist her” during a class. Baughn also claims Choudhury hurt her yoga career because she resisted his advances.
Although Choudhury did not comment at this time, a statement on BikramYoga.com says he is “disappointed by the false charges made in this lawsuit.”
Bikram yoga is a 90-minute practice using 26 postures and two breathing exercises. It is usually done in a 105-degree room with 40 percent humidity. Choudhury, 67, started the practice in the early 1970s. Today, this style of yoga has become highly popular, and its followers include celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Jennifer Aniston.