[UPDATE] The Bikram sex scandal has now gotten the NMA treatment.
Though the sexual roots of yoga have been all but purged from the practice the “spiritual” attachments have remained. This means that there are still “spiritual” leaders of certain styles of yoga. That, along with the teacher-student power dynamics inherent in yoga classes, can create an atmosphere ripe for the exploitation of authority.
This week, the yoga world was shaken by a lawsuit that has been filed against the founder of Bikram Yoga, Choudhury Bikram. According to a Gawker report, a woman named Sarah Baughn claims that Bikram sexually harassed and assaulted her during a yoga instructor training camp in 2005.
Baughn claims that Bikram came onto her during the camp, even going so far as to tell her that he knew her “from a past life,” and that he had a special type of feeling for her. Baughn rejected his offers, but claims she was later assaulted by the teacher. She states that Bikram “pinned her against a door” and humped her leg while kissing her face, neck, and chest.
The Bikram Yoga organization has released a rebuttal to the charges laid out in the lawsuit:
Bikram Choudhury has spent over 50 years bringing the benefits of Bikram Yoga to people through his teaching and the creation of his worldwide Bikram hot yoga organization.
He is disappointed by the false charges made in this lawsuit. However, the matter is in the hands of his attorneys, and he will not comment at this time.
Bikram expresses gratitude to all who have reached out to express their love and support.