Hot yoga's Bikram Choudhury hit by sexual harassment suit
Student alleges 67-year-old guru 'pursued' her for years, claiming they were connected in a former life
BIKRAM CHOUDHURY, the founder of the fashionable ‘hot yoga' technique practised by celebrities including Lady Gaga and David Beckham, has been accused of sexual harassment and discrimination by one of his students.
Sarah Baughn, 29, says she was "pursued" for years by the 67-year-old founder of the international Bikram yoga studio. Choudhury told her his wife was "a bitch" who didn't understand him and insisted he and Baughn were connected in a past life, she claims.
During a class, he pressed himself against her and whispered "sexual things" in her ear, a suit filed in a Los Angeles court alleges.
Baughn also claims she was denied an international championship title and prevented from teaching hot yoga "because of her past and continuing refusal to have sex with her guru", The Guardian reports.
Choudhury and his wife Rajashree, who run their yoga empire from a mansion in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, have not commented on the lawsuit.
The system of hot yoga practised by Choudhury takes place over 90 minutes in rooms heated to more than 37.8 C. Each class employs 26 sequential poses and two breathing techniques. Choudhury says it's the only correct way to practise yoga, according to The Village Voice. Other celebrity devotees include Madonna and the actors George Clooney and Jennifer Anniston.
As hot yoga's best-known exponent and teacher, Choudhury – "a small, svelte man from Calcutta" – has become a multi-millionaire. He has a fleet of Rolls-Royces and boasts that his swimming pool is the largest in Beverly Hills.
Baughn says she dropped out of college and devoted herself to yoga at the age of 20. She paid Choudhury $7,500 to attend a "gruelling" nine-week training course, but quickly noticed that his relationship with his young female students was "different". They were chosen to brush his hair and give him massages, her lawsuit alleges. When she raised these observations with other students she was allegedly told that Choudhury was "not a good man" but "a good teacher". ·