Netflix Doc Spotlights Hot Yoga Guru Bikram Choudhury, But Where is He?
Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator took viewers through each label that’s been given to Bikram Choudhury. The Netflix documentary put the embattled yoga guru’s rise to prominence here in the United States under the microscope, examining his relationships with students, the impact of his teachings, and the accusations of sexual misconduct against him.
Several women shared their own personal testimonies about how he ran his yoga operations and their traumatic experiences with him. But where is Choudhury now?
Bikram documentary was informative and damning
If you haven’t watched it yet, Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator offers an insightful look at how the yogi got his start in India, moved to the U.S., and started an empire that spawned a famous franchise and legions of loyal followers, including celebrities. It calls into question whether some followers and teachers were so blinded by Choudhury’s teachings and charisma that they ignored red flags.
In some cases, his teachers never saw and continue not to recognize any red flags. But the women who decided to file sexual harassment (most notably Sara Baughn) and/or discrimination lawsuits against the hot yoga guru say that they tried to report it in-house, but found it hard to find a sympathetic or helpful ear.
No criminal charges for sexual assault were ever filed, but Choudhury was issued an arrest warrant for fleeing the country without paying judgments. He’s no longer in the States, but his reputation has made him a controversial figure, one who’s been deemed an abuser and “guru.”
Choudhury is aware of the documentary
Choudhury did not directly participate in the documentary, but footage of him at work was used as were photos. His backstory was interspersed with accounts from students, students-turned-teachers, and others who were in his orbit when his Los Angeles studio was active. Many of the teachers he trained still hold him in high regard, and their words were in stark contrast with those of his accusers.
An attorney acting as a publicist for Choudhury issued a statement to the L.A. Times stating:
“Bikram Choudhury totally refutes all the allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment presented in the film and is deeply upset by the continued character assassination. Bikram believes that the concerted effort by money-motivated lawyers to proactively send letters to a database of all his clients, offering people free legal representation and the promise of $1 million insurance policy pay-outs is the primary motivation for this reputational catastrophe. Bikram believes the Netflix film is nothing more than a repetition of old material.”
Here’s what Choudhury has been up to since leaving the U.S.
Believe it or not, Choudhury is still actively teaching yoga and teacher’s training courses throughout the world. According to Esquire, he is planning a tour in India called “Bikram’s Legacy Tour of India 2020” that will span two weeks.
In the documentary, you’ll note that he’s since opened up additional yoga centers in Mexico and Spain, but at this time, his exact whereabouts are unknown.
Choudhury continues to communicate through intermediaries, but Esquire mentions that the yogi took the time to send a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings prior to the documentary’s release requesting that they shut it down. Too late for that.
As a result of the negative exposure, some Bikram yoga studios are experiencing blowback. Many continue to operate, as the owners have invested thousands of dollars and hours into their training.