BIKRAM Choudhury is the man who turned yoga into an art form that brought it to the western masses.
His claims about the ailments he could cure sparked enormous interest in his classes and brought him worldwide fame.
Who is Bikram Choudhury?
Bikram Choudhury was born in Kolkata, India.
After suffering a serious weightlifting injury, he studied with yoga guru Bishnu Charan Ghosh.
The teachings are said to have healed his incurable leg wound.
He left his native country in the 1970s and headed to America, seeking to educate and teach styles of yoga to heal others.
When he arrived in the country, he opened yoga studios in California and Hawaii.
It wasn’t long before his “Bikram Yoga” was known nationwide.
His unique style inspired his students while creating a certain form of control over them, creating a cult following.
It wasn’t long before he monetized his studios and classes and bought upscale cars and homes, becoming what some called the “Beverly Hills Yogi” image.
Her unique style of yoga would be in a 40 degree heat environment to mimic the climate of India.
Students would participate in a nine-week course which would require them to stay in the hotel hosting the courses for the entire duration.
Which celebrities has Bikram Choudhury taught?
Choudhury claims to have taught celebrities such as Madonna, Raquel Welch, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and David Beckham.
He also said he helped US Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton with his “Bikram Yoga”.
Bikram Choudhury claimed that his first student when he arrived in America was Elvis Presley, and the second was Richard Nixon.
What has Bikram Choudhury been accused of?
It is alleged that his yoga studios have created an almost cult existence for students.
Some of his students have come forward and accused him of alleged sexual assault, rape and manic control.
The allegations came to light in 2013 and the following year five different women filed lawsuits against Bikram Choudhury.
Two years after the first allegation, his wife, Rajashree Choudhury, filed for divorce due to “irreconcilable differences”.
Since all of this, in 2019, it even spurred a Netflix documentary called “Bikram: Yogi, Guru and Predator.”
Oscar-winning director, Eva Orner used the documentary film as a platform for people who feel abused in some way to come forward.
Bikram Choudhury has denied all the allegations.
Where is Bikram Choudhury now?
In May 2016, Choudhury fled to India as charges loomed as well as lawsuits, one of which came from his head of legal and international affairs.
Minakshi “Micki” Jaffa-Bodden claimed she was illegally fired by Bikram Choudhury.
The courts ruled in his favor and he was ordered to pay her the money.
When he returned home to India, he had not paid any of the $7 million owed Ms Jafa-Bodden.
He went on to open yoga studios in India and was followed to Thailand, Spain and Mexico where he continues to lead his teacher training courses.
What is Bikram Choudhury net worth?
The teacher training courses he runs cost $10,000 for those who wish to enroll.
Bikram Choudhury is said to have a net worth of around $75 million.
As it continues to roll out its franchise courses, that number may well continue to rise.