Bikram Choudhury Yoga files for Bankruptcy

Bikram Yoga Image

Bikram Choudhury Yoga, the once world-wide chain of yoga studios built on a the 26-pose sequence conducted in rooms heated to 40C, has filed for bankruptcy, reports a variety of news websites. The bankruptcy motion was filed after $US16.7 million (AU$23.4 million) in legal judgements were found against the yoga company, stemming largely from numerous lawsuits built on allegations of sexual misconduct.

The California-based company claimed that while its liabilities were worth up to $US50 million (AU$70 million), its listed assets were only $US1 million (AU$1.4 million).

The outcome, suggests smh.com.au, is that “its largest creditors — women who are owed money for court judgements awarded against Choudhury — will not be paid in full.”

An arrest warrant was issued for Bikram Choudhury, 70, the founder of the eponymous style of hot yoga, in May this year. Choudhury was pursued by US authorities after failing to pay $US6.5 million (8.7 million) to a former legal adviser, “Mikki” Jafa-Bodden, in a sexual harassment case. She claimed that he had wrongfully sacked her from her position for refusing to cover up an investigation in a rape allegation against him.

In her 2013 lawsuit, Bodden alleged that Choudhury repeatedly subjected her to vulgar sexual gestures and offensive comments about women and minority groups.

“Birkram Choudhury created a hyper-sexualised, offensive and degrading environment for women by, among other things, demanding that female staffers brush his hair and give him massages,” Bodden is reported to have said in news.com.

The disturbing news comes in the wake of allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey and comedian Louis CK, among others.