Traditionally, yoga isn't just about the body. It's about the mind. It often contains meditation to calm your racing thoughts and it's based on Eastern religions like Buddhism and Taoism that advocate love for all your fellow creatures. But reportedly, one famous yoga guru might have taken this "love" thing too far. Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram yoga, in which yoga moves are done in hot temperatures, may have gotten a little too hot, according to a former student who is suing him for sexual harassment.
Bikram enthusiast Sarah Baughn, 29, filed suit in Los Angeles alleging that Choudhury ruined her teaching career after she turned down his sexual advances. According to Baughn, the famous teacher first propositioned her in 2005. He apparently used that old pick-up line: "I know you from a past life. We have a connection. It is amazing. Should we make this a relationship?"
Err, that does line ever work? Hey, maybe it does for a yoga teacher. Anyway, Baughn says she refused the married Chowdhury's advances and then tried to avoid him. But allegedly he kept up pursuing her (presumably with equally cheesy lines). When that didn't work, she says he tried the whole "my wife doesn't understand me" ploy, reportedly telling her, "My wife is such a bitch, you have no idea. She is terrible to me. She is so mean. You have to save me."
Oh, no, dude. No one wants to save you from that. And Baughn says she didn't either, and kept giving the brush-off, so then he allegedly rigged a yoga competition so she would lose, and made sure the winner was the woman "saving" him in his hotel room.
Anyone can cry sexual harassment when they don't get their way, but this dude doesn't exactly deny that he sleeps with his students. In a magazine profile of him, he reportedly spoke about getting it on with his yoga flock: "Only when they give me no choice! If they say to me, 'Boss, you must f*** me or I will kill myself,' then I do it! Think if I don't! The karma!" Pretty randy for a 67-year-old, eh? And pretty gross too, hitting on 29-year-olds. If he did.
Either this guy is super weird or he's got a really bizarre sense of humor. I've taken a lot of yoga classes, and I can see where the line between appropriate and inappropriate could get easily crossed or misunderstood. Teachers generally go around and "adjust" your position, which can mean touching you, and sometimes they even massage you unexpectedly. So you have to have a lot of trust in your teacher. You also have to be someone who understands that a teacher who adjusts you isn't necessarily hitting on you.
In these sue-happy times, it's probably a real risk to be a yoga teacher. But if this guy was routinely sleeping with his students -- even if they are willing participants -- that's just not what yoga is all about.
Do you think it's okay for students and teachers to sleep together even if it's just yoga classes?
Image via LuluLemonAthletica/Flickr