San Leandro, Calif. — The New York Times reported Feb. 24 that Indian yoga guru Bikram Choudhury, founder of the popular Bikram Yoga empire, has been charged yet again with sexual assault — his sixth such lawsuit.
The latest claim is by Canadian woman Jill Lawler, who says Choudhury sexually took advantage of her during a teacher training session in 2010. Lawler is quoted by the Times saying he lured her to his hotel room with the promise to “make her a yoga champion” before he allegedly sexually assaulted her.
Since she had paid $10,000 for the teacher training and was afraid she wouldn’t get it back, Lawler told the paper she declined to speak up. She then stayed with his practice over the next two years, during which the assaults continued, she said, adding that the most recent attack took place in February of 2013.
Choudhury’s legal woes have been in the news since 2013, and have been widely reported in various news outlets.
The New York Times quoted a statement from Choudhury’s lawyers, saying “Mr. Choudhury did not sexually assault any of the plaintiffs” and adding that the women were taking advantage of the legal system for their own financial gain.
“Their claims are false and dishonor Bikram Yoga and the health and spiritual benefits it has brought to the lives of millions of practitioners throughout the world,” the statement said.
Choudhury is the founder of Bikram’s Yoga College of India and a chain of hot yoga studios around the world.