Apr 3, 2015

Guru Denies Raping Six Women From His 'Hot Yoga' Classes

Guru Denies Raping Six Women From His 'Hot Yoga' Classes

03rd April 2015

The guru behind the popular Bikram school of hot yoga has denied rape allegations against him, claiming sometimes women "commit suicide because I will not have sex with them".

Bikram Choudhury, who emigrated to the United States in the Seventies, created a global business empire and won over many celebrity devotees with his yoga method, where practitioners hold demanding poses in studios heated to 105F (41C).

But the 69-year-old's image as a spiritual leader has been tarnished by civil lawsuits from at least six women, several of whom claim he raped them at yoga training camps.

He "used his status as a guru to identify and victimise the most vulnerable women from among his flock, grooming them, breaking down barriers, and ultimately assaulting them when they were at their most physically, emotionally, or financially vulnerable," according to court papers.

In his first interview since the rape allegations were made in 2013, Mr Choudhury told CNN: "I never assaulted them." He appeared to imply that he did not need to assault women because he had so many offers of sex. "Women like me. Women love me," he said. "So if I really wanted to involve the women, I don't have to assault the women."

Mr Choudhury insisted that he had not assaulted any of the six women nor had consensual sex with them. He said he believed they had been told to make up the allegations by someone else.

But when asked by the US network if he had ever had sex with other students he answered "yes and no".

"I have no intention to have sex with any of my students or any women," he said. "Sometimes students, they commit suicide. Lots of students of mine, they commit suicide because I will not have sex with them."

While Mr Choudhury's accusers are pursuing him in the civil courts in California, he has never been charged with a crime by prosecutors.

Court documents claim that Mr Choudhury would allegedly insist that the women on his $13,000 (pounds 7,950), nine-week training courses wear "tight, skimpy clothing" and prohibited them from wearing green clothes because he hated the colour.



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