Bikram Choudhury, founder of the insanely popular Bikram yoga method, is now facing six lawsuits by women who are accusing him of sexual assault.
Choudhury is also the founder of Bikram’s Yoga College of India, where he offers teacher trainings for the distinctive yoga style of 26 poses in a steamy room.
This is where the latest lawsuit victim claims the sexual assault occurred. Jill Lawler, the most recent accuser to come forward, attended the Bikram class in 2010 when Choudhury allegedly first raped her. The alleged abuse continued after.
According to the Associated Press, Lawler claims she had been elated to be learning from the yoga guru, but was shocked when she was expected to massage him while watching Bollywood movies and then sexually assault her. Vanity Fair reported that Choudhury allegedly told a woman “You will be greater than Mother Teresa, but you have to follow me. You have to do everything I tell you to do.”
As reported by CNN, attorney Mary Shea said that Choudhury would prey on the young and vulnerable, manipulating them into sexual acts. Shea went on to say that Choudbury would tell the women that he was on the same level as Buddha and Jesus Christ.
Choudhury denies these allegations and has been successful in the past getting accusations from women dismissed. His lawyers sent a statement to the New York Times, saying that “he did not sexually assault any of the plaintiffs” and that “their motives are financial.”