A Plea for All Women to Boycott Bikram Choudhury’s Yoga Studios
Bikram Choudhury is an Indian Yoga guru, who has demonized women during an HBO interview with Andrea Kremer. Choudhury, who is facing six sexual assault charges in the US, has called his female accusers “Trash”. Choudhury refers to women as dumb f****, fat ass, idiots, and psychopaths. What is even more disturbing is that on national TV, Choudhury minimized the lives of four women he claimed committed suicide because he did not have sex with them. In his studios, he boosts that it is his way or the highway. He devalues women and tries to destroy their self-esteem.
Choudhury claims that his yoga teachings can cure diseases that medical doctors cannot cure. But what he is actually doing is killing the minds, bodies, and souls of the hundreds of people who follow him, particularly women. Like Jim Jones, who caused hundreds of people to die by giving them poisoned punch to drink back in November 1978, Choudhury is poisoning his yoga followers with his toxic teachings. As a matter of fact, I am dumbfounded and disgusted simultaneously at how the human mind can be manipulated and controlled by absolute intolerance. Which begs the question, are Choudhury’s yoga worshipers susceptible to another Johnstown’s massacre?
Who exactly is Bikram Choudhury? What Choudhury wants people to believe is that he is some type of a god with power to brainwash women. He is accused of tearing down women and assaulting them physically, mentally, and spiritually. If you want to hear to what extend Choudhury demoralizes women, you can listen to the testimonies of his alleged victims: Maggie Genthner, Sarah Baughn, and Jill Lawler — all of whom have accused him of rape and sexual harassment. Like me, if you listened to the HBO interview with Andrea Kremer, you may find yourself gasping for breath as the women described in overwhelming detail how and why Choudhury raped them. Though Choudhury denied the allegations, the heart-wrenching stories of these victims paint an image of a sadistic monster and sexual predator.
In defending the teachings of eastern philosophy, I understand the concept of breaking down the “self” and conventional attitudes of students in order to rejuvenate and rebuild their self-image. We often see this training philosophy when coaches want their athletes to become winners. The coaching style of shaming an athlete to make the athlete identify as part of a team and not as an individual is common place. In general, training is the breaking down of the body to rebuild, strengthen and transform the body. Nowhere in this philosophy, historically, is it okay for the coach/teacher/master to take advantage of the student sexually.
What Bikram Choudhury appears to be doing is perverting the teachings of yoga for his sexual desires and gratification. Perhaps he sees his sexual gratification as symbolic fulfillment of his yoga teachings. Which begs another question, does his teaching have ritual aspects? Is it possible that similar to a predator, Choudhury hand-picks women who are more attentive to him, vulnerable, eager to learn, and are easily broken-down mentally and physically? Is he preying on women’s insecurities?
Choudhury’s teachings are perverted. What he appears to be doing is brainwashing his female students until their sense of reality is reduced and he is able to control them. Once he gains that control, he uses the venom from his punitive words to paralyze them so he can command their silence. Silence allows him to attain power and control, but taking complete sexual advantage of a vulnerable woman puts him into a “chanting” state of mind. So until Choudhury is found guilty of crimes committed against women, he will continue to defend his teachings and clear himself of any wrongdoing. Choudhury’s defense mechanism seems to be his own perversion.
All in all, Choudhury has made it clear in his depiction of women that he does not like women and that he has absolutely no respect for them. What is even more disturbing, in spite of his attestation, is the fact that women love Bikram Choudhury. And they continue to flock to over 300 of Bikram studios regardless of the sexual assaults and rape allegations.
The emphasis however is on the women who reported that Bikram Choudhury sexually assaulted and raped them. If you have an opportunity to read this blog, I am appealing to all women to boycott Bikram's yoga studios. For all the atrocities Choudhury has committed against women, I am pleading to women to take the first step and STOP the physical, verbal and alleged sexual abuse. Boycott Bikram’s studios not only in America but all over the world. Reject and abandon his teaching.
Finally, it is time for women to revolutionize themselves. Women must support other women and carry the wounded ones. Women must start a process of transformative thinking about how they want to be identified and treated by men.