"Hot" yoga guru fined $7mn in sexual harassment case

26 Jan 2016 | Written by Vaneet Randhawa; Edited by Abheet Sethi

In January 2016, Bikram Choudhury, the celebrity "hot" yoga guru, was ordered to pay over $7 million to his former legal adviser Minakshi Jafa-Bodden.

Jafa-Bodden had alleged that she was fired for probing sexual misconduct charges against Choudhury.

She had also made "claims of discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination and of suffering sexual harassment herself" at Choudhury's hands.

In context: Sexual harassment cases against Bikram Choudhury

IntroductionBikram Choudhury: Taking yoga from Calcutta to America

Bikram Choudhury is a yoga enthusiast from Calcutta who devised the Bikram yoga, which was based on "regular hatha yoga, but performed in 105 degree F for 90 minutes" that helped shed weight, gain strength and flexibility.

He devised 26 'asanas' and 2 breathing techniques that form his yoga's core.

Choudhury claimed that former US President Nixon had invited him to America in 1973.

Choudhury's followers include many famous celebrities

Bikram Choudhury's hot yoga found a number of celebrity admirers such as Shirley Maclaine, George Clooney, Lady Gaga, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Madonna, Jennifer Aniston and Andy Murray.
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Choudhury in soup for sexual harassment, racism

12 Jul 2013Choudhury in soup for sexual harassment, racism

In July 2013, his former attorney Minakshi Jafa-Bodden filed a case in a Los Angeles court against Choudhury.

She claimed that he had wrongfully sacked her from her position for refusing to cover up an investigation in a rape allegation against him.

She alleged that in her 2 years of service, she was both "the victim of and witness" to Bikram's racist comments.

Bikram justifies firing Jafa-Bodden

Speaking on Minakshi Jafa-Bodden's charges, Choudhury had said she was telling 'big lies' and that she "was let go because she did not have a license to practice law in the United States."

More lawsuitsBikram Choudhury feels the heat

2 charges were filed against Bikram in May 2013 alleging "sexual battery, false imprisonment, discrimination, harassment and other counts in addition to the rape allegation."

The charges alleged a cult-like atmosphere where people from Bikram's inner circle helped him in finding young women to assault.

Since January 2014, 5 women have come forward with charges of sexual harassment and assault against Bikram Choudhury.

26 Jan 2016"Hot" yoga guru fined $7mn in sexual harassment case

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25 May 2017Arrest warrant issued against "hot" yoga guru Bikram Choudhury

An arrest warrant has been issued by a Los Angeles court against Indian-American "hot" yoga guru Bikram Choudhury.

Choudhury, 69, was ordered to pay over $7 million in 2016 to his former lawyer Minakshi "Miki" Jafa-Bodden in a sexual harassment case, which he didn't after claiming bankruptcy.

Authorities believe Choudhury has hidden his assets and fled the country.