|Bikram Choudhury Quick Info
|5 ft 5 in
|Date of Birth
|February 10, 1944
Bikram Choudhury is an Indian-American yoga guru and entrepreneur who is best known for being the founder of Bikram Yoga. In the 1990s, he also used to offer nine-week teacher certification courses, training thousands of instructors. He has taught yoga to several popular celebrities like Madonna, David Beckham, and Lady Gaga. In May 2016, after facing several lawsuits alleging s*xual harassment, racism, assault, and homophobia, Bikram returned to India, where he started opening yoga studios.
Calcutta, West Bengal, India
By the age of 5, Bikram Choudhury had started taking yoga classes from Bishnu Ghosh at his College of Physical Education in Calcutta.
Yoga teacher and entrepreneur
5 ft 5 in or 165 cm (Approx)
63 kg or 139 pounds
Girlfriend / Spouse
Bikram Choudhury has dated
- Rajashree Choudhury (1984-2016) – Bikram got married to yoga therapist Rajashree Choudhury in the 80s. Rahashree, who is the founder of the United States Yoga Federation, filed for divorce in December 2015 citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce was eventually finalized in May 2016 and she was given houses in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. She was also given possession of luxury cars such as Ferrari, Mercedes 550 and a Bentley, which earlier belonged to her husband. As part of the settlement, she was also given protection against any financial compensation Choudhury might have to pay for any running or future lawsuits. During the course of their marriage, they became parents of two children – Laju Choudhury (daughter) and Anurag Choudhury (son).
Race / Ethnicity
He has Bengali ancestry.
- Long hair at the back of head
- Often wears hat or cap while making public appearances
Bikram Choudhury hasn’t done endorsement work for any brand apart from his yoga studios.
Best Known For
- Being the founder of the hot yoga. He also played a lead role in making it popular all over the world.
- His legal troubles as he was accused of sexual assault and discrimination amongst other things.
Bikram relies on his yoga practice to keep himself fit and healthy even in the advancing age. Even, while he was embroiled in legal troubles, he didn’t give up his yoga practice.
And, after fleeing from the United States to India, he has continued practicing yoga in his newly started yoga studios.
Bikram Choudhury Facts
- Bikram started learning hatha yoga at the age of 3.
- By the age of 13, he had managed to win the National India Yoga Championship. He went on to win this competition for overall 3 consecutive years.
- At the age of 20, he severely injured his knee while lifting heavy weight. He was reportedly told by doctors that he won’t be able to walk. However, under the guidance of Bishnu Ghosh, he managed to gain full fitness.
- He created Bikram yoga by clubbing together 26 yoga postures that work the complete body and has healing properties. He decided to go for 105-degree Fahrenheit room temperature because it helps mimic Indian climate.
- He emigrated to the United States in 1970’s and soon after, started establishing his yoga studios, with Los Angeles and Hawaii being some of the first venues.
- In 2011, he filed a lawsuit against Yoga to the People, which was a yoga studio started by one of his disciples and near Bikram Yoga studio in New York City, alleging copyright violation.
- In 2012, he started the process to secure copyright for his Bikram Yoga. However, his efforts were thwarted as the United States Copyright Office clarified that the yoga asanas can’t be copyrighted as they have been in existence for centuries.
- In May 2013, two lawsuits accusing Bikram of rape were filed. One of the applicants accused him of sexual battery, discrimination, harassment, and false imprisonment among other charges related to rape.
- In July 2013, Minakshi “Micki” Jafa-Bodden, who formerly worked as Head of Legal and International Affairs for him, filed a lawsuit alleging abrupt and unlawful job termination.
- Jafa-Bodden claimed that she was a victim of pervasive and offensive conduct and has witnessed same behavior against homosexuals, women, and other minority communities.
- Jafa-Bodden was awarded $924,500 in actual damages by a jury on January 25, 2016. A day later, Bikram was ordered to pay her additional $6.4 million in form of punitive damages.
- In May 2016, he fled to India and in October, his attorney informed the court that he won’t be returning to the US for court proceedings and would testify in court via Skype.
- In May 2017, a Los Angeles judge issued an arrest warrant against Bikram for having left the country without having paid $7 million which he was ordered to pay Jafa-Bodden by the court.
- In 2017, his luxury cars and other valuable possessions were locked in warehouses in Florida and Nevada on court orders.
- Bikram published his first non-fiction book, Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class in 1978.
Featured Image by Yanivnord / Flickr / CC BY 2.0