Allegations in the world of yoga

In the wake of #MeToo, Weinstein and Epstein, a Netflix documentary has made allegations of another similar situation in the world of yoga.

The now very wealthy founder of a multi-million dollar yoga empire has been accused of preying on the vulnerable, yet prosecuting authorities in USA appear not to have responded to the complaints.

Bikram Choudhury, a once unknown migrant to USA, has since the 1970s and throughout the 80s and 90s filled auditoriums and hotel complexes with potential yoga teachers who have paid $10,000 or more to learn his methods (the self-proclaimed 26+2 technique, which comprises of two breathing exercises and 26 postures) and then open their own business empires under his trade mark.

The Netflix documentary traced his origins from humble beginnings, born in Kolkata in 1944, settling in the USA in the 1970s. He claims to have healed Richard Nixon and counts the likes of Elvis Presley, Quincy Jones and Raquel Welch amongst his many followers. Over the years he has amassed a fortune, reportedly $75 million, and a fleet of 43 luxury cars.

It is reported that for years it appears people have turned a blind eye or made excuses for his behaviour. No formal action has been taken against him by any authority to date. He is now reported to have left the USA and is now pursuing his business in Spain and Mexico.


Hayre_J

Written by Jagdeep Hayre

jagdeep.hayre@blmlaw.com

Spotlight on the US

A recent study in the USA by Saint Louis University in Missouri found emergency hospital admissions for child and teen victims under 18 of sexual abuse rose sharply by 70% in a six year period (2010-2016). The study shows an alarming increase of 50% in respect of victims aged 12-17 and an overall increase in confirmed cases of abuse from 5,138 cases to 8,818. Of the 46,993 cases seen during 2010-2016, 85.14% involved girls, 44.75% involved those aged 12-17, and 15% of cases related to boys. One in five girls and one in 20 boys are estimated to be the victims of childhood sexual abuse, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.

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