Bikram yoga guru seeks bankruptcy in wake of harassment claims

Bikram Choudhury Yoga Inc, the studio that popularized doing yoga in sauna heat, has filed for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy, dogged by $16.7 million in legal judgements and numerous lawsuits and allegations of sexual misconduct.

Founder Bikram Choudhury, who built a worldwide following with classes of 26 yoga postures in rooms heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6°C), has been accused of sexual assault by his yoga practitioners, students, instructors and teacher trainees.

The Simi Valley, California-based company said in a bankruptcy court filing on Thursday in the Central District of California that its liabilities were worth up to $50 million. It listed assets of up to $1 million, suggesting that its largest creditors – women who are owed money for court judgements awarded against Choudhury – will not be paid in full.

They include Miki Jaffa Bodden, former head of legal and international affairs at Choudhury’s yoga school who has an $8 million claim stemming from a wrongful dismissal case that included sexual harassment claims.

Bodden alleged that Choudhury repeatedly subjected her to vulgar sexual gestures and offensive comments about women and minority groups.

Source: YahooFinance

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