Here we go again…
“Bikram Sex Scandal Shocks Yoga World” was the headline of a recent article on the sexual harassment allegations against Bikram Choudhury, the celebrity guru who gave us Bikram Yoga, competitive yoga, hot yoga, and other wonders of the modern yoga world.
Honestly, the only thing shocking about this scandal is that it took so long for it to happen. After reading Hell-Bent last fall, and after hearing all sorts of rumors from people in the Bikram world, I’d say it’s something of a miracle that a scandal like this didn’t break sooner.
I need some time to digest all of this before commenting on it. Actually, I’m not sure that I will say much of anything in the end, since my response to the John Friend scandal pretty much sums up what I have to say about this sort of thing. Every time another scandal like this “shocks” the yoga world, I feel like it’s just further confirmation of what happens when a yoga teacher’s ego becomes larger than life, and when doting students help to inflate that ego by giving him (yes, it’s usually a man) everything he wants in terms of praise, money, sex, and power.
Personally, I find myself attracted to teachers who exhibit genuine humility and generosity, and who do not attempt to build a cult of personality around themselves. No, I don’t think I’m necessarily a better judge of character than other people. Maybe I’m just more suspicious of celebrity yogis, since I’ve seen some of my own friends and teachers drift down that path of ego-mania. In my experience, the best teachers are those who teach primarily to serve others. There’s an obvious difference between this type of teacher — in speech, action, and intention — and the type of teacher who really just wants others to serve him and his ego.
Of course, none of this is to say that the allegations against Bikram are true. I don’t know Bikram personally, nor have I ever taken a class with him. So all I can say right now, in response to the “shocking” news of another yoga scandal, is this: Here we go again…
- Bikram sex scandal: Yoga guru Choudhury accused of sexual harassment (Photos) (examiner.com)
- Hot yoga’s Bikram Choudhury accused of sexual harassment by protege (guardian.co.uk)
- Yoga Cults of Personality (yogaisforlovers.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: Hell-Bent by Benjamin Lorr (yogaisforlovers.wordpress.com)