Share this @internewscast.com
What Is Bikram Choudhury’s Net Worth?
Bikram Choudhury is an Indian-born American yoga instructor who has a net worth of $75 million. Choudhury founded Bikram Yoga, a form of hot yoga performed in a series of 26 hatha yoga postures done in a hot environment.
In recent years, Bikram has been hit with several lawsuits alleging discrimination and sexual assault, and after leaving the United States in 2016, he began opening yoga studios in his native India.
Choudhury has published the books “Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class” (1977) and “Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment” (2007), and he appeared in the 2007 documentary “Yoga, Inc.” He is the subject of the 2019 Netflix documentary “Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator.”
At the peak of his empire while his copyright was active, Bikram earned $7-10 million per year in royalties paid by yoga studios all over the world who wished to use his format and name.
Bikram Choudhury was born in 1944 in Calcutta, British India. Bikram has said that he studied under Bishnu Charan Ghosh, an Indian Hathayogi and bodybuilder, and though he claimed that he won the National India Yoga Championship three times as a teenager, India’s first yoga competition didn’t take place until 1974. Despite Choudhury’s claims that he began studying with Ghosh at age 5, evidence from the Jerome Armstrong book “Calcutta Yoga” and the “30for30” podcast series shows that Bikram didn’t study with him until the age of 18. Choudhury initially focused on massage and bodybuilding, and he has claimed that at age 20, he was in a crippling weightlifting accident and was told he would never be able to walk again. Bikram has said that with the help of Ghosh, he fully recovered within six months. In the ’70s, he developed Bikram Yoga based on sequences that were created by Ghosh. He told “LA Weekly” in 2003, “From 84 postures, or 550 variations of the postures, I picked out 26 postures like antibiotic, and I put it in a sequence, like a song.”
Bikram emigrated to the U.S. in 1971 and began teaching yoga there. His first yoga studio opened in Los Angeles in 1974, and by 2006, there were more than 1,600 Bikram Yoga studios in 40 countries. “Sydney Morning Herald” reporter Brigid Delaney met with Choudhury in the early 2000s, and she said of the experience, “An entourage sat around him, literally at his feet. The vibe was fawning. When I spoke to some members of his entourage, they discussed him with a degree of reverence usually reserved for a religious figure or guru, not the founder of an LA-based yoga school.” In the ’90s, Bikram started offering certification courses and training instructors, and he taught celebrities such as Madonna, David Beckham, and Lady Gaga. He also claimed to have taught Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan. In 2009, Choudhury started claiming that Bikram Yoga was copyrighted and that people who were not authorized by him would not be allowed to teach it. In 2011, he sued Yoga to the People, which was founded by a former student of his, and the United States Copyright Office subsequently stated that yoga postures couldn’t be copyrighted. Despite this, Yoga to the People ceased its use of Bikram’s poses.
Bikram married Rajashree Chakrabarti in 1984, and she help him establish the International Yoga Sports Federation and the United States Yoga Federation. Rajashree won the Yoga Federation of India’s first National Yoga Championship in 1979 and was named National Yoga Champion four consecutive years after that. She filed for divorce in late 2015 due to irreconcilable differences after six women accused Choudhury of assault, and the divorce was finalized the following year. Bikram got to keep the couple’s Hawaii apartment, and Rajashree kept their L.A. homes as well as some of Choudhury’s cars.
Sexual Harassment and Assault Allegations
Choudhury has been sued several times on allegations of rape, sexual harassment, racism, and homophobia. By early 2014, five women had filed lawsuits against him with allegations including sexual assault and sexual harassment. One of the lawsuits alleged that Bikram’s inner circle helped him find women he could assault, and another claimed that he would recruit volunteers who lived overseas that were “so in fear of defendant Bikram Choudhury’s wrath that they will travel to the US and risk violating immigration laws in order to serve him.” In 2016, a judge ordered Bikram to pay more than $6 million for allegedly sexually harassing one of his legal advisors, Minakshi Jafa-Bodden, and wrongfully firing the woman. In May 2016, Choudhury moved back to India, and later that year, he spoke about the allegations against him on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” stating, “Why would I have to harass women? People spend one million dollars for a drop of my sperm.”
In May 2017, a warrant was issued for Bikram’s arrest because he fled the country before paying any of the money he had been ordered to pay Jafa-Bodden. According to the “New York Daily News,” Choudhury’s luxury vehicles and some other items had been moved out of California, and a court order had been issued to prevent him from moving his possessions out of warehouses in Nevada and Florida. In November 2017, Bikram filed for bankruptcy protection. After the 2019 documentary “Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator” was released, numerous yoga studios removed the term “Bikram Yoga” from their names and began calling the practice “Hot Yoga” instead. In December 2019, 22 of Choudhury’s luxury cars were seized in order to be auctioned off, including a dozen Rolls-Royces and five Bentleys. The sales value of the seized vehicles was estimated to be between $800,000 and $1.5 million.