The Bikram Scandal

It looks like at long last the Bikram empire is crumbling. After many years of playing powerball in the yoga world, it is not a surprise that Bikram should get caught in the steel trap of greed and power. What is surprising is that yoga students world wide should be so gullible and succumb to his rambling self testimonies of greatness. The lawsuits now brought against him for sexual assault (see this New York Times article) point to this. We have seen how salesman bravado and yoga prowess can be a deadly combination for other famous male yogis. Bikram has flaunted his fame egregiously for years and his flagrant pride has, for better or for worse, prompted many to start on the yoga path. Now it will appear downright shameful to be associated with the Bikram tag. In Patañjali’s Yoga Sutras, the foundational tenet for ethical behavior in yoga are called yamas. The last of the yamas is aparigraha—literally, non-greediness. Gold, racey cars, sex, money and fame are big lures. Bikram has succumbed to all of the above.

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