Washington(AFP): Bikram Choudhury, renowned Indian yoga guru who has celebrity devotees like Madonna, David Beckham,…
Mumbai(dna): Mumbai yoga guru Mandeep Kaur Sandhu, who was a witness in the suit filed by Bikram Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury’s former legal officer, has said that she too was one of the several women sexually harassed by Choudhary.
In an interview to Mid Day, Sandhu said that the guru harassed her in 2009. She is one of the 70 witnesses to give their statements against Choudhury.
Sandhu said she signed up for Choudhury’s training course in Las Vegas in 2009. She had lost her husband in 2009. She said that she had lost her husband and her brother thought it would take her mind off the loss.
“A day before the training at Vegas, I met Bikram in the Los Angeles head office,” Sandhu told mid-day. “He kept staring at me and sent one of his officials to ask me if I knew how to give a massage. Having a Bachelor in Yoga through a correspondence course from Haryana, I did. I was asked to meet him in his office. He walked in in his underwear, which he wears during his sessions.”
Sandhu massaged him for an hour and half following which Choudhary commented that Indians were very weak because they were vegetarians. But Sandhu continued to help him out with massage sessions during the course of the training, which she says was very rigorous.
But then the guru went too far.
“Once, after a tiring day, he called me at 2 am for a massage (he is nocturnal),” said Sandhu. “That night, he asked me to massage his private parts and I was taken aback. I refused, and told him, ‘You are my guru. I cannot touch you inappropriately.’ He tried to convince me that it was okay, but I made an excuse and left.”
Choudhary left India in 1971 and set up a lucrative ‘hot yoga’ business in the US. A Los Angeles jury ordered Choudhury, 69, to pay Minakshi Jafa-Bodden $6.47 million in punitive damages on Tuesday. Jafa-Bodden had alleged that Choudhury sexually harassed her while she worked for him and that she was fired after she began investigating claims that he had raped a yoga student.