"If you have a sick body, a screw-loose brain, you will only be surviving — that will be a man like Greg, Hitler or Osama bin Laden," he says, between bites of plump scallops.

Bikram now claims "zero feeling" for his old disciple, and believes that the American courts will eventually decide that rectitude is at his side, where it rightfully belongs.

"You cannot steal somebody's intellectual property. Law and justice protect," Bikram says, leaning close to be heard amid the roar of conversation, his small brown eyes red with exhaustion. "Because I'm a sweet, kind guy, everybody thinks I'm an idiot, I'm weak. Now I have to protect my franchising. If I don't, nobody will buy my franchising anymore."

New York Bikram studio owner Tricia Donegan claims Choudhury is "not copyrighting to make money. He just wants everyone to do his product the right way, because it is the right way."
courtesy of Bikram Choudhury
New York Bikram studio owner Tricia Donegan claims Choudhury is "not copyrighting to make money. He just wants everyone to do his product the right way, because it is the right way."
Greg Gumucio's Yoga to the People studios pose a financial threat to Choudhury's: "The price point is lower, so we get a bigger volume."
Kevin P. Casey
Greg Gumucio's Yoga to the People studios pose a financial threat to Choudhury's: "The price point is lower, so we get a bigger volume."

Suddenly, there is the chime of a butter knife clinking against a wine glass for quiet. It comes from one of Bikram's close friends, who is standing with his arm around the guru's wife, Rajashree.

"Today is Bikram and Rajashree's 23rd wedding anniversary," the man announces proudly as the room erupts in applause.

"Oh, I forgot! Shit!" Bikram exclaims as a large mango cake is wheeled to the center of the room. "I forgot completely! Shit! Why you didn't remind me? Shit! You keep me too busy!"

The yogis sing "happy anniversary" to the tune of "Happy Birthday." Then Bikram announces that, far from forgetting the occasion, he has bought his wife one of the world's most expensive cars, an $800,000 Rolls-Royce convertible.

Bikram seems to inflate with energy as he addresses his followers. "You work hard to make me famous," he says. "Something I did right all over the globe."

"Brainwashing!" someone calls out.

Bikram laughs. "Nobody in the world ever did this," he continues. "Nobody built a family like this."

A family — with all the usual exclusions and estrangements.

When he returns to the table, Bikram turns to me. "Greg Gumucio, he's finished," he says. "He's ass in the grass."

By Rebecca Moss

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7 comments
kantorr
kantorr

Bikram drives rolls-royce, wears rollex lol...this guy is suing people because they want to help others for a few less bucks then he does...wow what a scumbag.  Yoga should never be about money...i dont even know where to start with this...all that really matters is that this guys is a money hungry entrepreneur and in it for himself so he can continue his lifestyle of luxury, he doesnt care about anyone's well being besides his own clearly.  As someone who has been practicing yoga for self-healing this makes me sick.  Hope this guy looses this case and people still have the choice to practice where and how they wish.

patricia.calhoun
patricia.calhoun moderator topcommentereditor

sorry about the disappearing comments. we switched commenting systems yesterday; they should reappear soon.

patricia.calhoun
patricia.calhoun moderator topcommentereditor

I'd like to use some of these comments in our print edition, ideally with your full name. Let me know if that's okay at patricia.calhoun@westword.com

Tangible666
Tangible666

What happened to all of the comments that were up here?

Yachna
Yachna

If you read any of the ancient yoga texts, it says Yoga should be practiced in the early cool hours and not in the sun as practicing yoga increases the internal heat of the body. This is a prime example of commercialization of an ancient old practice for one's own financial gain. This Bikram guy is in it for the money. He is not a true yogi

Yachna
Yachna

If you read any of the ancient yoga texts, it says Yoga should be practiced in the early cool hours and not in the sun as practicing yoga increases the internal heat of the body. This is a prime example of commercialization of an ancient old practice for one's own financial gain. This Bikram guy is in it for the money. He is not a true yogi.

davis Heiskell
davis Heiskell

In a large Chinese banquet hall in Boston hung with open-mouthed dragons and bulbous red lanterns, the hot yogis have taken over. Seventy yoga teachers are sprawled between the tables. Property Preservation Services

 
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