Woman Sues Bikram Yoga Guru for Alleged Sexual Assault, Battery - NBC Southern California
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Woman Sues Bikram Yoga Guru for Alleged Sexual Assault, Battery



    Be the Toast of the Breeders’ Cup
    Johnny Nunez/WireImage
    Bikram Choudhury speaks at Riverside Church on May 22, 2010, in New York City.

    Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury is being sued by a woman who alleges he pushed her into having sex with him when she was 18 years old and learning to be a teacher of his craft in 2012-14.

    Jill Lawler's Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges sexual assault and battery. She's seeking unspecified damages in the suit filed Thursday. A representative for Choudhury could not be immediately reached for comment.

    Before she started learning to become a Bikram Yoga teacher, Lawler took her first class at age 17, according to her court papers.

    "Jill Lawler remembers being hooked on Bikram Yoga from day one and almost immediately fell in love with yoga," the suit says.

    Arrest Warrant for Bikram Yoga Founder

    [LA] Arrest Warrant for Bikram Yoga Founder

    A California judge issued an arrest warrant for the founder of Bikram yoga, who's been ordered to hand over proceeds from his global fitness business to satisfy a $6.8 million judgment won by a former legal adviser. John Cádiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.


    (Published Thursday, May 25, 2017)

    Lawler dropped out of college the next year to become a Bikram teacher, as she "felt that Bikram Yoga was her calling and that her purpose was to share it with as many people as possible," her complaint says.

    The training classes were demanding, according to the lawsuit.

    "Unbeknownst to plaintiff, Choudhury referred to them as 'one big brainwashing session,'" the suit says. "Jill had left everything and everyone she cared about behind: her college studies, her family, a boyfriend whom she loved, all so that she could spend what had been her college fund on becoming a certified Bikram instructor."

    Over time, Choudhury became sexually aggressive toward Lawler, despite her objections that she had a boyfriend she hoped to marry one day, according to her court papers, which allege that Choudhury told her, "If you don't have sex with me, I will die."

    Choudhury eventually overcame her resistance, the suit states.

    "He had complete financial control over her and was stronger than her," according to her court papers, which allege Choudhury "continued to demand sex from Jill as a price for remaining within the Bikram family."

    Astronauts Make History With NASA's First All-Female Spacewalk

    [NATL] Astronauts Make History With NASA's First All-Female Spacewalk

    American astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch made history Friday with NASA's first all-female spacewalk. The astronauts walked outside the International Space Station to replace a faulty battery.

    (Published Friday, Oct. 18, 2019)

    In July 2014, suffering from crippling depression and other psychological harm, Lawler taught her last Bikram Yoga class and took a steep pay cut to work as a waitress and stay away from Choudhury and his followers, the suit says.

    Get the latest from NBC4 anywhere, anytime

    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android