Bikram yoga burned through the yogi community for decades, but a new Netflix documentary, “Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator,” tells the story of the rise and fall of its founder, Bikram Choudhury, who has been accused of sexually and emotionally abusing his followers.
Directed by Eva Orner, the film debuted on Wednesday (November 20) and it explores the cult-like devotion to Choudhury and the yoga style he claims to have invented, which involves performing 26 yoga postures and breathing exercises in a heated room over the course of 90 minutes. It also dives deep into how Choudhury franchised his technique and talks to former followers who use words like “diabolical” and “megalomania” to describe Choudhury.
Choudhury is a loudmouth, and “Yogi, Guru, Predator” lets him do the talking. There’s audio of him berating students in his classes; there’s tape of him crooning to them after the classes end; there are all those media appearances; and most incredible are the videotaped depositions, part of a wrongful termination suit brought by the man’s former legal counsel. You get the sense Choudhury is just insane enough to have sat for Orner’s cameras, but he couldn’t because he fled the States rather than pay the court-ordered $7 million to his former employee.
Watch the trailer below, courtesy of Netflix: