Hot yoga is offered in most gyms across the country, but while it might be the perfect Saturday morning activity, the origins of this specific yoga practice are littered with controversy. In Netflix’s upcoming documentary Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, the film unpacks the dramatic rise and fall of hot-yoga founder Bikram Choudhury, who moved to Beverly Hills from Calcutta, India, in the early 1970s and quickly built a celebrity-endorsed fitness empire.
With testimonies from past students, Academy Award winner Eva Orner’s film explores numerous rape and sexual abuse allegations that were eventually put against him in the 2010s, as well as the aggressive and almost cult-like training atmosphere he forced people to endure. “[Choudhury] saw himself as a cross between Mother Theresa and Howard Stern,” one person tells the camera, before another chimes in that he was “so good at getting inside of our brains.”
In addition to shining a light on his harmful practices, Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator brings the stories of the women who took him down to the small screen, as well as calls attention to the startling contrast between the healing discipline he hawked and his own behavior. Watch the trailer above before the film begins streaming on Nov. 20.
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