Choudhury is known for his Bikram yoga method
A Los Angeles judge on Wednesday has issued an arrest warrant to hot yoga founder Bikram Choudhury after he failed to pay more than $6 million to his former lawyer Minakshi ‘Micki’ Jafa-Bodden in a sexual harassment case.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Edward Moreton also set bail for Choudhury at $8m, the New York Daily News reported.
The 70-year-old Indian American yoga guru is known for his Bikram yoga method, a form of hot yoga performed in a hot environment of 104 degree Fahrenheit.
Choudhury, who fled California soon after he was ordered to pay Jafa-Bodden punitive damages, claimed last year that he was nearly bankrupt. He served court papers in Mexico.
Minakshi ‘Micki’ Jafa-Bodden served as Head of Legal and International Affairs from Spring 2011 until March 13, 2013, when she alleged that she was “abruptly and unlawfully terminated,” according to the court documented filed on July 12, 2013.
She claimed that she was both the victim and witness to Bikram’s “severe, ongoing, pervasive and offensive conduct” toward women, homosexuals, African Americans, and every other minority.
The Jury awarded Jafa-Bodden $924,500 against Choudhury in actual damages and an additional $6.4 million in punitive damages, which he failed to pay.
“I want to thank my trial team for standing by me during this fight against a very rich, powerful and dangerous man,” Jafa-Bodden said. “I wanted to make sure he didn’t get away with what he did to me and my daughter and hundreds of yoga students who trusted him with their time, money and bodies.”
Jafa-Bodden added that she felt “elated and vindicated” after the verdict.
The Calcutta-born Choudhury immigrated to the United States in the 1970s and became the owner of an empire worth millions. He claims to have been invited to the US by now-former President Richard Nixon to help him improve his health through yoga. Choudhry also claims to have taught yoga to Reagan and Clinton; and that has a legion of celebrity fans including Lady Gaga, Madonna, Jennifer Aniston and Andy Murray.