Early last week I had a reporter reach out to me to discuss the current allegations being leveled against Bikram Choudhury and how they may have effected my Bikram practice. We spoke at length, for maybe 30 minutes. After hanging up the phone, I immediately thought about everything I had said and hoped he used certain quotes in lieu of others – I don’t exactly have a filter. The article came out today – it does a great job of capturing the conflict many practitioners are feeling. How do I reconcile my love of the practice with my disdain for the man.
I first wrote about the issue in December. Since then, the issue has weighed heavily in my mind. I have been taking classes less and less. I haven’t been at all since February 1st. I have been speaking with a good friend about this issue for a while now. She was a Bikram yoga fan before me. She also learned of the allegations before I did. The studio she frequents actually changed their name and offerings as a result of the allegations. When I told her I was interviewed for the article she responded with nothing but support: “I’m sure you spoke truth to power!”
I know the situations couldn’t be more disparate, but why can’t women always experience that level of support. In reading about these accusations, so many people respond with disbelief – or worse blame. It saddens me that women (some women) are so trained to immediately believe the man and shun the woman who was brave enough to come forward and speak to what happened to her. People ask why women often wait to come speak out or never talk about it (to authorities) at all. Is it that hard to understand? So many times they aren’t believed – so now they still have the experience to deal with, coupled with the stigma of being a victim and multiplied by the fact that no one believed them or took any action in support.
My husband sent me an article this morning about a man who was accused of sexually assaulting two students who attend the same college as he does. My husband’s first response was that someone, specifically someone high up, should be fired. In reading the article, you learn that a woman in a position of power knew about the allegations and did nothing to investigate. Why is that? Why didn’t she speak truth to power?
I am actively trying to find something to replace my Bikram practice. Honestly, I have yet to find anything that gives me the great combination of physical exercise and mental relaxation that Bikram once did. That it ONCE did. I have 22 classes remaining on a 30 class card. It is the equivalent of $220. I am finding it hard to walk away from that money. But even harder to imagine being in class, listening to his dialogue, and not feeling a twinge of guilt for being there.