Posted: Mar 25, 2013 4:34 PM by Erin Schattauer
BOZEMAN - The owner of a local yoga studio is stepping forward to let students know it's business as usual despite a lawsuit against the founder of its practice.
Bikram Yoga Bozeman's classes, consisting of 26 postures, are held in a room heated to around 100 degrees. It's a practice that was founded by Bikram Choudhury. Now, Bikram is under fire, accused of sexually harassing a former student.
The news prompted the local studio's owner to come forward to tell her students that they are not affected or associated with Bikram, the individual or Bikram Yoga Inc.
"We're an independently owned studio, independently owned, operated. None of the proceeds we take in for our classes go in any way to him," owner Kristyn Birrell said.
Birrell bought the local studio in February. But Bozeman's Bikram yoga studio has been around for about 11 years, long enough that it is not included in the franchise that was formed more recently by Bikram, according to Birrell.
"In more recent years, newer studios that have opened are under a closer tie with Bikram, under his new franchise. We are not because we have been around for a long time," she said.
On Sunday morning, Birrell sent an email to her students, telling them about the lawsuit and explaining the local studio's tie.
"I, as well as all the teachers at BYB, do not support, condone, or approve of the alleged behavior of Bikram Choudhury. Bikram Yoga Bozeman is an independently owned and operated studio, with no ties to Bikram Choudhury the individual or Bikram Yoga, Inc. Please be assured that none of your payments in any way support or end up going to Bikram Choudhury the individual or Bikram Yoga, Inc.," she wrote.
"The focus at Bikram Yoga Bozeman has been and always will be on the incredible healing benefits of the Bishnu Ghosh lineage of hatha yoga. Our studio is a safe and supportive sanctuary for healing the body, mind, and spirit. We offer, and will continue to offer, Bikram Method Hot Yoga in a respectful, kind, and compassionate environment so that this community can explore and experience the healing benefits of this great yoga lineage," the email continued.
In light of the allegations, Birrell also wants to assure her students that business will continue as usual at Bikram Yoga Bozeman.