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Yogi and the Bandit

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Yoga: A spiritual practice of postures for some; A sweaty mess of a workout for others. But regardless of your personal preference on this mind-body-spirit trifecta, you will have to admit that something other than the Nag Champa smells kind of funny with this close to home story...

As if steaming yourself into pretzeldom wasn’t dangerous enough, the Associated Press reported today that Bikram Choudhury Yoga Inc., founded by Bikram Choudhury, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor operating without a fire permit, failing to provide required parking for customers and operating the studio without a certificate of occupancy.

But Bikram Choudhury, a 1960’s yoga champion, and the international Johnny Appleseed of “hot yoga,” says that he has been the victim of a harassment campaign by fire officials and city inspectors since he opened up shop on La Cienega six years ago.

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It’s true that the idea of a “yoga scandal!” sounds about as alarming as a litter of puppies on a cuddling spree, but scandal is certainly what Choudhury is implying.

In a quick phone interview after the deal was announced, he stated, "If I don't plead guilty by my corporation, they are going to close the school." He is quoted as saying “booby trap and blackmail” in reference to the charges being dropped against him personally in exchange for the plea by Bikram Choudhury Yoga Incorporated.

As a result of the tumult, Bikram Choudhury will be leaving Los Angeles and intends to move his world headquarters to Honolulu.


Photo by Lemonhound via Flickr