Our position concerning Bikram Choudhury

When I opened Bikram Yoga Haarlem (BYH) in 2010, the idea was simple. Create a safe and welcoming space to teach and practice Bikram Yoga. Over the years, I have witnessed 1000’s of students give this form of yoga the dedication it requires (which is not easy) and experience profound life changing results. Bikram Yoga, in it’s simplicity of 26 postures, 2 breathing exercises done in a heated room for 90 minutes, was and still is the best tool I have found to have a healthy and profound impact on the lives of so many people, regardless of age, size, ability or health conditions.

In the last few years there have been awful revelations about Bikram Choudhury (BC), the man who introduced the 90 minutes 26 posture series known as Bikram yoga. Accusations include abuse of power, sexual misconduct, and assault.

To be clear, I unequivocally condemn this behavior. I support the women and men that were victims of this abuse. I do not financially contribute to BC in any way, nor has BYH ever been part of a franchise, or sent BC any money from the daily operations of BYH. As for the name "Bikram Yoga Haarlem", there was no payment whatsoever to use the name.

From the start of BYH I set a high standard for new teachers interested to teach at my yoga school. All my teachers have practiced regularly with me for a number of years prior to attending teacher training, worked with me to prepare for teacher training, and showed talent and passion for teaching and yoga. The result is an amazing team of yoga teachers who can maintain and support the high quality yoga classes that we offer at BYH.

In 2012 rumors surfaced about misconduct at a Teacher Training led by BC, though the details were unclear. In 2013, Sarah V went public with her story. I made the decision to inform students interested in Teacher Training about the accusations, and to no longer write the required recommendation letter for admission to Bikram’s teacher training. New teachers at my yoga school have since attended the 500+ hours Raja Yoga Academy Teacher Training (I am a member of the Raja Yoga Academy International Faculty) with my support and recommendation. The Raja Yoga Academy is in no way linked to or affiliated with BC’s Teacher Training and provides a next generation Teacher Training for the Bikram method yoga practice.

The name of my yoga school refers to the yoga method we teach at BYH. I and my staff have worked hard to create a strong and positive reputation for the yoga series. ‘Hot Yoga’ has become an umbrella term for all yoga practiced in a heated environment. The name Bikram Yoga differentiates us from all the other ‘hot yoga’. What we do is a specific series with specific conditions that have fantastic results. At my school, we only teach the Bikram method yoga series, hence the name "Bikram Yoga Haarlem".

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and send an email to me (Bettine) - info@bikramyogahaarlem.nl.

Click here for a November 2019 article about well-known yoga teachers and sexual misconduct. Therese Aartsen (owner of Bikram Yoga Amsterdam) is interviewed in the article (see about midway through the article for her words).

Namasté,

Bettine Meijer, founder and owner of Bikram Yoga Haarlem