Sex assault accusations against hot yoga founder prompt name change at Scarsdale studio

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For nearly seven years, yogis have been sweating it out in the hot room at Bikram Yoga Scarsdale on Central Avenue. But a new Netflix documentary is putting the spotlight on sexual assault allegations against Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram Yoga, coupled with emails from some concerned clients. The documentary has now prompted the family-owned studio to change its name to "Sweat Central."

"With all the controversy around Bikram himself, many people didn't know Bikram is a person. But he is, and he's done some terrible things that we no longer want to be associated with," says Bikram Yoga Scarsdale co-owner Nicole Pike.

Bikram has refuted all the allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment presented in the film. But studio owners continue to distance themselves from the founder of the practice, also known as hot yoga.

Bikram Yoga Scarsdale will spend thousands of dollars rebranding, changing the logos on everything from water bottles, T-shirts and yoga mats.

"It's costly to change the branding, but we want people to know that Bikram has never gotten any money from this studio," says co-owner Richard Pike.

Meanwhile at Bikram Yoga Rye Brook, they're keeping the name for now, but what they are changing is the name of the class itself. The Bikram Yoga classes will now be called "original hot yoga."

"It's kind of separating the art from the artist. We like the method. The man? That's a different story," says Frannie Rochat, owner of Bikram Yoga Rye Brook.

Bikram Yoga Scarsdale is also changing the name of its Bikram classes to original hot yoga.

In a few weeks, the name Bikram Yoga Scarsdale will fade away, replaced with a new name the owners say better reflects their values, and is more representative the service they now offer.

 

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