British mother of two, 62, dies during £13,000 course in hot yoga taught by disgraced yogi Bikram Choudhury in Mexico
- Phyllis Main, 62, spent £13,000 for a course on how to teach Bikram Yoga
- She travelled to Acapulco to undergo the intensive yoga training course
- However, after feeling ill, her family claim Ms Main was ‘dumped’ in a hospital
- Early reports suggest the cause of death was heart failure brought on by sepsis
A British woman aged 62 died under mysterious circumstances in Mexico last week during a £13,000 course in hot yoga taught by disgraced yogi Bikram Choudhury.
The family of mother-of-two Phyllis Main are said to be ‘distraught and angry’ amid allegations that the bank worker was ‘abandoned’ in an Acapulco hospital as her condition worsened.
Ms Main was on a nine-week course run by Choudhury to teach hot yoga, which is performed in warm and humid studios and is popular with celebrities such as David Beckham, Lady Gaga and Madonna. Choudhury has previously been accused of running a ‘cult’ of sexual harassment and even rape by former students.
Phyllis Main, 62, died under mysterious circumstances in Mexico last week during a £13,000 course in hot yoga taught by disgraced yogi Bikram Choudhury
Just before travelling, she posted on Facebook: ‘Acapulco tomorrow to become a Bikram Yoga teacher. Love this yoga. If it’s not 90 mins it’s not Bikram Yoga. Will miss you all’
Ms Main had updated her social media before and during her trip to Mexico. She is understood to have been given a clean bill of health from her doctor in Glasgow, where she lived.
Just before travelling, she posted on Facebook: ‘Acapulco tomorrow to become a Bikram Yoga teacher. Love this yoga. If it’s not 90 mins it’s not Bikram Yoga. Will miss you all.’ She later told how she performed yoga ‘in front of the Boss’, but in a final post this month she said: ‘Acapulco is beautiful, only wish it had less humidity.’
The Mail on Sunday understands Ms Main complained of feeling unwell on October 2 but was not taken to hospital until October 14. Her son Ross, who was on holiday in America, arrived at the hospital two days later but her condition suddenly worsened and she was rushed into intensive care, where she died on Monday. Early reports suggest the cause of death was heart failure brought on by sepsis.
Mr Main declined to comment to the MoS last night, saying it was ‘too early’ to discuss his mother’s death. But a source said family members were ‘devastated and distraught’ over the tragedy and angry that no one from Choudhury’s yoga course staff stayed with Ms Main at the hospital. The source said: ‘She was basically abandoned.’
The Mail on Sunday understands Ms Main complained of feeling unwell on October 2 but was not taken to hospital until October 14
A spokesman for Choudhury, 75, said Mexican privacy laws meant his staff were not allowed to be at her hospital bedside.
A fellow student at the Damn Hot yoga studio in Glasgow where Ms Mains was a regular said: ‘She was extremely good at yoga – one of the best in the class. She was very, very fit. It’s a shock.’
Indian-born Choudhury built an estimated £60 million fortune from his Bikram Yoga brand, with students undergoing gruelling 90-minute yoga sessions in 105F heat.
But several woman have accused Choudhury of rape and sexual harassment. In 2016, a judge awarded his former lawyer, Minakshi Jafa-Bodden, £6.4 million in a wrongful dismissal case.
She was also awarded control of his 700 Bikram studios around the world and the multi-million-pound fleet of 43 cars, including 13 Rolls-Royces, eight Bentleys and three Ferraris, but has yet to see a penny.
Last night Ms Jafa-Bodden said: ‘My heart goes out to Ms Main’s family. This is a tragedy, but one that I’ve been warning could happen for years. A jury found Bikram guilty of malice, oppression and fraud in my case, and yet he continues to teach unregulated classes around the world. There is a warrant out for his arrest in the US.
‘He has no business running anything. His classes are unregulated and poorly run. He runs his company like a cult. The man is a dangerous fraud.’
A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘Our staff have provided consular support to the family of a British woman who died in Mexico.’
Additional reporting: Jake Ryan