#metoo And Yoga

05 Jan 2018, 1:37am -

Health Advice

- About Abusive Yoga Teachers
by Nina
Toward the Light by Marie Lossky (@Marie.Lossky on Instagram)The goal of yoga is Kaivalya, independency and not wrong devotion. —R. Sriram

I thought today I’d share a link to a very important—though painful to read—post by Karen Rain about the sexual assault she experienced from a very famous yoga teacher, Pattabhi Jois. Rain's storyYoga and #MeToo: Toward A Culture With Zero Tolerance For Sexual Assaultis a powerful and well-written account both of her own experiences with Jois—and why it took her so long to speak out about them—and of her community’s reactions to this teacher’s behavior. Although Jois is dead now and no one is any longer in danger of being assaulted by him, Karen Rain’s account reveals much about how a community becomes complicit in this behavior due to the way the teacher is revered:

“For too many decades the celebration of Jois has been public, while his unconscionable behavior was kept private and hushed and images of it were even removed/blocked from the internet. Someone was going to do a piece about my story in 2012, but was threatened with a law suit.”

So I think Rain's post is worth reading for that alone. But, of course, there may be some of you who are unfamiliar with this story and were or are currently part of the Ashtanga yoga community and who will therefore benefit by learning about this history.

Based on what I’ve been reading lately about this general topic (see yoga-girl-rachel-brathen-collects-more-than-300-metoo-yoga-stories), I think there may be more information forthcoming about yoga teachers who are still alive and still out there teaching. Right now the stories are anonymous (and disturbing!), but I have some hope that ultimately people will come forward and identify the perpetrators. The #MeToo movement is growing every day, and we in the yoga world can be inspired by the courageous people from all walks of life who have been coming forward with their stories to shine a light on similar problems within our own community.

In my post Yoga Teachers Who Abuse Their Students I discussed the benefits of finally talking about these issues in the yoga community, both for the healing of individuals who experienced abuse and for making changes in institutions and communities to prevent future abuse. So if any of you have a story you want to tell, contact me at nina at wanderingmind dot com.

Meanwhile, two more posts I’ve written on the topic of sexual abuse by yoga teachers are:

1.Yoga Nidra, Satyananda Saraswati, and Sexual Abuse
2.Abuse of Power in the Yoga World

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