In the month before deciding to join this YTT, I watched the Netflix documentary about Bikram Yoga, highlighting the alleged sexual misconducts of Bikram Choundry on his students. Maybe it was due to the great storytelling and cinematography of Netflix, but it truly made me pause and think more about the structures and track record of yoga gurus. I did more digging, only to find allegation against Pattabhi Jois as well.
At first, it was furious. How could such a thing happen? Go on for so long?! It sounded way too similar to the sexual abuse track record of so many religions.
Then came a more critical approach to it. Why were there no checks and balances? How is Bikram still out there conducting his trainings? I don’t think I have come to any conclusions but I guess, here are some things to think about
- Is this system of gurus and followers compatible with the modern world/society? Should it be? If not, should it be adapted?
- How might we help victims of such abuse overcome their trauma? The feelings are very much real and do affect the entire yoga community as well.
- How might we hold our leaders(religious, yogic, societal, etc…) more accountable to their responsibilities whilst giving them the necessary tools to operate in their desired environment?
On this note, just as a disclaimer, I must admit that I am very much a person of this material world, and also not a victim of physical secxual abuse and my views can very much be seen as that of an outsider. But I do believe that conversations around such topics are very much necessary to promote mutual understanding(hopefully that is still something we aspire too?).