Too often, gurus and instructors use their aura of spiritual goodness to exploit vulnerable students.
I was relieved when Bikram Choudhury, the 73-year-old founder of Bikram yoga, was finally served a warrant for his arrest late last month, after failing to pay nearly $7 million in legal fees he owes for a sexual harassment lawsuit. Many in the yoga world had been waiting for that moment, after years of rape and assault claims against Mr. Choudhury, the millionaire creator of a 26-posture “hot yoga” sequence and studio system. But the news brought only a grim satisfaction; many of us wish he’d been arrested for the assault claims themselves.
Unfortunately, the case of Mr. Choudhury is not unique. In 2016, a beloved teacher in the New York City-based Jivamukti Yoga center, known for its celebrity clientele, was sued, along with the center and its leaders, for sexual abuse by her mentee. John Friend’s Anusara community was rocked and dissolved in 2012 after he was discovered having affairs with married students and performing Wiccan-like sex rituals. Kripalu’s Amrit Desai was accused of sexual misconduct and abuse of authority in 1994 and a $2.5 million settlement was paid (the Kripalu Center in Massachusetts divorced itself from Desai and reorganized). And there are, of course, countless under-the-radar stories of yoga teachers coming on to students or touching them inappropriately in class.
Read more at the source: Opinion | Yoga Teachers Need a Code of Ethics