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Sexual harrassment of women in yoga prevalent - union formed to help women fight back

(17 Posts)
stumbledin Fri 05-Feb-21 19:40:50

“There is now a recognition consent is not very present in yoga,” Liz, who has been a yoga teacher for several years, adds. “Because the industry has been so sexualised, I don’t have my phone number anywhere because so often you get harassment and stalking from men asking me what other additional services I offer.”

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/yoga-sexual-harassment-workers-rights-union-b1797556.html

As a none keep fit person I dont really know anything about yoga, but this sound gross. Just so typical that something that is as I understand it meant to help people become calm and reflective is being totally underminded by predatory men.

Is nowhere safe?

OP’s posts: |
malloo Fri 05-Feb-21 20:39:42

that's shocking. I think it's more prevalent in some types of yoga than in others - 'hot yoga' was the very well publicised one. From my experience the few men who come to yoga classes are the very last people who would do anything like that, they're decent people. But I think some of the more trendy, celeb types of yoga attract lots of young women and I guess where they go, the creepy guys follow, awful.

OvaHere Fri 05-Feb-21 21:01:54

I can recall reading about various incidents of abuse connected to yoga. It seems that part of the issue is that in some cases yoga goes beyond a form of exercise and is often incorporated into some very cultish practices.

www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-8620357/Tantra-students-reveal-raped-abused-guru-yoga-retreat.html

Melroses Fri 05-Feb-21 21:15:07

Yes there was something about this in The Times; it is all very inclusive.

EarthSight Fri 05-Feb-21 21:54:57

I'm interested in Tibetan Yoga, which I think Tantra is or part of it anyway. The sexual element is only one part of it but I can imagine it attracts emotionally manipulative males who like to think of themselves as future gurus.

stumbledin Fri 05-Feb-21 23:35:54

I hadn't thought of that. I mean that there are different types of yoga. I did once many years (decades!) ago do an introductory class and there was no element of anyone touching anyone. The teacher sat at the front and the class tried to achieve various positions and learnt about breathing.

I dont doubt that some men have tried to pevert what yoga is about, and from films have seen it in cult settings.

But what I dont understand is how so many women are still prepared to trust men not to abuse a situation.

I realise being old and cynical makes that easy for me to say, but I dont think when I was young I ever thought I can totally trust a man to not exploit a situation.

You would think it would now be taught in schools based on recorded facts. ie number of recorded cases of abuse, news paper stories.

It needs to happen from a very young age. And boys and young men need to get the message that it isn't acceptable, and other men should be prepared to police their behaviour.

I do think long before social media made it worse, that films and tv shows made it look like this was just something that men do.

How are we going to break this cycle? sad angry

OP’s posts: |
stumbledin Fri 05-Feb-21 23:48:13

How very strange - or maybe not. Have just looked up the new union referred to in the article and guess what? Although it talks about eploitation (in terms of wages) and other issues, there is no mention of women facing sexual harrassment.

WtF?? Is a new union so locked into ancient mind sets that it has just erased the threat to women in their work place?????

Or is it because the IWGB is mainly aimed at the gig economy, predominantly young trendy people, that they cant mention the reality of sex discrimination?!!!!!!!!!!!!

iwgb.org.uk/post/iwgb-forms-uks-first-yoga-teachers-union-to-take-on-exploitation-harassment-discrimination-in-the-sector-led

OP’s posts: |
hoodathunkit Sat 06-Feb-21 16:58:52

I am in a bit of a hurry right now but discovered very recently an organisation of yoga teachers who said they were joining together to oppose exploitation in yoga

The problem is that all of the teachers in the group I researched were involved in controversial yoga schools with a history of sexual abuses against women and / or children

I do not know if they are the same yoga teachers referred to in the article, no time to check right now but will post more in a bit

I can also post a list of yoga schools with a history of such abuses for future reference

hoodathunkit Sat 06-Feb-21 17:06:27

This is the youtube channel of the project that concerns me

www.youtube.com/c/YoniShaktiYoga/videos

I believe that many reader will be sufficiently clued up about cults by now to appreciate why this is concerning

It is a different organisation to the one described in the OP, which I will check out as soon as I am able

hoodathunkit Sat 06-Feb-21 17:07:51

an archive here of the union mantioned in the OP
archive.is/uUACX

I will do a bit of research on this shorty

FinallyHere Sat 06-Feb-21 17:18:19

"The yoni shakti movement is dedicated to the eradication of abused against women in yoga. "

https://www.yonishakti.co/the-movement

hoodathunkit Sat 06-Feb-21 17:27:02

FinallyHere

Indeed

Ironic really.

This does happen a lot though

hoodathunkit Sat 06-Feb-21 17:28:44

Relevant thread here about yoga nidra, the type of yoga taught by the people in the Yoni Shakti movement

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/yoga/3385527-Yoga-Nidra-I-love-it

stumbledin Sat 06-Feb-21 18:36:15

Just came back to say I skim read the new Union's info page.

There is in fact one mention of sexual harassment. It says "... offers training on responding to and preventing sexual harassment. ... "

Which sorts of implies sexaul harassment is inevitable. Would have prefered something that says ensures teachers understand and agree never to exploit their position to sexually harass.

OP’s posts: |
allmywhat Sat 06-Feb-21 19:06:53

Which sorts of implies sexaul harassment is inevitable. Would have prefered something that says ensures teachers understand and agree never to exploit their position to sexually harass.

Isn't it more about the (mostly female) teachers being sexually harassed by male attendees? One good solution would be to offer female-only classes - I wonder if any schools of yoga give sufficient religious cover for women to get away with that?

stumbledin Sat 06-Feb-21 19:30:54

Well if it is about male attendees, then there needs to be a clear statement by the union that any male who crosses the line is instantly expelled.

I am more making the point that this casual unspecific comment by the new Union isn't good enough.

OP’s posts: |
hoodathunkit Sun 14-Feb-21 16:31:13

Apologies for posting in haste, I am really busy right now

I just wanted to report that I checked out some of the yoga teachers involved in the yoga rights union mentioned in the OP.

Unfortuntely the ones I checked are involved in extremely controversial yoga schools that have faced multiple allegations of serious abuse of students.

Firstly the chair of the organisation teaches yoga nidra, as do some of the other people involved.

Of course just because these people teach yoga nidra and / or other types of controversial yoga does not mean that the teacher is a bad person or has malicious intent.

Anyone familiar with cults will understand that many of the people involved are well meaning and have little or no idea about the history and / or controversial activities of the school.

I do find the links beteeen an organisation established to prevent exploitation, the yoga rights union, and controversial yoga schools to be concerning and worthy of further scrutiny and reflection.

Yoga nidra was developed within the Satyananda aka Bihar school of yoga.

Just some links about abuses at the Satyananda aka Bihar school of yoga

(Warning - these are incredibly horrific by any standards)

The Daily Telegraph, Australia/December 8, 2014
culteducation.com/group/1316-satyananda-yoga-ashram/28136-mangrove-mountain-ashram-claims-handmaiden-says-she-was-raped-with-gun-had-to-drink-guru-s-urine.html

The Guardian Decemeber 4 2014
web.archive.org/web/20210208084404/https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/dec/04/yoga-ashram-didnt-consider-sex-abuse-crime-royal-commission

Daily Mail
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3789146/Children-sexually-abused-leader-cult-like-yoga-ashram.html

The Telegraph
www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/11273299/Yoga-guru-was-violent-sexual-abuser-Australia-royal-commission-told.html

Sydney Morning Herald
web.archive.org/web/20200806215215/https://www.smh.com.au/national/paradise-lost-satyananda-yoga-ashram-is-the-subject-of-royal-commission-hearing-20141127-11v3rl.html

One of the yoga teachers involved in the yoga rights union is a teacher of Dru Yoga, another controversial yoga school.

A fascinating exchange of opinions sbout Dru Yoga ,as taught by teachers of its founding organisation the Life Foundation, an extremely conroversial organisation. Some comments are wildly enthusiastic, some extremely critical and there are links to other sites for the curious, here;

web.archive.org/web/20181215144810/http://acatsroar.blogspot.com/2009/04/am-i-small-part-of-damn-cult.html

A news piece here
web.archive.org/web/20181010174408/https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/nov/19/religion.news

This does happen all the time, not just with yoga but with all manner of wellness therapies and practices, especially those whose target group is vulnerable.

Also I did not have time to check out all of the people involved in the union and all of their CVs and alliances. The organisation may be a bt of a curate's egg.

I would strongly advise any trade union involved to undertake due dilligence.

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