Following the publication of a report by An Olive Branch (independent investigators) 'Yogi' Bhajan, who popularised Kundalini Yoga in the West, has been revealed as a rapist, a corrupt manipulator of his followers and a self-appointed religious leader. He created an international cult and many yogis in the inner circle in USA were living a secret nightmare.
I apologise to all my students for unwittingly exposing you to the teachings of such an abhorrent man.
The disappointing truth is that 'Yogi' Bhajan is the latest in a long line of male yoga ‘Gurus’ to be exposed for their sexual abuse; Bikram Choudhury (Bikram Yoga); John Friend (Anusara Yoga); Pattabhi Jois (Ashtanga Yoga); Swami Satchidananda; Amrit Desai (Kripalu Centre for Yoga); Satya Sai Baba; Amrit Desai (Kripalu Yoga); Muktananda (Siddha Yoga); Swami Shyam (Vedic meditation); Swami Rama (Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy); Swami Satyananda; Asaram Bapu, who has some 400 ashrams around the world, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2018 for rape. There is a current investigation into Swami Vishnudevananda (Sivananda Yoga)
Because 'Yogi' Bhajan was corrupt does it follow that all Kundalini Yoga is corrupt?
In ancient India Kundalini was known as the yoga of latent spiritual potential. By raising the Kundalini energy, from its resting place at the base of the spine, an individual can bring themselves into an elevated state of spiritual and creative awareness. This practice is not based in lineage and legacy but in the innate understanding that each person already has this wonderful potential of soul consciousness. We might experience this effect when we are ‘in the zone’ of a physical activity such as dancing or football or playing a musical instrument.
It is my understanding that 'Yogi' Bhajan was like a magpie collecting treasures from different spiritual and healing practices around the world. He then invented the Kriyas using this amassed wisdom.
'Yogi' Bhajan developed a system which was good at raising Kundalini energy. But as i-SKY (Kundalini Yoga training school in Reading) wrote “he was not THE Master or Creator of Kundalini Yoga”.
There’s no doubt that Kundalini Yoga ‘works’. I ALWAYS feel great after a Kundalini Yoga session. The practice has given me the physical and emotional strength to drop my insecurity and self-doubt. I have heard numerous similar accounts from my students over the years.
My future teaching
In the future I expect the Kundalini Yoga community will create wonderful new kriyas. I’m taking some training in creating my own kriyas. In the meantime I plan to carry on teaching the published kriyas and meditations but without the dogma; I will make modifications to the exercises and mantras to make them more accessible; I will no longer always wear a head covering or white clothes; I will bring more of my lifelong Hatha Yoga experience to my teaching.
I hope you will join me.