Yoga's Culture of Sexual Abuse: Nine Women Tell Their Stories

BY MATTHEW REMSKI

Every year across North America, tens of millions of people practise a form of yoga inspired by the method of a single man: Krishna Pattabhi Jois. The fierce and graceful Ashtanga method he popularized has grown exponentially since the 1990s, as yoga moved away from the hippie fringe and into the heart of mainstream fitness culture. During that time, a parade of celebrity practitioners helped boost Jois’s profile even further. Sting and his wife, Trudie, were early Ashtanga adopters. In 1998, Madonna announced to Oprah that she was done with the gym, preferring to devote herself to Jois’s yoga. At the time, the pop star boasted that yoga “is a workout for your mind, your body, and your soul.” Soon, famous followers included Hollywood stars like Gwyneth Paltrow. Before Jois’s death, in 2009 at age ninety-three, he even displayed a framed photo of Paltrow and his son in his sitting room.

Read More....

 

“Reset” und eine Erneuerung

Fröhlicher Frühling!

Der Frühling ist eine gute Zeit für ein “Reset” und eine Erneuerung. Ich habe gerade für 8 Tage gefastet und habe in dieser Zeit nur Flüssiges zu mir genommen wie Gemüsesaft, Kokosnusswasser und ab und zu eine Gemüsebouillon.

Es ist lange her, seit ich diese eher strikte Fastenkur gemacht habe und ich habe ganz vergessen, wie sehr ich es mag.

Eigentlich  ist es ein Intensivkurs zum Loslassen lernen. Indem wir lernen, unsere physischen Gelüste zu ertragen ohne sie zu erfüllen, erfahren wir auch mehr über unsere mentalen und emotionalen Begierden. Es ist eine gute Gelegenheit, diese zu überprüfen, und zu sehen, ob sie es wert sind.

Vor kurzem habe ich einem von unseren Life Coaches in doTERRA zugehört und bin daran erinnert worden, wie viel Macht der unbewusste Teil unseres Gehirns über uns hat, im Vergleich zu unserer Willenskraft. Unsere Tage werden meistens von dem unbewussten Teil des Gehirns gesteuert (90 Prozent oder sogar mehr) gegenüber der Willenskraft (10 Prozent). Wie gross deine Willenskraft ist, spielt eigentlich gar keine Rolle, da sie meistens nicht gegen die mächtigen Impulse, die vom unbewussten Teil deines Gehirns gesteuert werden, ankommt.

Glücklicherweise können wir lernen, neue Pfade im Gehirn zu erschliessen.

Es gibt einige Möglichkeiten, dies zu tun.

Zum Beispiel eine neue Sprache lernen kann neue Pfade im Gehirn legen, und das kann dir helfen, die Dinge neu anzugehen und nicht immer den alten Mustern zu folgen.

Ich arbeite auch oft und gerne mit einem der Oele, dessen Duft ich mehrmals pro Tag tief einatme. So gewöhne ich meine Gehirnzellen an ein neues Handeln.

Wir können sogar lernen unsere negativen Assoziationen zu brauchen, indem wir sie uns zuerst bewusst machen.

Ich ermutige dich dazu, einen oder mehrere Tagen zu fasten und das einmal zu probieren. Sei präsent für alle deine Gelüste und führe ein Tagebuch damit du sie gut kennenlernen kannst.  Beobachte deine Gelüste, wie sie kommen und wieder gehen. Beobachte, wie du jeden Tag leichter und klarer wirst. Wenn du wieder anfängst zu essen, fange ganz langsam und leicht an, und sei voll da, nicht nur für den Vorgang des Essens selber, aber auch für die Dankbarkeit, die du auch sicher verspürst.

Ein paar praktische Hinweise:

Wenn du fastest, ist es wichtig die Dinge (ganz im buchstäblichen Sinne) im Fluss zu halten - also nimm ein mildes Abführmittel und eine extra Portion von Ballaststoff (mit viel Wasser).

Manche wählen eine Darmspülung in der Mitte oder gegen des Ende des Fastens.

Bleibe beim Flüssigen - du kannst variieren zwischen Gemüsesaft und Bouillon, Kokosnusswasser, und füge Zitronensaft (oder einen Tropfen des Zitronenöls) dem Wasser bei, sowie auch Pfefferminz tee, je nach Belieben.

Drinke mehr als normal, weil  sonst  Dehydrierung droht.

Wenn du mit den Ölen arbeitest, kannst du Zendocrine in deinen Diffuser tun, und auch die anderen Öle die mit der inneren Reinigung in Verbindung stehen, wie z.B Grapefruit, Slim und Sassy, Helichrysum, Rosemary, Koriander und Pfefferminz zur Erfrischung.

Rechne damit, dass du dich nicht all zu gut fühlst in den ersten drei Tagen (Kopfweh, Irritation, Müdigkeit etc).

Um deine Intuition zu trainieren, wähle ein oder zwei Gerüche, die dich gerade besonders ansprechen (ich hatte z.B Balance und Bergamotte), bereite dir einen 10 ml Roll-on zu, mit 8 - 10 Tropfen von jedem Öl und verbinde es mit einer starken Absicht, etwas das du gerne erreichen möchtest in deinem Leben. Brauche diesen Mix an deinen Handgelenken, hinten auf dem Nacken und auf deinem Herz, mindestens 3 mal am Tag und setzte das für 7 Tage fort.

Damit kannst unter Umständen die Tendenz, dich selber zu sabotieren, unterbrechen. Wähle deinen Duft zuerst und lese erst nachher, was diesen bestimmten Ölen zugeschrieben wird. Du wirst staunen, wie  sehr die Auswahl auf deine Situation zutrifft.

Ich wünsche dir ein gutes Fasten & Loslassen.

Reset & Renew

Happy Spring!

Spring is a good time for a reset and for renewal. I just completed an eight-day fast where I only consumed liquids, mostly in the form of vegetable juice, coconut water, and broth. I haven’t attempted this severe form of cleansing for awhile so I forgot how much I like it. It is basically a crash course in learning how to let go.

As we let go of our physical cravings fasting forces us to look at our mental and emotional clinging, giving these tendencies much needed scrutiny, which helps us determine if these habits are worth keeping.

Recently I listened to one of the doTERRA life coaches and was reminded of how much power the unconscious mind has over us, as opposed to our will power. The course of our days is mostly determined by our unconscious (90 percent or even more) versus our will power (10 percent). So, no matter how great your willpower is, unless we learn how to create new pathways in the brain, it cannot overcome your powerful unconscious mind.

There are many ways to create new pathways, though!

For example, learning a new language can light up new neurons and channels in the brain, facilitating doing things differently and moving away from the same old patterns.

Another way is to pair an oil or scent with an intention, and “reminding” your brain of this new mode at least three times a day by smelling that particular scent.

Yet another approach is to learn how to use your negative patterns to move you forward, which takes some skill. Before we can learn how to use this to create movement forward we have to use mindful attention just to realize that we HAVE a negative pattern. 

I encourage you to try a day or more of fasting. Stay present with all of your cravings; even keep a journal. Watch your desires come and go. Notice, with each day, how you become lighter and clearer. When you start eating again make sure to re-enter very slowly. Be present with what you choose to eat and also, allow yourself to feel the gratitude that will inevitably be present when first eating again.

A few practical suggestions:

When fasting keep things moving (literally) by taking a mild laxative (Dr. Schulz for example), and by taking some extra form of fiber (psyllium husks) with plenty of water.

Some people like to add a colonic during or toward the end of their fast.

Stay with liquids. You can add some coconut water for variation, some vegetable bouillon, and peppermint tea. Add some lemon juice (or a drop of lemon oil) to your water.

Drink plenty of water, as you will be vulnerable to dehydration.

If you are working with the oils, you can add Zendocrine to your diffuser and some of the other oils that work to eliminate and release (Grapefruit, Slim and Sassy, Helichrysum, Rosemary, Coriander, and Peppermint for freshness).

Expect to feel irritable, headachy, and otherwise poorly for the first three days or so. 

To exercise your intuition, choose two scents that are particularly appealing. (I used Balance and Bergamot). Make a roll-on bottle with 8 - 10 drops of each, and pair it with a strong intention of what you would like to see happen in your life. Use the mix on your pulse points, the back of the neck, and your heart, at least three times a day.

Continue for at least seven days to override any tendency to sabotage yourself. After you have chosen your scents, read and study up on them. You will be surprised how fitting your findings most likely will be!

Happy cleansing.

Combine Breath with Movement and Repeat

We are coming into the most hectic time of year. It can be a beautiful but challenging time for many people. 

I hope you take some moments to slow down, often, and to use your practices to tap into your own wisdom-body. 

I believe that this is more important now than ever. Kali Yuga, or Mara, with his three hindrances, seems to rule the world: greed, hatred, and delusion. These behaviors are in full swing, everywhere.

I feel the anger in my own heart and the powerlessness, as everything that I hold dear is destroyed and sold to the highest bidder. It's maddening!

So, I use my practice - not to attain some goal or ideal, or even to improve myself - but as a way to be present, fully. To feel and release my grief; to feel my deep joy at being alive despite everything that is happening; to tap into what really matters. 

I spoke about this all throughout my recent tour by asking the question: How do you tap into your bliss body?

The formula is really quite simple.

Combine breath with movement and repeat. 

Make the movement simple. Make the breath precise. Repeat as many times as your mind needs to let go so you can drop into a different plane of being, where things are simply energy, color, sensation, and feeling. Get reset in the timelessness of this place and come back from there nourished and clear. 

Do it every day. Not to achieve something, but to refill your tanks.

I wish you a wonderful end of year and holiday season.

Reflections on the Meaning of Freedom

Here are some of my thoughts on the meaning of freedom:

For the first time in 30 years, I had an inner resistance when thinking of returning home. Usually I have such longing to come home that the feeling of not wanting to, is a new sensation for me. Of course, my home is wherever my pack, Joshua and Leelou, are. Luckily, they are mobile.

I was just in Morocco and it was a game changer once again.

Sure, it is a developing country, and I certainly don't love a religion that systematically represses women. But Morocco felt remarkably tolerant and free.  

And at least it feels as though THEY ARE MOVING FORWARD, whereas we, in the States, are clearly moving backward. That is VERY painful to me, and not why I moved to the land of the supposedly free in the first place.

Driving across the country with Joshua and Leelou in our Sports Mobile, I will never forget the miles and miles of dead, manipulated, Monsanto-sprayed cornfields that we drove through in the middle of the country. The enormous amounts of enslaved and tortured land will be forever stamped in my soul. And now, we see a move to enslave more - land, animals, women, and people. It's just so unbearably painful.

In the deserts of Morocco I experienced the greatest physical and spiritual freedom I have since I ran wild as a child. I know I am strong in mind and will, but not always in body. I was very sick as a child and have to manage my physicality carefully.

In the desert, I grew wings! I slept few hours, sat up in the dunes at night gazing into the rising sun in vast silence while everyone still slept, except the camels (they don't sleep, they meditate).

I flew over the dunes with such ease and joy. I got nicknamed "razelle" by the Berbers, which means gazelle. I found this truly strange and funny, because unless on the yoga mat, I'm actually rather clumsy. Not exactly gazelle like, for sure. But in the desert, it was true and I cannot explain it.

Not many people actually go into the desert. But we went in and stayed for several days, making our camp out of nothing but sand and what the camels were carrying. 

I never wanted to come out. It is the strongest connection to a culture I have felt beside the native and, to a certain degree, the Roma connection. Being there felt completely natural to me. I quickly learned how to tie the shech, which I absolutely adored and wish I could wear always! The shech is key in the desert for protection from cold, sun, and sand. Never another bad hair day!

I'm not saying that I liked everything.

I hated how the animals were treated. The horses with the wagons; some were so thin I was afraid they would keel over. The cute donkeys (which they call the Ferrari of Marrakech), so overloaded, I wondered that they didn't get flattened like a pancake under the weight of their packs. It was hard to see the little monkeys on chains, completely at the mercy of their owners, exploiting them for the tourists. And I really didn't like the cobras on the concrete floor, mostly with their mouths sewn shut. Their lives are very short because they starve to death.

Then there was the human suffering; the invalids on the streets, and the women and children begging on the side of the road. 

I acutely felt the suffering of all of them, and cried often.

I got in the habit of carrying an entire bag with me; collecting the meat that people in my group didn't consume, so I could always feed someone. Apples for the donkeys and horses, meat for the dogs and cats, food, or some money, for the people that touched my heart.

What else to do? Like Maharaji used to say: Feed people!

I'm expanding that to: Feed beings, please.

I have been thinking a lot about freedom these days. In fact, it was the promise of freedom that led me to move to America. I realize it doesn't feel so free anymore. 

Some of you know that I have made up a new (old) melody for Lokha Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu. It means: May all Beings be joyous, and free.

What does the happiness of beings really mean? To me, it means that each being is allowed to live according to its true nature. Not imprisoned. Not stifled. Not held back. Not enslaved. That includes trees. And plants. And corn. And WATER. Everything on this holy planet.

That is the world I would like to live in.

Freedom to be exactly who we are. I invite you to contemplate your authentic voice this month and follow it.

Practice gratitude. Practice compassion. It's simple

As we are moving into another Fall, in very uncertain times, I've had a couple of reflections that I wanted to share. As the seasons change, it is always good to step back and get a bigger perspective.

The importance of being present:

We desperately need to learn to simply stay in the present. We often see two camps that beckon us to join them. One camp consists of activists and also nay-sayers. They see what is clearly not working in society and tend to relentlessly point out the shadow.

In the other camp are the folks who encourage us to think positive, mostly spiritual teachers and New Agers. To see that which is good can be a good thing - unless it is used to cover up what is actually happening.

The shadow looms quite large these days - in part perhaps because most of us have been looking only at the positive for too long.

The truth is that we need to look very closely at exactly what is in front of us. If it sucks, we need to have the courage to say so, to acknowledge the bad, and the negative.

And yes, it is uncomfortable to do that, but it may be the most necessary action we can do. If we look at the bad situation for a while, without creating a story line (meaning no endless inquiry into who is to blame), then we may have an actual insight, or an idea of what could be done about it.

This staying in the present moment is the true antidote to the quandary of which camp to belong to. We will all encounter both positive and negative moments all day long and if the circumstances present themselves as positive, we can practice gratitude, and even joy that they are so. And if something is negative, instead of reacting to it and pushing it away, we can sit in the discomfort for a while and wait for that insight. It takes a lot of energy to avoid looking at the negative and we can use that energy, to practice compassion for all suffering, including our own.

I've been on a road trip across the country for the last month and had to practice that myself. Every time I saw a road kill in which another innocent little deer became the victim of a careless driver, I practiced not to look away.

Instead I did the Hawaiian prayer: I love you. I'm sorry. Please forgive us.

Then I would imagine that this little soul would be guided by some good spirits back to the Creator, who would receive it in love and with open arms.

I found that when I did that, I could both face the discomfort of what is happening, as well as letting it go and find balance again.

Just dealing what is right in front of us. Practice gratitude. Practice compassion. It's simple.

Just this.

Now.

Abundance & dealing with a poisonous situation

It is beautiful here in the high desert of New Mexico, the recent rain has brought such abundance in nature and reflects the abundance I have found with essential oils - it's been such a blessing.

The eclipse today was a pretty amazing galactic occurrence. My hope is that this special occasion will give human beings some perspective - something that is sorely needed now, especially here in America. Check out Define your fears rather than your goals below.

Teaching from the Buddhist universe:

There are 3 ways of dealing with a poisonous situation when it occurs. All three are valuable in varying degrees of skill and elegance.

Say you find a tree with poisonous fruit in your back yard. What will you do? 

  • You can cut the tree down and be assured that nobody will die as a result of eating the fruit
  • You can put a fence around the tree and put up a warning sign
  • You respect and utilize the tree and fruit and make a medicinal potion that cures certain illnesses 

The first strategy can be appropriate when we try to let go of an unwanted addiction or behavior. To cut it down and conquer it may be a necessary step on our evolving path to living wisely. 

It is also how cancer and other illnesses are frequently treated, especially if they defy our understanding. We simply try to eradicate them out of existence. Whilst this approach may work sometimes, it often does not. 

In some ways, it is a rather blunt way to dealing with the problem.

Also, the problem may persist, meaning that out of the seeds of that tree, a new poisonous tree might grow.

The second level is considered more refined and more compassionate. Instead of killing the problem, we acknowledge the danger, and will warn anyone approaching the tree that there is danger - including to remind ourselves. We approach with respect, what we do not understand.

The third way is the way of the shaman or the yogi. Not only do we respect the poisonous tree and seek to understand it, but furthermore we will be able to transform the poison into medicine.  

It takes a courageous heart to transform the poison - thus the need for spiritual practices. 

I encourage you to look at your experiences - what would you need, to move towards the yogi's way?