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


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.

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