“There’s a deeply troubling pattern of sexual misconduct within our community,” Roche said, “a pattern that touches almost every tradition in modern yoga. Every human being deserves to practice yoga free from abuse, harassment, and manipulation. In honor of those who have spoken up, and in honor of those who have been too hurt to speak, we have to start somewhere, and we have to start now.”
“Almost every tradition” is not an exaggeration. To date, three of the global yoga schools inspired by Swami Sivananda’s 1930s mission (one being Sivananda yoga) are now known or alleged to have been headed up by sexual predators. Sixteen women are on record describing Pattabhi Jois, the late founder of Ashtanga yoga, assaulting or digitally raping them under the guise of “adjustments.” The international Iyengar world is struggling to strip a senior teacher, Manouso Manos, of his tenacious social capital after an internal investigation found a decades-long history of assault. Hot yoga founder Bikram Choudhury has been accused of rape and sexual assault by several women.