t’s easy to fall into the hole of an eating disorder; getting out of it means struggling and clawing and falling down sometimes and even starting at the bottom again for the hundredth time, wondering why it has to be so hard. And for me, animal protein is my silver bullet. It’s not a question of how easy it is to recover. It’s whether it’s possible at all. And that raw, slimy chicken breast is appealing to me precisely because it brings full recovery within the realm of possibility.
This is why I went up to talk to the teacher after the morning session. He had asked for feedback, and I wanted to let him know that sometimes, certain words delivered by a person in a position of power, knowledge and trust, can have devastatingly unforeseen consequences.
It’s hard for me to share details of my eating disorder in person. I was shaky and emotional when I told him about my experience. During our conversation, I made it clear that I respected his choice not to eat animals and that I simply wanted him to know that for some people—notably me—a vegetarian diet may corrupt the very principle it purports to defend:
ur motives were pure, but our means were questionable. And in retrospect, I’m guessing that many of these students, like myself, were suffering from eating disorders, hiding our pathology behind a veil of leafy greens and humanity.
I’ve had food and body image issues from an early age. I thought I had outgrown most of them. But the sheer stress and impossibility of controlling my self-worth as a yogini through my diet pushed me from being a somewhat insecure, body-dismorphic, occasional binge eater to a full-blown bulimic. It happened quickly and got out of control before I even realized I was in trouble. I was caught up in a horrible downward spiral, and the harder I struggled to maintain my purity as a yogic eater, the more deeply I dug myself in.
tried to explain this to the Midwestern teacher, who was kind and held my hands in his and thanked me for coming up to talk to him. And then at the beginning of the afternoon session, he told the rest of the class about my comment, saying that “a student” had been “offended” by his advocating greens over chicken. And then he said he didn’t give a shit, that as a teacher he had to risk offending people and he would never make everyone happy. Amen.
I am a teacher too, and I know I will never be all things to all people. Still, it stung that he mocked the truth that was so hard for me to tell him. And I was annoyed that he used the word “offended,” like I was petty and judgmental, like I missed his message because I got all caught up in some technicality. I wasn’t offended at all; I simply wanted to tell him my story and warn him that it could happen to others.
Why didn’t he listen to me? Was his ego so attached to the idea of being a proper vegetarian yogi that he was willing to risk harming someone else? Where was his ahimsa with respect to me? Did he value the chicken’s well-being more than my own?
As I sat with my feelings, though, I realized that none of my questions mattered. I had done what I needed to do. I didn’t need to be angry at him, nor did I need to be embarrassed by taking care of myself and protecting my body and my practice. If he chose not to hear my message, that was his decision.
Yoga teacher accused in twin sister’s death in Hawaii ON JUNE 7, 2016
A yoga teacher whose twin sister died after their vehicle sped off a cliff in Hawaii has been charged in the woman’s death.
Cops swooped into the Seaside Hotel on Maui and arrested Alexandria Duval, 37, Friday night after learning that she had checked out of a nearby hospital and intended to fly to the West Coast that night.
She faces a second-degree murder charge in Anastasia Duval’s death after investigators said she made no attempt to hit the brakes during the May 29 crash. Her SUV busted through a rock wall and went over the edge along Hana Highway, killing her sister.
Duval refused to tell police what caused the crash, but a witness said the blond-haired siblings, originally from Utica, N.Y., were feuding and pulling at each other’s hair before the deadly plunge.
n August, Duval was arrested in upstate New York on a drunken driving charge after authorities say she nearly struck a vehicle driven by a state police investigator. She was released about three weeks later.
Duval was being held in Albany County Jail awaiting extradition to Hawaii.
The Duval sisters, born Alison and Ann Dadow in the Utica, New York, area, operated popular yoga studios in Palm Beach County, Florida, from 2008 to 2014 before they changed their names. They moved to Hawaii in December 2015 from Utah.
Yoga twins’ ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ passage through Palm Beach County
Joe Capozzi Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
6:03 p.m Friday, June 10, 2016 Local News
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Years before blazing a twisted path through Palm Beach County’s yoga community, identical twin sisters Ann and Alison Dadow were passengers one day in a car speeding along the Sawgrass Expressway at 85 mph.
Suddenly, from the passenger’s seat, Ann started kicking the steering wheel and windshield with her feet as she and Alison, from the back seat, screamed at the driver.
“They were like little kids throwing a temper tantrum’’ because Ann’s boyfriend, Keith Weiss, was ignoring their pleas to stop for another glass of wine, Weiss said.
“I almost went off the road,’’ recalled Weiss, who blocked the kicks with his right arm as he drove the twins in his green Pontiac Sunfire that day in 2001.
“I said, ‘Are you kidding me? You guys are going to wind up killing all of us.’’’
Weiss said he eventually got the twins safely to their Broward County home. But the incident eerily foreshadowed a similar spat between the sisters that ended in tragedy 15 years later.
Ann was killed May 29 when a car driven by Alison plunged 200 feet off a cliff in Hawaii. Witnesses told police they heard the 37-year-old sisters screaming at one another and saw the passenger pulling the driver’s hair just before the Ford Explorer smashed through a rock wall and launched over the cliff.
“I was in bed when I saw it on TV. I told my wife I felt like that could have been me in that car,’’ said Weiss, who told The Palm Beach Post about other fights between the inseparable twins, including some in cars.
“They were great people when they were sober, but the minute they (started) drinking they were like Jekyll and Hyde.’’
Alison survived after the SUV hit a patch of jagged rocks sticking out the Pacific Ocean. Ann was pronounced dead at the scene. Alison was charged with second-degree murder, but she was released Wednesday when a judge in Maui found no probable cause to hold her on that charge.
A common reaction from people who knew the twins in South Florida, where they lived from the mid-1990s until early 2014: The tragedy was no surprise.
Most of those people knew the Dadows from Twin Power Yoga, the popular studios they set up in Palm Beach Gardens in 2008 and in West Palm Beach in 2011.
“They were alpha females on top of being twins on top of being very dominating,’’ said Victor Ayala, a physical trainer who met the twins when they were neighbors at CityPlace South, where they lived on the 16th floor of the apartment tower.
“They were fantastic teachers, beautiful women, but I also know they were very competitive and very strong-willed. They seemed to have a lot of dark demons.”
Not ‘all rainbows
The striking twins with blonde hair and blue eyes always seemed to make a positive first impression on people, many of whom credit the sisters with improving their lives by introducing them to yoga.
But others described bickering sisters who struggled with alcohol, used “shady” business practices and disrespected their employees and clients as they strived for fortune and fame.
“They were wolves in sheep clothing. They used yoga as a mask. They wanted nothing more than to be rich and famous,’’ said a person who worked for them and asked not to be identified. “They were very authoritative and not empowering.”
Three Twin Power alumni agreed to talk about the Dadows, but only on condition of anonymity.
Even before they felt betrayed when the Dadow sisters abruptly took off without paying them, some Twin Power employees were disturbed that the twins’ materialistic pursuits often clashed with the concept of yoga as a movement of serenity and a path back to the basics.
“They were paranoid. They thought everyone was stealing from them,” one person said.
Before leaving Palm Beach County for Park City, Utah, they were trying to launch a reality television show about yoga. The show fell through, which contributed to the sisters’ fall into debt, Leslie McMichael, a West Palm Beach psychic who said she served as the twins’ spiritual adviser, told The Associated Press
But in preparing for the show, the twins started shooting promotional videos together in a Porsche on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach and writing scripts about their employees without the workers’ knowledge.
A former Twin Power yoga teacher recalled getting berated by the sisters for making changes to a class instruction plan without their permission. “I walked away and they followed me into the bathroom: ‘Are you going to cry?’’’ the teacher recalled.
“I started taking anxiety medicine to teach classes for them because they were giving me such anxiety. I shouldn’t need anxiety medicine to teach yoga class. That doesn’t make any sense.’’
The twins also charged $2,000 to $3,500 for a yoga certification class but cut corners by skipping key elements such as anatomy, said former workers.
“They weren’t all rainbows and butterflies,’’ said a person who trained with the Dadows. “In the end, they left a really bad taste in the yoga community.’’
Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay was among Twin Power yoga clients who never got refunds on prepaid memberships when the sisters abruptly closed their second-floor Clematis Street studio in early 2014 after a Groupon special.
McKinlay, a staff member in the county’s government affairs office at the time, said she enjoyed attending the classes above Duffy’s restaurant at Clematis and Olive Avenue on her lunch break.
“I went one day and they were closed. Not cool,’’ said McKinlay, who lost about $600.
Older sister cursed
Other Twin Power alumni had positive things to say about the Dadows.
“They both were so sweet. Alison was always like the mother of both of them, Alison was the one who was good with (financial) books. Ann was more intellectual,’’ said Lydia Oquendo of Delray Beach.
The twins traveled to India three or four times for yoga from 2010 to 2012, Oquendo said, and on weekends they brought in a percussionist who performed during the yoga classes.
“They were very enigmatic. If people tried to learn more about them they would just change the subject,’’ she said. “I never saw them arguing or yelling. They were not perfect but they were not bad people.’’
Oquendo said the twins, who grew up near Utica, N.Y., also spent time caring for their father, who is confined to a wheelchair and lives on Singer Island. Their mother died when they were 5.
Their father, John Dadow, a former New York prison doctor now living in Palm Beach Shores, has not spoken publicly since his daughter’s death.
Public records show that alcohol has played a destructive role in the lives of not only the twins but also their older sister.
Amy Dadow, 40, is on probation for assaulting their father in 2015. John Dadow, 67, told authorities he used his lifeline button to call police on July 15 after an intoxicated Amy threw a water bottle at him.
Amy Dadow cursed her father and threatened him unless he gave her $100,000, according to court records.
After leaving West Palm Beach, Alison and Ann moved to Park City, where their grandfather used to take them skiing, according to a May 2014 story in the Park Record. Their new studio also offered “doga,’’ a weekly hour-long class for clients to connect with their dogs.
In January 2014, five months before that story ran, the sisters’ vehicle slid off a road in Eden, Utah. Alison was arrested under suspicion of drunk driving, fleeing the scene and disorderly conduct.
Last November, they filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, citing hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and fled to Hawaii with plans to open a yoga studio in Maui.
At some point the sisters changed their names, Alison to Alexandria Duval and Ann to Anastasia Duval, the names found on their drivers licenses in Hawaii.
The twins’ legal scrapes in Florida date back to at least 1998 when Alison was arrested for DUI in Treasure Island, north of St. Petersburg. She was charged with DUI in Delray Beach in 2000 and with defrauding an innkeeper in Davie in 2002.
Ann was arrested for disorderly intoxication and battery in 2002 in Plantation.
One sister about the other:
‘I’m going to kill her’
At some point, they attended college in St. Petersburg and Tampa.
Weiss, who lives in Sunrise, said he met the women when they stopped in one night for a drink at the bar where he was working. At the time, he said, the women told him they were taking classes to become courtroom stenographers.
He dated Ann for eight or nine months between 2001 and 2002, but he said Alison was always around. There were times he said, when “Ann would go use the bathroom and Alison would start kissing me.’’
Their drink of choice back then: Chardonnay. “Anytime we went out, they always had a few glasses,” said Weiss, who now works at New River Grill & Pizza in Fort Lauderdale.
One night, Weiss said he received a frantic call from Ann “yelling at me, ‘You’ve got to get over here. I’m going to kill her!’
“I heard this noise. I asked, ‘What is that noise?’ (Ann replied,) ‘That’s me hitting her with the phone.’’’
When Weiss got to the twins’ apartment, he said he saw glass on the floor from a broken wine bottle and “blood on the floor from (the twins) walking through it. And they were just sitting on the couch hanging out — ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ – like nothing happened.
“I was like, ‘Are you OK?’ And they said, “We’re fine. We just had a little fight.’’’
Months later, after the steering wheel-kicking incident on the Sawgrass Expressway, Weiss broke off his friendship with the girls. “I was like, ‘You both are beautiful, but there’s too much drama going on.’’’
to be this tension’
In 2004, they worked at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino as servers at the center bar of the casino. “It’s a good way to earn money to save for graduate school,’’ Ann Dadow said in a Sun Sentinel story about a three-day job fair hosted by the casino.
It’s unclear what led the Dadows to yoga. But they studied in India and were trained under yoga instructor Baron Baptiste.
Dave Hazzard of West Palm Beach said Alison talked to him about the early plans to open a studio in Palm Beach Gardens.
Hazzard said he met Alison when he owned a mobile company that cleaned and detailed high-end luxury cars. He said he met her while working on cars owned by a North Palm Beach businessman, later identified by The Post as Clifton Goodrich.
Hazzard said he usually serviced cars at Goodrich’s office but soon was asked to go service cars at Goodrich’s home.
“He said, ‘There’s a new Pontiac Solstice in my driveway. I bought it for my girlfriend,’’’ Hazzard recalled. The girlfriend, Hazzard said, was Alison Dadow. Eventually he would see Ann at the house, but he never spoke to her.
When reached by The Post, Goodrich declined to comment. “I haven’t had any connection with them in eight or nine years so it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to say anything,’’ he said before hanging up.
Soon, Hazzard said, Alison began talking to him about her plans to open Twin Power Yoga at Donald Ross Road and Military Trail. Hazzard suspects she confided in him because he also worked as a radio announcer.
“She clearly understood the importance of promoting,’’ he said. “I may have been an early audience for her to practice on.’’
At some point, the sisters moved to a rental townhouse at the Cielo community in Palm Beach Gardens, where he serviced Alison’s Porsche Cayenne.
“I didn’t observe any overt hostility during the period I knew them, but there always seemed to be this tension you couldn’t put a finger on,’’ he said.
Hazzard said he hasn’t spoken to the sisters since 2009 but he was saddened to learn about the tragedy, especially since he once drove the same stretch of road in Hawaii where the crash occurred.
“When I heard about this Thelma & Louise they did off a cliff on a road I’ve travelled before, the tragedy really struck,’’ he said.
“I’m sure someone, somewhere, is even now looking to base a film on the whole mess.”
“the promoters of mindfulness in America ... know mindfulness is highly valuable and they know that they cannot actually sell the thing itself. Given this conundrum, peddlers of mindfulness must take two indirect approaches: they must either sell auxiliary products designed to introduce or augment mindfulness, or sell their expertise at teaching mindfulness and delivering the benefits of mindfulness” (p. 136).
Wilson then proceeds to describe the auxiliaries sold by DharmaCrafts, Dharma Communications, and OneTaste, and the expertise (mostly books) sold by those with robes, degrees, or other sanctions. Wilson’s concern here, as elsewhere, is not to evaluate the offerings themselves, rather he is here evaluating the marketing of those offerings (e.g., Chade-Meng Tan’s Search Inside Yourself  is mindfulness brilliantly marketed [p. 141]).
While Rishikesh has a sleepy pace not in keeping with much of India, the police there told the BBC there were risks that were not always obvious.
"Rules are not very strict about regulating tourism at the moment," said one police officer who asked not to be named. "Many fake yoga centres end up registering themselves. A policy has to be made to check these fake yoga centres and gurus."
Not everyone in the city is who they appear to be, he added. "People also have to be careful about not approaching any man with a long beard. That can be very dangerous."
Hundreds of people are reported missing every year from Rishikesh and the neighbouring city, Haridwar, police said.
As a brand, Lulu seems to have annoyed as many people as it has outfitted, both for the cultlike intensity of its followers and for its blithely ironic model of charging people good money to pursue an essentially ascetic practice. Even if it isn’t really, truly a cult, there are aspects of the corporation that certainly ring with a cultlike air. Want to work on the floor? You’re not in retail, you’re an “educator.” Want to be in charge of the “educators”? Then you’re a “key leader.” Work as a “key leader? for a few years, and you can jump to the next level, “store manager” (okay, that’s not such a weird one). Once you’ve worked at Lululemon for a year, you’re entitled to a free trip to the Landmark Forum, a corporate descendant of the est movement, which caused a stir in the seventies.
The Forum* is always getting annoyed that some people brand it a cult, but after a few decades of aggrievement, perhaps it would be better for the Forum to embrace and thus defuse the term—“We’re here, we’re a cult, get used to it,” etc. The Forum, as its website says, “is specifically designed to bring about positive and permanent shifts in the quality of your life”—in just three days. It’s an institutionalized self-help program, geared to people who feel weighed down by something in their past, which is to say, pretty much everybody.
There is at least one other published account of Satyananda’s abuse, although it is not part of the Royal Commission’s documents, and it is not presented as a direct allegation. It comes from a woman named Janaki Vunderink, who in August 2013 posted this description of living in Satyananda’s ashram in Munger, starting at the age of fourteen in 1967, and staying through her nineteenth year. In this deeply intimate account of her spiritual journey, Vunderink hints at having had a confusing sexual relationship with the guru. “As it turned out,” she writes, “Satyananda was a very hostile and aggressive man, driven by lust.”
Vunderink had actually written about this encounter before, but without having named Satyananda explicitly. In 1993, she published a more detailed account of her experience at Munger. The article is in Dutch: “Opgroein in een Ashram als je 14 bent” (“Growing Up in an Indian Ashram at Age 14”) in The Willem de Ridder Papers (August 1993): 33-37. In 2001, Vunderink translated parts of this story into English for inclusion in Sarah Caldwell’s study in the anthropology of religion “The Heart of the Secret: A Personal and Scholarly Encounter with Shakta Tantrism in Siddha Yoga”. Here’s the most relevant passage. Note that this account recalls experiences dated to several years before the experiences testified to by Buchanan and Manning:
Janaki was first taken to India as a young girl, accompanying her mother, who was studying yoga in an ashram. She describes the slow process of her socialization in the ashram, eventually leading, in her young teens, to the guru’s introducing her to his sexual practices. At first these seemed innocent enough, cuddling and lying beside the guru with another girl. But after some months the guru’s sexual depravities began to show, as he forced the girls into nightly sexual relations with himself and eventually with young boys, whom he said he could control through their sexual slavery. He would watch through a keyhole while the orgies were conducted. He asked if she loved him and if she would do anything for him. When she answered she would, he then asked her, “Would you have sex with a dog?” There was no way she could go back on her word and felt she would rather die than displease him. Once she took rat poison because she felt her guru hadn’t been paying enough attention to her. When he found out he became extremely angry and beat her severely, shouting that if she were to die it would destroy his mission. Janaki began to see that the guru she had loved and idolized through her teen years was focused entirely on sex and power. Yet this same guru was widely revered, sought out as a master of hatha yoga and meditation, and treated with great respect in India. His depraved personal life seemed to bear no relation to his public status. (Caldwell, 42)
Some Thoughts for Satyananda Yoga Outsiders
For ten years, I’ve carried around a little blue book called Yoga Nidra, written by (or transcribed from talks by) Swami Satyananda. It was produced by the Yoga Publications Trust. At home, it sits on my shelf beside at least twenty other YPT volumes, with their primary-colour spines flashing like a row of crayons. Yoga Nidra details a technique I first learned and fell in love with during a yoga therapy training in California. The practice has been profound for me in many ways.
But I don’t know how I can continue to use this method, much less teach it to my students, now that this testimony against Satyananda has accumulated. The notion of leading people into a vulnerable, trance-like state by using a technique that was invented by an alleged rapist who then validated it by correlation with obscure medieval sources is intolerable to me. The power and utility of the methods emerging from Satyananda’s legacy rest on an implicit appreciation of the man’s integrity, which is now under serious attack.
Fatal attack, actually. The widely supported finding that only 2% of rape accusations are false should compel anyone interested in this story to presume that Shishy, Bhakti Manning, APR and Janaki are extremely likely to be telling the truth about their encounters with Satyananda. Dismissing this presumption is a failure of critical thinking complicitous with global rape culture.
A Broader Message for Yoga Teachers: Your Lineage Provides No Cover
Beyond these rather baseline proposals to help remedy this specific outrage, the lesson for other schools and lineages should finally be clear.
Your lineage doesn’t matter now. The history of your school doesn’t matter now. The name, purported attainments, cultural heritage and robes of your guru are no guarantee of integrity or safety. Even if you feel you stand confidently as part of a long line of ethical teachers, the well of faith in global yoga institutions has been irretrievably fouled, and the best way to prove your integrity as a practitioner is by showing what you do, exactly. You have to demonstrate the difference between communication and mystification. You have to demonstrate the difference between charisma and intimacy.
The venerable structure of parampara is surely still functional in some places. But far too many brands of modern yoga that have globalized can no longer claim any history of enlightened inheritance, either because of malfeasance in leadership or the blatant dishonesty of their claims. The parade of infamy is long and well-known: there’s no need to mention other organizations on the same page as the horrors at Mangrove Mountain.
Suffice to say: too many global brands of modern yoga are stained with scandal on a scale ranging from venal to obscene to abject. This does not mean that these organizations and their members haven’t been able to improve their transparency in the wake of failures, or that they don’t do good things in the world. But it does mean that all yoga schools — like all other institutes of higher learning — should at long last be disqualified as objects of faith.
If as a teacher you rely on the of any of these organizations or guru-legacies to enhance or secure your authority, it is clearly in the interest of your integrity and the health of the broader culture to be transparent about how you understand and position yourself in relation to their shadows. If you don’t, you really have no right to be taken seriously as someone who can provide care to others.
No one in yoga culture deserves anyone’s faith. Teachers deserve our inquiry. Where they come from and what devotees say about them is very thin gruel. You will know them by their fruits.
While nothing can fully atone for the grief of the former residents of Mangrove Mountain, the critical thinking and existential honesty that could arise out of this “never again” story might be a very good thing for yoga practitioners of the future.