thank you for the post. I know you address this in the article, but it is particularly notable that all the women are referred to as "scantily clad" when they are wearing almost identical outfits to the men (except the women are more covered). Why is men in skin tight shorts and no shirt not seen as "scantily clad"?
The women's clothing is not the problem, even allowing for cultural differences. Any teacher, especially one with Jois' seniority, can tell students how to dress appropriately for their class.
If he felt the Western women were underdressed, he should have said so.
This is on him.
Like · Reply · 4 · Dec 12, 2017 7:56am
I'm extremely grateful for Mary's acknowledgement and hope that, as in this case, it will open up the discussion moving forward. Thank you Karen and Matthew for pointing out what seems to be a deeply-rooted belief for so many, that somehow women truly are to blame... This belief is so engrained that it shows up even as we try to deny it, as you have pointed out. I have often felt in the yoga world that just to come through the door in a female body, even if I remained in a frumpy snowsuit, even if I were to say and do nothing, my mere presence as a being perceived by others to be a woman is...See More
Like · Reply · 4 · Dec 12, 2017 8:05am
I am so new to Ashtanga and am feeling conflicted about the light that has been shown upon our Guru. I guess my question would be, were these adjustments performed in the same way to men and they are deemed inappropriate because the receiver was a woman? If we want to be accepted and allowed behind the curtain of the deep practices, then too shouldn't we be willing to receive the adjustments/teachings in the same way that they have been taught? If the adjustments were different between men and women then... there is room for deep question in my own mind. I would like to here the feedback on consistency of adjustments between sexes.
Like · Reply · 1 · Dec 13, 2017 11:20am
Matthew Remski ·
I'll be publishing an more extensive article in the mainstream press here in Canada within the next little while that will show that Jois' touching of women was absolutely different in feeling and intensity from his touching of men.
The other part of your question reflects a misperception amongst some Jois students. "Adjustments" such as those given by Jois have no pre-modern history. They likely carry the assumptions of the physical interventions he knew from the Mysore Palace, which evolved in a context of corporal punishment.
I'm afraid that if you've been told that there is something "traditional" about these adjustments, you've been decieved. This claim has been a common justification amongst devoted students. It's unclear whether it was used as a conscious manipulation or not.
Don't take my word for it. Here's yoga scholar Jacqueline Hargreaves on the matter:
"To clarify the historical and cultural perspectives on the adjustments of Pattabhi Jois:
1. There is no precedent for the m?labandha adjustment (as given by Jois) in classical, medieval or pre-modern yoga. Nor is it replicated in any other lineages which extend from KM (i.e., Iyengar, Desikachar, Ramaswami, Mohan, Devi, etc.). This practice appears to have started with Jois and to suggest that there is a yogic teaching in this method is nonsensical.
2. To suggest that Western-style dress was the provocative cause of Jois’ behaviour completely diminishes the power he held in his position as guru. It also displays a limited understanding of the constant threat to women’s safety that is experienced when living and travelling in India, regardless of what one wears! It is never acceptable for an orthodox Brahmin to inappropriately touch and/or adjust a woman regardless of their age, race, caste or clothing, and such an offender would be well aware that this type of action is improper and provocative. If anything, the cultural differences would mean that these adjustments by a provincial Brahmin are even more inappropriate.
Like · Reply · Dec 13, 2017 11:50am
atthew Remski ·
For a different view on the "safety" of his adjustments, read through Guruji (Stern/Donahaye). You can start with the interview of Brad Ramsay. If you buy the book on Kindle, try word-searches for "pain" and "injury".
Other deceptions in the above comment include the use of the word "traditional". There is no premodern history of adjustments in hathayoga. It begins in the early 20th century through the influence of various physical culture training protocols. A further deception is that Jois was an "osteopath". He might have used the word "bonesetting" to describe cracking people's spines, but that does not imply osteopathic training.
Infinite Light at Cronomi Records
Im also new to Ashtanga and i red here all the comments and...wow! I can only quote :
"Watch and pray so that you will not enter into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
Like · Reply · 1 · Dec 13, 2017 12:21pm
Retired, well almost at Retirement in Thailand
Miss Rain, my thoughts exactly in regards to Mary F. Bringing up western students dress and behavior towards Jois. She brought it up twice. And then at the end she summarizes her love for him. Double messages I got from her.
"...I watched my mother grapple with the sturdiness of her own beliefs in the face of death. I realized that many of the ideas I took as my own because they sounded good were just exactly that: palatable sound bytes that translated well to the western mind. I needed to find my own answers, and I wanted to do so without the obligation of broadcasting those answers to the public. I stopped teaching and returned to my writing desk to ask more questions than I could answer..."
So what if a few people needlessly spend a bit more and get nourished a bit less, chasing after a gluten-free miracle that may never come? That needn't affect the rest of us. Except it does. The language used in wellness circles doesn't just point to the ostensible effects of gluten on our health—it soars clear of dietary science and straight into another realm altogether. On popular wellness blogs, the gluten I've heard about is "evil," "poison," "contaminating," and "toxic." There's even a leading Australian gluten-free site called glutenisthedevil.com. This isn't just about nutrition, it's about morality, and when food becomes imbued with this kind of scandalizing language, the dinner table becomes a minefield.
I spoke about this purity fetish to Nigella Lawson, whose guilt-free approach to eating helped to reconfigure my attitude to food when I was at my most vulnerable. "I despair of the term 'clean eating,'" she said, "though I actually like the food that comes under that banner. ['Clean eating'] necessarily implies that any other form of eating—and consequently the eater of it—is dirty or impure and thus bad, and it's not simply a way of shaming and persecuting others, but leads to that self-shaming and self-persecution that is forcibly detrimental to true healthy eating."
But between the lines of the wellness cookbooks, I read a different story, and it's not just gluten in the firing line. In Madeleine Shaw's first cookbook alone, the vocabulary used to describe countless foods, and the way they make us feel, suggests a less accepting view of health: "junk," "sluggish," "bad," "foe," "cheat," and "fat" are all words she uses. She also reminds us that our friends might try to sabotage our diets, but that we must learn to ignore them. Ella Mills begs us to treat ourselves when the craving takes us, but that given enough time, those treat foods will begin to seem "kind of gross, actually."
It gives rise to a kind of all-or-nothing approach to nutrition where all the delicious nuance of cooking, eating, and pleasure is brusquely swept aside. When I asked dietitian and advocate of the Health at Every Size campaign, Michelle Allison, about this dichotomy, she explained: "There is no third option presented by diet culture—there is only black or white, good or bad, dieting or off-the-wagon... And many people flip between the two states like a light switch, on or off, for more or less their entire lives." Nobody sums up the totalitarianism of wellness better than Deliciously Ella herself, though. "It's not a diet—it's a lifestyle." And that's just the catch.
Reviewed July 19, 2013
waste of time...
if you're into "tantric" sex communiteis, you're at the right spot.
if you want to learn yoga .. don't bother.
that's pretty much it, straightforward !!
Review collected in partnership with this attraction
Ask SadhuBaba108 about Agama Yoga
Reviewed February 10, 2014
sexual manipulation of the shakti's
I stayed at agama for 2 months last spring. I found myself being elated to finally 'have arrived' and felt blessed to gain such a level of knowledge about tantric yoga. I participated in the tantra workshop and met my lover there. I had a wonderful time. Muktananda seemed personally interested in me and I could'nt believe this, i felt flattered and confused.
I had some issues I needed to speak about so I went to Maha, then to Swami and then to Muktananda.
I had a serious issue and fell betrayed that swami looked at me like a was a piece of flesh disguised as a hot shakti that he could help heal. He didnt want to listen to me, he kept repeating that I needed sex 3 hours a day since I am Scorpio, that would heal men . Ofcourse he offered himself. He saw the look on my face and told me not to be prude, surely the sex in my life has been meaningless, but this kind is pure, since it is consecrated to shiva. I wanted to get back to the subject of my visit, but he would't have it. If I didnt want him, there where many other tantric men on the island who would be thriled to have a shakti like me..He hugged me and said all it took was 20 sec to know if you want a man inside you or not. I left angry and confused, and yes emotionally raped.
I heard the talk before, I heard about all the relationships breaking, I heart about the condemnation of monogamous couples and many yogis interfering in their ways by trying to seduce one of them, and plainly telling them 'this is not the way'. ( what Is the way ?)
Ofcourse when you are a spiritual searcher, by the time you get to the island, you are tired, like me. You sooooo need someone you can trust, who has the answer to your inner demons and a cure for your suffering. And they offer all that, and you are happy to accept. I do love the school's teachings, I am in awe for their extensive knowledge on the subject. But somewhere they srtayed. They honestly believe they are helping people getting rid of the pollution in their brains by church and society about monogamy by promoting sleeping around.( surely you see the mess and the tears it creates) They say they are sex counselors, and they had sex with thousands of women, all unprotected.
I had a talk to Muktananda about this, he is a grand speaker, very convincing. He nearly convinced me to leave my lover, see other men, set my lover free to be with other women, surely I was jealous if I didn't do it, he told me so. And how would I grow spiritually, how would I end my suffering if I stayed possessive towards my lover and not grant him another shakti? That was all I needed, I dont want to be a worthless woman So I went to see him the week after, and I left, I didnt sleep with him. And it was the best decision I ever made to turn these tantric clowns down. For some this is great, and just what they are looking for, but most females who end up in their ( and other) beds, will not feel so good as soon as they leave this island.
The position they have as teachers makes them get away with this. They highly insulted my intelligence. Sure, it has been nice to wear sexy clothes and to be transfigured into a goddess. But it is my power, not anyone else to take. When You feel you are being manipulated, good chance it is true. Be careful of yourself when you go out there, for it may not be what it seems
eviewed July 24, 2013
emphasis on sex
I've done quiet a lot at agama (many levels and some retreats, workshops) and although I had the bad feeling pretty soon about the school and about the human 'interactions' there I wanted to give it another try as I had enjoyed a lot the first month teaching and it's content. But pretty soon I saw that the whole 'system' shares simmilarities with certain sects having and using sexuality as their tool.
There is a huge brainwash going on and especially some women easily fall into this as they come there with broken hearts. Open relationships are promoted. This is not necessarily bad if it's your way but the poor part is that monogamous relationships and people who want to live a monogamous relationship are not respected at all. You could be even more interesting to some of the 'advanced' hungry wolves if you have a partner .. So in this regard it's like in a very low level village bar ... Lots of drama, broken hearts and intrigues ... In the end I observed women and men going through tremendous emotional suppression - trying to overcome this by unhealthy sexual lives which turn into addiction.
Mr. so-called Swami loves to talk about sex with women in his private meetings (personal experience) and loves to advice men to work on their minds ... Very sexist and not the attitude someone 'achieved' should have, in my opinion of course.
The first month intensive course can be very inspiring but that is all. If you really want to dive into spirituality Agama is probably not the place to be. Better look for sth. else. If you're interested in some easy going environment with sexual adventure and intrigues then go ahead!
The retreats are cool though .. As they have a very clear goal you're not really involved into all the previously mentioned 'weird' spiritual perceptions...
Ask Nomadonnas about Agama Yoga
They argue that the success of lululemon’s branding strategy is rooted in neoliberalism, a political ideology that has gained momentum in the last 30 years.
Neoliberalism puts the responsibility on individuals to mitigate and manage the risks and uncertainties in their lives.
The study examines lululemon’s ‘manifesto’, a consistent feature of the company’s successful but relatively low-budget branding strategy. Printed on the store’s reusable bags, the manifesto gives consumers advice on how to live well. “‘Stress is related to 99% of all illness,” it claims, and “Nature wants us to be mediocre because we have a greater chance to survive and reproduce. Mediocrity is as close to the bottom as it is to the top, and will give you a lousy life”.
Lavrence and Lozanski argue that such branding moralizes success and failure. If a person isn’t perfectly healthy, for example, this must be because of poor choices the person has freely made.
Nothing about what is unfolding on Koh Phangan feels particularly unfamiliar to Rick Ross, a cult expert, deprogrammer and author, who’s been interviewed on the subject countless times. The secluded island setting is, he says, a much easier place to create the environment necessary for what he labels “destructive groups.”
“If you take people out of normal circumstances and put them on an island, surrounded by people who are locked into a particular leader, authority and mindset, they create … a false social proof,” he said in a recent interview from his office in Los Angeles.
“You completely control periods of time where they have no feedback other than the feedback they receive from other disciples, teachers, acolytes and devotees,” he continued. “You’re in control of what they’re seeing, hearing, who they’re interacting with. It can be very intense.”
It’s a reality Ava, now three years removed from Koh Phangan, knows all too well.
“No one is going to be interested in you if you don’t do the same as everybody else,” she said. “That meant dressing a certain way, acting a certain way. Then all the behavior comes very normal, because people all around you are doing the same thing.
“I lost all perspective completely.”
While the stories of sexual coercion and rape might seem like obvious red flags to any potential acolytes, former Agama members spoken to by Coconuts Bangkok say the sexual initiations described are not introduced immediately.
Much as with better-known entities like the Church of Scientology, students are slowly graduated through levels — 24 in this case — only learning certain truths that might seem disturbing to a newcomer after first being properly groomed to accept the knowledge.
“It’s like a church,” explained Stephen, the project manager, describing what he saw as a form of manipulation. “They’ve created something that makes you feel left out when you don’t go.”
“People are always asking ‘Hey, have you done this?’ and ‘Why didn’t you go [to the group workshops]?” he said.
“By the time you reach level 3, you don’t really know what’s going on, so you want to go because you’re so curious. You want to be part of this elite group.”
Ava describes the experience as having a carrot continually dangled just out of reach.
“Every time you’re hanging out with people in the café, they’re like ‘wait until you get to this next level and you get this technique,'” she said. “It kind of kept you hooked.”
But while proponents of tantric yoga insist that sexual activity plays a relatively small, if important, part in their holistic approach to well-being, students and co-workers at the Agama school describe a very different experience.
“All of his advice that he ever gave students involved sex. Sex was the answer to every psychological, spiritual, emotional, physical problem,” Miller said in a recent interview.
Multiple sources corroborated her description of an unrelenting emphasis on sex inside the Agama compound, an exercise in breaking down inhibitions to the point where sexual advances from teachers felt entirely unexceptional.
“Nancy, you have to give yourself to men, you have to seduce them with your eyes and have as many partners as possible in as many Zodiac signs as possible,” she remembers the guru telling her. It was the only solution, he insisted, to finding the long-term partner she sought.
Ava, who said she had repeatedly made clear her lack of interest in Tarcau didn’t get away with mere advice, however, describing being “constantly pressured by him.”
“This went on for two years,” she said. “Eventually, I just felt like I had no other option. I felt like I needed healing, and he convinced me that he was the one to heal me.”
Looking back, Ava, a painfully shy yet hopeful young woman when she arrived at the school, now sees the consistent pressure she faced with a painful clarity.
She was being “broken.”