Karen Rain Responds to Mary Taylor’s Post About the Sexual Misconduct of Pattabhi Jois
December 11, 20174 min read
Make sure to read the comments. Notice how rapidly the discussion got derailed by arguments about different definitions of scantily clad as pertains to women vs males.
One person summed it up very well.
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"?
Corboy: Damn right. And it isn't just in India. Go get on your local transit and see the blokes who are man spreading, taking up two seats, like they're doing limbering up exercises to prepare themselves for prostate surgery.
No one says anything. Eyes are averted.
No one comes up and compliments the man spreader on the size of his
junk and says "Duuuude, your package is just sooo gorgeous, let me give you some help with that."
Now, imagine the uproar if any female did this same thing.
Double standard folks. And yes, it does stink.
Here are some thoughtful comments following the Pattabhi Jois expose.
JD - ·
U. of Florida
Thank you for posting this. I have been assaulted by two teachers in 35 years, neither in ashtanga, although that is my practice. Both men are well known predators. Happy we are addressing this without shame
Like · Reply · 30 · Dec 11, 2017 9:21am
thank you for sharing this Julie. please share their names so that we can protect one another. thank you.
Like · Reply · 6 · Dec 13, 2017 12:07pm
Bodhananda Vedic Institute School of Ayurveda
I have heard from and read of women being assaulted. They all have said it happened by well known teachers but never say who. I would like to continue training with well known teachers but I'm concerned I may have it happen to me or that I'm paying a predator my hard earned money.
Like · Reply · 1 · Dec 13, 2017 5:00pm
Matthew Remski ·
I can say that as a reporter it is exceedingly difficult for women in the yoga world -- just like everywhere else -- to name names. They face one or more of a combination of disbelief, victim-shaming, cult-hazing tactics, social isolation, retraumatization, financial danger, and legal threats. The anonymized accounts in Rachel Brathen's recent piece represent a first step in reporting. To go further those women will need the support of professional journalism treatment, and, likely, legal advice. It's a long process, but it's happening.
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.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/2017 01:19AM by corboy.