*Certain names have been changed to preserve the anonymity of sources.
(Editor’s Note: TripAdvisor has removed the reviews that alleged rape at Agama Yoga. They remain visible in Google searches.)
If you have experienced sexual assault at Agama please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed November 1, 2013
CULT, Beware! Yikes !
These people have a reputation on the island for taking advantage of the young yoginis of the course. I've found many incongruencies and contradictions with their course. Often you'll overhear other patrons of agama quietly grumble in small groups, I found that when I approached and inquired more details of their disdain they would shush me or shun me.. Often afraid that I was "one of them" or that one of them was listening.
Reviewed July 26, 2013
A powerful practice with poor guidance
I spent about two years with Agama at its different locations in Thailand, India and Mexico. It’s is a wonderful place to get an education on the fundamentals of true yoga. The Level 1 class will likely change your life for the good.
However, the practice is extremely powerful, and it is difficult for many people to keep their heads straight. Some women loose all inhibition (when a bit of inhibition can be useful) and men become a source for a lot of unnecessary emotional pain (due to having multiple sex partners).
One of the first things you learn when arriving in Thailand is that Swami will have sex with pretty much any attractive woman, so he can “teach her” about Tantra. This is not a rumour. He said it in front of me more than once, and I know women he’s slept with. In fact, he will sleep new students, often after hypnotizing them, and those who are clearly in an emotionally vulnerable state.
Agama will teach you how to harness immense power, but it does a poor job of demonstrating how to use it. I learned a lot there. Yet the teachings and environment lead me to making some really big mistakes in my personal life.
Reviewed July 25, 2013
Lovely retreat, unecessary segregation.
My partner and I attended a Tantric retreat at Agama yoga. Overall, we had a positive experience and came out with a very heightened spiritual connection. However, I feel that this was the case largely because we remained very focused on our own experience rather than what was happening around us.
My partner and I are in a monogamous relationship. Being a tantric retreat and us not being too experienced with this practice, we assumed there would be many other couples, however there ended up being far more singles and only one other couple was monogamous.
This was just fine with us until some activities arose where we were only allowed to participate if we did so with others.
When asking if we could participate all the same but only with each other we were told that was not the point of the exercise and we could not. We felt a lot of pressure to participate both verbally and non verbally but in the end decided it was not for us and were forced to go home.
After standing outside and seeing everyone get undressed and sexual with each other, switching every couple of minutes, we were very content with our decision. Only a few minutes later, the other monogamous couple ran out in tears. The next day, many women arrived in tears and the energy was completely different between many couples. It was clear that boundaries has been crossed the night before.
Tantric intimacy is a practice between a man and a woman. We were confused as to why it was considered so wrong in this environment to participate in every aspect with your 'one and only'. Surely, this would create a far more pure and powerful energy than with someone you just met?
We felt this divide was very unnecessary and uncomfortable.
In contrast, like I said, staying focused on our own interactions brought us great joy and we experienced many beautiful revelations in our relationship . We took a lot away from this retreat and met some very inspiring people. Most of the activities brought us to a new level of 'closeness' and we truly learned a lot about ourselves and our relationships. We really enjoyed the verbal teaching as we were given a vast amount of information on tantra, communication and the relationship between Shiva and Shakti. This, along with the variety of wonderful mediation practices we learned, we still reference today. Living in Thailand at the time, this one definitely one our highlights.
Definition of DARVO
DARVO refers to a reaction perpetrators of wrong doing, particularly sexual offenders, may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior.
DARVO stands for "Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender."
The perpetrator or offender may:
Deny the behavior
Attack the individual doing the confronting
Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim -- or the whistle blower -- into an alleged offender.
This occurs, for instance, when an actually guilty perpetrator assumes the role of "falsely accused" and attacks the accuser's credibility and blames the accuser of being the perpetrator of a false accusation.
J Brown’s 11/26 podcast with Karen Rain generated a lot of comments.
The response has been split, owing to the tension of the second part (from 1:25:00 onwards). This is the segment in which Karen and J have a followup conversation, which was scheduled after Karen sent an email to J about some misgivings she had about the first segment, and wanted to give him feedback about how he’d handled the Ashtanga abuse story generally. To his good credit, he accepted.
For the context and story, read here:Quote
As of this writing, there are appreciative comments on the podcast page, neutral comments (“I can see both sides”), but also comments that range from mildly to strongly critical of Karen’s audacity in even bringing up these problems.
The critical comments orbit around three key feelings: that Karen is angry, that she is unfairly grilling J without knowing his style or the history of the podcast, and that J doesn’t deserve to be in the firing line because he’s just learning like everyone else. I have four thoughts on the critical comments.
It’s remarkable to see how intolerable it is for some to have the basic power structure of an interview overturned.
Listeners got to spend more than an hour soaking up the disclosures and emotional labour of Karen, who has repeatedly described how hard it is to talk about and relive the personal and institutional abuse.
But as soon as she adopts a different voice — a voice that does not confess but that asks for accountability around how that labour is used — that voice is described as “awful”, “angry”, “defensive”, “attacking”.
One commentator maligned her changed “tone” in the second part, when what’s obvious is that the only thing that shifted between two parts of the podcast was her position, and the fact that making declarative rather than confessional statements meant that she was more likely to be interrupted, and would have less patience for it.
The critics seem to like Karen as a victim, but not as an activist.
(Number two deleted for fair use - please read the entire article - URL below: Corboy
Critics are missing something crucial in the fact that J’s podcast is small enough that he can personally choose to take a “risk” here, yet large enough that it will have broad impact. That’s powerful. How many times have you seen Yoga Journal take responsibility for platforming abusers? Jubilee Cooke describes going to Mysore — where Jois assaulted her for months — in part because she was inspired by the Feb 1995 edition of YJ, in which a load of Jois devotees talked about his magical hands etc. Were his abuses known in 1995? Oh yes they were. Did anyone at YJ do any real homework back then? Nope. Did YJ jump at the chance to make amends when Cooke’s article was offered to them for publication? Nope!
Accountability does not tend to happen on a mass media scale. But it can happen on a phone call between two people, made public. That’s something to nourish, no matter how uncomfortable.
One commenter wrote that “it kind of pisses me off that [Karen] is making you the whipping post for all men and perpetrators of sexual abuse.” Setting aside the exaggeration here (Karen neither said nor implied anything close to this), I believe this comment carries a deeper concern. J has always been seen as a kind of Yoga Everyman — unaffiliated with particular authority, respectful of pretty much everything, somebody you want to be friends with, identify with, share stories with. That’s a core appeal of the podcast: that J affects familiarity while he connects old and new things, and near and far places. He offers a fraternal embrace emerging out of, but not entirely clear of, the shadows of an earlier time. So while the commenter above exaggerates with the phrase “all men and perpetrators of sexual abuse”, she is illuminating this Everyman role within the yoga world.
I think what’s so deeply uncomfortable about Karen confronting J is that her story begins with a revelation about Jois, but by implication impugns an entire culture for idealization, misogyny, and bypassing. Beneath Karen’s straightforward questions to J about how he’s handled a single news story is the drone of a deeper question posed to the Everyman: What exactly have we all been doing here over the past fifty years? Could there be a bigger yogic question?
On the evening of May 8, the patient became progressively agitated and combative and was noted to be gasping for air when attempting to drink water.
Hospital staff members questioned family about animal exposures, and the patient’s husband reported that she had been bitten on the right hand by a puppy approximately 6 weeks before symptom onset while touring in India. According to the husband, the patient cleaned the wound with the help of the tour operator but did not seek further medical treatment. The patient had no record of a pretravel health screening, did not receive rabies preexposure vaccination before the trip, nor had she ever been vaccinated against rabies.
The patient’s communicability period was presumed to have begun 2 weeks before symptom onset, on April 19. The patient was a resident of a communal living facility. The Piedmont Health District interviewed 13 residents of the commune who reported close contact with the patient, four of whom met the exposure criteria: three persons had direct contact with the patient’s saliva, and one person was bitten by the patient.
(Underlined by Corboy. Rabies virus tortures you)
All four were advised to initiate PEP.
The patient had participated in a lengthy organized yoga retreat tour of India during January 28–April 5, 2017. Seventeen tour members (including the patient) from five states (California, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia) and two countries (United States and Spain) and six staff members from two countries (United States and India) participated in the tour.
Tour members confirmed that the patient was bitten by a puppy outside her hotel in Rishikesh, India, and that the wound was washed with water, but no further treatment was administered. Three tour members in addition to the patient reported direct contact with the same puppy; two were determined not to have been exposed to infectious materials. One, a North Carolina resident, reported having been bitten on the leg; TJHD recommended PEP for this person.
(PEP) is the rabies immunization series of shots administered to prevent rabies after exposure to an infected person or animal.
Boldface font by Corboy for emphasis
A tour manual was provided to all members before travel that recommended consulting with a physician regarding any pretravel health concerns, but did not list specific health risks or pretravel vaccination recommendations.
The World Health Organization International Health Regulations focal point with the Indian Ministry of Health was notified of the case, and local health authorities conducted an investigation (4). One rabid dog was reported from the area within the preceding 6 months, but no additional information regarding the puppy or its owner was available.
A Virginia woman who was bit by a dog during a yoga retreat in India died weeks later after contracting rabies, a new report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention revealed.
The 65-year-old woman, who was not identified in the report, traveled to Asia for the multi-month yoga trip in early 2017. While overseas, she came into contact with the dog that bit her in Rishikesh, but did not experience symptoms until early May — about six weeks after the bite — when she’d already returned to America.
She cleaned her injury after the dog bite with water but did not seek further treatment at the time, her husband said, according to the CDC report released Thursday.