How can I tell if my yoga class is a cult?
Do your research! Unlike in the Summer of ’69, we have the Internet that can provide a lot of information. “If you Google an organization and multiple posts come up suggesting it might be a cult — don’t go,” says Lalich. And trust your instincts while they are still in tact. Lalich recently did research on an alleged yoga cult where the leader sticks his finger up your butt: “If you are in an environment like that and everyone is acting like it’s normal — run out the door.”
Biography of a yogi : Paramahansa Yogananda and the origins of modern yoga
Anya P. Foxen.
New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 
xviii, 238 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Foxen, Anya P., 1986- author.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 191-228) and index.
The turbaned superman
Yogis without borders
Here comes the yogiman
Hagiography of a yogi.
With over four million copies in print, Parmahansa Yogananda's autobiography has been translated into thirty-three languages, and it still serves as a gateway into yoga and alternative spirituality for countless North American practitioners.
This book examines Yogananda's life and work to clarify linkages between the seemingly disparate aspects of modern yoga, and illuminates the intimate connections between yoga and metaphysically-leaning American traditions such as Unitarianism, New Thought, and Theosophy.
Instead of treating yoga as a stable practice, Anya P. Foxen proposes that it is the figure of the Yogi that gives the practice of his followers both form and meaning.
Focusing on Yogis rather than yoga during the period of transnational popularization highlights the continuities in the concept of the Yogi as superhuman even as it illuminates the transformation of the practice itself.
Skillfully balancing traditional yogic ritual, metaphysical spirituality, physical culture, and a flair for the stage, Foxen shows, Yogananda taught a proto-modern yoga to his American audiences. His Yogoda program has remained under the radar of yoga scholarship due to its lack of reliance on recognizable postures. However, as a regimen of training for the modern Yogi, Yogananda's method synthesizes the spiritual and superhuman aspirations of Indian traditions with the metaphysical and health-oriented sensibilities of Euro-American progressivism in a way that exactly prefigures present-day transnational yoga culture.
Yet, at the heart of it all, Yogananda retains a sense of what it means to be a Yogi: his message is that the natural destiny of the human is the superhuman.
(source: Nielsen Book Data) 9780190668051 20171121
With every injury, my doctor kept suggesting to just do gentle yoga.
Diwan's workers “stopped coming” when the deaths of friends of co-workers made it impossible to deny that their jobs were killing them. Some failed to show up because they were dying themselves.
“I was a supervisor for a grinding and polishing unit for 10 years or so,” says Diwan. “But when the workers stopped coming, I did the grinding myself for three or four years.”
Once a proud, muscular man, Diwan is hollow-eyed and emaciated, unable to sleep and hardly able to eat because of a relentless, hacking cough.
Throughout a GlobalPost interview with his family members, he slumps on the stoop of his home and coughs. The sound of it is horrible: a dry, futile rasp that yields no relief. It goes on and on, forcing a listener to imagine the sand that fills his lungs. Finally, he reels forward and spits a long, viscous trail of saliva onto the pavement, making it clear why he has positioned himself on the edge of the stoop.
Then the coughing overcomes him again.
But silicosis is a fate too horrible to wish on anyone, and Diwan only bears a small portion of the blame for the disease that, mercifully, took his life as well, 10 days after he met with GlobalPost.
Agates vary in color from bright blue to glowing amber and deep black. They yield beautiful striped patterns when cut and polished. In addition to jewelry and rosary beads, they are used for decorative eggs, hearts and spheres and the like. New Age merchants market them as having the power to protect from stress, stomach pain, “energy drains” and even bad dreams. “This is the stone that everyone should have,” asserts one web retailer.
But the stone's silica content means that grinders and polishers are highly susceptible to silicosis, or “grinder's asthma” — an incurable, tuberculosis-like occupational disease. That's especially true in India, where agate workers typically earn less than a dollar a day, and exploitative employment conditions prevent them from adopting even basic safety measures.
I was at a workshop here last month where a twenty something digital nomad was telling budding entrepreneurs how to google search new markets, invent products for them and work social media to flog them. This is a headfirst dive into disorder and deception. And the yoga industry has role modeled all this.
There are some commentators who say it’s all just an innocent mistake, or growing pains. But those who have been here longer know full well that none of this is happening by accident.
These are consciously operated, cynically driven cash dollar enterprises ruled by a networked clique who cross-pollinate the business, employ and protect their own mates, ostracise their critics and live beyond the law.
The top six challenges these yoga studio owners face are:
1. Competing with other facilities
2. Attracting new students
3. Retaining students
4. Staying cash flow positive
5. Finding good teachers
6. Preserving the integrity of yoga
These teachers, not content with just selling boring old ordinary yoga, have had to sex up the persuasion stakes to attract sales, and so yoga, in its ancient, scientific, sacred status has withered off to be replaced, first by Yoga Barn, and then by its competitors, with spicier and more seductive lures, including yoga that is now sold as ‘shamanic’, or ‘deep’, or ‘biodynamic’, or ‘kundalini-activating’, or ‘therapeutic’, or ‘goddess activated’ – anything to attract bites from the many valuable fish in the extremely profitable spirituality sea.