Saturday, July 27, 2019

Ashtanga Yoga - You stop there


Ashtanga yoga is fading away. The time is coming when the practice in it's current form, will disappear. Do you see what's going on around you, what is happening and why?

Since 2010, a lot of female ashtangis have come forward to accuse Guruji Pathabhi Jois of sexually assaults happened in his yoga studio in Mysore, India, and during various workshops across the world.

The allegations include that he rubbed his genitals against their pelvises while they were in extreme backbends, lay on top of them while they were prostrate on the floor, and inserted his fingers into their vaginas showing them the mula bandhas, the body’s chakra, which lies in an unfortunate place.

About two years ago, Genny Priest, opened on change.org a petition to force Sharath to respond on sexual accusations for his grandfather Pathabhi Jois.

With great respect for the Ashtanga Yoga system, we ask KPJAYI Director Sharath Jois to issue an official statement that acknowledges Pattabhi Jois gave inappropriate adjustments to some of his students over the course of many years.

We believe a KPJAYI apology on behalf of Pattabhi Jois is the first step toward healing old as well as new wounds in the global Ashtanga community. We have a great love for this practice and would like KPJAYI to publicly champion an ethical teacher-student relationship. Together as a community we can lay the foundation that spurs action around the world to protect students as we find a safe, supportive environment in which to teach and practice yoga. 

Last week on Instagram, Sharath, finally responded. He said. "It brings me immense pain that I also witness him giving improper adjustments," Sharath wrote in his post. "I am sorry it caused pain for any of his students. After all these years I still feel pain from my grandfather’s actions."


Well, after reading this I must say, the ashtanga project was a bad idea from the beginning, I mean, what's the point having a practice that was taken so blindly and greedy by its practitioners. It should be no surprise that this form of yoga with it's brief flame, will be soon placed in a museum, just next to dinosaurs.

#MeToo killed the ashtanga romance

We, as a social animals, are shaped by the norms and values we have absorbed from people and environment around us. We are influenced by previous generations and as we stand now, we're child of neoliberalism which shaped our norms and values.

It made our world totally selfish with unrestricted competition, driven by our self-interest... and we surprisingly find ourselves overwhelmed by a mad infrastructure of assessments, monitoring, measuring, surveillance and audits, centrally directed and rigidly planned.

I am asking myself, would the sexual accusation against Patthabhi Jois happen if there was no #MeToo movement? And what is #MeToo anyway?

In October 2017, the hashtag #MeToo made headlines internationally, prompting women from around the world to publicly share their experiences of sexual assault or harassment.

The #MeToo Movement has been called a watershed moment in the advancement of gender equality, giving a powerful platform to women and demonstrating the extent of sexual assault and harassment across society.

I will tell you a joke - one guy, a certified ashtanga teacher, said when he was in Mysore that Pathabhi Jois grabbed his cock and said, "This is for fucking"! That traumatized him for ten years! He spent thousands dollars on psychoanalysis. He suffered from "a poor baby syndrome."

Joke on the side, the #MeToo movement, encouraging people to see themselves as poor babies, in Guruji's case, the victims of inappropriate touching. And they came to Mysore to Guruji again and again. And year after that, and they kiss his feet and they bought him chocolates...

It is popular to be sexually harassed by Pathabhi Jois. People are eager to tell their tales of sexual abuse. But, there are original accounts we cannot dismiss as hearsay:

The abuse began when, midway through the primary, Jois grabbed my genitals while swinging me back from Padmāsana (full lotus) after Kukkuṭāsana (an arm balance in lotus). The first time it happened I felt sickened and violated the whole day. He performed the “assist” daily after that, and I eventually became numb to it.

That summer I progressed through the backbending sequence in the first half of second series. Jois regularly adjusted me in each of these backbends. I can recall four ways in which he assaulted me: grabbing my genitals during the swing back from Padmāsana after Kukkuṭāsana and also in Supta Vajrāsana, lying on top of me with his groin aligned precisely with mine during the Supta Hasta Pādāṅguṣṭhāsana vinyasa set (a supine overhead split), and placing his hand on my breast to twist me deeper during Pāśāsana (noose pose).

In his most peculiar behavior, 82-year-old Jois would stand behind me throughout a group of asanas and, after each vinyasa, thrust his pelvis back and forth several times in a humping motion as he pushed my buttocks in downward-facing dog, cueing me to do the next posture. Years later, a teacher told me of a female ashtangi who had coined the term “butt-f**k-asana” for this move.

- #MeToo Story — Jubilee Cooke

If that was a case, Why did she  practice “butt-f**k-asana” with Guruji for so long?

Greed is an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth or power. This virus has fully infected ashtanga yoga community. Greed has influenced how they deal with others, the environment, spirituality, education, their practice and now their sexuality.

As they continue to be reshaped by different asanas until "you stop there" is met, this culture of restless and ruthless greed is only the legitimate guiding principle for their practice. In the process, they're steadily eating away the very teacher they taught them, undermining the visions and values of ashtanga yoga.

It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that." As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... then a whine. "I find that offensive." It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I am offended by that." Well, so fucking what. - Stephen Fry

What do you think about Jois’s harassment claims? I will leave this as an open question to ponder on.



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