Sunday, March 19, 2017

Guest Post: The Shadows Of Yoga & Spirituality: I Was Raped By My Yoga Teacher In India #ProtectWomenWorldwide


In writing this I hope to spark a flame in my fellow practitioners, teachers, potential seekers, women, and men in this world to be open to the possibility that everything has a shadow. I believe we have the responsibility to turn into, rather than away, from these more challenging aspects and hold all members of a spiritual community accountable for their actions, teachers and students alike. Specifically, our teachers are human like ourselves and are just as capable of inflicting wounds as they are to evoking healing.
This is a demand for Yoga Alliance to seriously invest time and money into creating a task force that can thoroughly investigate previous and current accusations of sexual assault in the industry, and to be transparent about these investigations with the general public to ensure a safer environment.
This is a plea to teachers that they require of themselves ongoing self-reflection and welcome outside measures of accountability knowing that they too can be deluded by these less “spiritual” parts of themselves and by projections others place on them, especially when in a role of “expert”. Though our levels of experience with the practice vary, I believe we are all students, and we are all teachers to one another. As a young woman seeking teachings for my own growth and healing I fell prey to a man who prescribed to this power dynamic, and even once told me, “I’m going to make you famous.” I looked at him in confusion because I had come back to India only to help teach the practice at his Yoga Shala. In my innocence, and perhaps blindness, I was taken advantage of in a very damaging way.  My body was invaded to the fullest extent; in the fall of 2013, I was raped by my own Yoga teacher, and owner of a major school in India that is in full operation still to this day.
I will never forget the sleepless days leading up to leaving India… the all night bus ride that took me to Mumbai…my traumatized body trying to make sense of what happened. I could not go to the police. I had witnessed the man who raped me pay them off on a weekly basis to ensure his illegal activities were covered. I was terrified of what worse things might happen to me if I did report him.
Heading down the crowded Indian streets in Goa I had a panic attack right before a scheduled meeting with my teacher (the owner of the school) and the other instructors for what we were going to teach in the courses coming. I turned my scooter around, called my husband at the time and told him I had to come home NOW. After returning to the United States I went to Planned Parenthood and reported the rape in a private room.  I had my frail body examined in fear I had been given a permanent marking of disease. Later I would learn from lawyers that because it wasn’t reported in India there would be no chance for justice, no matter how many reports made in the United States.
So I will say it again, and please pay attention. This is the voice of a woman who was raped by her own Yoga teacher; by a man who [still] owns a well-known school in India, Sampoorna Yoga School. Very few have wanted to face my trauma; nobody seems to want to dethrone the man who owns such a large school or disturb the romantic idea of Yoga only for healing. Instead, most want to avoid these dark truths, spiritually bypass the pain and focus solely on the “sunshine and rainbow” essence of Yoga. There are, however, a few who have left the school since I told them and witnessed inexcusable behavior, and for that I am eternally grateful.
This is the voice of a woman who has cried, yelled, hid herself in shame, and made repeated attempts to serve justice. This is not a call for sympathy; this is a call for action and a call for others to join with me in putting a stop to this happening again. A call to those within the legal world to investigate how this man, Deepak Sharma, could be brought to justice, and a call to help me hold the organization Yoga Alliance accountable for turning a blind eye to the allegations made back in 2015.
They [Yoga Alliance] are a multi million-dollar company paid to provide oversight. In their code of ethics they state that they hold schools and teachers accountable to “Avoid words and actions that constitute sexual harassment or harassment based on other legal protected characteristics” (Yoga Alliance Code of Conduct, 2016). They clearly are in violation of this moral and legal imperative. I wrote and contacted them several times. They responded on February 19, 2015, that they would “look into the matter,” but I never heard back from them. It has been over a year and I refuse to wait any longer and demand action be taken immediately.
Sampoorna Yoga School is still in good standing with Yoga Alliance. I am afraid other women similar to myself continue to visit the aforementioned school, and perhaps other questionable schools within the Alliance, and continue to be taken advantage of.
I recently spoke at a Jungian conference and told my other story of molestation and recovery in the wilderness, as this [speaking up about my assaults] is one of my commitments I have made as an adult woman to change what is happening in this world. After the presentation I had eight of 50 women come up to me over the next two days and whisper with tears in their eyes, “Me too.” 
My prayer is that women, men, and children who endure this abuse do not have to whisper anymore, and that these practices and teachings lead us to inhabit and empower our body rather than vacate it in search of something “better” outside of us.
This is the story of a woman who is speaking because I believe we can face this. This is most importantly a story of us… standing together in solidarity and restoring not only balance to the scales of justice, but also restoring the balance of shadow with sun. For there to be rainbows, we need both.
Thank you.
Cori Wright
@YogaAlliance #IDemandACTION #ProtectWomenWorldwide
  1. Share this post in your community to help encourage others to speak up, or simply know they are not alone.
  2. Write, tweet, call, etc. (whatever your social media platform is…) Yoga Alliance and demand action for this case. If you mention my name and the school they will have my complaints, and also others on file.
  3. If you are a lawyer who thinks you may be able to help me in pro-bono work, please contact me at I am a graduate student who has expended all of my resources trying to make my case.
  4. Donate time or money to your local resources for other women like me, such as; SASO, Planned Parenthood, or one of these organizations listed on this website:
  5. If you are interested in helping me create a non-profit that will work to build refugees and help centers for women who are not as fortunate as me to leave the place where the attack occurred, please contact me personally.
Cori Wright is currently living in New Mexico and pursuing her masters of science in Somatic Psychology in order to help other victims of sexual assault and chronic illness in wilderness based settings.
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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Yoga, Politics, And Mind Manipulation #Yoga

Image result for yoga peace sign

Pattabhi Jois* was once asked (Paraphrasing).."With all the horrible things going on in the world, how are we to continue living our lives?" His answer (Also paraphrasing) was "We elect politicians to take care of those things and you should just focus on your anus/self " I mostly agree with that
philosophy but from growing up in the marketing world I also recognize how voters and even the
politicians we elect can be manipulated with bad/misleading information and the constant repeating
of outright lies to the point of convincing people that they are true.

Most everyone remembers "Weapons of Mass Destruction", the primary reason the United States and
some our our allies entered into a Middle East war.   Now we know that information was fabricated with some entities appearing to greatly profit from war, discounting the loss of life and destruction of property and trust.

In our most recent U.S. presidential election the winner (Donald Trump) was outright lying 85%** of the time  versus 35%** from the looser (Hillary Clinton), yet through a form of mind manipulation a good portion of the voters were convinced that She was the one less truthful.

As yogis I believe we have a responsibility to look inside ourselves to find the truth; looking beyond
politics religion and alternative facts to peacefully unify the world. We are one.

  *Pattabhi Jois was the originator of the modern Ashtanga Yoga practice. **Estimates.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

From NPR.Org, Mainstream Medicine Just Catching Up To What We've Known For A Very Long Time: "Got Back Pain? Try Yoga Or Massage Before Reaching For The Pills"

New guidelines recommend patients with back pain try exercise, yoga, or massage before drug therapies.
Hero Images/Getty Images
Most of us suffer back pain at some point in our lives. In fact, it's one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor. Many of us also probably reach for medication. Now, new guidelines from the American College of Physicians say try exercise, yoga, or massage first.
That's a pretty big change for both doctors and patients, but a welcome one, some doctors say.
To come up with the recommendations, researchers analyzed more than 150 studies looking at what works and what doesn't when it comes to lower back pain.
The type of acute pain we're talking about is your "garden variety back pain you might get after shoveling a little too much or over-exercising," says ACP president Dr. Nitin Damle — not the kind of pain that radiates down your leg and causes numbness, or the type which results from a major accident.
In contrast to other types of pain, Damle says acute back pain usually goes away on its own. "The body will adjust, the inflammation will go down," he says. It may take a few days or even a week, but eventually you'll be back to normal.
So why risk side effects of medication, he says, if you don't have to? Side effects can include gastritis, stomach upset and a rise in blood pressure.
Instead, the new guidelines suggest techniques to speed up the healing process, including heat wraps, massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation which can "relax the muscles, joints, and tendons so people can be relieved of their low back pain sooner, rather than later."
Other options that can help include exercise, "mind-body" therapies like yoga, tai chi, mindfulness-based stress reduction and guided relaxation techniques.
For patients with chronic pain who just aren't responding to these non-drug therapies, the guidelines recommend medication to reduce inflammation such as ibuprofen and naproxen, which are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Acetaminophen doesn't reduce pain or inflammation and is no longer recommended for back pain, according to a review published in Annals of Internal Medicine on Tuesday. In certain cases, muscle relaxants might help short term.
If that fails, and pain persists, the next option could include medications for nerve pain or narcotics for pain. "Only in rare circumstances should opioids be given," Damle says, "and then only at the lowest dose possible and for the shortest period of time."
Primary care doctor Steven Atlas, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School who practices at Massachusetts General Hospital, wrote an editorial accompanying the guidelines. He describes them as a needed change. "We are moving away from simple fixes like a pill to a more complex view that involves a lot of lifestyle changes," he says.
Atlas says this is a big cultural shift. In order to make non-drug treatments more commonplace, he suggests doctors expand their referral systems and that health insurance companies consider covering these costs.
The guidelines were published online Feb. 13 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Donald Trump As The United States President And Our Need For Yoga And Other Healing Practices #Healing, #Yoga, #KeepMovingForward

In our democratic process the people have spoken and have elected Donald Trump president. I suggest we dedicate our yoga and other healing practices to bring people together for unity. We need to reach out to people with open hands and hearts and focus on the future and what we can achieve. In the big picture the next 4 years will just be a hiccup and we really do not know what to expect. Remember it was not that long ago that Donald Trump praised Hillary Clinton for doing a good job.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Donald Trump And His Potential Attack On Our Personal Freedoms #PersonalFreedoms, #Yoga, #Healing,#Unity

For me yoga represents the highest level of personal freedoms, accepting of all, and about the potential of what we can achieve on a individual and community level. The most disturbing thing to me about the popularity of Donald Trump is the schism# of his supporters that  expose anti semitism and Islamophobia. In the yoga community I expect many of you have also encountered those who even consider yoga to be evil, not from God or Jesus. In my perspective Jesus probably knew about yoga from spice traders there is even the possibility that he traveled to Southern India via a Roman merchant ship.

In my everyday life as a modern Jewish man I have encountered anti semitism and Islamophobia including a neighbor questioning how many 'Jews' were killed in the holocaust, not how many others were killed, and people telling me how all Muslims are evil. Until now I had no idea how popular some of these ideas were.

My concern is the potential for our personal freedoms to be under attack including religious freedoms and women's rights.

Since I know this blog is being read and shared around the world, I welcome all perspectives.

#Of course I do not believe all Trump supporters share the negative beliefs I have identified.

Now that Donald Trump is the United States President I encourage everyone to dedicate their healing
practices and positive energy to healing and unity.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Cheat Sheets For Ashtanga Yoga

The perfect cheat sheet to place next to your yoga mat: Asana sequences in a small and practical format for downloading and printing. These cheat sheets contain photos of the fundamental poses as well as pictures of the first, second and third Ashtanga yoga series.

Traditional form

Ashtanga Yoga in its traditional form, as taught by the late Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois. – Today this is the practice that is most common around the world.
Ashtanga Yoga Mantra


Traditional mantras are chanted at the beginning and end of every Aṣṭāṅga Yoga practice.
Surya Namaskara A & B

Sun Salutation A & B

The sun salutation (Sūrya Namaskāra) forms the foundation of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga practice. Here you will establish the calm rhythm of breathing (Ujjāyī) direction of Energy (Bandha) and concentration (Ḍṛṣti). The powerful flow of a moving meditation is born.
Fundamental Positions English

Fundamental Positions

The fundamental positions (Āsana) tune the physical and energetic body to balance (Alignment). The dynamic of the sun salutations transform to new forms of movement. (Vinyāsa).
Finishing Sequence

Finishing Sequence

The finishing sequence guides the practitioner in Aṣṭāṅga Yoga to an energetic culmination. The breathing (Ujjāyī) calms down, muscle contractions (Bandha) become subtle and concentration (Ḍṛṣti) turns inward.
Primary Series

Primary Series

The positions of primary series extend the previous practice. They require more power, flexibility and endurance. You will need some practice to learn them.
Intermediate Series

Intermediate Series

After about two years of constant practice a new energetic dimension unfolds for you. This phase on the path of Yoga is called Nāḍi Śodhana, the cleansing of the energetic channels. Breath (Ujjāyī), energy control (Bandha) and focus (Ḍṛṣti) become continuously more deep in experience. Sometimes at this point the physical body is so flexible and powerful that the 1st Series (see there) is no longer adequate as a field for learning. Then 2nd Series forms a new opportunity for practice.
Advanced A Series

Advanced Series

The advanced sequence of the Ashtanga Yoga, the third series, demands a high degree of strength and flexibility. A lot of practice and endurance is neccessary to learn it.

Variation by BNS Iyengar

In their essence, the series taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and BNS Iyengar are same. But in details we will find some minor differences. Here you will find Ashtanga Yoga as taught by BNS Iyengar (from Mysore):
Fundamental Positions (BNS Iyengar)

Fundamental Positions with BNS Iyengar

Fundamental positions from Ashtanga Yoga, here as practiced by BNS Iyengar.
Primary Series (BNS Iyengar)

Primary Series with BNS Iyengar

Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga here as practiced with BNS Iyengar.
Intermediate Series (BNS Iyengar)