The narrative around Pattabhi Jois’s sexual violence has been controlled by the enablers, bystanders, and people who profited by ignoring and denying his actions. As long as they have control of the narrative, there will be no justice. — Karen Rain
To sign please click here
For those who know that apologies are only a start, here is a proposal for how to make amends for the abuses of Pattabhi Jois and the inaction of his community.
An apology supported by reparative action will promote justice and lasting change.
Justice in action will foster an atmosphere in which more survivors of Jois, Ashtanga Yoga, and other yoga communities feel welcomed, honoured, and respected when they come forward to share their testimony and knowledge.
To ensure future safety for everyone, the voices and knowledge of survivors must be heard and absorbed.
We recognize the importance of publicly acknowledging Jois’s decades of assaults. However, the lack of a basic understanding of sexual violence, along with victim-blaming and buck-passing, have compromised many public statements, and caused further harm.
Now is not a moment to use as a business opportunity or for the rebranding of Ashtanga Yoga.
Now is the time to listen to and learn from the survivors.
Practitioners of Ashtanga Yoga believe that their method demands they uphold values like non-violence, truth-telling, and surrender.
They also know that the postures they practice are meant to be “seats” (asanas) for silent contemplation.
It’s time for Ashtanga teachers to raise the voices of survivors, and take a silent seat in honour of non-violence, truth-telling, and surrender.
The undersigned sponsors call for all Jois-affiliated Ashtanga teachers and leaders to voluntarily commit to the following Pledge for one year, beginning on October 1st, 2019.
I PLEDGE TO:
- PROMOTE, to my fullest capacity, the intellectual content of the Jois victims/survivors, whistleblowers, and other suppressed voices. I will invite them to come forward by giving them dedicated space with editorial control on social media, websites, podcasts, and blog platforms. When possible, I will pay contributors for educational content. I will make this material available on handouts in classes and trainings. For editorial guidance in these matters, please email inquiries to [email protected].
- PROMOTE, to my fullest capacity, trainings and workshops around safety, consent, hands on adjustments, and trauma awareness, delivered by qualified presenters from outside of Jois-affiliated networks . When possible, I will attend these workshops.
- ABSTAIN from writing or speaking about Pattabhi Jois and sexual violence in any way that takes an educational or leadership role.
- ABSTAIN from commencing any business venture that profits from the issue of abuse in yoga. I will not lead workshops around safety, consent, hands-on adjustments, or trauma-awareness.
- ABSTAIN from critiquing or analyzing the voices of survivors.
NOTE: Everyone is welcome to sign this pledge to show support. If you are an Ashtanga yoga teacher committing to comply with the pledge, please identify where you teach in the comments so that the survivors, your colleagues and your students will know that you are taking a seat for justice.
Concept Generated by Karen Rain
Ann West, Anneke Lucas, Cassie Jackson, Daniel Shaw, Diane Bruni, Elizabeth Emberly, Gregor Maehle, Harriet McAtee, Holly Faurot, Jacqueline Hargreaves, Dr. Jason Birch, Jordan Bakani, Josna Pankhania, Jubilee Cooke, Kathryn Bruni-Young, Laurel Beversdorf, Matthew Remski, Melissa Clark, Micki Evslin, Monica Gauci, Nicola Tiburzi, Rachel Meyer, Sarah Garden, Sasha Rose, Tamar Samir, Terry Johnson, Dr. Theodora Wildcroft, Tiffany Kieran, Trina Altman, Yonnie Fung
To sign please click here
A feeling of paralysis, confusion…an inner turmoil, has set in after stumbling on and reading or watching the atrocities viewed over the last few hours. Through that time an ever growing empathy and support to victims has emerged, for 1) the initial trauma 2) the isolation they have felt 3) the silencing and justification of the enablers and 4) the strength they possess in calling it out for what it is.
One quandary I have is approaching this subject with my teachers, as it seems to be a silent elephant within the room. Now knowing “silence is acceptance” it is not good enough to remain passive on this subject.
Also attached is a snippet of the Royal Commision into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse which ran for 5 years and was expanded to cover a range of different institutions and cases. This particular article follows the proceedings around Satyananda Yoga Ashram. Echoing many similarities faced by victims in this battle.
However possible, my support is with you.
Hello Jack, Thanks so much for posting this and the link, too. I agree with you on all counts. I’m amazed at the strength of the victims after all this time of isolation and shaming. On the other had I’m baffled at the ongoing silence of the senior teachers and the lack of pretty much any challenge of the Ashtanga authorities. Almost every major teacher I know keeps saying “don’t quote me”, “I’ve nothing to say”, “I haven’t seen anything” and worse even the ongoing justifications and reasonings why this was not abuse. I’m in this yoga for decades but seeing that this attitude is so widespread I’m beginning to suspect that it does to your brain something that isn’t actually that great unless you combine the asana practice with pranayama and meditation. I can only say that after seeing so many senior teachers fall short in this matter that asana practice alone doesn’t seem to be doing that much good for you.
I’ll pass your comments on to Karen Rain to make sure she sees them.
Hope this finds you well and thanks again
Attached link referenced previously: