About two weeks ago I first heard of the abuse allegations made against Yogi Bhajan in a recently published book, and while I was saddened, I was not shaken. It has taken me time to formulate my own feelings and thoughts separately from the masses. I noticed I was waiting for my personal teachers to speak, and realized I am somehow missing the point and needed to voice my own opinion.
Perhaps it’s because I believe women, because #metoo — I am also a survivor and I know how much courage it must have taken this woman Premka to speak up about this situation. Perhaps it’s also because I studied shadow work and cult psychology in my master’s program, and I’ve always held a healthy dose of skepticism while doing my own research beyond what was taught in teacher trainings. I have often needed to separate “the teachings from the man” to deeply experience my own connection to spirit, and make sense of the hierarchical power dynamics in spiritual community; dynamics that held confusing and seemingly contrary sentiments like, “You are your own best teacher,” but at the same time also “Don’t trust a teacher who has no teacher.” Eventually, I leaned more to the former and threw out the latter, trusting my intuition with whom I study with.
Obviously if I had ever heard/read stories like Premka’s before, I would have never idolized the man I had learned from my teachers was saintly. I would have spoken about him much differently. I was passing on what I learned in respect, though I had never met him. For me, a bright eyed yogi who started on this path a few years after his passing, I felt any devotion to the man (and not his spiritual writings) was out of respect for my own teachers and their devotion to him… but not really directly from my own experience. For parroting and not teaching from experience, I apologize. Yet I don’t know that all of that was a mistake — I think a part of me needed to believe in the good of all these teachers to survive the energetic transformation myself and not give up and slide back into my old destructive patterns and life. The truth is, we’re all good and bad, we’re all light and shadow. I had survived a lot of bad and shadow and needed to be uplifted in the faith of the golden chain. The work worked for me.
Moving forward. I will keep sharing the technology of Kundalini Yoga with all my heart because the physiological science behind the full experience has changed my life and multitudes of others with whom I’ve had the honor of sharing the teachings on the regular.
And STILL, if you are a student and your own traumas and grief around his abuse of power takes you away from these teachings and technology now, I completely honor that, understand it too, and have no agenda to change your mind. I support you where you are and trust you know what is best for your healing. If it helps, please know I will not be mentioning his name in my classes any longer, though I cannot change what I have said about him in the past. Please know at this time and moving forward my classes, series, workshops, private sessions, and retreats in no way financially support his legacy.
In summary, my belief is that the energetic awakening that comes from these teachings isn’t this man’s, it isn’t mine or yours, it’s a direct link to spirit and it’s way bigger than mankind’s egoic flaws. That connection to spirit is the golden chain. I’m going to keep believing women, and also continue practicing the tools that saved my soul without putting the man who brought the teachings to the U.S. on a pedestal. I don’t feel this is “slandering my teacher(s)” either. I feel this is natural evolution, and perhaps maybe the reason this man repeatedly said he wanted his students to be ten times greater than him. I know the only constant in life is evolution too, and why I also have so vehemently asked my students to be ten times greater than me.
You live your truth, be authentic, be steadfast. The more integrated we are as individuals, the less fragmented we will be as a society. Many many blessings on your journey, Friend.
If this all seems too much to bare, please know there are other breathwork and somatic offerings I guide (and can recommend) that may also help you to receive the healing you need without lingering conflict attached to this lineage.