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Update: Sad Details of Kausthub Desikachar’s Psychopathic Abuse of Power, Sexual Misconduct and the Preserving of His Family’s Legacy

in World News, YD News, Yoga Crime

(image: ascentmagazine.com)

An update to the latest scandal and sad disappointment to reach the yoga public involving Kausthub Desikachar, son of T.K.V. Desikachar, grandson of Sri T. Krishnamacharya: a letter sent Tuesday, October 16th to an estimated 700 email recipients spanning “respected friends, colleagues, well-wishers of KYM and of Sri T.K.V. Desikachar and members of KHYF” from longtime respected teacher in the tradition, R. Sriram, on “the culmination of many cases of harassment over the years, which have come to light only dimly or not come to light at all, but which are bound to face up now after this official complaint.”

Sriram has been a student of T.K.V.Desikachar for almost 30 years during which time he had some direct learning under Sri T.Krishnamacharya himself at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Madras, an institute for yogic studies, according to his website.

Here you have his full letter addressing the situation in more detail, describing three students’ complaints against Kausthub involving abuse of power, sexual harassment and intimidation. Sriram takes careful steps to point out the true Desikachar legacy and the legacy of Sri T. Krishnamacharya, separating the misdeeds of its younger generation from the teachings and traditions, and actually suggesting that Kausthub may require longterm professional help.

(We’re also sad to hear of T.K.V. Desikachar’s illness and send him well wishes.)

Our reasons to post this, and any misuse of power for sexual and/or other gains past, present or future can be summed up by Sriram’s words:

Yoga is not about culling out spirits or surrendering one’s individual will power to a teacher who assumes the role of a yoga-sorcerer. No teacher in the world has a right to demand authority over others. The goal of yoga is Kaivalya, independency and not wrong devotion.

Here’s the full letter. Beware there is some strong imagery.

UPDATE: Final version of the letter with additional testimony as confirmed by one of the women as well as Sriram, the letter’s author.

Respected friends, colleagues, well-wishers of KYM and of Sri T.K.V. Desikachar and members of KHYF,

Since I have been a student of Sri Desikachar since 1977, a teacher at the KYM from 1982 to 1987, sat with great awe in innumerable lectures of Prof T. Krishnamacharya and have been an important support for the flourishing of KHYF in Europe, I am compelled to write this letter.

Actually in the year of Sri Desikachar’s 75th birthday, we ought to take stock of the unique service he has done to the field of yoga. He has highlighted the role of the breath and of Patanjali’s Yogasutra in a way that no other modern yoga teacher has done. He has written books, many of which like “The Religiousness of Yoga” are unique treasures in the world of modern yoga literature. He has trained innumerable students world-wide and inspired them to understand the depth of the teachings of his father, Prof T. Krishnamacharya. Today we ought to recapitulate this and in gratitude and quietness pray for his welfare. For, he is not well. He told me in January 2010 that he is suffering from an irreversible ailment of brain deterioration. More than two years have passed since, and today he is in no condition to assess or address the situation which has been unfolding.

Thanks to five brave young women who have, in spite of feeling intimidated, lodged a complaint with the police in Austria and the resolve of a group of 50 students undergoing a yoga therapist training to stand behind these women, matters have come to light which are shocking. I am adding here a brief sketch of three persons’ reports. This is the culmination of many cases of harassment over the years, which have come to light only dimly or not come to light at all, but which are bound to face up now after this official complaint. Through some of their co-students studying with me on an individual basis, these five women have approached me and I have spoken to them.

Kausthub has systematically intimidated them into believing that they are unwell and need his help and then sexually harassed them. If they did not comply, he has been abusive towards them and tried to instill greater fear into them regarding their own health and welfare or that of those close to them. He has been using tools that are absolutely not in the realm of yoga, surely not in that of his father or his grandfather. He has used them in a way which completely lacks any sense of decorum for a yoga-teacher, which the two great masters have stood for. He has used the reputation of his father and his grandfather not only to entice women against their will into submitting to him sexually, but also to propagate wrong information.

The details lead us to the conclusion that Kausthub is developing psychopathically, needs perhaps professional help on a long term basis and should be stopped from further activity in the yoga world. It is awful to say this, since I have seen Kausthub’s astuteness in teaching theory. But his continuation poses a threat not only to women but also to the right awareness for the teachings of the two masters.

A woman of a European country: She has a history of abuse and had lost her parents in a young age. She is at the seminar in Austria with her 15-month old baby. In a private class he forces her to believe that her parents had been killed by a spirit and that the spirit is still lurking around and would affect her and would come to take the child. He tells her that her husband is not good for her and unsuited to deal with this, but he, Kausthub would be able to heal her and remove the spirit. He cajoles her into submitting to a long “granthi” treatment where he presses the feet and the belly with his fingers. The treatment gives her excruciating pain. At the end of it, he puts his tongue violently into her so that she almost gets choked. During the rest of the seminar session he calls her repeatedly into his room with pretexts and tries repeatedly to kiss her and force her into submitting to his sexual approaches.

A woman living in Germany is a long-term student of his, who got close to many teachers and also family members of Kausthub. He has been repeatedly grabbing her grossly, forcing his tongue into her mouth, twisting her arm, saying she has a lot of problems and he can only help her if he can penetrate her. He promises her that it will be good for her to sleep with him, because he would give her the ring of Kirshnamacharya to wear during the intercourse. During a study tour of Mysore with his “Sanga” group, whilst they are all gathered in the Parakala Mutt, the holy centre associated with Sri Krishnamacharya’s biography, he gives her the ring and asks her to sexually unite with him. Since she continuously refuses to comply, he begins screaming that she is frigid and cannot relieve her problems if she doesn’t reveal her warmth to him.

Last year right in her presence he writes a fictive interview and publishes it in August 2011 in the leaflet “Synergie”, which he sends world-wide around. In this interview he uses the name of T.K.V. Desikachar as the partner to his interview, who was obviously in no condition to participate in such an interview.

A woman of USA :  During a private teaching session he performs a “granthi” treatment on her. She has writhing pain but trusts that he is doing something beneficial for her. At the end of the painful treatment he embraces her and kisses her on the mouth before she leaves his room. A few days later she develops massive convulsions. He repeatedly maintains that she has been sexually abused as a child, probably by someone very close to her like her father. She tells him numerous times that there was nothing of that sort in her history that she remembers, but he continues, ”Come on, own up, you have many signs of someone who was sexually abused, be honest about it, tell me what happened.” Kausthub talks about his opinion to others in the group without her permission. From Austria she flies to Chennai, where she had registered and paid for a KYM teacher training. Her roommates take care of her as her state worsens and she is unable to attend the classes. Her requests to Kausthub to help her are not responded to properly by him and so she goes to an Ayurvedic physician, to whom she does not relate all the details, because Kausthub has warned her not to speak about it at all, if she ever wanted to get healed. Kausthub calls her roommates for a meeting and warns them that she is unstable and they should not get too involved with her.

A woman living in a European country: Since the first module he was always encouraging her to be better,” to shine”, to develop as a healer, always on the side telling her what her downside and challenges were, but still she was learning from this and trusting him, feeling close to his teacher, until she realized recently how he was trying to make her dependent to him. He had shown behaviors that she thought were inappropriate both with physical language and verbally, he was repeatedly spanking her on the butt publicly, even if she asked him not to, he would say she had to relax, she was so stiff, why not to… telling her how she had such a good ass, to quote some examples. During the third module he implied that she had been abused in her past and when she said she hadn’t he told her not to be very sure about that, leaving her with a big distress inside. During last module, at lunch time, without her asking him for any help, he started manipulating her verbally and physically, pressing her granties on her arm until she could not bear the pain, her head was falling on the lunch table because of the pain, while two classmates were watching, and lead her to believe she was all alone in this world, but he was there for her, he would help her “become a ruby”. He hugged her, put a hand on her butt and kissed her on the lips, while one of her female classmates was watching in awe. She rejected him saying that he was making her uncomfortable and he told her to relax, that she is so stiff, and made fun of her saying it was just her “cultural bullshit”… The next day after breakfast, again without permission or a therapeutical context, he pressed again her granties, violently under her eyes, leaving her with a lot of physical pain and emotional distress, he tried to kiss her again, she rejected him once more and he did not like it. A few hours later he was humiliating her in front of other people, saying things like “she is choosing always the wrong men”, that she could assist in the Yoga Sutras Seminar as the “class whore”, and attend the Spirituality in Sexuality seminar as his assistant while making suggestive body movements. When he said goodbye before leaving he again said: “you know I am there for you, I will help you.”

The simple case of a healthy and cheerful long-term student of mine in Germany illustrates in what way manipulation is going on: During a midday walk in a seminar he catches up with her and tells her, “I am seriously worried about your allergies and overall health”. “Don’t worry Kausthub, it is not bad”. “No, I tell you, there is some heavy disorder behind this, it could get much worse.” “Kausthub! You can’t speak to me like this and try put fears into me. I have lost my father due to cancer.” “See! Didn’t I tell you that you are having serious and unknown problems. Trust me, I know.”

After having heard what has happened in Estonia in the “Sanga-meeting” this August, I can only say, the affected people ought to speak out. Yoga is not about culling out spirits or surrendering one’s individual will power to a teacher who assumes the role of a yoga-sorcerer. No teacher in the world has a right to demand authority over others. The goal of yoga is Kaivalya, independency and not wrong devotion.

We are called to advise people to boycott KHYF. I am in touch with several senior and long-time students of Sri Desikachar and active members of KYM and have taken their support in writing this letter. In Chennai there is an honest attempt to shut all teachers of KHYF out of the doors of KYM, the centre started by Sri Desikachar. This is a right effort for people to reinvest their faith in his life-project KYM, which is a non-profit organization. If it succeeds in shutting out the influence of Kausthub, there will be an authentic forum for students all over the world to learn yoga as the way it was envisaged by him.

With regards
Sriram

May this lead to healing and open the doors for others to feel empowered to come forward in the future.

——

Earlier

78 comments… add one

  • thespiral

    This is depressing and disturbing. The yoga community should be a beacon of compassion and light, but sometimes it seems like a place where abusers and manipulators can hide easily, surrounding themselves with an aura of mystical authority and unquestioned by their followers. The gross ethical breaches of teachers like John Friend, Rodney Yee and Kausthub Desikachar hurt us all, and we should all be more vigilant in the future. So unfortunate.

  • Miko

    If true, I would classify these actions as radically worse than anything attributed to Rodney Yee or John Friend.

    AG Mohan was totally on top of this by the way:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1HLVVK468E&feature=channel&list=UL

    Also, please do not allow the actions of this man to sully the reputation of KYM Krishnamacharya OR TKV Desicachar, I recently received teaching at KYM and it was of the highest quality both in content and ethics.

  • Very, very sad……….

  • whoa. That is beyond shocking and scandalous. I am glad these women came forward to stop this madness and can only hope they can get real help to deal with this deception and abuse.

  • Janet

    Psychopathy seems to be the norm in many a yoga “guru’s” places these days….

    http://earthenergyreader.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/the-unsound-among-us/

  • ThriveLikeMe

    How horrifying to be one of those women, searching for healing and finding that. I am, however, impressed by the candor of the letter. If only the catholic church had responded like this!

  • At the same time I’m sad to learn about this situation, I’m very impressed by R. Sriram. His letter is so straightforward, honest, insightful, and articulate, with absolutely no BS. I found this paragraph particularly interesting, “The details lead us to the conclusion that Kausthub is developing psychopathically, needs perhaps professional help on a long term basis and should be stopped from further activity in the yoga world. It is awful to say this, since I have seen Kausthub’s astuteness in teaching theory. But his continuation poses a threat not only to women but also to the right awareness for the teachings of the two masters.”

  • People seem to forget that there are western teachers in KHYF who also knew what Kausthub was doing and did nothing.

  • moon walker

    Why do you assume that western teachers in the tradition did nothing? It is a ridiculous assumption…..

    and I agree with the previous comment that who could have known what he was really up to……I am quite certain that NOBODY knew he was a psychopath….

  • Sam

    ummm …everyone heard his inappropriate jokes about women and in my case, I heard one anti-semitic joke told to an entire class, mostly ethnic Jews, that deeply disturbed me. He plagiarized portions of his published Krishnamacharya text, the Makaranda, then bullied the translators instead of apologizing. He posted sexy pictures he took of under-dressed models and asked in the textline: “Isn’t she ‘Smoking hot?” (she was in fact smoking too!). He asked KHYF members to buy his book of poems, which contained verses indicating lust for a new woman in his life, and bickering with his current partner. small signs indeed, but can you imagine Sri Desikachar doing such things? never! yet no one complained. what’s up with that?

  • no, it’s not a ridiculous assumption. I know it as a fact. however, many did not know the full details of his actions.

  • Sam

    Linda’s right, although based on my direct knowledge of them I can’t imagine any of them knew about the full horror of his coercion. Even senior students of Desikachar who avoided Kausthub are completely shocked by the allegations. In a million small ways, however, senior KHYF teachers covered up for his defects of character, probably in the name of aligning themselves with the “real” Desikachar/Krishnamacharya lineage. We need to ask whether or not a lineage is a means of guaranteeing authenticity in teaching or yet another form of spiritual materialism and greed. Tough questions for everyone ahead.

  • Anne

    “We need to ask whether or not a lineage is a means of guaranteeing authenticity in teaching or yet another form of spiritual materialism and greed. Tough questions for everyone ahead.”

    Yes.. GREED is a word that comes up often lately when I hear, read or think about this subject. And confusion too…

  • Radha Rajan

    These white christians would go to any lengths to abuse and defame revered Hindus traditions and practices. One sure way to do this is to plant women of questionable motives into sacred institutions and then have them cry rape. There is a serious attempt to defame yoga because of its Hindu religious-spiritual roots and content. I can understand white christians and other whiteskins doing this but why are white spittle licking idiot Hindus doing this?

  • Dayita Angelis

    are you claiming that there are no corrupt Hindu teachers?

  • Qvintus

    @ Radha Rajan: Several detailed complaints over many years against this yogacharya seem to clearly negate your crazy conspiracy theory of “white” Christian “women of questionable motives”, and I would question if your motives for obvious victim-blaming are not both sexist and racist?

  • Hindutva Much?

    Are you the same Radha Rajan, Hindutva and animal activist of India?

    If so you criticised Rajiv Malhotra for defending Nityananda, whom you slam, so then why defend Kausthub? Or is it that only YOU are allowed to critique another Indian?

  • lettruthbetold

    Yeah sure. Maybe you should read Indian papers to inform yourself about how many American and european sexual predators and pedophiles have been operating in Christian and church-run orphanages, and children’s homes.

  • Hindutva Much?

    We are not Christians. We have nothing to do with what goes on in Churches. We do not support abuse, either in Church, Mandir, Mosque, Yoga Center or wherever.

  • yogasangauk

    Radha Rajan

    Any abuse is illegal. It does not matter which country it occurs in. And it will be up to the appropriate authorities to investigate these allegations. In the meantime the purpose of these boards is to have a dialogue. To see if anything there is anything to be learned as a yoga community. How do we prevent mal-practice? How do we help any one else in a similar situation? I posted this below – but I post this again – if you feel that you are in a similar situation if you feel you have been manipulated what do you do? There are numerous helplines or anyone can feel free to message me if they need to be directed: these are the indicators of grooming

    THE SIX STAGES OF GROOMING
    Grooming is the process by which an offender draws a victim into an abusive and emotional/sexual relationship and maintains that relationship in secrecy. The shrouding of the relationship is an essential feature of grooming.
    The grooming offender works to separate the victim from peers, typically by engendering in the persons’ sense that they are special to the them and giving a kind of love or attention that the person is lacking
    Stage 1: Targeting the victim
    The offender targets a victim by sizing up the person’s vulnerability, emotional neediness, isolation and lower self-confidence.
    Stage 2: Gaining the victim’s trust
    The offender gains trust by watching and gathering information about the person, getting to know his needs and how to fill them. Offenders mix effortlessly with responsible caretakers because they generate warm and calibrated attention.
    Stage 3: Filling a need
    Once the offender begins to fill the persons needs, that they may assume noticeably more importance in the adults life and may become idealized. Gifts, extra attention, affection becomes more important in their self worth.
    Stage 4: Isolating the adult
    The groomer uses the developing special relationship with the adult to create situations in which they are alone together. This isolation further reinforces a special connection. This isolates the person further from the group they are in. A special relationship can be even more reinforced when an offender cultivates a sense in the vulnerable person that he is loved or appreciated in a way those others, not even parents or friends provide.
    Stage 5: Sexualizing the relationship
    At a stage of sufficient emotional dependence and trust, the offender progressively sexualizes the relationship.
    .

  • Sam

    This is a highly useful part of our consciousness-raising, post-hoc. Thanks, yogasangauk. As you know the typical abuser has her/himself been abused. This should never prevent us from speaking out and encouraging the alleged offender to face charges. I would like to see a bit more leadership on this, wouldn’t you?

  • I am a student of KYM and have completed 200 hours TT training and will not continue 500 hours until Futher notice of a North America Affiliate has been established. I refuse to pay any more money to an Institution that has misconduct and abuse.

  • Ranjit Sahu

    This is not about Christianity or Hinduism, white skin or black skin. It is about abuse. The white Christians did not accuse the alleged perpetrator for so many years. Why would they have to do it so suddenly now? En masse. It is indeed unfortunate.

  • Qvintus

    “Why would they have to do it so suddenly now?”

    If you are one female practitioner/student of yoga, publicly accusing a very famous yoga teacher of misconduct, you will have to be a very strong person, confident and certain to be heard, and not dismissed as some crazy student. When enough victims pile up, and the abusive behaviour becomes too apparent to ignore…

    It should not exist in yoga, or in religion, or in any society, but it does. And so we have to deal with it.

    From my (western student) perspective the teacher-student relationship is at the center of the issue. Surrounding this we have the (sometimes authoritarian) spiritual traditions of yoga, and a yoga community that often lack the tools to deal with these problems.

  • Hindutva Much?

    We are not Christians.

  • yogasangauk

    RANJIT– what is your interest in defending this behavior? What does it matter what has occurred before? Are you an acquaintance or friend of the accused? Are you attempting to make a case of a conspiracy theory? Would this appear more palatable if there was only one abuse?

    There are many cases in the United Kingdom of abuse presently. In one specific case the perpetrator is dead. Many of the victims came forward thirty years ago but no-one listened to them. In Rochdale, another case, young girls were being abused and until they grouped collectively their complaints were not considered serious.

    As I am not privy to specifics in this case it is impossible for me to comment. What I can say, as an enormous generalization ,when a woman is victimized sometimes it needs collaboration for her to find her voice. In my opinion for what it is worth if these allegations are correct as the case proceeds there will be an even larger mass supporting the smaller crowd.

    SAM – you ask would Ii like to see more leadership?

    What I would like is the TRUTH.

    What I would like is for these women to feel secure and safe.

    What I would like is for any other women who feel they have been manipulated, abused either emotionally, physically and mentally to come forward and support these courageous women.

    What I would like is those that feel there are incomes are dependent upon the source and are worried to speak out to find an environment where they can express their concerns.

    What I would like is everyone to suspend judgment, to keep their personal grudges and make this into a professional enquiry into yoga practices and find a way of ensuring that professional bodies have a charter of principles that must be adhered to.

    I guess that is enough of a rant☺

  • Sam

    make this into a professional enquiry into yoga practices and find a way of ensuring that professional bodies have a charter of principles that must be adhered to.

    excellent idea–but to give this any force, you will have to cope with the question of how loyalty to a lineage or teacher can erode even the most stringent, stated ethical guidelines. also–in UK this can be organized under the BWY, but there is not similar organization in the US. Yoga Alliance not particularly interested in dealing with such complaints, although I do not mean to imply that they are careless–just irrelevant to most teachers in US who identify with their teacher/lineage, not YA.

  • Ranjit Sahu

    Does it sound like I have defended this person? May be my English is not that good. What I wanted to convey was why would so many people want to accuse now when they have not done for so long. This was a question posed to Radha Rajan. Which means there must be more substance to the behaviour. I really hope I have conveyed what I wanted to.
    Ranjit

  • Jagannatha

    It is better to have any online course of Meditation than physically attending the meditation Training camps. I venture to think that meditation requires no direct coaching. Simply sit in Padmaasana and focus on OM. The more you practice, the better. That’s all. Don’t adhere to cheats. Seems too simplified ? May be. But this is the best way. UDDHARED AATMANNAATMAANAM

  • That's a noogie!!

    This guy is clearly a douche bag, no question. But what about a little discretion on the part of the women? I mean, if some dude wants to do a little “granthi” on your stomach, say “no”. Walk. Don’t go back. Seriously, what kind of nutbars inhabit this organization?

  • noogie?fuck you

    Discretion? You obviously don’t know shit about women, about the climate of these places for women, or about the pressure to rever authority. Bitch please. Go fellate Katie Roiphie with your post-feminist fantasies and sanctimony. Go blow Arlen Spector’s ghost. The term “hostile environment” didn’t even exist before Anita Hill testified against Clarence Thomas’ sexual harassment, and Spector blamed her. Yoga is a hostile environment for women, quite often. Yoga has been as guilty as the catholic church and the boy scouts in pressuring people to bow to authority, lineage, tradition, self-blame, and silence. Those, too, have been called “discretion,” dick-head, often by the very people who commit abuses, and their peers.

  • That's a noogie!!

    Grow up. The boy scouts and the catholic church are abuses perpetuated most frequently on children, not adults, and who are usually not there voluntarily. But let’s be realistic: you have some serious issues, babe. You must be a riot in a yoga class. Perhaps you need some professional help in some repressed areas. Have you considered a session of “Granthi” ?

  • nope.

    Nope. If you think we live in a world (or that yoga is a world) that encourages or supports women saying “no” or walking away or protesting or resisting male authority, you don’t know shit about women, about the world, or yoga. If they had said no, they would have been kicked out and black-balled. If they have reported, they would have been disbelieved, blamed, pathologized, or people would have done nothing. Apparently, as other have reported, there vwere many, many who knew this shit was going down, and offered no support. Nothing. Again, you don’t know shit about the world women ACTUALLY have to deal with.

  • ps

    oh. And I’m not your “babe,” douche-bag. Issues, much? Nah — go post on reddit; I’m sure they’d love to have you — they’ve already given plenty of shelter to your kind.

  • That's a noogie!!

    “If they had said no, they would have been kicked out and black-balled.”
    And that would have been the greatest thing that could have happened to them…then they might have realized that yoga is not about giving away all of your power to another person, and then blaming them for taking advantage of you. Further, why would anyone want to be part of such an organization in the first place? Seriously…the real world is much better, babe…

  • Babe

    I’m sorry this stuff keeps occuring. It would help us all if people would refrain from the woman-hating blame-fests. If people want to troll, please go elsewhere.

  • Realdeal

    The real world is def. better. But the way these incidents occur, in said real world, self-styled gurus choose students who have not necessarily “given their power over” but have definitely invested years, dollars, faith, trust, and commitment to a path. Often they even live on the premises, if it’s an ashram or a training center. Often women don’t know it’s a flawed and abusive organization until they’re already way dug in. To slap some one’s hands away, get up and leave a situation like that means leaving your entire life behind: food, clothing, chslter, paycheck, friends, everything. To report the incident and try to seek justice and protection from within the organization and not be believed to be believed but not supported or to have people not do anything to help is doubly traumatizing and betraying. It’s crushing. Then you STILL have to leave everything before, or risk further abuse Which is not to say these things can’t or shouldn’t be done — many woman have done just that — but they are harder, much harder to do than your brutally flippant attitude gives any respect to. And though you seem to expect this behavior from women students, out of the blue, your viciousness indicates that you would never be one of those to support and back up women who take such brave stands. You are part of the problem.

  • I quite agree that a good student keeps alert and doesn’t leave common sense and criticality outside the door. I know that it is a difficult balance. Respect is one matter, forgetting one’s sense of judgment and for that matter justice another.. I hope anybody out there reading this and being in a situation they don’t feel comfortable in will be courageous and step away from the source of the discomfort. Be safe (mind and body). x

  • yogasangauk

    LUST OVER TRUST – an article you may enjoy:

    Why F*cking Your Yoga Students is Wrong

    by Michael on February 9, 2012 · 9 comments

    Put It Away
    Hey, yoga teachers! Thinkin’ about hittin’ it with that hot newbie in luon over there? I doubt the Trig teacher who got it on with her lawfully legal sixteen year old student kept her job. But don’t worry, you’ll probably keep yours. After all, we’re all adults here. No biggie, right?

    Wrong. In more ways than one. Cause it’s not about age. Its about ethics.

    Regardless of what you’re teaching, for a student-teacher relationship to work, there is an inherent and necessary power dynamic. Transmitter of knowledge and receiver of knowledge. Implicit and necessary. If there isn’t, you’re not teaching.

    And, obviously, if you’re not teaching yoga, you’re not a yoga teacher. You’re something else.

    I wear many hats in my shala: bootcamp general, therapist, standup comic. The army doesn’t think it’s a good idea to sleep with a commanding officer, and few folks would cosign shnogging your shrink. Heck, having worked in a comedy club for many years, I can tell you whole heartedly it is rarely a good idea to nail a comic (I kid!).

    It doesn’t take an ethics professor to see that the underlying issues of power dynamics aren’t age specific. And, as the adage goes, power corrupts (if you’re not vigilant). My students are off limits, though they are gorgeous, intelligent, and often quite in synch with my beliefs.

    Why the line in the sand?

    Because the aim of yoga is to allow the spirit to find it’s true nature as observer of the world– and its a teacher of yoga’s responsibility to guide the student towards that mark. The process itself is ugly, uncomfortable, and as wildly arduous as it is necessary.

    Lust over trust? You can’t teach yoga that way.

    As students (and every teacher is foremost a student), we work so hard to get tranquil thought; thought that isn’t corrupted by bullshit, tainted by the phenomenal world. According to the yoga sutras, uncorrupted thought comes through impartiality to virtue, vice, pleasure, and pain. Tranquil thought is free of sensuous passion… and I can’t help but ask, how many flings fill that critera?

    I’ve got no fingers up.

    A yoga teacher has to treat every student as a spiritual aspirant. Teaching methods not congruent? Fine. But to literally f*ck up and deteriorate an aspirant’s spiritual path by breeding insolvency? This doesn’t just make someone a bad teacher– it makes them something far worse.

    To engage in a sexual relationship and not edit the student-teacher dynamic is an act of violence and dishonesty. But, listen, I know, it happens.

    Lets be radical to the brink of hyperbole for a moment. If sleeping with someone who isn’t old enough to consent is called statutory rape, what do we call it when we sleep with someone who isn’t far enough along on their path to know better?

    Spiritual rape?

    Think that title is ugly? Remember the stakes.

  • Jenny

    It would seem that the people behind the KYM and KHYF must have been aware and covered this up for years. Dreadful!

  • Susanna

    My open letter to my former sangha, KHYF-NA in response to their appointment of Menaka Desikachar to KHYF leadership in lieu of Kausthub Desikachar:

    First of all, the facts you already know: the new KHYF leader, Menaka, Kausthub’s mother, is, unwittingly or not, in an ideal position to receive compensation on behalf of her entire family, how much is unclear. This new, institutional firewall is very thin indeed, until we are offered a detailed picture of where exactly the money is sent every year.

    Ordinarily, one would say — well, that’s family business, especially in South India!

    That approach won’t work in this context. KHYF was sold to us as an ethical, ISO-certified, global organization. That certification was accompanied by Kausthub’s promise that it would assure high ethical standards. KHYF is not a non-profit (with a supervising board), they’re a for-profit foundation, who are not legally obliged to share their accounting in public. That global, ISO certification also means they should not permit their leaders/officers to walk away from EU law enforcement.

    The KHYF leadership should have come out publicly in favor of compensation and due process in Austria, as well as an offer to open accounting statements to member scrutiny.

    Officers of KHYF should be transparent throughout, not opaque and mysterious. If anyone was reassured by the nebulous-sounding “national and international” standards committee that will ensure excellence in teaching — it’s unlikely that an organization that fails to come out in favor of due process in this instance will somehow be better equipped to handle miscarriages of justice in the future.

    I officially quit the organization shortly before the end term of my membership, partly because of family duties (my own) and partly because of Kausthub’s “accidental” intellectual property theft, and his later, the reported intimidation of the translators who spoke out. They were mother and daughter, two strong devotees of Sri Desikachar, who told the online community that they only wanted a simple apology, not financial compensation from Kausthub.

    I was discreet about this on my departure — even though I had other concerns based on Kausthub’s autobiographical poetry which he tried to sell to our membership. Why be discreet, I ask myself now? Did I drink the Kool-Aid? Do I fail to see my dharma here? Where are my ethical duties? It seems self-evident that at least some of us have not been acharyas, but gurus. I hope to be better than that in the future.

    If the allegations are true, and if Kausthub did indeed progress to grooming and silencing his sexual abuse victims, he is likely to continue to act out, especially under the additional stress in his life. South Indian police are unlikely to redress the complaints of young women. Those close to him will simply urge him to “heal” in therapy. The recidivism rate among abusers is alarmingly high; outcomes from ordinary talk therapy are often poor. Denial in abusers and their families is a broad and deep phenomenon. Think of a convicted abuser such as Jerry Sandusky. He’s still denying it.

    Ask yourself, why is there no KHYF-NA website, which frankly we could organize for less than a few hundred dollars on wordpress? A few years ago, there was a committee, tasked with creating the site. After months of work by a group of professional women in KHYF, working pro bono on a project that would be well within financial reach, Kausthub shut the project down abruptly. In retrospect, it would have been inconvenient for him, if reports on his behavior were to have been circulated on a discussion board without the power for him to edit all information shared. No one stood up to that blatant control of members, either, including myself. I’m quite ashamed.

    If you can be a friend to your teachers in this difficult situation — great, no problem. Every one of us is flawed. Heaven forbid I should give a litmus test to all my friends, when I barely pass muster. But please don’t expect any one of us to be your acharya. Take care of your heart, especially if your goal is kaivalya.

    “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Ida B Wells, African American activist.

    Love,
    Susanna

  • Papaya

    I have been following the comments here, and I just want to put my two cents in. I can see the frustration of all who have commented and can also see both sides of the coin, so to speak.

    I am a student of the KYM, and have been going to India for the last 3 years for teacher training. I love the school, love the teachers, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to pursue a deeper knowledge of the teachings in a tradition that speaks to all individuals.

    First and foremost, we were taught from the very beginning that there is a difference between an “acharya” and a “guru”. Not one of the teachers, including Krishnamacharya himself, has ever ascribed to be a “guru”. Gurus are supposedly endowed with special “gifts” or siddhi-s that supposedly enable them to tap into some divine source, and they can transmit this “power” directly to their disciples or students. Acharyas, on the other hand, are teachers of a specific lineage who spend many years in study of their tradition, by way of their own teacher, who has the teachings passed down from their teacher, and so on. They do not ask their students to believe in them, just the teachings. This distinction has always been, in my experience, the way we have learned, and never once was I told that I would receive special powers from any of my teachers there, including my direct mentor.

    That said, I am also a survivor of rape and molestation as a child and teenager. These particular crimes were not my fault, and I have spent many years coming to terms with them, and trying to educate as many people as possible on the importance of not becoming a victim. Does that mean that it won’t happen? Who knows? I did not consider myself vulnerable at the time, I have always been very confident and strong in many respects. 6 years ago I started suffering from debilitating panic attacks, which after many years of therapy I discovered that many past traumas in my life culminated in my eruption of mental distress. At the time I was weak mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. That would have been the perfect opportunity for someone to take advantage of me, but, I feel in hindsight, I still would have been strong enough mentally to see the signs and know to run the other direction.

    I am an American though. I was raised in a very open minded environment. I was taught at a very early age about sex, and have always had open and honest discussions with my parents about sex and sexuality. After traveling to India and seeing first hand the repression and suppression of both men and women in their own sexuality, I see that had I been brought up in that world, I may not have known or had access to information, friends, family, therapy, etc. that would have made me as strong as I am today. One question that keeps coming up for my classmates and myself is: What would I have done if it happened to me? What if one of my teachers tried to touch me inappropriately? The answer from the US women is: I would have kicked him square in the nuts, and run! And then reported the incident, not fearing any repercussions. Why? Because we don’t care if we get kicked out of the lineage, because we know that the teachings are just teachings. Not Self study. Remember, we have spent thousands of dollars in this pursuit, traveling yearly to Chennai costs a lot of money in not only tuition, lodging, airfare, etc., but also missed money at home, because we had to spend 6-8 weeks there each visit. We have invested our lives in the pursuit of knowledge, but we also know ourselves though this study; We have been given tools of self discovery and awareness. We have heard all our lives: “No means NO!” Maybe we are lucky that so much in our culture is out of the closet, so to speak.

    I met a lot of people raised in India when I was there and forged many strong friendships. As a person from the west looking in, I can tell you that you must try to see things from all perspectives. In no way am I defending K’s behavior, just trying to understand what would have created the environment in which he felt he could cross these boundaries. Firstly, he was raised in an extremely sheltered environment, and from the time he was born was raised to take on the responsibility of carrying on this tradition for his father. Even his own sister, who does do a lot of work for the school, was probably never even considered as a possible next-in-line, because she is a woman. His own mother, who also teaches there, could have also been considered, maybe she was, who knows, but I can only assume it’s because she is a woman. In India the idea of sexuality, call it a British colonial leftover, is repressed so deeply, that most men do not have sex before an arranged or love marriage. Based on numerous accounts I have heard, they are segregated from women in many ways, and only have their first teenage sexual encounters with members of the same sex. Their sexual education is limited, and all are required to dress modestly at all times, even when practicing yoga. Only from Krishnamacharya’s urging were women even allowed to practice yoga, chanting, etc, alongside men in the last 50 years or so. Everyone has their respective place in society, and that’s it. When I was there, I was groped by strange men, flashed by strange men, propositioned by strange men, as if because of the color of my skin, they thought I was more loose as a “westerner” in thought and deed. All the men who were more “western” in their thinking told me stories of experiences with their maids, and even sisters and cousins. This is how underground sexuality is. No one talks about it, but of course, we are human, so experiences do occur. Now as for K, I don’t know his personal history, but based on the fact that he was living in a bubble, where he was designated as the prodigal son, and given many benefits in life, financially, open doors, etc. I can only assume that he wanted to be more modern, had sexual desires, but had no clue on how to act on them. No outlet, no way of understanding these feelings.

    Now stick him in an arena where he is teaching many western women in European settings, where they might be wearing less modest clothing, and he explodes like a volcano! All the pent up desires begin to express in unhealthy and inappropriate ways, and he has no one to put him in check, because he is the revered son. He begins to see this “power” and thinks he can do whatever he wants, and there is no one to correct him. He also is a very brilliant thinker, and can easily see who can be preyed upon more easily, and there is the recipe for disaster. He has the means, and the arena in which to do whatever he wants, yet he lacks the understanding to pursue his desires in a healthy appropriate way. The mind becomes clouded with delusions of grandeur and begins machinations. He could have easily visited the red light district on his many trips to Amsterdam, he could have formulated relationships outside of the yoga student base; he could have done many things besides what he allegedly did do, but who was there amongst his friends and family to teach him the way? I doubt he had many “guy friends” or any women friends growing up outside of the yoga world. How was he supposed to learn how to healthily express his desires? We may never know that side of the story, and I am only speculating based on what I have personally witnessed.

    Now as for the victims: how can any of us know why they “allowed” him to do what he did? How can any of us get into their minds and hearts? We can’t. We shouldn’t judge them for what they did or didn’t do. We can’t blame the people who feared repercussions, and we can’t know how deeply they were abused or manipulated. We can, however, try to discover why these allegations were thrown under the rug for so long. We can hold the organization accountable for full disclosure. We can ask without fear our own teachers and fellow students to be able to speak their truths. We can create an environment where people can talk freely about their sexuality without judging them, and offer people education on sexuality, without fear of being thought of as freaks. And we can by our own example be there for someone who is suffering, and let them know that it’s ok, and it does get better! Be a friend, be intuitive when you see the signs, open yourself up and you will see and be able to help people when you sense that they are suffering. Stop judging people!

    Yoga is a practice. Not just the practice of sitting on your mat and moving around and breathing, but more like a doctor’s “practice”. A place for people to enter and try to find healing and awareness about themselves. We cannot choose who comes in the door, or throw people away because they don’t think like us. We cannot force people to conform to a set of rules, we can only ask them to practice compassion for themselves and others.

    My hope is that people won’t be afraid to go to the school based on one person’s actions, and many other’s inaction to intercede. Remember that there are many who will be accountable, and many who are there just to teach. The teachings are way too important to be shut down because of this “scandal”, and I hope that it will not sway you from seeking these teachings for yourself.

    I hope all will have a chance to heal and change. I hope all will gain awareness and strive to share and study the teachings without fear.

    I call on all others to speak their truth, and don’t fear judgment; reactions and repercussions should never be a reason to keep silent.

  • Realdeal

    Thank you for your comments.
    I only add that while many teachers will insist on a scrupulous difference between whether they call themselves guru, in Americanized yoga, “guru” is often used interchangeably with teacher, mentor, guide, and whatever Hindu name any school uses. Thus even while the teacher himself may never use the word, his nearest student/teachers, disciples, and pr machine may, and the term spreads like wildfire. It becomes, in America, anyway, only an issue of semantics. If he is unaware and/or careless of this dynamic, he can end up floating on the cache of ‘guru” even if he himself never claimed to be one. Then, when he abuses power and things blow up, he will swear he NEVER referred to himself as “guru.” Yet by that point, it would be impossible to tell whether the teacher was being disingeuous, coy, naive, dishonest, or some combination thereof about the whole thing.
    Add to that the environment of American yoga, where there is so much oreintalizing (a la Edward Said) and mythologizing and romanticization of India, and Hindu tradition, and you’ve got a yoga culture that places tremendous pressure on students, esp., women, to think that just because something comes from the mouth of an Indian with “lineage” it’s somehow more wise and pure. It’s not! Yet look at the way these people package and sell themselves. And listen to what their own students mouth.
    There is also, frankly, a culture of extremely cupidity and STUPIDITY in yoga. As has been said so many times about the Friend scandal, when people started to really take him to task, or even try to get answers, OTHER COMMUNITY MEMBERS called them “hateful,” unenlightened, unloving, projecting, judging.
    THAT HAS TO CHANGE. There HAS to be room in American yoga culture for INTELLIGENT skepticism, questioning, and empowerment, NOT BLIND FOLLOWING in the name of “faith.”
    WE have to change that. WE. It’s the only way to prevent further abuse, and offer shelter to and seek justice for those who have been abused.

  • Linda

    In the spirit of transparency, the KYM should disclose their financial reports and connections with the Desikachar family. The recent newsletter from the KYM seems like a cover-up attempt…

  • Mangos

    What are you looking for in the financial reports that you think they might be covering up?

  • Krishna

    Linda

    I doubt KYM will reveal any such reports for the public . There are various ways in which one can manipulate the Outside structure of any Organization as well as the share holding pattern of the stakeholders . By removing Kausthub from KYM we should not fall in to the trap thinking that they have taken very serious action . That is a welcome step no doubt but still Kausthub can control the Organization from behind through others without himself being in front . We will never get to know about this . I am not very optimistic that KYM will take more serious action in this matter apart from what they have communicated so far unless there is a sustained pressure from Outside .

  • I know him and studied with him. He is a very good teacher, means: the theoretical part. Hope those are just allegations. And if he really abused its a true shame, but not to Yoga, but to him self.

    What should be also mentioned here is that Kausthub is an example of combining Yoga teaching and money making. He is a good business yogi and his teachings (as so his father’s) aren’t opened to each and every person due to their pricing. This should be mentioned in order to openly discuss the connection or the dis-connection between Yoga teaching and materialism. Yes, it also may be connected to other aspects of Materialism, like dis- fulfilling teacher’s duties (regarding ethics and moral) and the ability to manage one self when in comes to temptations that can be achieved easily (like high pricing and abusing studients, if this is the case here).

  • Sam

    excellent point. the for-profit structure of KHYF may have led to some blindness about excessive exploitation (when does financial exploitation shade into emotional exploitation?) and a sense of entitlement. also there was some very confused thinking about siddhis, which Kausthub’s father always warned yoga teachers to stay clear of.

  • Me

    The teachings were not more expansive than other trainings/ teachings by other teachers. I known (famous) teachers who ask 25.000 dollar for one workshop. In my experience Kaustub wasn’t all about money. I found him less business – yogi than al l other ‘big names’. I believe he had a mission and would teach for free even for his mission of spreading the word about what real yoga is. And I also believe that his teachings are the real yoga. He is a great theoretical teacher who is against dogma and wants to test his students. In my view- the way he thaught me- he was against being ‘the guru’ and wanted to teach independency. That’s why I am confused now. He tests people. What might be part of his way of teaching… Perhaps he went too far doing this…

  • Sam

    huh? are you serious? you think the testimony of those women is some kind of “test” for you & me, students in the lineage? if that’s what you’re implying, it would seem to be yogaworld solipsism on a whole new level, thanks for sharing. he was not a consistently sound teacher. K tried teaching ayurvedic pulse reading to less than intermediate level yoga therapy students, and encouraged them to practice in their therapy practice based on this ludicrously simple-mended instruction. Anyone who knows ayurveda, knows that it takes years and years to do this properly, and, like they say, good medical treatment is 90% diagnosis–a lot of harm could be done by poorly educated students, imbued with the arrogance (or carelessness) of their teacher.

  • saynotoyoga

    How can we be sure that Kausthub didn:t learn this kind of behavior from his father and grandfather. Maybe they used the same method?

  • Sam

    This is the kind of random slander and clumsy innuendo that prevents us from thinking clearly about what has occurred and what we should do next. No he didn’t learn it from his father or grandfather, OK? Over the years, there have been many many critiques of the family by other students of Krishnamacharya (Mohan, most prominently), lots of heavy battling over TKVD’s right to represent the lineage. In the course of those struggles there has never been a single implication of this kind of misbehavior. Ever.

  • suzi

    There has never been any allegation like this before but we do know that Desikachar himself had an affair. We also know that challenge is a part of the teachings which are then taught to the son and used as a way of bullying and intimidating.

  • saynotoyoga

    What about Kausthub”s yogapractises are these real yoga or not.And can people do these practises and trust that they are doing real yoga.
    Or did Kausthub manipulate people trough yogapractises?

  • Me again

    So, what IS ‘real yoga’? Yoga is so very big and complex and many of us speak out of emotion here. Do we know what is real yoga? And then.. What is yoga for us? Are we all perfect? Should we? We talk so much about Kaustub, but who is talking WITH him at the moment? As if we all know so well… are we teachers who are writing here? If yes: do we never make mistakes? Arent we all also humans and students at the same time? And what about Love and forgiveness?? Has that anything to do with yoga? What kind of yogi are YOU? It’s sad what happened. And sad if the stories a true and the woman felt manipulated. Very sad. Many great lessons for them and for him. Strong woman also to speak up! But then what.. Should we try to blame and hate or should we learn, Love and forgive?

  • Stingsong

    If one more person writes in the “we’re all human” argument, I think my head will explode.
    WTF kind of argument is that? Hilter was human. Big deal. It is within human nature to commit terrible atrocities. But it is the individuals who do these things who are responsible for their actions.
    “Don’t we all make mistakes?” Sure. But we don’t all make THOSE kinds of mistakes. Are you kidding me?????
    I know what kind of yogi I am: the same kind of human being I am. I am some one who tries to live ethically, and demands the same from my teachers and fellow students. If they commit terrible acts, I hold them accountable. I want to see justice. I hold others to the same standards to which I hold myself.
    Why the fuck would anyone want to talk “with” this guy now? Wtf are you talking about?
    The pap about “forgiveness” needs to go. It’s always too quickly trotted out, and I do not trust the motivations of those who do so. Mostly, I think those people really mean, “Be quiet, go along to get along, don’t make noise, don’t make trouble, don’t speak up….”
    Truth-telling and justice must come first, for the good of the community. Beyond that, if people want to cultivate “forgiveness,” it’s a completely individual choice. For some it seems important, for others, not.
    But I trust most those who care first about justice and accountability.

  • Me again

    I am so against silence… please, tell the truth!
    but pff.. why scream so loud! I feel so much anger in your comment…

    Shanti to all!!!

  • Stingsong

    Yes, sexual violation pisses me off. And your problem with that is….? Don’t be such a wimp.

  • I agree with Stingsong. People need to be held accountable for their actions. We need to stop allowing, accepting and tolerating exploitation and abuse of any kind. Period. Not holding perpetrators responsible for their behavior is what keeps them in denial. I can’t believe that in 2012 people are still so unaware. Kausthub should not be teaching. He needs to go back to being a student. He missed the lessons on ethics.

  • Sam

    It’s time for a new blog–not “yoga scandals.com”. I don’t want my head messed up by constant tales of skullduggery. how about MODERN YOGA: BEST PRACTICES with all of us contributing ways to ensure high quality for our students in the western cultural context? any possible hosts out there?

  • saynotoyoga

    Well,
    I”m from Finland and I”m not a yogateacher. I have been four times here in Kausthub”s yogacourse, each four days, between 2009-2012,
    each about 300€, together 1200€
    No I am just wondering can I do at home these yogapractises or are they bullshit, and did I pay for nothing.(poor me, i thought i am learning yoga :D :D :D )
    AND IAM SURE I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE

  • Mangos

    The things that you learned, did they work? Did they bring you feelings of well-being or peace? Did they calm your mind? Then they are not bullshit. Kausthub was brilliant at teaching the theoretical knowledge passed down to him, despite what he has done. His authorship of many of his ‘original thoughts’ may not be his, but it is for you to discern whether the teachings are valid in your practice or could be useful to others. The speaker is but a man.

  • Sam

    Quite a few senior students of Desikachar found K’s teachings not brilliant but superficial and pretentious — they chose not to join KHYF because of his shoddy, sexist, goofy lecture style. Your instrumentalist argument (not a very ethical one, in my view) overlooks the fact that students will imitate the pretension, sexism, and self-congratulatory lecture style, not simply carry on the teaching practices alone. BTW, the practices are not really K’s are they?, and they are available from much more circumspect teachers. Those practices are taught by many many students of Desikachar, most of whom did not achieve inner peace after being taught by Kausthub.

  • Mangos

    I have attended many lectures of Kausthub’s and spent as much time or more in intensives with him as the person who posed this question. It doesn’t take a senior student of Desikachar to discern what inappropriate commentary or bad jokes are, and I disagree with your assumption that people who attend his lectures will imitate it or begin acting pretentious and arrogant.Half or more of the students I attended his courses were his age and older, not likely to suddenly start behaving inappropriately in front a group or suddenly treating their students with disrespect. Another great percentage of the people who attended the courses with didn’t fully comprehend English, and often didn’t grasp the subtle rude comments or inappropriate sexual innuendos in class – they are also unlikely to pick up those habits and translate them back at home. The majority of young inexperienced students are not so gullible and impressionable to just start acting like fools and treating people with disrespect. Jerks don’t need role models to evolve into jerks, they usually are primed for it and will do it naturally regardless of whose lectures they attend. Did all of the teachers who studied under John Friend become dis-compassionate unethical teachers? No. So where is the cause—>effect relationship there?

    My viewpoint on the effectiveness of saynotoyoga’s practice doesn’t take ethics into account at all, so you’re right that it is not very ethical. This person stated they are not a teacher and asked about whether practices they learned are valid to use at home. To this I maintain my original argument. If the practices and information this student already received are useful, then they are not worthless practices, but it is for that person to decide what is helping them or not. Nothing should ever be practiced without reflection, regardless of the who the teacher is or how they behave, it is up to the student to digest that information and come to know their own truth. Kausthub may be a schmuck, but he still carried great information, and I feel that his communication of complex subjects (when not inhibited by his comedy routine) was simple and direct, making it easy to understand and build connections to information from other teachings received inside and outside of the lineage. From this I can utilize the information I see it fit, therefore it has value to me, and it is not ‘worth nothing’.

    And yes, the same teachings are available from other teachers (we are all aware that he did not think all of this up himself, and of his tendency toward plagiarizing), but the person did not ask what they could have been doing the last four years had they known then what they know now. They asked what was the value of the hand they were dealt.

  • saynotoyoga

    The truth is that practises he teached us have made me stronger(mentally and psychically). And practises he teached this summer did calm my mind.

  • Mangos

    Then my suggestion is to continue to practice them. If you still feel uncertainty about them, then try to find a good teacher in your locality who you can trust, and ask them to review the practices and provide more guidance. As you progress, your home practice should change with you, and so it will be good to have a teacher who you can refer back to over time anyway, if you have not already found someone.

  • The thing is that people knew about his acts but didn’t say a word..What is happening to all the serious people that when they see a so called”guru” they loose common sense?. Hey, people: take care. And regarding the question if he learned those manners from his father and grand father ? we should ask students. Did things like that happened? The lesson is clear: Never loose your common sense!!.

    I have to admit: I learned with him for 4 full days but could never assume he was that kind of person. Yes, he was trying to be cool, Yes, he was over charging, yes he was not young and restless, but he was a fine teacher and a nice person. Wow, life is surprising!!

  • suzi

    The best paedophiles are nice people. These things did happen and alot more. It is a shame that all those that have been intimidated are just too scared to speak out. I know that half of students are just too scared to speak up. Firstly they will loose their incomes. Secondly they feel they are betraying the teachings. Thirdly the power struggle where one student is pitched against the other means that you never make friends in the community you are always working in isolation. These girls did not ‘allow’ anything to happen. Just as a date rape drug in a drink on a nite out means that a girl allowed sex. Fourthly because this is supposed to be a spiritual practice everyone becomes all spiritual and pompous about speaking out when something is dreadfully wrong. For goodness sake all you women out there, all those teachers that are playing nice and covering up find your mouths and talk with integrity!!!!!!! Help put this right. This guy slunk home. Where he knows he is safe from any legal prosecution. He is probably teaching again. He probably thinks that the fuss will die down and in a couple of years he will be up and running again. He should be barred from ever travelling to any other country. The KHYF which is a family run business should be closed down. The teachings do not need the him to exisit.

  • We at Knoff Yoga are very sad to hear this again. It is not the first time. We should stop this now so that more people can be saved from this abuse. Who is organising for Khaustub to come to Cairns, Queensland Australia? This is where we are. Do they know this history of Khaustub’s deplorable behaviour over the years? Come on Yoga Community, here is our chance to get together and make sure this man is ousted. Our best wishes to Desikachar a beloved, respected teacher and everyone at KHYF! Namaste, Nicky Knoff, James Bryan and Everyone at Knoff Yoga

  • Kristine

    Facebook.com/khyf.yoga, the Facebook page of the organization co-founded by TKV Desikachar and Kausthub Desikachar appears to have been unpublished or deleted.

  • Kristine

    According to http://yogadork.com.s157905.gridserver.com/news/kausthub-desikachar-krishnamacharyas-grandson-accused-of-sexual-mental-emotional-abuse/, “Unfortunately, complaints from students in the form of letters and protests to KHYF date back to 2007 and 2009, which means it’s taken all this time for the organization to recognize this as a serious issue.”

    Given this pattern, it would seem that not much will change with the new KHYF and/or KYM announcements. The yoga industry is indeed corrupt to its core.

  • Leigh Blashki

    I think this once again highlights one of the important axioms of yoga.
    It is about the ‘teachings’, not the ‘teacher’. So much of yoga today is focused on the name or brand of the teacher to the detriment of the both teacher themeslves as they become tangled in asmita and buidling a ‘ego-base’ rather than diminishing it, and students who may miss the key yoga message that it is about their own journey of self-awareness leading to kaivalyam.

  • suzi

    isnt this a shame that this thread has died a death and that he is probably still teaching in India without any care in the world

  • Sam

    Suzi, this is not over, and it fact the exposure of the corrupt corporatist approach of KHYF has been underway for some time. . Kausthub & his allies may be manipulating behind the scenes, but it’s not a carefree existence. Get the very latest here: http://yogasentinel.wordpress.com/ Follow Mathhew Remski’s link to join in the debate on guru/discipleship, which offers many, many opportunities for corruption and undue influence. If you want an example of firm adherence to the teachings of Desikachar pre-2002, you can try the site of Paul Harvey, Centre for Yoga Studies.

  • Sam

    also here is the view of a formerly KYM affiliated teacher:
    http://core-dumped.blogspot.in/2012/10/more-disappointed-with-kym-than-with.html

  • Katia Hasnik

    I can can truly and honesty signed up under this article after attended workshop of Yoga Therapy in Dublin 2012 when Kausthub’s attitude was not like a yoga or any teacher should be. At first I was shocked that yoga teacher had difficulties to bend himself forward to reach a marker from the floor or sit straight on the chair, not even ability to sit on the floor in Padmasana, no way. His body, the huge belly and fat doesn’t let him to even do any stretching poses. Body is example of our senses. No able to control senses that was my first expression of Kausthub. But I said to myself do not judge, listen his lecture. His knowledge soon after appeared only as a theory. During first break he slap my bum. I was shocked…even guys in the clubs where I go to dance sometimes, don’t do that kind of things. I was furious but didn’t do anything…what is unusual to my personality and reacting fast to anything what is going in my life, even sometimes too fast…that’s why I do yoga too…Soon after he asked me about my personal life, family, any problems, relationship. I was shocked again and asked how did he dare. In the same time I was wondering how does he know if there is anything what I would like to say. During workshop he chosen me few times to present his “therapy techniques” and it was not a teaching theory, it was showing himself on the position of higher than everyone else in the room. His sexuality sense of humor was a part of show. It was not so many people, around maybe 25 and many people just didn’t know what to say. During lunch which we had together with almost all students he asked me about my relationship and soon after proposed the date. Off course I refused. At first not my type. At the second he is just using his position to be so proud who he was. I started laugh and that time I said clearly that I am not interested. I didn’t go to all workshop. I had enough to listen and watch this BS. I didn’t even know anything about his life, his family, wife etc. That time I just read one his book Heart of Yoga and nothing else. I was just wondering how very flexible, firm one of my yoga mate from the same yoga teaching training could be so dedicated to him and arranged him this workshop, place. She was already student of yoga therapy in Austria. Just after few days I got invitation on facebook from Kausthub and that time I had just enough…Is this a good example of teaching not at all.

    It is very sad that so many people spend so many hours of them life, including mine to read his books, listen his lecture and attend his workshop. Pay huge money, 350 euro per workshop in Dublin and what we can see now, another sick leader, just like thousands of them. Made themselves guru. Only what I can say that I had my inner voice since the first time I saw him. Before I just read one book recommended on my yoga teaching training and didn’t watch or read any online articles. I jumped on the workshop and his attitude was so much different than his words in the book. His ancestry feel shame of him.

  • Una

    Hey – TKV Desikachar himself wrote the beautiful book The Heart of Yoga – Developing a Personal Practice, not his sorry-arse son. These scandals deserve consequences – they should all be barred from teaching for at least 3 years and required to do rehab. Maybe they can invent a new kind of yoga for reforming perverts/seducers/power-abusers and other yoga-ethics offenders!

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