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When Should We Stop Caring About Yoga Teachers’ Sexual Abuse?

in Ethics, YD News

Kausthub DesikacharNot too long ago, Kausthub Desikachar, son of T.K.V. Desikachar, grandson of Sri T. Krishnamacharya, was formally accused of abuse of power, sexual harassment and systematically intimidating five of his students, allegations which were backed by fellow practitioners as well as well-respected KYM teachers.

An official announcement from the Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation arrived via email September 22, 2012 informing the mailing list that due to “varying allegations of sexual, mental and emotional abuse against Dr. Kausthub Desikachar” he would be stepping down from both the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram and the Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation worldwide.

Fast forward to January 2013, Kausthub Desikachar broke his silence with an email to students indicating his “healing” process and intention to return to teaching. Just a little over one year later, Kausthub Desikachar is featured in an article on the Huffington Post presenting him as the authority on Yoga Therapy with nary a mention nor even a side note about his very seriously disturbing not-so-distant past.

We saw the article, which was published on June 12th, and thought it glaringly odd. Our instincts proved not be alone as a group of yogis have since taken to Facebook to respond in disgust and disappointment.

But we ask, what can we do? At what point do we allow the past be the past, or be swept under the rug, to move on? As practitioners we’re not left in any easy position because we want to believe in the good, we want to see our teachers in the light, not the darkness.

When asked in the HuffPo article about the relationship between spirituality and healing, Desikachar responds:

We need to first heal ourselves from our diseases, be it physical or psychological, so that our energies are not diverted and fragmented. Yoga also advocates that when we let the inner light guide our life, the chances that we err are lessened and hence our suffering also reduces.

Are we ready to accept he has been healed from “the culmination of many cases of harassment over the years” or are we just being passive positivity-hopeful shiny happy yogis?



6 comments… add one
  • D

    It would seem that this is a question best answered by the victims.

  • Leslie

    Like most things in life it depends. Foregiveness is one thing and forgetting is another. In this case Sri T. Krishnamacharya clearly violated a sacred trust with students who trusted him. Would we expect to allow an accused pedofile back into the classroom? One who claimed to have been “healed”? Welcome him back as an expert on childhood education in leading publications such as the Huffington Post? What’s wrong with some in the yoga community to sitm idolly by and watch this happen?

    • Mango

      You mean Kausthub, not T Krishnamacharya? Or are you speaking of something else?

  • Let the student beware! Hopefully people are tuned into the deeper culture of Western yoga not just the superficial aspects. I believe the student has a right to expect a safe environment in which to learn or practice. Maybe this is not a wide held value (?).

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