The Dark Side of the Yoga Community

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Everything in life holds negative and positive forces. There is a constant pull between the two forces and this pull is what keeps the balance. It is not always easy to accept the dark side of life as it is not always as beautiful as the light side. I love yoga. I love it. Yoga has been my savior in life. I struggled with breast cancer at the age of 19 years old and yoga was my cure. When I say cure, I mean it saved me mentally and physically along with the surgeries. Most people do not realize that stress can cause cancer and other diseases. Yoga is a cure to stress and anxiety.

I have learned that through the practice of yoga I can truly love myself and accept life as it is. We all experience dark times in our lives. The ancient tradition of yoga is a precious gem that should be treated with the utmost respect. Unfortunately, with this Western world yoga trend happening there is a loss of respect. I feel that some people do not utilize yoga for what it truly is, which is a sacred practice of self awareness and acceptance. I am sad to say that I have run into many classes or fellow instructors that take advantage of this sacred practice for their own personal agenda.

I honestly thought I would be the last person in the world to talk about the ‘dark side of yoga’ as this practice of yoga is so sacred to me. I feel that because of this sacred bond I share with this ancient Eastern tradition of yoga that I need to speak up. Most people go to a yoga class to find peace, happiness, balance, serenity, and last but not least physical movement. I have experiences different agendas from many different teachers. Most of the teachers I’ve had, I will forever be thankful for their respectful mentoring and honor to this sacred practice.

On the contrary, there are some teachers out there with disrespectful personal agendas. There have been times I’ve experienced classes where the teacher was aggressive, authoritative, and too touchy. I am by no means trying to discourage anyone from practicing yoga, like I said I love yoga and the yogic culture. I am only speaking up out of pure respect for the practice of yoga. I feel that I need to bring awareness to the dark side as well as the light. I only hope that this article can bring awareness to this dark side in order to find a solution. Also for others to build a better understanding of what the ancient practice of yoga means.

This solution might need to start at the teacher training facilities. I studied at The Kripalu School of Health and Wellness and I am so grateful for that learning experience. Kripalu teaches students to honor and respect the ancient practice of yoga, as well as to respect fellow teachers and students. I love Kripalu and I’m so lucky to have studied this amazing yogic culture there. We were taught to give verbal cues rather than to grab anyone anywhere on their body and leaving them to feel uncomfortable. Treat yourself and others with respect. I hope that this article is not taken the wrong way. I hope that my speaking out about this dark side can bring light and awareness to the situation. Last but not least I hope that the Eastern sacred practice will be taught into this Western world so that others like me can be cured from disease through yoga.

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