I respectfully resign as a teacher at Yoga is Youth. I have served this practice and tradition for many years. with great joy for many of those years.
I am quite sorry that I have reached the end of my time in such a sudden fashion. I have heard of this happening in the past to other teachers and it did well seem imaginable, if you know what one faces in teaching. Still, I do feel I owe the community an explaination.
I have been quite lucky that the management and other teachers at Yoga is Youth have supported me as a female, as a person, and as a teacher the majority of the time. The only exception to that came when the men in management decided to override the judgment of the women.
Now, with a Pattabhi Jois scandal at hand, centering around whether Pattabhi may have inappropriately touched some women a long time ago, a discussion is being called for, not by the women teachers at our studio, but the men. You could say, oh, how wonderful, they want to address justice for all women, justice for all. That would be lovely if they had not overridden our female judgement as holders of lineage when they didn’t feel we had properly addressed the issue.
Why do I bring this up? In its own funny way I would like to illustrate a point. It isn’t probably what you would expect. In these scandals, there is right, and there is wrong. Women who have been abused deserve to have their voices heard. No one gets to tell them they didn’t experience what they have experienced.
However, there are always going to be people who will take advantage of the situation at hand. In this case, and not only at YIY, you can see people who will use this drama as an excuse to tear the tradition itself down.
As someone recently said, “I’m all for #me too, I’m just not for the McCarthyism version.”
I am not experiencing this discussion as a balancing of right and wrong, or a healing of trauma. I am experiencing it as someone taking advantage of the situation at hand to bring about their own agenda. I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t feel that I have been targeted, multiple times, and had my judgment questioned not just about this, but about calls on the floor, about the structure of the lineage, etc. I took it to the management, and it was still allowed to happen. There were times in the past where I didn’t have a choice, I couldn’t leave, and today I can leave.
To me a person can’t call for that discussion when acting in this fashion. It isn’t consistent or right.
So what is my overriding point? I actually want folks to keep practicing yoga, and especially Ashtanga Yoga. I don’t feel anyone needs to leave the studio, I just feel it is my own Dharma to do so, and ask people to be thoughtful about why I left. I think people should keep doing their practice, practicing compassion, and Ashtanga Yoga. To hear the voices of people who have suffered, but not engage in the bullying that one can see following. And don’t fall for folks who would use this as an excuse to take down the model, I still believe in the model, it has never done anything but empower and inspire me, as a person and as a woman. That should count for something. And it is a truth that I know I share with many, many, women and especially female teachers.
We are all complicated. We all have complicated motivations. We are on an ongoing journey as we practice, to begin to better understand ourselves and others. Understanding is good. Anger is sometimes needed. And one day, when you are there, and you are ready, forgiveness, too.
I will also fully acknowledge this wouldn’t have come about if I wasn’t also tired and in real need of a hiatus. This has just forced the issue. I will continue to teach privately, and folks are welcome to contact me, but this experience has brought me to the end of my service to the community now.
My deepest regards to you all.