The Unsound among us

Have you ever gone on a date with someone who does nothing but talks about themselves and doesn’t give the slightest indication that they might even remotely be interested in anything you have to say?

I’d be bored too.

Do you have friends on Facebook who post inappropriately close picture of themselves and their various body parts, like their amazing abs, or doing oiled up yoga poses on remote beaches or in tropical rain forests?

Do any of your friends post pictures like this of themselves on Facebook all the time?

Do you know people who keep asking you for help like when they need help to paint their apartment yet when you do the same, they’re suddenly nowhere to be found or are “very busy”?

Have you ever hung out with someone, at a party or at a gathering of some sort, where the person comes off as super-charming and super-nice yet when you meet them again, it’s suddenly like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

Mood swings are very common among psychopaths, narcissists and sociopaths.

Did you ever come across a pathological liar, a person who can lie as easily as they sleep, with exactly zero empathy for what other people may be experiencing and has insane mood swings?

Welcome to the world of narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths!

If the DSM-IV is right, then we’ve all encountered personalities of this type somewhere along the line. Psychopaths are supposed to be 1 in every 100. I’m willing to bet money that in the yoga and New Age communities, you need to increase those odds by 1000%.

Psychopaths are defined by:

– being extremely egotistical
– being very charming, appear very friendly, come across as easy to like
– being very manipulative of people around them, try to mold them into something they can use
– a stunning absence of empathy for others
– seen as someone without a conscience
– an ability to look at other people as mere objects for their own ends

Most psychopaths don’t look like this. It could be anyone.

I had the unfortunate experience of encountering a yoga instructor who, in hindsight, was and is most definitely a psychopath. I did not know it at all at the time. Like many people who encounter psychopaths, I was initially taken in and because of the whole yoga thing, the person seemed genuine and was a great instructor, but over time, something was off. I saw them humiliate students in class for not doing a certain pose. I saw them yell at a student for not listening to them. I even saw them make students sit in the corner because they were a few seconds late. This person even went up to me once and said that because I’m Indian, I have to try harder and speak louder because no one will look at me otherwise.  It took a good year for the stories to finally come out, and when they did, the studio refused to fire this person, because they had a following and brought in customers and cash. So I left along with many others. The backbone of the yoga community knows about this individual, but for those who are just getting into the business and the younger, impressionable instructors, many of them don’t know any better.

But it’s not just me.

Even a cursory stroll through the articles over at recoveringyogi.com and it would seem bat-shit crazy yoga instructors are the boon of most yoga enthusiasts. Or the male instructors are sleeping around creating soap opera situations at the studio. Or instructors are so obsessed with creating their “brand” that they overlook the most elementary aspect: the practice itself.

New Age cults are rife with personalities who are psychopaths and narcissists. Rick Ross’ website gives a very comprehensive listing of characteristics to look for and questions to ask, especially with respect to cults. I would hate to imagine another narcissist like David Berg emerge in yoga. I don’t know how people can learn about this stuff beforehand and using their wits and intelligence to discern real, authentic teachings from someone’s own nebulous “visions” which might end up doing more harm than good.

At the same time, it also makes me angry how these “teachers” or “leaders” can be so cavalier with their “teachings” and not realize how it can negatively impact someone down the road, that they can play on someone’s vulnerability to line their own pockets or inflate their own egos.

Don’t stop questioning, don’t accept anything at face value, never suspend your thinking and using BOTH lobes of your brain.

My own feeling is that people have to speak up more. Enablers have to be outed and confronted as well. Abuse of power, or trust, like all forms of abuse usually happens in silence and secrecy, in the dark and away from the gaze of others. Abusers almost count on the abused’s silence to keep continuing their behaviour. It’s when they are routinely confronted, that maybe something might click eventually and they will stop. There’s no guarantee but staying quiet won’t do anymore.

Use your voice intelligently and through the proper channels.

 

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Categories: Ascension, Raise your EQ, Yoga | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “The Unsound among us

  1. Cw

    Narcissism runs rampant in the yoga world and so we get the “leaders” we deserve. As the mockumentary “Kumare” reveals, woo-woo and guru: can’t have one without the other. Keep up the good work.

    • I really don’t think the yoga world is nearly doing enough to confront these issues. These “bad” yogalebrities and teachers get routinely caught up in some scandal or other and it seems like it’s almost cyclical at this point.

  2. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. It’s no different in the yoga world (particularly in certain countries/contexts). Some instructors completely disregard non-attachment and it’s all about quantity ($$, students, books, Twitter followers, YouTube videos, endorsements) as opposed to quality, which is problematic since students entrust a teacher to provide them with physical and mental (and sometimes even spiritual) guidance.

    • And I think that’s the crux, when you hand over your spiritual beliefs to someone without any questioning or any healthy skepticism. There’s so much abuse of power within our culture, whether it’s between teacher and student, men and women, etc. When you have an asshole like John Friend setting up a secret sex coven with his “select” students and teachers, some who were questioning the whole thing from the get-go but felt pressurized to join, or Sai Baba practically demanding oral sex from his handsome, teenage male followers, or David Berg who sancioned pedophilia, all leaders who claim that they are working for God, or Shiva or something holy, at some point you have to ask yourself, “Why would God ever want me to do something like this?”. I find in the instance of children, who really don’t know any better, particularly tragic. They’re going to be damaged for years…

      My problem with the yoga set at times is this idea of subjective morality, and everyone not speaking up and being complicit because of this fear of being labeled “judgemental”. So what? Better to be judgemental than an all-out abuser or allow abuse to take place under your watch.

      • Linda-Sama

        “this fear of being labeled “judgemental”.

        right on. I get so sick of new age types calling someone “unyogic” because they dare to question the status quo. what the F ever happened to discernment? all the love and lite shit rotted some brains…..

  3. searchingforfernando

    I have sadly come to the conclusion that the majority of people are lying to themselves, and want others to lie to them as well. Of course, this is only my opinion based on my experiences.

    I did an astrology reading for a woman and her second husband, They were middle-aged and had only been married a few years. I could clearly see from both their charts that husband number two was going to cheat on her in a few years, and probably leave her for another woman. When I told her this privately, she admitted that the thought had crossed her mind, but her (paid) psychic had told her not to worry, that it would never happen. Guess who turned out to be right? I read for another woman who had only been married a year. I told her I saw something very bad, and gave her the choice not to be told. She wanted to know, so I told her that I believed her husband would die within the next three years. He killed himself less than two years later (two of the deaths I’ve predicted – based on loved-ones charts, not on the deceased’s chart – have been suicides. I struggle to understand how this fits in with free will). One would think that since the widow had access to a non-charging astrologer with a proven track record, she would not feel the need to patronizes psychics. However, she pissed away the $90,000. life insurance payment in one year, mostly on psychics. One of these psychics insisted on holding onto the widow’s diamond ring, as away to get a “better connection” to the dead husband. When the widow asked for it back, she was told it had been lost. Even this did not cure her of seeking out psychic advice.

    That someone can be so clueless, fills me with disgust, and I wonder why I try to help people like this. Then I remember that if I was the clueless one, I would want someone to try and help me.

  4. Great post. Like Linda-Sama, I struggle with today’s yoga culture being more afraid of appearing “judgmental” than using intelligence and discernment. After all, there are things called yamas and niyamas among the eight limbs.

    In 1988 I was groped by a famous teacher. Because I was relatively new to practice (only six years into it), I was very naive and starstruck by the teacher. My initial reaction to his groping was shock and disgust, but I quickly sublimated my first impulse in favor of thinking that the teacher must not have had ill intentions. He was highly respected and the “John Friend” of his time in terms of fame. I shamed myself for even thinking that the teacher might have meant to grope me. A year later it came out that he had groped many students, in far more invasive ways than he had groped me. I wished I had spoken up when it happened to me. I think this happens a lot, and there’s a good reason that these predatory teachers mostly target younger women. We crones would speak up!

    • Hi Charlotte,
      I think being labelled “judgmental” in yoga circles these days is, at times, tantamount to being called a Nazi or child abuser. But like I posted above, I’d rather be viewed and labelled as judgmental rather than remain quiet when I see or know of some abuse taking place and call whomever out on it. I think people have to get out of that fear and even at times, the peer pressure that many experience but never speak up on within the yoga community. I also think it’s harder for women to speak up when the abuse or breach of trust was at the hands of a male. It’s a sad reflection on our culture and something that needs to be changed.
      I’m sorry to hear what happened to you in your earlier days but it’s exactly this lack of support which might have made you stay quiet within the community, the channels of communication, the methods of rectifying these situations, the ACCOUNTABILITY which needs to be addressed. I mean, I’m against too much regimentation and standardization and “policing” in a practice as fluid and open as yoga. On the other hand, how can there be healthy channels for addressing these sorts of grievances? I don’t have any answers but I think it is a dialogue which needs to take place.

  5. chiara

    yes exactly…. whenever did being judgemental become wrong? I think people are taking YS I.33 a bit to literally and use it to cover their arses up at times.

  6. Pingback: Anger is an Energy « The Shift Has Hit The Fan

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