I would like to share this account of a 14 year old girls experience with Swami Satyananda of Satyananda Yoga. To me, it is surprising that so many are still so willing to use this mans name next to the word yoga. He has totally abused his power, in my eyes, as have some of his disciples.
Many thanks to Janaki, for your detailed account of your story. There is so much in there that touches me, that breaks my heart open with sadness for the manipulative way you were all treated… it is true, if you have no point of comparison, how can you know it is abuse? It is so sad that children were and, perhaps, still are brought up to be conditioned in this way.
It reminds me of a story of a boy in Cambodia who was given a gun at age 4 and told to fight for the Khmer Rouge, who had just killed his parents. He thought that it was normal until years later when he met some people who shared their stories of a very different kind of childhood. He slowly realised how conditioned he had been by war and has now dedicated his whole life to de-mining Cambodia (he picked up that skill while at war), and to housing and educating many orphans who have been affected by land mines.
I was so touched by his story and I see a similar opportunity in the stories that are coming forward now. That, now that people are courageously speaking out, there is a chance for reparation (even if the ashram are not willing to take full responsibility). To me this feels collective, not exclusive to the Satyananda story, but inclusive to all stories of abuse that are exposed throughout the world today. An opportunity to do the inner work, to integrate as human beings, and to stand together in support and live with integrity.
I am still working on my response to the abuse by Satyananda and his followers. It has touched a lot in me and I feel I could write a book about it all. It feels so pertinent to the time we are living in, to the breakdown of patriarchal rule, to the turning back towards our own intuition and trusting our own inner guidance, to taking responsibility for our selves and not assigning our authority over to another, to creating and committing to truly healthy and conscious ways of relating with others.
I dissociated from this tradition some years ago but am still deeply affected by this as I believe this sort of story is big in the collective at the moment. I will post my response to my blog in the very near future.
In the meantime, my heart extends to all who have been affected by this news; the survivors, the disciples who knew nothing about it, the ones who knew about it and have felt too afraid to speak up until now, those in denial, all of you who I know and love – and you know who you are. I stand with you in support to find a healthy way through this.