One yoga website seems to do little if any meaningful research before recommending classes or “styles” to potential yoga beginners.

At Yoga under “choosing a yoga style” “beginners” will find the “most common types” of yoga listed for their consideration includes “Swami Kriyananda,” “Swami Satchidananda” and “Yogi Bhajan.”

Sherry Roberts the editor of the site suggests, “Find a teacher that you can relate to and a style that furthers your own personal growth.”

However, these three teachers have all been historically referred to as “cult leaders.” And former students claimed their “yoga” was often a means of recruitment and basis for abuse.

Roberts writes, “Swami Kriyananda” (J. Donald Walters) “devoted 45 years of his life to studying the teachings of Parmahansa Yogananda.”

But she doesn’t mention that the Self-Realization Fellowship founded by Parmahansa Yogananda has disavowed Kriyananda.

Walters was also sued by the Fellowship for copyright infringement and lost. He certainly must have been busy “studying the teachings.” The swami paid $29,000 in damages.

More importantly Roberts fails to mention the plight of some of Walters former acolytes. Kriyananda lost a sexual abuse lawsuit filed by former students and was forced into bankruptcy.

Swami Satchidananda, now deceased, had his share of sex scandals. Former secretaries said he was more of a predator than a celibate. Many of his followers left in the 90s.

More recently a controversy arose regarding an Integral Yoga International (IYI) student in New York City who attended a 30-day retreat at “Yogaville,” the group’s retreat in Virginia.

That IYI student was only at the ashram for two weeks before marrying one of its “swamis she had never met,” who was old enough to be her father. She stayed on to become a devotee and “yoga teacher.”

Yogi Bhajan of 3HO is perhaps the most controversial figure listed by Roberts.

She says that his “practice is designed to awaken Kundalini energy.”

Well, if “Kundalini energy” means collecting cash and sex scandals, Bhajan certainly has conducted something of a “wake up call.”

The yogi makes money from businesses run by his yoga disciples, but was sued for “assault, battery, fraud and deceit.” He decided to settle out of court.

One of Bhajan’s top leaders and yoga enthusiasts was busted for smuggling guns and marijuana and then sentenced to prison.

Did this “style” somehow “awaken” criminal “energy”?

Ms. Roberts doesn’t appear to do much research before listing “yoga” teachers?

Hopefully, visitors to her website will do some cursory checking before becoming involved with some of the groups listed. Some yoga students say these “common types” are simply “cults.”


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