Key messages BKYF

The 3 key messages of the board members of the Belgian Kundalini Yoga association regarding the allegations on sexual and power abuse against Yogi Bhajan in the States. 

  1. We reject any form of abuse and exploitation.
  2. In Belgium we want to ensure a safe environment for students and teachers.
  3. Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan has brought many good things into the lives of many yoga practitioners in Belgium. We want to keep it that way.

 We strive for a future in which abuse is avoided as much as possible and in which respect for the integrity of each person and true yoga experience are central. 

Signed on July 21, 2020,

Sige Mariën, Philip Van Langenhove, Danielle Dieudonné - Board members

 

Info allegations Yogi Bhajan - version July 23, 2020 

Below you will find the current status related the allegations against Yogi Bhajan († 2004). He was the spiritual leader who introduced his own form of Kundalini Yoga (KY) to the West in the late 1960’s.

Since the beginning of 2020 there is unrest in the international organizations who monitor, manage and administer Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. The trigger for the commotion is the book Premka - White Bird in a Golden Cage - My life with Yogi Bhajan by Pamela Saharah Dyson. It was published in January. The author testifies about the sexual and power abuse she experienced during the sixteen years she spent in the vicinity of Yogi Bhajan.

Stimulated by the book, the MeToo movement and the zeitgeist, others used this momentum to come up with their own accusations against Yogi Bhajan and his organization. Whether these allegations are justified or not is not clear today. The top of the international KY organization had an independent investigation conducted by An Olive Branch. Their report will be ready at the end of July. It will also appear here.

The worldwide responses to these disclosures in the KY community are varied. Some call the allegations against their spiritual leader false, untrue and slanderous. Others acknowledge that there were indeed suspicions of malpractice, but they have not personally heard or seen anything. Still others are outraged, angry and feel cheated. Practitioners of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan who are far from this issue declare that they disapprove of abuse but love the benefits that this yoga form brings them.

Some teachers in Belgium choose to explain to their students what is going on. Others don't. Each teacher follows his feelings and decides what is necessary taking into account the context in which he / she finds him / herself in.

Below we list the investigations into malpractices that are currently ongoing and the actions that have already been taken. A number of things happen on the initiative of the KY organizations themselves or by partners they gave an assignment such as An Olive Branch. In the past lawsuits were filed in the States. A new one was launched at the end of June. The academic world has also been interested in this matter for several years. Historians research the true origin of this unique yoga form and the life and work of Yogi Bhajan. 

  • An Olive Branch's independent report, which will be published at the end of July, will clarify the complaints of sexual abuse and harassment. 
  • Meanwhile, the International KY organization offers all alleged victims who approached An Olive Branch the opportunity to seek financial support for professional assistance. 
  • One of the alleged victims filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles in late June. Her indictment is about sexual harassment by Yogi Bhajan that she allegedly suffered as a child. She accuses the KY organizations and companies of being founded by Yogi Bhajan and his intimates as a cover for cult practices. 
  • In March and April 2020, the children of Yogi Bhajan's first followers also began to testify about painful childhood experiences. They speak of persistent sexual, emotional and physical violence in the boarding schools in India and New Mexico. Their stories sparked a shock wave that will continue for a long time to come. Many of them refer to life in the vicinity of Yogi Bhajan as living in a sect. We will learn more about some of these complaints in An Olive Branch's 
  • The International KY organization offers Listening Tours for its members. Anyone who needs support can participate. 
  • The academic investigations into the true origins of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan KRI, the Kundalini Research Institute, is listening to them today. KRI will make changes to publications if it appears that historically incorrect information is presented. Texts and videos that may be offensive to victims of any abuse will be removed or framed. In the future, more time will be spent in teacher training on a healthy dynamic in the relationship between students and teachers 
  • The old stories of malpractice in the profitable organizations that Yogi Bhajan started and some drug and fraud offenses for which Yogi Bhajan's confidants were convicted are again brought to the surface. It is not certain whether new facts will come to light in this area and whether further actions will follow. 

 

Afterword by the Board of Directors of the Belgian Kundalini Yoga association 

We strive to transform the negative emotions and pain that were inevitable in these righteous or unjustified disclosures and use that energy for purification.

We strive for a future in which abuse is avoided as much as possible and in which respect for the integrity of each person and true yoga experience are central.

 

An important message from KRI

 

Dear KRI Community,
 
Sat Nam. These last few months have been a challenging time for our Kundalini Yoga global community and for KRI as the organization tasked with preserving and spreading Yogi Bhajan’s teachings. Our staff, and you, our beloved teachers, trainers and global community have all been shaken by the publication of the book “Premka; White Bird in a Golden Cage” by Pamela Dyson and the opening that was created for other people to share some of their experiences of Yogi Bhajan. We are upset and saddened by these disturbing stories that are being shared openly on social media and beyond.
 
Here at KRI, we are committed to the process of healing as we move forward together.  We continue to focus on our experience with the technology and not focused on the personality of any one teacher. We will continue to support our students, teachers, and trainers around the world as we build the sustainable future of KRI together.
 
We are looking at ourselves as an organization and reevaluating our mission and purpose in serving the world. To those who are speaking out, we hear you and we want to contribute to making right any harm that has been caused by our organization. We are bearing witness to these changing times and how many outdated attitudes are universally being questioned. Humbly and fiercely we are ready to have and hold the challenging conversations. It is clear that radical change is needed within our organization and in our wider community.
 
This is a complex situation. We have to dismantle and unpack our own culture yet retain the value that lies within it. What is true and healthful about the culture and teachings? What is unhealthy and must be dismantled so that real healing can happen?
 
We understand that “bypassing” this is not an option as we acknowledge the pervasive stories of abuse in the yoga culture and the monochrome racial makeup of yoga in general. With the outdated way of viewing the world and its people comes the intersection of racism, planetary pollution and oppression of women and LGBTQIA+ people that we have unconsciously ignored for too long! As an organization based on sharing tools for expanding awareness and elevating consciousness, it is essential that we really “walk our talk,” and demonstrate with our actions that we can hold the complexity, variety, and massive polarities present in our world today and still act with courage, compassion, and commitment.  
 
The yogic technology we practice and teach has been shown to be safe and effective for thousands and thousands of people around the world for the last 50 years. We remain committed to sharing them to help as many people as possible live happier, healthier lives. We will continue to provide resources and trainings to share what we have been taught while simultaneously infusing social justice principles in our teachings, bringing out this underlying and previously dormant value of our path.  While we remain committed to the practices and technology of Kundalini Yoga, we are also equally committed to educating ourselves as a community about power and abuse and take steps to dismantle it and fight against all forms of inequality in our world and in our yoga culture. We must truly be the change ourselves for what we want to see in the world.
 
 
KRI’s commitments moving forward:
 
  • Create a safe space for all: All students must be able to practice Kundalini Yoga without fear of sexual, personal, or financial pressure from their yoga teacher. All students must be welcomed into our classes and communities as they are, with respect to their race, gender identity and sexual orientation. We commit to creating a safe place that is diverse and welcoming to all ages, gender identities, races, sexual orientations, physical/mental abilities, ethnicity, religions and perspectives
  • Honor & respect for women: We commit to consciously raising all women up and dismantling sexist and patriarchal attitudes.
  • Zero tolerance for abuse of any kind: We continue to work with The Office of Ethics and Professional Standards to clearly establish guidelines and ramifications for any abusive teachers/trainers, following industry best practices.
  • We will continue this practice: Kundalini Yoga remains a powerful tool that uplifts thousands of people. We will continue to support teachers and trainers of Kundalini Yoga as they evolve to apply and embody these Teachings over time.
  • Promote diversity & inclusion: We are committed to antiracist and anti-oppressive practices and principles in our work at KRI, and plan to address these throughout our organizations and trainings. Together we will build an inclusive culture that celebrates and honors the diverse voices of our global community. Everyone is welcome here. Together we will continue to build an inclusive culture that celebrates the diverse voices of our global community.
  • The Genesis of Our Practice:  KRI will continue to offer the original Teachings, unedited, as a resource for yogis, teachers, trainers and academics at www.libraryofteachings.org
 
 
We are changing with you! We are shifting in many ways, and are offering additional educational avenues for your continued process. Please know that we are here with you, and want to hear your suggestions.
 
  • We will shift to focus on the teachings of Kundalini Yoga beyond personality, including focusing more on research and evidence-informed validation of the effectiveness of this technology.
  • We are increasing our focus to service, advancing global peace and social justice by giving people the inner tools to become change agents and leaders for today’s world.
  • Ensuring that our values; such as honoring and respecting women, providing a safe place for all students to practice Kundalini Yoga, zero tolerance for any abuses of power, respecting, and honoring diversity across all dimensions; are clearly reflected in our organization and our trainings.
  • We will become a truly global community, not just US-centric.
  • As part of our Aquarian Development Series of online training courses, we have launched several courses focused on various planetary justice topics.
  • The KRI board of directors affirms their support to make KRI an anti-racist, anti-discriminatory, pro-social justice organization. This includes both how it runs itself and in the trainings it offers. 
  • We have launched a Social Justice Resource page to increase access to information about this powerful movement we are part of.
  • We will be adding a trigger warning/content warning on the Library of Teachings. The genesis of these teachings will remain online, unedited but with a strong content warning.
 
We honor all of our community of Kundalini Yoga practitioners. You are spiritual warriors, change agents, and light beings whose efforts are so valuable, alongside all other yoga traditions, in serving this planet. KRI is here to support you and as many people as possible to be healthy, happy and whole with the technology of Kundalini Yoga. 
 
Many Blessings,
Amrit Singh and the KRI Staff