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 at all times 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 at all times and in which respect for the integrity of each person and true yoga experience are central.