Yoga Vidya International

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Swami Vishnudevananda allegations of sexual abuse -- picture and chanting

Hi there

I emailed Yoga Vidya about this a couple of times but had no reply.

I've been practising Sivananda yoga on and off for about 20 years -- with lots of time off! -- but have become more interested and dedicated in my practice in the past couple of years.

I had booked to go to Uttarkashi to the ISYVC ashram to do a TTC in April 2020. Then Julie S. and other women published in December allegations that they had been sexually abused by Swami Vishnudevananda. The ISYVC announced that it knew about some of the allegations for over a decade but did not act other than to threaten Julie S. with a a lawsuit to keep quiet.

So I decided to cancel: I could not support an organisation financially or in person that enables or turns a blind eye to abuse.

My heart goes out to the women who have shared their stories of sexual abuse. I'm also sorry for the many people who feel betrayed by an organisation that enabled abuse and covered it up. My fear is not only that there may be more recent cases of abuse by senior staff but also that motivations to ignore or cover up abuse remain.

I still find the teachings by Sivananda and Vishnudevananda beautiful and want to learn more, deepen my practice, and explore how I can share this learning one day.

I'd like to study TTC while fully respecting the women who have suffered abuse. For me that would mean not worshipping images of Vishnudevananda or chanting his name in any devotional practice.

I would hope senior yogis might take some leadership on this and show that sexual abuse is never acceptable, no matter who the abuser is.

I wondered what Yoga Vidya's position is on the allegations and on venerating Vishnudevananda now he has been accused of sexual abuse.

Many thanks and good luck to you all
Rich X

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