Kausthub Desikachar & KHYF: Power, Myths, Silencing, Sex?

It takes a mix of factors to lead to, enable, and perpetuate abuse in the yoga scene. Among other factors, are these:

  • Deception and disempowerment of the student by myth making, appeal to emotion, lineage and tradition used inappropriately.
  • The accumulation of power with the teacher, financially, through connections, threatening the ability of the student to report abuse—fear for their career, social support and more.
  • Silence of the surrounding members, either from apathy or fear, from emotional ties, or because they did not know what was happening.
  • Sexual abuse does not happen alone in a yoga organization. It takes all the factors above—it is part of a pattern.

Kausthub Desikachar was accused of sexual abuse by multiple students in multiple countries multiple times—not just of casual or doubtful instances, but of physical intimidation and outright sexual abuse over and over again.

Kausthub has never denied these allegations of sexual abuse. When he was accused in 2012, his own organization, the KHYF in North America stated, “He [Kausthub] is not denying these allegations.”

With the advent of the #MeToo movement and large organizations like the Yoga Alliance dealing with sexual abuse in yoga with #AhimsaNow, we feel it is important that this issue be raised.

KHYF was registered by the Yoga Alliance recently! We hope it’s a mistake that will be reversed. We don’t want history to repeat itself, with more vulnerable women being abused.

A disturbing thread of power, myth making, silencing, and sex can be seen in Kausthub Desikachar’s publications, statements, and actions over many years and it continues now. Such a pattern is a background on which abuses easily occur.

This blog will show those patterns, and you can evaluate for yourself. That is all we ask you to do—evaluate the weight of evidence and decide for yourself what you support and where you stand—to do what is right, to prevent abuse.

* We do not mention names of victims or whistle-blowers in this blog without their consent, in order to protect those who reported these events. Many accounts were verified by reliable senior teachers at the time of the sex scandal, and others by many dozens of witnesses. We hope more people will take this up with us in this new climate of support for preventing sex abuse. There is power in numbers. Thank you.

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