Teachers, Keep it in Your Pants.

Via Kelly Morris
on Mar 1, 2012
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My answer to the sex question is simple.

Six years ago, I stopped seeing male clients.

Invariably, they’d ask me out, often while their wife was in the next room. When I informed an unmarried private client that I didn’t date students, he promptly replied “You’re fired. I’ll pick you up at 8.”

At the time, the invitation was flattering. Older, French-Argentine, wealthy, powerful, charismatic and handsome. Anyone with an unresolved father issue was going to jump on that. Later, after therapy and cornering the Haagen Daz market, I understood the come-on to be more about power than it ever was about sex. Fortunately, I never slept with him. A warped Catholic, he enjoyed that. Later, I learned he went through yoga, spin and Pilates instructors like tissues.

Twice, social acquaintances circled back as students, and I dated them. Although I am friends with both now, the power imbalance at the time was palpable. I couldn’t articulate it then and no doubt I chalked it up to my own mesmerizing sexual charisma, but I see now that they were more interested in what I represented as a spiritual teacher than in me as an individual. So I was left as a pedestal-ized figure unable to conduct the relationship as an equal. The discovery that I was a normal person with problems was unwelcome and spelled relationship doom.

Along the way, male teachers hit on me regularly and I received enough assists that screamed “Inappropriate!”to make me go deaf. The first class I ever took class in LA, the teacher taught while simultaneously getting Lisa Bonet’s phone number while she was in downdog. Granted, it’s LA, but still.

As a teacher who learned the hard way, I cannot state strongly enough how wholly antithetical to our humanity these breaches of trust are.  Moreover, when we choose selfishly, it is usually at the expense of women. Not much new or different there. Blaming them is nothing new, either. In some myopic, uneducated yogic circles, they blame ‘karma’ and call it a day. Anything to avoid honest self-assessment. We call this “turning dharma into filth.”

Emotional and spiritual development cannot take place in an unsafe environment. Anyone who comes to a person entrusted with bringing them to a state of health and wholeness, be they a teacher, a priest, a shrink or a doctor, in their precious mind and body deserves physical and emotional safety, at the very least.

Further complicating these breaches is the troubling statistic that that in the U.S., 3 out of 5 women are sexually assaulted by someone they know before the age of 17. For men, the estimates are between 5-10%.  Those women/men are in our classes, ripe to recreate unsatisfactory childhoods and everything that was screwed up about it, all over again. Are we going to meet them at the level their parents did or are we going to actually educate, elevate and eventually, if this is a real yoga experience, liberate?

No doubt these figures are higher, given the reluctance of victims to come forward. As in most families where alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence and child abuse take place, the name of the game is shhhhh, don’t tell anyone and never, ever, under any circumstances, disclose against your parent (or who ever perpetrated the crime). It’s the same in Grown-Up Land; rarely do students, employees, parishioners or patients blow the whistle on their chosen “savior.”

The mental health field identified the unstoppable force of transference—the conflation we make between the person who hurt us most and our new found spiritual savior. In intelligent response, the mental health field enacted explicit prohibitions against sexual contact between patient and practitioner.  The persistence of the repetition compulsion (re-creating Mom and Dad and the rest, ad nauseum until you land on a shrink’s couch or married to your Mom) makes it easy, for any of us, to succumb to the power of these unconscious processes. It’s a very strong pull and it’s why there are laws prohibiting any sexual contact.

In my judgment, any teacher who parleys the sacred trust of a student into his/her own “secret” sex club obviously should not be teaching.  All the posturing about light, love and unicorns not surprisingly betrays an unacknowledged and un-integrated dark side, what Jung coined “the shadow.”

Darkness isn’t the problem; denying it and then acting on it inappropriately is.

While we all deserve forgiveness, premature forgiveness is a close cousin to the Stockholm Syndrome.  People who are dysfunctionally devoted to their teacher refuse to believe that their “guru” can do any real wrong, and thus the culture of sweeping our teachers’ dirt under the collective rug perpetuates itself. We see spiritual communities collapse again and again and yet still people defend their “right” to sleep with their students. With all the fish in the sea…really?

This type of catastrophe happens all the time when western ideas of ‘freedom’ collide with eastern theologies that espouse deference as a model for growth. In Tibet, if a monk was caught doing anything remotely out of line, he would be expelled from his community. His parents would have to make back-breaking restitution in order for him to return. We don’t have a cultural system of checks and balances in the West. Here, the party line is “Don’t tell me what to do. I am an adult (as if a true adult would ever take advantage of a weaker person) and she/he is a consenting adult and that’s the end of that.”

There is no such thing as consensual in a relationship predicated on a power inequity. Period. Whether it’s your boss, your shrink, your guru, political leader, your rabbi or your priest, each one has a sacred duty to say “Tom/Sally, put your clothes back on. Now.”

Open discussion of the pros (What are they, again? Oh yes, sleep with me and get closer the God.) and cons, personally and professionally, for both students and teachers is crucial.  In my own program, Conquering Lion Yoga, we recently invited John Merz, Priest-In-Charge of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island to join the faculty to educate my trainees on the ethics of student/teacher relations. No priest cracks, please, many are better versed given the ongoing scandals faced by the Catholic Church.  For me, given my strong feelings on this issue, this is very exciting and I’d like it to be a part of every teacher training program. It would be nice if there was at least one place in the world where sleeping your way to power wasn’t an option.

And for teachers who want the “right” to sleep with their students, maybe they should have a waiver form students sign before taking your class. The waiver could say something like “I understand that I am wearing tight spandex with my ass in the air with 50 other (mostly) women and that while I am there to get my spiritual on, I understand that the teacher is going to be evaluating both my practice and how fuckable I am.” And if the women are down with that, let the party begin. Otherwise, do the job you were hired to do and teach yoga.

But please know this: on three separate occasions, I asked a class of 50 students to write down on a piece of paper anonymously the worst thing that ever happened to them. I then read each one out loud to the class. By the 15th confession, the room was crying, men and women. Overwhelmingly, the papers described sexual abuse at the hands of a loved one and every single person in that room understood immediately the sacred nature of our shared space and experience.

I suggest to any teacher who feels his or her mat be a ‘grey area’ to try this in their next class and see for yourself the historical content in the room. Its sad, vulnerable and needs defending, not exploiting.

~ Kelly Morris

~

Editor: Kate Bartolotta

 

 


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About Kelly Morris

Kelly Morris is unapologetically, famously frank, jacked up on compassion. Like no other yoga teacher you’ve ever seen. Founder of the renowned Conquering Lion Yoga Teacher Training Program/NYC. New York Magazine: “Best Of” 3 Years in a row. New York Times and Yoga Journal: “One of NYC’s foremost teachers.” Loved by celebrities, beginners, and advanced students alike. Kelly Morris blows the mind, rocks the body and opens the heart. Every time.

Comments

92 Responses to “Teachers, Keep it in Your Pants.”

  1. kellymorris says:

    Hi everyone and thank you again for reading and commenting!

    There is a common thread emerging here regarding my clothing and the insinuation that if a women wears anything other than a burka, she somehow 'deserves' what she gets. Similar arguments are used on victims of sexual assault: 'Well, you WERE wearing a very short skirt, young lady, late at night. What did you expect?".

    Also running though here is an incredibly dates and self-serving thread which is 'boys will be boys'. Really?

    I thought this was 2012. Color me crazy.

    Being a graduate of two exceptional schools, St. Ann's in Brooklyn and Sarah Lawrence College, I forget that much of the 'educated world' wasn't educated in basic gender studies, revisionist history or the idea that even if a woman is begging you to screw her, the moment she says "no" or "stop", all bets are off.

    Even more interesting to me is all the 'men' (and some women) on this thread who write anonymously, the hallmark of cowards and losers. I at least have the courage to face the inevitable music and put my name to what I write.

    if you can't that, my compassion.

  2. Todd says:

    Tom, sex and sexuality are not part of yoga. As a male who has been through yoga teacher training, you are taught very early on that there are ethics — yamas and niyamas — to teaching. A yoga teacher helps students transcend their bodies and their material reality. The teacher isn't there to be hit on, and conversely, an ethical teacher doesn't teach in order to have sex with his/her students. It is no different from the classroom. You don't take advantage of your leadership role.

  3. fred says:

    But, Kelly, you were not complaining about being assaulted. You were complaining about being asked out on dates. Of course you can say no, and then all bets are off, whatever you are wearing. In fact, being a yoga teacher is probably the perfect position to display yourself while remaining insulated from further involvement. Personally, I have no problem with that what so ever. In my book, no means no. Everyone should recognize you put on a show for your own reasons that have nothing to do with them. But, if you complain about attracting this kind of interest while behaving to encourage it, people are less likely to take your complaining seriously.

  4. kellymorris says:

    Hi everyone and thank you again for reading and commenting!

    Faceless 'Fred without A Last Name', I observed that I had received many inappropriate assists in classes over the years, from male teachers.

    Again, what I or any woman wears is not germane to this discussion, except to a Neanderthal's perspective which informs him that wearing anything in less than a burka is 'behaving to encourage it.'

    You have got to be kidding….

    Anyway, thank you again for commenting and hope to see you on a mat soon.

  5. Uh-uh. says:

    he also slept w/ plenty of others, incl. students and employees.

  6. Analise, please. says:

    Please contain your viciousness. Personal commentaries like this can ONLY be written from one's own perspective. I do not see an admission ofpersonal 'weakness." Moreover, one's own "weakness" has nothing to do with "not being hit on;" being hit on or not being hit on is something that is the responsibility of the one doing the inappropriate thing, not the person on the receiving end of that. Nor is there any claim here of being a best teacher or the right advice.

  7. Uh-huh. says:

    Thanks for this. I think geographical area may feed in. LA does seem much more saturated with casting-couch or yoga-mat-couch mentalities about everything. It'salso diffiicult to say, "I get hit on all the time" w/o readers reading that as "Oh, I'm SO hot." Maybe the discussion is more served by shifting the focus to the environment, the behaviors, and the yoga culture of boundary violation — they are the things that need to be changed.

  8. Todd says:

    It's really sad how many men who commented on Kelly's article openly admit to using the sacrosanct yoga studio as a means to getting laid, and blame a teacher's beauty and chosen attire as reason to remain in the lowest rungs of animalistic, sense-gratifying, anti-evolved monkeys. Get a grip, guys. Get rid of your need to conquer women and maybe you'll find that life is more than just fucking.

  9. David Fink says:

    As somone who has spent more than twenty years teaching movment, (very often to sexual abuse survivors) and leading peer support groups for trauma survivors, I do not find the approach of this article to be helpful.

  10. fred says:

    I don't know where you got the idea it is animalistic to ask someone out. That is what civilized adults do to find out whether their are mutual interests. If not, you say "no". As for the yoga studio being "sacrosanct," Kelly herself said that dating her students did not work out for her because she felt too pedestalized.

  11. vivianedd says:

    Oh please stop bashing the men ! Why are you writing an article titled "Yoga Teachers keep it in your pants", when your first two paragraphs are dedicated to the male students you have been dating ?

  12. JoeC2K says:

    Some good points raised in the article but… it just really leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I've been pondering it for a couple of days now… as if male teachers are predatory lechers and their female students are just vulnerable bundles of emotions prancing around totally unaware of sexuality. The article seems too black and white for me. Sexuality is normal. I'm sure some of the female students are looking at some teachers and evaluating them on their "fuckability"! And this line – "There is no such thing as consensual in a relationship predicated on a power inequity." Well, who are we talking about here? The teacher or student? Male yoga teachers certainly are human too with vulnerabilities and emotions and I can see how how this imaginary "power inequity" situation could be flip-flopped. Anyway, is a yoga teacher in a position of power?

    She does raise a good point for discussion about the collision of Western and Eastern cultural values. But then she writes about "teachers who want the 'right' to sleep with their students"… really?? Whatever… I guess there are some deluded people out there who feel that way but is this some rampant issue that warrants the time and energy to write about??

    I'll leave my post on this note – "Darkness isn’t the problem; denying it and then acting on it inappropriately is." Good point… embrace your shadow and bring him or her into the light 😉

  13. LisaJacobson says:

    Ah, yes, the coward with no name named Babarazzi. What’s it like to spew

    venom without being held accountable? Frankly, anyone on this thread who

    doesn’t post with their real name is hands-down pathetic. “Our response”?

    Give everyone a colossal break. It’s one sad, lonely, friendless man,

    hunched over his computer, raining ill-will on ‘yoga’ people. Aghori? Do

    you even know what that is? You think those sad videos you posted about

    that poor little Indian boy weeping about ‘having’ to leave his family,

    eating out of a skull (ooooh..how spiritual!), covering himself in human

    ash (ooooo, how scary and clearly ‘the real thing’) is ‘the left hand

    path’? You wouldn’t know tantra or the left hand path if it hit you upside

    the head with a two by four. I didn’t see that lost man screwing anyone

    and yet you keep going on and on about sex and yoga. You seem to think

    tantra is about sex, with a little meat eating and alcohol thrown in for

    good measure. Are you serious?! What are you so afraid of? 🙂 At least

    Kelly has the courage to state her actual name and present her point of

    view without name-calling and spending hours making stupid animation

    videos about Kelly. Clearly, you are attracted to her. Why else would you

    bother spending so much time on her? True love! What’s next, a Hallmark

    card with your poop on it? Clever boy! No wonder you only have ELEVEN

    followers. Posting here is just a way to gain followers, but so far, it

    deosnt appear to be working, and no doubt the existing eleven are YOU,

    masquerading as ‘followers’. You call yourself a ‘yogi’? Really?

  14. Lisa Jacobson says:

    Ah, yes, the coward with no name named Babarazzi.
    What's it like to spew venom without being held accountable?

    Frankly, anyone on this thread who doesn't post with their real name is hands-down pathetic.
    "Our response"?
    Give everyone a colossal break.
    It's one sad, lonely, friendless man, hunched over his computer, raining ill-will on 'yoga' people.

    Aghori? Do you even know what that is? You think those sad videos you posted about that poor little Indian boy weeping about 'having' to leave his family, eating out of a skull (ooooh..how spiritual!), covering himself in human ash (ooooo, how scary and clearly 'the real thing') is 'the left hand path'?

    You wouldn't know tantra or the left hand path if it hit you upside the head with a two by four.

    I didn't see that lost man screwing anyone and yet you keep going on and on about sex and yoga.
    You seem to think tantra is about sex, with a little meat eating and alcohol thrown in for good measure.
    Are you serious?! What are you so afraid of? 🙂

    At least Kelly has the courage to state her actual name and present her point of view without name-calling and spending hours making stupid animation videos about Kelly.

    Clearly, you are attracted to her. Why else would you bother spending so much time on her? True love!
    What's next, a Hallmark card with your poop on it? Clever boy!

    No wonder you only have ELEVEN followers. Posting here is just a way to gain followers, but so far, it
    doesn't appear to be working, and no doubt the existing eleven are YOU,
    masquerading as 'followers'.

    You call yourself a 'yogi'? Really?

  15. Nick Guldi says:

    What Yamas/Niyamas are relevant to this discussion? How so?
    What comes to mind for me, from the yoga sutras. —
    Bramacharya. It’s often translated (for instance, by Satchidananda) as continence, sometimes as celibacy.
    T. K. V. Desikachar offers a translation I like – moderation. He translates sutra 2.38 as “at its best, moderation produces the highest vitality.”
    It’s definately uncool to be the dude who propositions every lady in the yoga studio for sex. He makes MANY people uncomfortable.
    Asteya? Nonstealing/noncovetousness. An attitude of “if you want to come, come; if you want to go, go” towards sexual relations with women, rather than the “pursue and assault” model?
    And of course, ahimsa. Kelly wrote this article primarily based on the idea of ahimsa, nonharmfulness. The most powerful, relevant harm she writes about is the harm that could be done to a victim of sexual abuse by “sexualizing” the yoga studio they use, as a healing place of peace.
    I’d love to see specifics on how yama/ niyama are relevant.
    Thanks
    -Nick

  16. fred says:

    This triumphant taunting that Babarazzi must be attracted to Kelly has the same flavor as the original article. I'm glad I chose to remain anonymous, for it sounds like names will be taken down and sex withheld.

  17. Secret says:

    You should read Kelleys interpretation of the Yoga Sutras if you really want a laugh.

  18. […] power imbalance can go either way. The commenters on Tom’s piece offered a link to a piece in The Elephant Journal by a female instructor who admitted to the power imbalance inherent in dating her students. It’s a […]

  19. Kelley Linn says:

    How do we know that? I'm still waiting for said students and employees that John Friend slept with to come forward so we can get a head count, anonymously or not. Where are these "plenty of others"?

  20. heather says:

    Great article and I can soo relate! cheers to you!

  21. Kelley Linn says:

    I had already noticed that she's wearing similar shorts in her bio pic for this article and I thought the same thing.

  22. fred says:

    Oh good, I thought so too :). You probably know I would be wrapped around your little pinky if we ever met, which is why I must protest so loudly, from a safe distance.

    Seriously, I respect you for putting it out there as you see it. Anyone can take pot shots from the sidelines, but someone has to be out there, trying to move things.

  23. kellymorris says:

    Thank you, Fred. xk

  24. […] before, David was a guest for our teacher training. We studied multi-intenso and vesica practices with him (both David’s inventions). Most […]

  25. […] business person that lives according to discipline and structure? Like those coming to your doors, you have bills to pay and responsibilities to attend to; don’t forget […]

  26. I believe the difference in statistics is between what is classified as rape and sexual molestation. IE the numbers ARE lower if you only include incident of penetration —however if you include inappropriate touching/watching/conversations that are also painful and psychological damaging the number is higher and the sad truth is the percentage of all of these types of actions is statistically more often from people know by the child specifically or the family in general.

  27. Tom says:

    That's a lovely politically correct statement Todd. But unless Yoga is somehow outside of Life than sexuality is part of it and needs to be dealt with or else it will manifest in other ways. Just ask the catholic church.

  28. […] I read Kelly Morris’s EJ article, “Teachers, Keep it in Your Pants” and while I appreciated her personal policy of not dating her own yoga students, I felt she missed […]

  29. I have been teaching classes and private lessons for over 20 years and i have found that my male students are reliable, organized, and more considerate than most female students who are often emotionally "leaky" and self-involved. I think all of us need to see our part in the social dynamics engendered when we work in the body. I was suspicious reading the article about Kelly's possible fostering of inappropriate boundaries. Asking people to report on and then read their awful experiences seems lacking in judgement and displays a lack of boundaries germane to a yoga class. The fact that she is purposefully stirring up emotions at all is questionable and irresponsible, and given her flood of inappropriate sexual experiences, she is wholly unprepared not to mentioned untrained to handle anyones else's emotional pain, when she hasn't demonstrated self-exploration or real insight in her own relationships which she unwittingly infers here.

  30. Sydney P says:

    While I can't begrudge any professional's decision to see one type of person over another – in this case, women and not men – I think the first problem I have with this article is, as stated above by another commenter, some serious male-bashing. It would be irksome and potentially offensive to constantly ward off requests for dates or come-ons, but these actions are not universal to men and shouldn't be taken as such. They are also not, in and of themselves, unusual or criminal. If the author does have such charisma, can she blame men for wanting to ask her out? I don't say that with an eye on blaming the author for anything, I'm only making the point that men are going to ask women out and vice versa, and should it always be seen as inappropriate behavior? To the author, as a person in a position of authority, apparently so.

    Of course, being a teacher to these men and women does, indeed, change the 'power dynamic'. But that dynamic exists in both peoples behaviors – not just in those that look up to the teacher. If the author found it difficult to date the acquaintances who circled back as students, perhaps an open conversation about that power dynamic would have made it easier to become an equal partner, not just the pedestal-ized teacher. Power dynamics exist in every relationship there is, in fact between most men and women in general. Our hetero-normative, puritanically based society creates these inequalities to keep everyone in line. Being a teacher in a relationship with a student doesn't create a new, more difficult situation, it's a spin on the same one everyone else goes through. Think of women who make more money than their male partners, or even when someone asks a gay couple 'Who wears the pants?'

    Another problem I have with this article is the idea that there is no consent in a relationship 'predicated on a power inequity.' As I said before, these inequities exist in almost every relationship, and open, honest communication about it may be the only solution to getting around it. Of course power, however real or perceived, should absolutely never, ever be used to control someone else mentally or physically. However, erasing the possibility of consent from all of the relationships that involve a teacher, student, leader, follower, etc, is quite a generalization and, in my opinion, unfair to those who may willingly and enthusiastically enter into these relationships, despite the added difficulty of working around the power dynamic.

    The author is definitely right that this is an important issue that must be addressed, but how it is done so here is short sighted and narrow minded. Not every man who practices yoga is going to ask the lady next to them or the teacher out. Not every woman who practices yoga is going to be preyed upon by male teachers or fellow students. To throw a disturbing sexual assault statistic and an oblique reference to 'father issues' into the mix is sensationalist. I don't think the author is capable of actually looking at this issue with an objective eye. It sounds like she can't see past her ego into what ytuly matters – a real conversation about sex and power in our culture and how it relates to yoga.

    Want to educate, elevate and eventually liberate me? Let me hear that conversation.

  31. Charlotte says:

    This article touches on something very important to me and yet I feel it was completely disjointed and poorly written. Instead of opening an intelligent conversation you skimmed on issues, made sensational comments, and let your own ego and judgement get in the way, not to mention predominantly blame male yoga teachers for these issues.

    First, I must agree with Abbie Galvin's comment. Having 50 people write down their worst memories in a class and read them aloud is completely out of line. Are you a psychologist or mental health counselor? Did you let people know prior to the class that they would be delving into traumatic events in their lives?
    "Those women/men are in our classes, ripe to recreate unsatisfactory childhoods and everything that was screwed up about it, all over again." – then why bring it to the forefront of your class? Why have people relive those memories just to establish that your class is a "safe place"? That seems to me like an abuse of power on your side. When people share those kinds of intimate stories they make a strong but ultimately superficial bond built on emotional trauma which is not appropriate or healthy.

    If you want people to know your class is a safe space, tell them so.
    Communication is something you seem to be missing here (with all due respect). Like Sydney P states, there are power inequalities in EVERY relationship and those can be navigated through open and honest communication. To make a sweeping generalization that every student teacher relationship is unethical is unfair and uninformed (you came to this conclusion based solely on your poor relationships with students?)

    Finally, you are a student of Michael Roach and Christie McNally. Do you disapprove of their relationship as McNally was a disciple of Roach when they entered into a partnership? And, maybe I am wrong, but didn't that relationship end when McNally began a new relationship with another one of their students? Do you believe those are a non-consensual relationships?

    Lastly, thank you for you words and sharing your experience. I think you touched on some serious issues here. I just can't stand behind the article as a whole.

  32. Charlotte P says:

    This article touches on something very important to me and yet I feel it was completely disjointed and more like yellow journalism than competent writing. Instead of opening an intelligent conversation you skimmed on issues, made sensational comments, and let your own ego and judgement get in the way, not to mention predominantly blame male yoga teachers for these issues.

    First, I have to agree with Abbie Galvin. Having 50 people write down their worst memories in a class and read them aloud is completely out of line. Are you a psychologist or mental health counselor? Did you let people know prior to the class that they would be delving into traumatic events in their lives? "Those women/men are in our classes, ripe to recreate
    unsatisfactory childhoods and everything that was screwed up about it, all over again." – then why bring it to the forefront of your class? Why have people relive those memories just to establish that your class is a "safe place"? That seems to me like an abuse of power on your side. When people share those kinds of intimate stories they make a strong but ultimately superficial bond built on emotional trauma which is not appropriate or healthy.

    If you want people to know your class is a safe space, tell them so.
    Communication is something you seem to be missing here (with all due respect). There are power inequalities in EVERY relationship and those can be navigated through open and honest communication. To make a sweeping generalization that every student teacher relationship is unethical is unfair and uninformed (you came to this conclusion based solely on your bad experiences with men?)

    Finally, you are a student of Michael Roach and Christie McNally. Do you disapprove of their relationship as McNally was a disciple of Roach when they entered into a partnership? And, maybe I am wrong, but didn't that relationship end when McNally began a new relationship with another one of their students? Do you believe these relationships were unethical and non-consensual?

    Lastly, thank you for your words and sharing your experience. I believe you touched on some serious issues here, I just can't stand behind the article as a whole.

  33. Charlotte P says:

    This article touches on something very important to me and yet I feel it was completely disjointed and more like yellow journalism than an insightful piece. Instead of opening an intelligent conversation you skimmed on issues, made sensational comments, and let your own ego and judgement get in the way, not to mention predominantly blame male yoga teachers for these issues.

    First, I have to agree with Abbie. Having 50 people write down their worst memories in a class and read them aloud is completely out of line. Are you a psychologist or mental health counselor? Did you let people know prior to the class that they would be delving into traumatic events in their lives? "Those women/men are in our classes, ripe to recreate unsatisfactory childhoods and everything that was screwed up about it, all over again." – then why bring it to the forefront of your class? Why have people relive those memories just to establish that your class is a "safe place"? That seems to me like an abuse of power on your side.
    When people share those kinds of intimate stories they make a strong but ultimately superficial bond built on emotional trauma which is not appropriate or healthy.

    If you want people to know your class is a safe space, tell them so.
    Communication is something you seem to be missing here (with all due respect). Like Sydney P states, there are power inequalities in EVERY relationship and those can be navigated through open and honest communication. To make a sweeping generalization that every student teacher relationship is unethical is unfair and uninformed (you came
    to this conclusion based solely on your bad experiences with men?)

    Finally, you are a student of Michael Roach and Christie McNally. Do you disapprove of their relationship as McNally was a disciple of Roach when they entered into a partnership? And, maybe I am wrong, but didn't that relationship end when McNally began a new relationship with another one of their students? Do you believe these relationships
    were unethical and non-consensual?

    Lastly, thank you for you words and sharing your experience. I believe you touched on some serious issues here, I just can't stand behind the article as a whole.

  34. A Moga says:

    Kelly I must say that your vision is gravely clouded by avidya. You are playing your argument out in a dualistic non-Reality. One created by eons of mis-perception and now, sustained by you.

    I would hope you are aware of this. And if you were, that you would then take it a step further, and understand that your response is feeding the very system you seem to think you "get" and can comment on with authority. Which, you don't. Nor do you represent this clearly to readers who might abdicate their own power of judgement and right-seeing for the views and teachings of a teacher such as yourself. Or whomever.

    Your argument holds up in a paradigm created as a defense, by the people who were self-victimized at the hands of their own abdication of power to another, forced or chosen.

    By postulating that there is a power struggle you are immediately creating a division of right and wrong, happy, unhappy. Other (with power, knowledge) and self (who can't access that power and is thereby, weaker). Were you to remain truly at your center you would stop pretending so that your opinion could fit neatly into these false constructs which you seem to want to be above.

    I wouldn't say this article is pushing people as much as you pushing your power-tinged opinion onto them (the supporters who can't read past the words to the meaning, at least).

    The 'teachings' that you might believe you embody are sorely limited by this view that, as a teacher, you have power. Teach from a place of no power, replace it with a measure of ignorance and you'd actually be a step close to truth (whatever that is).

  35. […] relationships between yoga teachers and students. One NYC-based yoga teacher went as far as to suggest that a yoga teacher sleeping with students is a form of sexual […]

  36. cathy says:

    I have opposing and conflicting thoughts about your article.

    You took an important topic- good for you- made some points.. but dressed it in your introduction which was just plain bizarre about all the men who asked you out .. it initially rang of" I am so HOT! Everyone wants to date me!" While this may be true, the posturing made the rest suspect in my mind.

    The '?? statistic of 3 in 5.. is not accurate and your little " that means exactly 30 of .." placed on an inaccurate statistic gives me a feeling of rudeness, sarcasm on your part which is not necessary.

    Finally using a 'made-up" number of 90% never tell anyone.. if they never tell, how does anyone have any statiswtic? That number is from supposition, generalization or another made-up fact to support a point. By what seems like lying to me, to make a point, the actual point and position is less valid or worth reading in this missive.

  37. cathywaveyoga says:

    Pick a Section! Emergency Orgs National Orgs Publications Online Resources Global Resources Facts About Violence
    F A C T S * A B O U T * V I O L E N C E U.S. Statistics / Global / Links to Statistics

    Fact #1: 18.3 % of women in the United States have survived a completed or attempted rape. Of these, 12.3% were younger than age 12 when they were first raped, and 29.9% were between the ages of 11 and 17. (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010)
    *****
    from Wikipedia-See also: Rape statistics "Rape prevalence among women in the U.S. (the percentage of women who experienced rape at least once in their lifetime so far) is in the range of 15%–20%, with different studies agreeing with each other. (National Violence against Women survey, 1995, found 17.6% prevalence rate;[4] a 2007 national study for the Department of Justice on rape found 18% prevalence rate.[5])"

  38. cathywaveyoga says:

    Neither of these is the last word-thet are far from the 3 of 5, exactly 60% statistic. Another way to play with numbers is to say with your 60% that since 90% of rape is not reported then 90% of the remaining 40% (100-60) is 36%.. so add 60+36; then 96% of women have been raped. Numbers can be manipulated. Shame, fear, pain and long lasting effects of abuse, rape and devalidating actions against anyone are serious and should not be diminished with silliness( I am soo hot) nor with statistics which pull the real issue out of focus.

  39. cathywaveyoga says:

    One of my favorite and most skilled yoga teachers of all time and Ive practiced over 30 years gave a note to one of his woman students asking if she'd like to date. They married and as his wife she became immersed in yoga and teaching. Sadly they separated after many years, she remained a gifted very loved yoga teacher.

  40. […] So, what happens when a student begins to think of, or refer to, you as their “special friend?” […]

  41. […] This poses a significant responsibility for yoga teachers. […]

  42. Anna Gordh Humlesjö says:

    Somehow strange that this article was written more then a year ago, cause when I read it I seriously thought it was a very right-on response to C.S. recent “confession”. History seem to repeat it self. Always good to read people who cut the crap. 🙂 brilliant, thank you!

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