Monthly Archives: March 2010

Sex, tapes, and scandals: yes, another guru

Swami Resigns Over Sex Tape Scandal (VIDEO)

First Posted: 03-30-10 12:24 PM
The Huffington Post

Paramhamsa Nityananda, the popular Indian Swami who faced protests after a local television played a video that appeared to show him in bed with two women, has announced he’s resigning as head of a religion organization.

“I have decided to live a life of spiritual seclusion, for some indefinite time…,” he said in a statement on his website.

The 32-year-old Swami had been under siege due to the sexually suggestive tapes earlier this month. The Nithyananda Mission ashram released a statement calling the video “a mix of conspiracy, graphics and rumours”, but followers attacked the building.

A Hindu holy man, Swami Nityananda was reported to have over 2 million followers and has over 11 ashrams in India and 26 in different countries around the world.  click for full article.

Day in the life: Sex, suits, and enlightenment. Just another Guru.

from the ny post

Monk-y Business: Controversial NYC guru Michael Roach

Michael Roach, a controversial Buddhist monk, lost his “spiritual partner” to another man—and started partying and dressing in Armani suits. Now his flock is struggling to keep the faith.

[NY Post Page Six Magazine by Beth Landman]

Last November, Mia*, a comely thirtysomething yoga instructor at a studio downtown, got a strange phone call. Geshe Michael Roach, an ordained Buddhist monk and guru to many in the Union Square spirituality scene, was in town. He wanted to hang out that night with her and some of her other yogi friends, but he didn’t want to talk chakras or do vinyasas. He wanted to hit the clubs.

Later that evening, Mia met up with the 57-year-old monk at Cielo, a hip club in the Meatpacking District known for its house beats and tough velvet rope. He wasn’t wearing his usual flowing monastic robes. “It was the strangest thing,” recalls Mia. “He was in this Armani suit and with a model, and he was now saying that everyone should dress up”—strange indeed, given that thousands of years of tradition dictate that Buddhist monks live spartan, celibate lives.

With his heavily lined face and thin graying hair brushing his shoulders, the guru didn’t quite blend with the Cielo scene, though he did his best, boogying down with a young Chanel-clad Russian girl. Erin Vaughan, another yoga teacher there that night, was shocked. “He was on the dance floor, and there was nothing enlightened about it,” she says.

With an unorthodox approach to finding enlightenment—Geshe Michael encourages his followers to couple up with spiritual partners and never stray more than 30 feet from each other—he has always moved to his own beat. But after his own spiritual partner left him last summer for a younger man, he started to behave oddly, and now even some of his most loyal devotees are having trouble following his moves.  read full article

Live from India (mysore blogs, gettem while they’re hot)

Finding the Strawberry:

Tales of an ashtanga midwife-to-be

…There is a lot that I never imagined possible that has happened on this trip. Unfortunately, I dont think that it would all translate in a blog. I have had numerous “ah-ha” moments and really grown in both my practice and in my spirit...

A Second Dose of Ashtanga from Mysore

…So, here I am, milling around waiting to wander down to the shala to do the only part of the Mysore routine that I really, really don’t like doing. For a led class, it’s prudent to arrive very early, at least 45 minutes, and wait on the steps with all the other people in your group. This pretty much assures you of a reasonable space i.e. not on the stage or, God help me, in the washroom as happened last year…

Queen of the East Village:

My home town is calling me back

…Ya, ya… not five minutes after I’d gotten under the net & into bed last night, at 8pm, the power went. Fuck YOU Mysore! I said. I got up & lit a candle & incense. For some reason, I always do this when the power goes at night. You’ve gotta take periodic cold showers too and readjust the pony tail to top of, rather than back of, head…


…Depth at the expense of complexity? I dunno. But my friends the hashtangis are a warning to me: empty mind not same as quiet mind.

The last few days I have fumbled around for the off switch and found it, gotten back in to work. It seems my subconscious is willing to get behind that decision, more or less. That said, I love a little steam of devotional babble. Maybe there is something to the notion of praying without ceasing…

Ashtanga Journal

…he said “you come to Intermediate led class this week”! I could not believe my ears, I was so excited and this was so unexpected! After Chakra Bandhasana and a squash, I grabbed my mats and walked to the changing room for finishing postures…. After doing the finishing postures, resting and sitting for a while, I was already doubting myself, “did i hear correctly, did he really say that, did he really mean that I come to Sunday intermediate led?”…

2010: The Year of Ashtanga Books

The uncertainty of practice in 2009 and 2010 – Is the shala open?  Will Sharath be teaching?  etc. – seems to be coinciding with a sudden surge of literature on and of a yoga that has been notoriously silent (except in blogs and secret chat rooms of course).

Speaking of which, the blog “On the Ashtanga path while on mother Earth” cued us in on a couple of recent additions to our Yoga Reading List 2010

(clipped from industry press releases, although we’d be happy to review some copies…)


THE SUBTLE BODY:  The Story of Yoga in America

In The Subtle Body, Stefanie Syman tells the surprising story of yoga’s transformation from a centuries-old spiritual discipline to a multi billion-dollar American industry.

Yoga’s history in America is longer and richer than even its most devoted practitioners realize. It was present in Emerson’s New England, and by the turn of the twentieth century it was fashionable among the leisure class. And yet when Americans first learned about yoga, what they learned was that it was a dangerous, alien practice that would corrupt body and soul.

A century later, you can find yoga in gyms, malls, and even hospitals, and the arrival of a yoga studio in a neighborhood is a signal of cosmopolitanism. How did it happen? It did so, Stefanie Syman explains, through a succession of charismatic yoga teachers, who risked charges of charlatanism as they promoted yoga in America, and through generations of yoga students, who were deemed unbalanced or even insane for their efforts. The Subtle Body tells the stories of these people, including Henry David Thoreau, Pierre A. Bernard, Margaret Woodrow Wilson, Christopher Isherwood, Sally Kempton, and Indra Devi.

From New England, the book moves to New York City and its new suburbs between the wars, to colonial India, to postwar Los Angeles, to Haight-Ashbury in its heyday, and back to New York City post-9/11. In vivid chapters, it takes in celebrities from Gloria Swanson and George Harrison to Christy Turlington and Madonna.

And it offers a fresh view of American society, showing how a seemingly arcane and foreign practice is as deeply rooted here as baseball or ballet. This epic account of yoga’s rise is absorbing and often inspiring—a major contribution to our understanding of our society.

STEFANIE SYMAN , a literature graduate of Yale, was a founder of Feed, an early, award-winning Web magazine. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Vogue, and Yoga Journal. A native of Los Angeles, she lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and has practiced yoga for fifteen years.


GURUJI:  A Portrait of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Through the Eyes of His Students

Guy Donahaye and Eddie Stern
It is a rare and remarkable soul who becomes legendary during the course of his life by virtue of great service to others. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois was such a soul, and through his teaching of yoga, he transformed the lives of countless people. The school in Mysore that he founded and ran for more than sixty years trained students who, through the knowledge they received and their devotion, have helped to spread the daily practice of traditional Ashtanga yoga to tens of thousands around the world.  Guruji paints a unique portrait of a unique man, revealed through the accounts of his students. Among the thirty men and women interviewed here are Indian students from Jois’s early teaching days; intrepid Americans and Europeans who traveled to Mysore to learn yoga in the 1970s; and important family members who studied as well as lived with Jois and continue to practice and teach abroad or run the Ashtanga Yoga Institute today. Many of the contributors (as well as the authors) are influential teachers who convey their experience of Jois every day to students in many different parts of the globe. Anyone interested in the living tradition of yoga will find Guruji richly rewarding.

became students of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in 1991. Donahaye is director of the Ashtanga Yoga Shala New York City. Stern is director of the Ashtanga Yoga New York and Sri Ganesh Temple, and copublisher and editor of Namarupa.

MARKETING:  Author Appearances

Releases July 20, 2010

Krishnamacharya:  His Life and Teachings

Written by A.G. Mohan


Krishnamacharya was a renowned Indian yoga master, Ayurvedic healer, and scholar who modernized yoga practice and whose students—including B. K. S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois, T. K. V. Desikachar, and Indra Devi—dramatically popularized yoga in the West. This personal tribute to the father of modern yoga, Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888–1989), is written by one of his longtime disciples, a well-respected yoga teacher and yoga therapist in his own right.

A. G. Mohan draws on his own memories and notes, and on Krishnamacharya’s diaries and recorded material, to present a fascinating view of the man and his teachings, and of his own warm and inspiring relationship with the master. It’s a valuable read for all yoga students, and an essential one for all experienced yoga teachers and yoga therapists who want to understand the source of their tradition and practice.

A. G. Mohan studied with Sri T. Krishnamacharya for eighteen years until the master’s death in 1989. He is the author of numerous books. He lives in Chennai, India, with his wife, Indra, and son, Ganesh. The Mohans also teach workshops in the United States, India, and Europe.

Releases July 13, 2010

No fear, no paranoia

“Mysore: Here, The Mind Is Without Fear

People of various nationalities, their well-toned bodies glistening with sweat in the early morning sun, gather around Imran’s mobile tender coconut shop for a ritual drink in an upscale Mysore locality. There is natural as well as a cultivated calm as they respond to questions about their safety following the blasts at the German Bakery in Pune last week.” (read more)

He who thinks him (the Self) to be the killer, and who experiences him (the Self) as the killed - both of them know not. He (the Self) neither kills nor is killed. [Bg. 2.19]