Special Issue: Yoga Abuse

In recent years, abuse scandals have shaken the yoga world once again, overturning previously held conceptions of yoga gurus and teachers, their teachings, and the individuals and organizations that have enabled their abuse. Most importantly, these abuse scenarios – whether they have involved sexual assault, cruelty, financial exploitation, etc. – have left individuals and communities disoriented, deeply traumatized, and desperately searching for answers.
In light of these issues and recent events, we are delighted to partner with Sacred Matters to publish articles from the conference “Abuse in Yoga and Beyond: Cultural Logics and Pathways for the Future” hosted by Graduate Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University. In this special series, we bring together leading scholars whose work directly addresses the histories and logics of these forms of abuse in both contemporary yoga as well as other religious, spiritual, and athletic communities.
Ultimately, our conference and this series of articles were produced in the spirit of helping the public understand how abuse has occurred within particular traditions as well as in contemporary yoga more broadly. In doing so, we aspire to empower individuals to identify perpetrator tactics and common abuse rhetoric, as well as to expand our definition of abuse to include how we may ourselves be unwittingly implicated in or perhaps even enabling various systems of abuse in both human and non-human worlds.
– Dr. Christopher Miller, Loyola Marymount University


  1. “Introduction: Abuse in Yoga and Beyond: Cultural Logics and Pathways for the Future” by Christopher Miller
  2. “Manufacturing Consent: Creating Hierarchies in the Guru-Disciple Relationship” by Amanda Lucia
  3. “Clericalism as a Cultural Pattern: Aiding and Abetting Abuse” by Michael Horan
  4. “The Presence of One Man Rule in FLDS Mormonism: Contextualizing an American Religion that Became Synonymous with Abuse” by Cristina Rosetti
  5. “The Labyrinth of Molestation and Denial” by Chuck Rosenthal
  6.  “How the Model of Money Laundering Can Help Us Understand Abuse within 3HO” by Phillip Deslippe
  7. “The Painful Process of Awakening: Harm and Healing in the Healthy Happy Holy Kundalini Yoga Community” by Nirinjan Kaur Khalsa-Baker
  8. “Animal Abuse in Modern Yoga Gastropolitics” by Jonathan Dickstein
  9. “The Abuse of Yoga and Proposition YSB: Herd Immunity for Troubling Times” by Patrick McCartney