About the Yogi Bhajan Abuse Allegations

A letter to my friends and students about the yogi Bhajan abuse allegations

Dear Friends,

I want to address what is happening in the Kundalini Yoga community. I know many of you are here with me because of Kundalini Yoga. This letter is long. I hope you read it.

A year or so ago, I stopped practicing Kundalini Yoga for personal reasons. (It doesn't seem necessary to share the reasons now, but I may later.)

Not long after dropping Kundalini Yoga as my primary personal practice, I began to uncover some disturbing information about Yogi Bhajan and Kundalini Yoga.

Online I found horrifying allegations of sexual abuse, including rape, and documentation that the history given to us of Kundalini Yoga was false. I reached out to several senior teachers to discuss what I was finding, but those attempts went nowhere.

I was not sure what the bottom of what I was looking at was, but I knew it was not good. And so I slowly began to untangle myself from the practice, and its organizations. I pulled my KY classes from the website, I dropped my weekly class here in Hawaii, I stopped offering Kundalini Yoga courses, I removed the name Sevapreet, I took down several blogs and articles I had written on Kundalini Yoga.

Through prayer and inquiry, I decided to wait to share until I had fully processed my feelings, which were complex. By no means did I intend to keep what I found private, but wanted to deliver the information only when I could be sure it was free of any of my own emotional "debris."

As a teacher of Kundalini Yoga, I believe I have a moral obligation to address this matter with you, and it was always my intention to do so. For those who knew this letter was coming, thank you for your patience.

Now Premka Kaur has released a book detailing abuses by Yogi Bhajan and all is being revealed. (Full disclosure, I have not read the book yet, only her court documents.) As more people come forward, it's clear to me that the situation is much worse than I was aware of.

A lot of people have asked how I feel about what is happening. I don't actually think how I feel is very relevant or important right now so I will try not to share too many opinions.

What's important is the truth.

I believe Premka and the many other people who have come forward with allegations against Yogi Bhajan. I believe that the tangle of sexual, physical, emotional, mental, and ethical abuse runs incredibly deep.

After learning new information just in the last few days, I have decided to take additional measures to cut ties with Yogi Bhajan's Kundalini Yoga.

I am disturbed by the many responses from senior teachers that have bypassed the situation entirely, minimized, deflected, or attacked Premka. I do not feel the need to push against anyone or anything in particular; however, at present, I want clear of it.

Does this mean I won't teach Kundalini Yoga anymore? I don't know. For now, no, I will not teach.

Many people have also asked me what they should do. There are difficult questions to wrestle with, like is it okay to practice still? Can we separate the teachings from the teacher? What if we "need" Kundalini Yoga; what if we love it?

I cannot answer for you. I feel it is a personal grace that I dropped the practice for other reasons last year, or I would certainly be struggling with the same questions. 

That said, I do not think there is any danger in practicing if it feels appropriate to you.

You will have to find your way with it. Please know that your response does not need to be like mine. Or anyone else's.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, I encourage you to honor your own knowing, intuition, and instinct.

Be flexible, generous, and patient with yourself. Allow yourself to feel things out, to be confused, to change your mind, to adjust as you go, to make mistakes, to be upset, to feel differently than others, and to re-route along the way.

If tuning into or trusting your inner guidance is hard for you, use this time to practice. That's how we learn. Start by being very honest with yourself. And be mindful of any tendency to hide from what is uncomfortable. 

It also helps to step away from the rally cries on either side, no matter how well-meaning or convincing they might seem. 

Our job is to stay in alignment with our own hearts and integrity. Always.

My love and prayers go out to everyone in this community who is suffering right now. My gratitude and prayers go to Premka and the others who were courageous enough to come forward.

I am deeply sorry for any way in which I have unintentionally been complicit in or colluded with these false narratives, lies, and cover-ups.

I want you to know that it is always my intention to serve you with the utmost care, compassion, and integrity. I will continue to do my best to remain in alignment with those ethics.

May the light of truth pierce all veils.

I love you. I trust you. I believe in you. Be well.

Jessica H.

For reference: 

Premka's court documents (trigger warning: sexual assault, rape, abuse) 

From Maharaj to Mahan Tantric: The Construction of Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga

 

"'What is the secret to life? To be intimate with all the things."

Jessica Hesser