For as long as I’ve been practicing yoga and meditation, I’ve been aware of the dangers of abusive teachers and cults. I have considered myself fairly lucky to have dodged teachers and communities that have been rocked by scandal. But that sense of being “lucky” began to shift when I encountered the work of Matthew Remski.
Matthew is a yoga teacher based in Toronto, Canada, and he has become one of the leading investigative journalists exposing cult dynamics and toxic group conditions throughout the spiritual scene. In reading Matthew’s new book, Practice and All is Coming – Abuse, Cult Dynamics, and Healing in Yoga and Beyond, I began to see how problematic many of the ‘systems’ I’d been a part of actually were.
Waking up to these dynamics has renewed a commitment to fostering safe and inclusive practice environments for all students. In the Summers School of Yin Yoga, Terry and I believe that safe and appropriate boundaries are a vital precondition for the cultivation of sensitivity, kindness, and compassion.
In service of this commitment and in solidarity with the victims of abuse, we will distance ourselves from teachers, studios, and organizations that are not aligned with the heart of these precepts.
I hope you will take the time to listen to this difficult-to-hear interview. Please go slowly with it. There are descriptions of graphic sexual assault, so please try to practice self-care if needed and consider taking breaks during the interview.
If the broader spiritual culture is to evolve beyond these bewildering cycles of abuse, everyone involved needs to be fully educated on these dynamics. And I’m grateful to Matthew serving such an important educational and leadership role on these issues.
May all beings be safe. May all beings be well. May all beings be free from suffering.
Here’s my interview with Matthew Remski for meaningoflife.tv where we discuss:
- Matthew’s new book, Practice and All Is Coming
- Justifications for sexual abuse in the early Ashtanga yoga community
- Matthew: “Sacred” leaders like Pattabhi Jois have been absolved of personal responsibility
- Just how ancient are modern yoga practices?
- Matthew responds to accusations from the Ashtanga community
- How much agency do victims of sexual abuse really have?
- Reforming yoga communities with histories of abuse
To get Matthew’s book, Practice And All Is Coming: Abuse, Cult Dynamics, And Healing In Yoga And Beyond:
- Order from the publisher: https://embodiedwisdom.pub/product/practice and use the code Summers15 to get 15% off your purchase.
- Or you can order from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JOUU98.
Lastly, you can find Matthew’s website here: www.matthewremski.com