Pattabhi Jois

Since his death in 2009 a steady stream of incriminating photos, videos and stories have been circulating about Jois, the beloved guru of the hugely popular Ashtanga tradition.

The key accusations are that his adjustments were dangerous, fear producing, and injurious, and that Jois sexually harassed his female students.

You can see why his students such as Tony Vedanta Wilmot of Birmingham UK feel it is OK to behave as sexual predators.

Ashtangi Anneke Lucas recounts her power paso doble with the late master Sri K Pattabhi Jois. In short, Anneke was, in her own words, groped by Jois in Halasana.

In absolute shock I rolled to sitting and found myself staring across the room at Sharath, Pattabhi Jois’ grandson, who stared back looking as horrified as I felt. I heard Pattabhi Jois remonstrating: “Bad Lady!” and the mild laughter of the crowd at the guru’s old joke. In disbelief, I crouched on all fours to look into Pattabhi Jois’ eyes. He smiled as if he had no idea what had just transpired, and said: “You no come out of pose.” I sensed that if I were to respond in public, he would have felt the humiliation he had just made me feel, gotten angry, and sent me packing; I thought I might be banned from the ashtanga world altogether, and held my tongue.

But instead of remaining silent, she gave Pattabhi Jois a piece of her mind. When it came time for the customary long line of students offering their reverence to Guruji after practice, Anneke let him have it:

–     “Guruji, why you no respect women?”
–    “I no understand! I no understand!”
–    “In this country it is against the law to touch women on their genitals or their buttocks. It is against the law!”
–    “Okay, tomorrow I no touch!”

And that was that. The next morning, we sped through the fastest ever led primary class. Pattabhi Jois was in quite a mood, and didn’t adjust anyone. I had told a friend about my private conversation with the guru of the previous day, and we were full of glee. Throughout the practice, the more annoyed Pattabhi Jois sounded, the more we laughed.