I want to comment on the recent allegations against my teacher, Pattabhi Jois. I have been a strong supporter of the #metoo movement and am encouraged that women are finding a safer and more supportive environment in which to raise the issue of sexual misconduct.

I would like to acknowledge and thank Karen Rain, Anneke Lucas and others who have bravely come forward to share their stories.

To all the victims, #ibelieveyou.

It is long past time when the victims’ feelings and experiences should be less important than anything else.

I have been practicing Ashtanga Yoga since the mid-1990s and studied with Pattabhi Jois from 2001 until his death in 2009. I received authorization to teach Ashtanga Yoga in 2004. I live and teach in Toronto, Canada.

In my time in Mysore and on tour, there were some of us that knew of these inappropriate adjustments. I personally heard complaints during this time. Also, as referenced by Mary Taylor and Magnolia Zuniga, Patthabi Jois was aware that these adjustments made some students uncomfortable and had been asked by students and family members to stop giving them.

I do not seek to defend Patthabi Jois’ actions nor to assess his reasons or motivations. The adjustments were inappropriate and should not have been done.

More importantly, as a student who knew of these inappropriate adjustments I, too, should have behaved differently and I apologize.

I rationalized his behavior. I downplayed students’ negative reactions and chose to focus on the reactions of women and men for whom these adjustments weren’t offensive or weren’t given. I wanted to study with Pattabhi Jois and chose to focus on the good rather than let the bad create a situation where I would have to make hard choices or take a stand.

As a result, I was complicit in sustaining an environment and culture in which some women did not feel safe, did not benefit from Ashtanga Yoga and were left deeply hurt and/or traumatized.

For my silence and my part in normalizing Pattabhi Jois’ behavior and this environment, I am sorry.

If anyone took practice with Pattabhi Jois based on my recommendation, either in Mysore or on tour, and was touched inappropriately, I am very sorry.

To any women who felt victimized, mistreated or unheard, I let you down and, for my part as a student and teacher, I apologize and I will do my best to never let it happen again.

As an Ashtanga instructor, I am committed to creating a community where there is no tolerance of sexual misconduct and inappropriate touching. I am committed to listening to the concerns and issues of all students so we can all feel safe and benefit from the practice of yoga.

I take the suggestions forwarded by Karen Rain and Rob Shutze to heart and will start implementing them in my teaching moving forward.

Thank you, again, to all who have come forward.

Paul Gold

ps- This is a sensitive topic and people have the right to process this information in what ways are best for them and in their own time. Because emotions run high on this subject, I am disabling the comments for this post.

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