Grounded in investigative research and real survivor stories, Surviving Modern Yoga uncovers the physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by Ashtanga yoga leader Pattabhi Jois—and reckons with the culture, structures, and mythos that enabled it.
The revised edition of Practice and All is Coming from Conspirituality co-host Matthew Remski
Yoga culture sells well-meaning westerners the full package: physical health, good vibes, and spiritual growth. Here, investigative journalist Matthew Remski explores how cultic dynamics, institutional self-interest, and spiritualized indifference collude to obscure the truth: Harm happens in plain sight.
Through in-depth interviews, insider analysis, and Remski’s own history with high-demand groups, Surviving Modern Yoga brings to light how we’re each susceptible to cult abuse and exploitation. He shows how, with the right kind of situational vulnerability and the wrong kind of guru, the ideas we hold close about ourselves—like It wouldn’t happen to me or I’d speak up for victims—fail to protect us.
Remski reckons with his own complicity in spiritual power dynamics, and shares how a process of disillusionment allowed him to recognize harm. He does the same for readers, peeling back the veneer of yoga marketing to reveal the abuse, assault, and silencing perpetrated against seekers who trusted Jois as a mentor, their guruji—even a father figure. Each survivor speaks in their own words, on their own terms, reclaiming agency against an insular, in-group culture that enabled a charismatic leader’s devastating harm—and positioned him as its only remedy.
Surviving Modern Yoga also includes practical tools to help readers:
- Understand how high-demand groups trap would-be targets
- Evaluate their own situational vulnerabilities
- Learn to listen for loaded, red-flag language
- Cultivate their literacy of cult tactics