Toning the respiratory system, cultivating the mind, strengthening the physique, losing weight and reshaping the figure…as a fashionable sport, yoga has become popular in recent years. You may find it hard to believe that this soft and beautiful sport could be related to evil scandals?
Yoga originates from ancient India. It is one of the six schools of philosophy, a discipline and method to explore “the combination of brahman and self”. Today it has become a series of methods to balance physical and spiritual health, helping people bring their potential into full play by enhancing awareness.
“Enhancing awareness” and “bringing potential into full play”, these words sound mysterious to us regular people, therefore they are easily used by those with ulterior motives. “Masters” do dirty business in the guise of yoga.
New York Times once reported that John Friend, founder of Anusara, a famous yoga sport club, was accused of sexual harassment of female trainees, who claimed that Friend seemingly promoted soft Yogasanas and preached that his methods could “cultivate love and joy”. However insiders all know that Friend’s priority is women and he is wild about crazy parties and sensual pleasures.
▲”Yoga Master” Bikram Choudhury
The man in the photo above is another famous “Yoga Master” in Europe and the US. He is the founder of Hot Yoga: Bikram Choudhury. He had been accused by several female trainees of sexual harassment: burdened with 6 cases at the same time. He told CNN in an interview that if he wants to have sex with female trainees, he does not need to threaten them, “because they all like me, they all love me.”
Frequent sexual scandals of these “yoga masters” have cast a shadow over the image of this sport. Therefore yoga is legislated against in some places: for example a local government in Russia has banned yoga practices in urban areas because “yoga is like a cult”.
How dangerous are the cults which have expanded in the guise of “yoga”? Let me show you today (wechat account: China Anti-Cult).
In the 1990s, Gregorian Bivolaru, the famous “spiritual yoga master” of Romania, created an organization called the “Movement of Spiritual integration in the Absolute” (MISA). He advocated nude yoga and claimed to spread yoga knowledge and practices in order to enhance people’s spirituality. The organization kept expanding and had over 40,000 members for a time. It had classes in 250 cities in 16 countries including Romania, Denmark, Sweden and Germany.
“MISA” also became famous because of its “Spiritual Mediation” organized in Costinesti and Baile Herculane in Romania, which attracts several thousand people annually.
▲”Shaping” and “Spelling” activities organized by “MISA”
However, the so-called “nude yoga” mixes yoga, sex and porn. For example, Bivolaru, under the guise of “liberating” women’s bodies, claimed that becoming a member of “MISA” gives one access to closely exchange with a “sacred goddess”. He has deceived and induced hundreds of women to abandon their husbands, shoot porn videos and even become strippers and prostitutes. Several thousand of his trainees have been involved in group sex scandals.
Bivolaru himself even claimed that he would have sexual intercourse with over one thousand virgins.
▲Bivolaru and a female follower
In 2005, Bivolaru was prosecuted due to the sexual harassment of juveniles and tax evasion, but he applied for political asylum in Sweden in the name of political persecution and successfully obtained the asylum, which enabled him to remain at large. After fleeing from Romania, he changed his name to Magnus Aurolsson and continued teaching yoga in several countries.
In 2013, the High Court of Romania sentenced him to six years in prison on a charge of having sexual relationships with juveniles. But the Swedish government refused the extradition. It was not until February 27, 2016 that he faced justice, when Bivolaru was arrested in France.
▲Gregorian Bivolaru was arrested by the French police
According to the indictment of the Romanian prosecutor, in the beginning of MISA’s establishment, Bivolaru and his assistants had sexual relationships with juveniles (some were as young as 10 years old). Bivolaru treated one of the girls as his mistress and “wife”, and she followed him ever since. As MISA became more and more famous, he kept recruiting female members for sexual development.
According to the prosecutor, these women not only provided individual pleasure for Bivolaru and his assistants but, more importantly, they were also treated as an unfair means of accumulating wealth.
During Bivolaru’s stay in Sweden, MISA continued the training for nearly 100 young people in the Tamil Nadu state in India. It is reported that the two heads responsible for the cult’s expansion in India used to be leading actors in porn movies produced by a Copenhagen studio.
In April 2008, Bivolaru was expelled from the European Yoga Alliance and all affiliated branches because “it has been proven that they are not busy with Yoga in whatever form, that they even use Yoga as a cover for illegal practices, that they do not respect the rules and standards of our organization, that they show an astonishing lack of moral integrity, and cannot be convinced to change their attitude."
According to “World Cult Watch”, MISA is an example of a dangerous personality cult. According to the testimonu of former members, MISA is no different from other notorious cult organizations that harm society under the guise of yoga.
▲Bivolaru and his follower
Organizations that promote porn under the guise of yoga even exist in China. In 2012, an article titled “Fake Spiritual Practice, Real Sexual Intercourse: Groans from Tantra Classrooms?” revealed the Tantra classes which claim to cultivate “Body, Mind and Spirituality” were more like orgies and porn. The article caused a big stir.
▲A training class in the dynamic meditation center in Shenzhen
After a personal experience in the Tantra class in the dynamic meditation center in Shenzhen, the journalist found that male and female trainees who hadn’t met before were asked to match with each other to play “mysterious” games and flirt.
Qin Mingyuan, lecturer of “Body, Mind and Spirituality” in the center, used to guide trainees to get naked in Tantra classes in Guangzhou and Beijing to “distinguish and open different energy centers of love, emotions and sex”. He openly claimed that “we will lift our fear, sense of guilt and shame via cooperation and trust in a close, safe and relaxed atmosphere, which will deepen our love, our sex and our relationship,” he declared that “we can reach universal sexual orgasm via sex and beyond sex…”
▲the number of female trainees exceeds that of male trainees in the training in the Shenzhen Dynamic Meditation company
Qin Mingyuan promoted not only exchanging spouses, but also that “meditation in remote places” can cure infertility, neck pain, stuttering, rhinitis, blurred vision, myopia, addiction to drugs, etc.
He built a “Meditation Mansion” in an unvisited col of the Luofu Montain to teach “Meditation Skills”. In the mansion, practitioners were required to fully “submit” themselves to “the master”; they were even pressured to quit their jobs to be fully dedicated in the “Meditation Mansion”.
▲The “Meditation Mansion” is located in an unvisited col in the Luofu Mountain
Cult organizations against society under the guise of yoga
“Yoga” is not only used to advocate sex, it has been exploited by many cult organizations in history.
“Osho Meditation” was a so-called meditation organization created by an Indian, Acharya Rajneesh, in the beginning of 1980s. The organization set up hundreds of meditation centers in India, the United States, Britain, France and Japan to recruit followers. It thus gained a reputation and accumulated a huge amount of wealth.
Rajneesh also built his own “Divine City” in the United States named Antelope. Plenty of followers donated wealth and gratuitous labor for him: everyday, hundreds of followers worked 12 hours in his enterprises and farmlands free of charge.
As his power grew, Rajneesh developed his own army to kill dissenters and fight against churches. These finally attracted attention from the US government. He was accused of felonies including murder, assault, arson and theft; however, he successfully escaped the accusations. After that, he went to Europe and created chaos before being expelled by European governments. In the end, Rajneesh went back to India and changed his name to “Osho” and the name of his organization into “Osho Meditation”.
The Japanese cult “Aum Shinrikyo” released sarin in the Tokyo subway system, injuring over 5,000 people, killing 12 and permanently disabling 14. It started off as a “yoga” ashram.
In 1984, Matsumoto Chizuo founded the “Oumu Shinsen no Kai” (“Aum club of gods and hermits”) in Tokyo to preach a mix of yoga, Buddism, Taoism and Christian doctrines. After that he went all the way to India and claimed that he had been enlightened and had liberated his spirituality in the Himalayas. He thus gained a super power to float in the air. He started his immense self-praise after returning to Japan.
In 1987, Oumu Shinsen No Kai was changed into “Aum Shinrikyo”, with over 15,000 followers for a time. Like Osho, Matsumoto Chizuo accumulated wealth, expanded his organization, but he also developed chemical weapons and planned and executed the terrorist attack that shocked the world.
In its report on yoga and sexual scandals, the New York Times asked why there have been so many philandering men under the guise of yoga training. Why does such a phenomenon shock and disappoint so many people? One of the factors is incomplete understanding, or to be exact, ignorance. Yoga teachers and yoga books seldom mention that the origin of modern yoga is a kind of sex worship. The omission leads to many yoga practitioners into a trap.
There are also cult leaders like Matsumoto Chizuo who approach yoga in a way that is not easily perceived, to promote porn and accumulate wealth, and even develop into cults under the guise of yoga. Followers themselves are probably not aware that they are already on a dangerous road, leading them further and further away…