Beware Of Worshipping Men – and Women – Yoga, Gurus & Cults

Beware Of Worshipping Men – and Women - Yoga, Gurus & Cults

Beware Of Worshipping Men – and Women – Yoga, Gurus & Cults

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the dangers or worshipping men – and women – even in yoga.

First a quick update:

6 Steps to Finding Closure”
Nothing ever remains exactly the same; things, situations, circumstances, jobs and people constantly change. Simply put, things come to an end; a door closes and we have the opportunity to open a new door and step through it, and into a new world or new experience.

“How To Overcome Anxiety Immediately”
What is anxiety? What is the link between the physical/biological experience of anxiety and subconscious thoughts? Watch the video.


Now, let’s talk about the dangers or worshipping men – and women – even in yoga.

We are naturally attracted to charismatic people, and we quickly make them leaders, or worse, objects of worship. And just as quickly, when we do worship a human, we often end up being taken advantage of, abused in some form, and then awaken to the startling realization that the person we thought and worshipped as a god is actually a flawed human being; we feel fooled, duped, humiliated and ashamed.

“Man, so long as he remains free, has no more constant and agonizing anxiety than find as quickly as possible someone to worship.” :-Fyodor Dostoevsky

Holly Faurot, was 27 and recovering from an eating disorder and an abusive childhood. She said she felt she needed saving and healing: “Jivamukti gives you this antidote. You have something now. You’ve been in therapy, you’ve done all these things, but you’re still not healed. You feel like you want a way to move forward with your life and transform, and they give you something. They give you something you can dedicate your whole life to.”

Eight years later, Holly is suing New York City yoga studio Jivamukti for sexual harassment, saying it was “more akin to a cult.”

There are numerous cases of people – both men and women – who claim to have been duped, brainwashed, abused or exploited in some form or another by someone whom they worshipped.

James Arthur Ray, one of the teachers from The Secret was sentenced to 2 years in prison after being found guilty of three counts of negligent homicide as a result of one of his ‘spiritual’ retreats. 

As I revealed in a TV news interview about the case of James Arthur Ray, the people who attended that retreat (paying $10,000.00 for that privilege) were not weak-minded or uneducated people; one was a psychologist.

The one thing they all had in common was vulnerability.

Beware Of Worshipping Men – and Women - Yoga, Gurus & Cults

Beware Of Worshipping Men – and Women – Yoga, Gurus & Cults

The formula is simple: a person is in crisis or has emotional needs that are not being met, and, along comes someone who says ‘I am the one who can solve your needs.’

“The fact that she liked me so much, and I was her favorite – somehow I felt so special. I really had never felt that way in my entire life, to feel that kind of love from an authority figure.”
– Holly Faurot describing her vulnerability to her Yoga guru – Ruth Lauer-Manenti, aka Lady Ruth

Our emotional needs include love & connection, security, challenges, significance, growth and contribution. If we are experiencing an emotional or psychological crisis, then we become particularly vulnerable.

We create these leaders, gurus and idols by handing over our power to them (becoming submissive and worshipping them – believing in their superiority and supernatural power) because they sell a sense of security (certainty, meaning), belonging and significance (approval and praise from a designated authority figure.) Many of them specifically manipulate and brainwash their followers and disciples by saying that if they are obedient and follow their direct instructions (sex, money, obedience, service, worship) they will become blessed, become more spiritual and even become more enlightened, thus meeting the emotional needs of growth and significance. Listen to the in-depth interview and insights I give about Gurus, Cults & Brainwashing 

Interestingly, many of these gurus promote celibacy and claim that they are celibate while engaging in sex with their students and followers. One specifically told his student that by having sex with him, she would become more enlightened.

In January, 2016, a jury awarded more than $6.4 million in the first of a series of lawsuits against renowned yoga guru Bikram Choudhury (founder of Bikram Yoga) for sexual harassment and misconduct; the plaintiff described Bikram as “a dangerous, dangerous predator.” 

We don’t usually associate yoga with cults. However, any group can become a dangerous cult when there is:

Absolute Authority – an authoritative leader who becomes the object of worship
Thought Reform – coercive persuasion to manipulate followers & members
Exploitation – emotional, physical, financial, sexual, etc.

Cults and gurus seek total control over human behavior and thought (terrorists and politicians strive to do the same thing – even though they use different means.)

“Human beings are at their core defined by what they worship rather than primarily by what they think, know, or believe. That is bound up with the central Augustinian claim that we are what we love. “-Dallas Willard

If you are feeling vulnerable, experiencing loss, grief or overwhelmed, do not make important decisions on your own; ask for help from trusted friends.

Signs of cult or dangerous guru

A leader, teacher or authority figure who demands total obedience
A leader, teacher or authority figure who posts his photo on the wall (normal in some business & political offices – not normal in yoga studios or places of worship)
A leader, teacher or authority figure who demands special treatment and devotion
“Only the best, bravest, and most beautiful practice at the feet of the guru [Bikram Choudhury), who sits cross-legged on a giant inflatable leather throne against the back wall. He’s in a black Speedo, bare-chested, his hair tied in a topknot. His triceps stand out like pistons. Sometimes a woman will brush his hair or wash and massage his feet.”
A leader who teaches thought reform (brainwashing) by suggesting and promoting his group as unique, special, chosen while also castigating or condemning the outsiders and encouraging isolation from family members and friends
A leader, teacher or authority figure who seeks control over you physically, sexually, financially, emotionally or psychologically.

There are many people, some charismatic, who have great messages; one cannot confuse the two – fall in love with the message if it warrants it, never fall in love with the messenger; he or she will always disappoint you even if you only come to find out that he/she is an imperfect human like you and the rest of us.

If you need assistance to overcome an issue, trauma or past event, book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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