The yoga teacher career has been a hot topic of discussion since last year when an unnamed trainer from the U.K. was accused of sexual harassment and rape.
The trainer was eventually fired and apologized to his students and his community, but it was not until a backlash forced him to resign and several more women came forward accusing him of sexual misconduct.
This month, two more women accused former teacher Katie Condon of sexual assault, a story that rocked the yoga world and led to several schools including Columbia University’s, the University of Pennsylvania’s and Temple University’s institutes of yoga being forced to fire their yoga teachers.
While the issue of sexual abuse has been discussed for a long time, the number of claims of sexual violence and assault has skyrocketed in recent years.
What is it like to work with an instructor who may have abused you?
One of the most common misconceptions is that if you are sexually harassed, you can’t do yoga.
In fact, you should.
If you’re in the workforce and have worked with a teacher, you’ve likely been subjected to sexual harassment or sexual assault.
For instance, when a woman from South Africa complained about her trainer, she was forced to resign after a year of working with her.
This is not an isolated incident.
When a woman of color from Australia complained about a yoga teacher, her school, the Australian government and several others told her she could not continue working with the teacher.
As the number and severity of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls in the U,S., and around the world increases, yoga instructors and other staff members are often forced to step down or leave the industry because of allegations of sexual or gender-related misconduct.
The most common excuses for why an instructor can’t continue with their job include: they are the victim of a hostile workplace environment, because the instructor has abused them in the past, or because they are mentally ill or otherwise not fit to be in the field.
Many women and men are afraid of being fired, and fear retaliation for speaking out about abuse.
If a woman who has experienced sexual harassment is not willing to leave her job and does not want to speak out about it, it is possible that she may not be able to find a similar job, and so her work will be impacted by sexual harassment.
How can you be confident in your instructor’s abilities?
A woman who is sexually harassed in the workplace, or who is threatened by someone who has committed sexual harassment, will not be a good fit for the work you are doing.
When you work with a yoga instructor, you must be willing to stand up for yourself, and you must understand that you are not a victim and you do not need to be afraid of speaking out.
You have the power to speak up, and your instructor has the power not to let you down.
You are responsible for your own safety.
It’s very important to know that you do have a right to be heard and you have the right to choose to leave the profession.
This article is written for personal use only.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the National Center for Teaching and Rehabilitation.
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