My Iyengar yoga practice changed a lot in the year 2019. The shift came when in 2018 a student a longtime student of Manouso’s filed a sexual assault complaint against him for an adjustment in a public class in 2013. Initially the accuser opted for anonymity , then violated a confidentiality agreement with the Ethics Committee and brought her case directly to the press. This unleashed a hate-filled onslaught of attacks and commentary, and as been the case so often on social media, it created a a situation in which the person being attacked, Manouso in this case, had no opportunity to defend himself. Two pseudo yoga pundits, outside the Iyengar yoga system but with thousands of followers and an ax to grind with Iyengar yoga, added their voices to the fray. When the four capable women on the Ethics Committee determined that there was not enough evidence to substantiate the claim, all hell broke loose on social media. The complainant filed an appeal citing that a student of Manouso’s was on the ethics committee. I found out later that she had, in fact, been told that Manouso’s student was on the ethics committee. In fact, she had been told by the very person she called into question. These two had formed a quasi-friendship during Manouso’s three year therapeutics program. In any case, the complainant filed an appeal citing that she didn’t get fair treatment because Manouso’s student was on the ethics committee, even though she had known that at the start. The crowd went wild on social media– I saw IYNAUS board members liking her Facebook posts as well as other well-known teachers in Iyengar yoga such as a stocky Australian therapeutics teacher whose main competition is Manouso, and a Sanskrit scholar who makes bank teaching at Iyengar yoga workshops, not to mention the current president of IYNAUS! I thought it might have been more appropriate for these high ranking teachers to maintain a neutral stance, but there they were giving the big thumbs up from the comfort of their homes. The one that really got me was the senior teacher who has youtube videos of her half-naked self doing yoga poses. She claimed she was offended by the sight of Manouso’s buttock in a legitimate yoga demonstration. PARADOX! The expression there is no hate like yoga hate was becoming a reality.

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