Goodbye to All Yoga Bullies

Matthew Remski
11 min readJun 19, 2021

Farewell to alleged repeat assaulter Manouso Manos, and his world

Indian Yoga entrepreneurs Swami Muktananda (d. 1982), Swami Vishnudevananda (d.1993), Yogi Bhajan (d. 2004), Pattabhi Jois (d. 2009), and Bikram Choudhury (still in business) all stand credibly accused of abusing and raping their students. That’s the short list. Here’s a longer one.

But if there’s a single figure who best embodies the American domestication of the hubris, patriarchal authoritarianism, and somatic dominance of the modern global yoga scene, it’s Manouso Manos, the protégé of B.K.S. Iyengar, known for his creativity and his physical abuse. And if there’s a clearer proof for how cultism has enabled men like Manos to charismatically shout their way into a kind of mystical yoga power, while avoiding oversight and accountability for decades, I don’t know it.

This July, under a cloud of abuse allegations substantiated by his peers, Manos is giving his last intensive in his San Francisco studio. He hasn’t announced his retirement, but it’s clear that his chapter in the abusive history of modern yoga is over.

Manos’s legacy is a matter of public record. In 1991, a journalistic investigation found that he had been sexually assaulting students at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco. After a brief leave of absence, B.K.S. Iyengar himself…