Yes, There are Even Yoga Cults
This great article illuminating the experience of those drawn into yoga cults, a type of New Age cult.
"After that, I attended two more retreats. At one, the leader addressed the crowd in the manner of a minister giving a sermon. (There was even a special chair that only he could sit on.) Before he was introduced on the opening night, the crowd was whipped into a frenzy as loud dance music played; a rock star entrance.
One master hadn’t spoken to his parents in years. It was very tough, he said, but saving the world was more important During that third event, senior devotees tried to convince me to become a “healer”, their term for someone who teaches classes. They said, “Do you want to save the world? Make that happen by teaching.” By then I’d sacrificed time and money for the group, and made friends. I had reservations, but was too embarrassed to turn back. I paid several thousand dollars to train, maxing out my credit cards. Healers are a step below masters who are similar to monks, living in small apartments with other masters and turning over most of their possessions. A close friend who joined around the time I did quit university and spent tens of thousands of dollars from her student loan fund to become a loyal master. After a few months’ training, I realised I wasn’t seeing my friends and family as much as I used to. The organisation didn’t like it if I went on a weekend away with friends. I thought about leaving, but had already paid a year’s subscription and for more Arizona trips. I figured I’d stay and gain from the experience."
"I spent six months with the organisation. I didn’t want to be convinced to stay, so when I left I basically ghosted everyone. I still felt I owed them an explanation, though. In the end, I sent them a postcard, saying, “Good luck on your path, but this is not my path.” They never wrote back.
The only time I saw anyone from there again was a decade later, on the front page of a magazine. The article described the organisation as a cult, outlining its brainwashing tactics and speaking to several former members I knew. From some of their stories, I’m glad I got out when I did.
• As told to Jack Needham"