Yoga for Writers Revisited

Benjamin Obler
9 min readDec 3, 2020
“A Familiar Posture” by Pittsburgh Cam Miller is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This holiday weekend I’m finally taking time to revisit and republish an article I first put up in 2017. It offers a set of yoga postures in from the Kundalini Yoga “tradition”; in 2020 the founder of this branch, or school, of yoga, one Yogi Bajan, was found to have been a sexual predator and raconteur extraordinaire. The yoga sets, or kriyas, he claimed to have learned from ancient masters, were in fact largely made up. He coopted much from the Sikh religion, told many lies, and misled and emotionally abused many. You can read all the details elsewhere.

So it’s always appropriate to clarify one’s relationship and position in regards to such a figure: and here is my story. I learned kundalini yoga and practiced it with my wife at her studio in Kingston, NY, starting in 2014 or 2015. She never wore a turban or put up a photo of YB, and neither did I, and within a year of running the place with a Bajan devotee, she had a falling out with said business partner over non-adherence to the cult-like practices taught by Bajan. You can read about that here: “Why I Stopped Teaching Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bajan” by Theresa Widmann.

The first time I heard a recording of Bajan “lecturing,” I knew he was a crackpot. “You need million tings. Million tings will come to you.” OK, sure. I never revered or followed or obeyed him. I did the yoga that made my body and mind feel good, and I never wore white, top or bottom. As early as 2016 or 2017, my wife read extensively about Bajan’s sketchy past (see the hilarious “toner bandit” stories). Yet I continued to do this set and a few others, right up to the present day. My only objective is to share it with you, that you might do it too, if you wish, without worry that it makes you a Satanist or places you “on the wrong side of history.”

How can you do that? Well, it begins with empowering yourself and being secure in what you believe. The set is founded in some actual, non-tainted lineages, including the Laya yoga tradition. So even though Bajan codified it in the form that appears below, I believe you are free to omit him, and even outright reject him, in thought and deed, and instead draw your intention from a purer historical place. That’s what I’ve done, and it’s allowed me to continue to enjoy the benefits of the practice without experiencing festering boils or stigmata or anything.

Benjamin Obler

Instructor at @GothamWriters, NYC. Ed.-in-Chief of, where fiction is the focus and inspiration is the goal. #Javascotia @PenguinBooks