The Illustrated Women’s Guide to YogĀbuse is a thoroughly enterprising, engaging and informative art work that’s an outcome of the #MeToo movement taking to task a yoga studio called The Practice Room in Bengaluru. Several women who’ve been attending yoga classes at this studio have alleged sexual harassment, including charges of being inappropriately touched, by Mohan Polamar, the yoga teacher, who runs the centre along with his wife.
This group who are calling themselves ‘Wandering Hands’ have created a mini storm by creating this comic, calling out Polamar’s behaviour and by rallying for support on social media. Here’s what the ladies have to say about their comic book.
About The Illustrated Women’s Guide to YogĀbuse:
“This is a comic jointly created by a group of people and we are calling ourselves ‘Wandering Hands’. We are a group that consists of those that have been directly affected by the teacher Mohan Polamar and those who are supportive and angry about the way these complaints have been handled by him and Jaya Chakravarthy, his wife and main teacher at The Practice Room.
We had tried initiating a dialogue with them individually and as a group at different points because we trusted them enough to believe this could be discussed in a respectful way. We’d been students for over 3 years; we each had had cordial relationships with both of them.
But we’ve all been been met with outright denial, labelling, accusations of ‘being gossip mongers’ and a complete disregard for what we have experienced and the extent of pain and damage it has caused. Students have been asked to leave as well.
They had to set up the ICC after these meetings. They'd even agreed that Mohan would step down from teaching for a year. Mohan took a few weeks off but we heard he has been teaching classes again in the last month.
We have made an official complaint to the ICC which was set up after this group had raised the issue with them. The investigation is on we are told.
We were moved by the #MeToo movement and wanted to share our experiences with people in a creative, honest and light way. The comic is the result.”
Here’s a look at the the comic that perfectly sums up the journey of trauma and catharsis that this group is going through:
Meanwhile, here’s how Jaya Chakravarthy, Mohan Polamar’s wife and main teacher at The Practice Room is now responding to the allegations:
“When we realised some individuals were not happy with our initial responses, we didn’t have a mechanism in place to handle such complaints. We followed the due process of setting up an internal committee with a mix of internal student-members and external experts. The IC has started probe and is in touch with the complainants. I can’t say more while the probe is on,” said Jaya Chakravarthy to the media.
Here’s hoping that cathartic creative works like The Illustrated Women’s Guide to YogĀbuse will hopefully also encourage more women to come out with their stories of harassment and abuse in spaces like healthcare and wellness.