Under the Yoga Mat

Order the book at your favorite bookstore


July 17, 2024 - 1 year of Under the Yoga Mat

July 3 - 6, 2024

All profits from this book - after the publishing costs have been covered - will go to nonprofit initiatives that support recovery from sexual violence, child neglect, and institutional abuse. No payment was received in the creation of this book, it was a labor of love created out of necessity and a desire for the truth to be more widely known.

About Els Coenen

Els Coenen,

a Belgian writer,

found her calling as a Kundalini Yoga teacher in 2008.

For a decade, she passionately taught yoga, represented her country globally, and organized teacher training programs in her community and East Africa.

Disillusioned by the lack of transparency within the Kundalini Yoga community leadership, Els took a step back in 2018. However, driven by her commitment to truth and justice, she reemerged in 2020 to support survivors and shed light on the dark realities underlying the practice.

Els Coenen

About GuruNischan


was born and raised

in Bhajan's 3HO, Healthy, Happy, Holy community. Many of the survivor stories told in this book were extracted from her Uncomfortable Conversations Podcast: The Untold Stories of the 3HO/Kundalini Yoga Community.

GuruNischan: "Many, like me at one point, were dedicated, devoted, and fully convinced that it’s entirely possible to 'follow the teachings but not the teacher.'

What you’re about to read in Under the Yoga Mat, in part, is what changed that misnomer for me. We welcome you to have an experience of your own.”


Thank You

to all

Survivor Voices

The vivid description of 3HO cult life in this book was only possible thanks to the courageous permission of 18 survivors who agreed to have their earlier public audio testimonies also included in transcribed written form.

The magnanimity required for this

cannot be underestimated.

These people and all survivors who testify about the injustice, abuse and pain they had to endure in silence for so many years deserve our utmost respect.

Kundalini Yoga teacher Sigrid

explains why she wants to read 

Under the Yoga Mat .

Yoga is good for you

if you do not leave your brain behind.

Know this: Yogi Bhajan made up this yoga to manipulate and control.

Be wary of yoga teachers who claim they know

- better than you - what is good for you.

NOT OK:  sleep deprivation, crazy diets, 'selfless service' aka exploitation, ...

Euphoric states may feel great, but they numb your critical thinking.

"Rape is always invited. It never happens."

Yogi Bhajan - April 26, 1978

When an expression like this is normalized, something is wrong, right?

The Story of Yogini

Els Coenen - June 2023

In April 2021, on a beautiful spring day, my bosom friend

Henny stood at my front door holding Yogini in her palms as if it were a fragile baby.

"I made this," she said, looking at the earth-colored figurine like a mother taking her child to daycare for the first time and already feeling the pain of parting. “Don't ask me why, but it's for you."

Since that day, Yogini humbly and graciously welcomed my visitors from the low cabinet in the hallway.

Then came the time when plans to gather ideas for a suitable book cover failed one after another. I whined to Henny about this.

"What about Yogini?” she said.

At that, I opened the door to the hallway and looked at the figurine.

Her gaze fixed on the ceiling, she muttered, "Yes, of course. My dear creator is right. That's why I'm here. I’m so glad you finally figured it out. Free me, please!"

Henny and Els

Els & Hendrika (Henny) De Hantsetters