Yogapillgate: Discourse, Transparency, Epistemology, Magic

On Saturday, LA yoga teacher and Bollywood dance instructor Hemalayaa Behl posted a blog about how people who practice yoga should really manifest better moods through dancing and naps so that they can get off all those inauthentic anti-depressant medications.

She confessed that hearing about fellow yoga teachers who use “happy pills” triggered disappointed memories of her own mother, who didn’t have the strength to pull herself up out of her mental health challenges by her yoga bootstraps.

The post was an ugly, patronizing, reductionary, ignorant erasure of the experience of vast numbers of people who already battle widespread stigmatization of medications they need, in the worst cases, to keep them alive. To her great good credit, Behl has admitted as much through a heartfelt apology.

Unfortunately, the tsunami of negative response — and Behl’s contrition — has now prompted her to remove her original post. This means that the thousands of fruitful and polarizing comments it has generated through links so far, not to mention the hours of intense work that writers like Charlotte Bell, Alyssa Royse, and Camicia Bennet put in to passionately and thoughtfully responding to Behl are now pointing at an empty space. Taking the post down steals time, energy, and insight from all of those people, and insight from those who would learn from the full exchange. Fortunately, the web cache gives it all back.

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