SAN FRANCISCO—On Wednesday, July 8, the yoga chain “Yoga to the People” closed all of its locations as hundreds of testimonials were posted on social media of allegations of sexual assault, harassment, and mismanagement throughout the chain. Founded in 2006, Yoga to the People is nationwide, with locations in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, New York City, and Tempe, Arizona.
On July 3, an anonymous group created an Instagram account called @yttpshadowwork, and made their first post about issues with the company.
Five days after the post, Yoga to the People officially closed. Numerous accusations poured in over the Instagram account, accusing the founder, Greg Gumucio, and others of being complicit in abuse. The hashtag #AllSurvivorsRise started trending after the initial post, and instructors and customers have used the hashtag, submitted anonymous testimonies to @yttpshadowwork, and used their personal social media platforms to publicize and share their experience with the company.
Accusations and stories of abuse against the yoga chain posted on @yttpshadowwork include gaslighting, manipulation, racial discrimination, inappropriate touching and sexual misconduct, and suicide. Some of the allegations are directed at Gumucio, while others are directed at management or separate instructors. One post from July 13 on the account from an anonymous survivor reads:
“I’m not surprised. I stopped going to yttp as a student because of one male teacher who made hands on adjustments. Even when the policy switched to ask for consent, he actually still adjusted me- by asking us to raise our hands in child’s pose. There was no accountability in the performance of the class power dynamics. He also told us you know a ‘yoga pose is right’ because it’s like a ‘man and woman’s body fitting together inside.’ I wanted to complain to the desk but just decided to never return.”
Another anonymous post from July 8 was directed against an instructor at a NYC studio which read:
“In the middle of class he did a pretty common but intimate adjustment on me in wind relieving pose. Basically, he got down and straddled me, his crotch inches from mine and pushed on my upper leg. It felt different this time, sexualized, unnecessary. After class I hung out behind the desk, as you would do as a teacher there, and he said something to the extent of ‘Man, God’s gift to man is hot yoga shorts.’ I never took his class again. He was also in an intimate relationship with a studio owner and senior teacher. So I had a lot of fear around being shamed for his actions.”
Over 100 other submissions have been shared on the account since its first post on July 3. An updated statement on their website reads:
“Yoga to the People is permanently closed and will not be reopening after Covid-19.”