What I want to say is this--Mr. Broad, why do you have such a vendetta against yoga? And why are you writing such misinformed articles for the NYT? On the other hand, NYT, why aren't you doing a better job editing and fact-checking this guy? Why are you supporting such sensational journalism? And how can you publish the sentence "But perhaps — if students and teachers knew more about what Hatha can do, and what it was designed to do — they would find themselves less prone to surprise and unyogalike distress." ????
Um, what!?!?!?! Hatha yoga was designed as a way to "hasten rapturous [sexual] bliss???" And the "discipline began as a sex cult???" Nope. Just no. Mr Broad, I know that you're prone to exaggeration, but I have to tell you that you are just incorrect here.
Some even believe that Tantra rose as a sort of political revolution, trying to shake things up a bit (for instance, what will happen if you eat meat or drink wine, even though we're not supposed to?). But it did not start as a sex-cult and true Tantra is still not about sex, it's image has just gotten very twisted by our sex-obsessed culture. But the other thing is this--Hatha Yoga as we know it today, in the west, is NOTHING like what it was thousands of years ago, so it doesn't really matter. Also, as a sidenote, both Bhuddism and Hinduism grew out of Tantra philosophy, and no one is calling them religions based solely on sex, right?
As for Broad's point about all of the gurus and founders of various yoga practices being corrupt sexual "philanderers," I'd like to argue that this stems not from the practice of yoga and the "pelvic regions [that] feel more sensitive and orgasms more intense," but instead, from the effects of good old power, money, and fame. I think that these gurus, founders, and leaders are falling prey to the exact same power-trip that movie stars, politicians, and CEOs fall prey to--only politicians aren't always surrounded by 100's of beautiful, healthy women in tight clothes, so their philandering may not be as widespread or systemic. I completely agree that there has been an abuse of power in the yoga community (and especially recently, with the John Friend scandal), but I don't think that the practice of yoga is to blame--it's the individuals who gain power and prestige who are at the root of the problem.
So there you have it. To summarize, yes, I've seen the article, and no, I don't agree with it.
And to all of the blog-reading Grandmothers out there--no, yoga is NOT a sex-cult.