This Woman’s Viral Story Of How She Unwittingly Joined A Yoga Cult Is An Important Warning

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Charlotte Medlock was in her early 20s, living in Los Angeles, and going through a quarter-life crisis when she signed up for a yoga class looking for some stress relief. But instead, she says she unwittingly stumbled into a cult.

Cults can be a bit tricky to define as they take many forms. Still, generally, a cult is a group of people with shared beliefs led by a charismatic individual who manipulates its members and isolates them from their families, friends, and often society at large.

A cult might look like a self-improvement MLM like NXIVM, a religious group like Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple, or even a yoga class. But if you don’t know the warning signs of a cult, you might not notice you’re in one until it’s too late.

Now 33, Charlotte is speaking out about her experience and sharing the red flags she wishes she’d been aware of back then. In a TikTok that’s been viewed over 3.5 million times, she starts her story by saying, “People keep asking how I got sucked into a yoga cult led by a white woman in a turban named Katie. I know it sounds crazy, but I swear it could happen to anyone who’s vulnerable enough, and I was in a full-blown quarter-life crisis.”

Charlotte explains that it all started with a five-class pack at a yoga studio near her LA home. The studio offered Kundalini yoga classes and its star teacher was a woman named Katie Griggs, aka Kundalini Katie, and later Guru Jagat.

Charlotte says that at first, she was “weirded out” by the fact that many in the class wore all-white clothing with turbans on their heads, but she says that everyone was really nice to her, which put her more at ease. Plus, she says, “After that first class, I was blown away by how good I felt.”

“I remember going to work the next day feeling super energized and clear-headed, and it was like, this shit works.”

Though practitioners often refer to kundalini yoga as an “ancient technology,” the practice was founded in the 1960s by Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, aka Yogi Bhajan, a former customs agent who immigrated to the US from India. Kundalini yoga involves intense breathwork and chanting and mixes new-age ideology with Sikh teachings.

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