Everything We Know About Kundalini, The Controversial Yoga Practiced By Russell Brand

Kundalini has a controversial past, with a former actress claiming it's no surprise that Russell Brand is involved.

Russell Brand doing yoga @russellbrand / Instagram

A joint investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times, and Channel 4 led to a 90-minute documentary titled “Russell Brand: In Plain Sight,” which was released on September 17, 2023. At least four women have stepped forward and accused Russell Brand of sexual abuse, accusations which he vehemently denies.

However, people online have started to draw connections between the investigation that is currently unfolding and the actor’s past ties to a controversial form of yoga called Kundalini.


Kundalini, a controversial yoga practiced by Russell Brand, has been linked to brainwashing tactics, rape, and abuse.

Brand is a longtime practitioner of Kundalini, a form of yoga with a controversial history that many have accused of using predatory and manipulative tactics against its followers. 

More than a dozen of the Ra Ma Yoga Institute's former employees, students, and business partners have spoken out about the culture of abuse they’ve suffered at the hands of what many ultimately called a cult. This was in 2021, the same year that Brand had allegedly begun platforming Kundalini more and more. 


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A former actress named Jules Hartley, who studied under the same spiritual teachers alongside Brand in 2011 and 2013, says the news doesn’t surprise her. "It's the same story. It's the same storybook," Hartley told Insider. "It's power, it's control, its manipulation. It's getting others to get sort of mesmerized, to get what they want."

She previously noted that practicing Kundalini could get students “high,” as the intense breathing methods and strain could put them into a state where they were more susceptible to manipulation.


Brand’s response to the investigation could be viewed similarly. He’s attempting to regain control of the situation using his power and influence as an actor and manipulating the information to his own benefit — his reaction is not too dissimilar from DARVO tactics.

“Now, during that time of promiscuity, the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual,” he said in his video, responding to the victims’ claims. “I was always transparent about that. Then almost too transparent, and I'm being transparent about it now as well. And to see that transparency metastasized into something criminal that I absolutely deny makes me question, is there another agenda at play?”

Though he vehemently refutes the claims, people were skeptical about his innocence when his wife, Laura Gallacher, deleted her Instagram account to get ahead of the storm. According to a source who claims to be close to Gallacher, “They are determined to get through this.”

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The controversy surrounding Kundalini isn’t limited to Russell Brand.

The Kundalini founder was accused of sexual assault, and the Ra Ma Yoga Institute’s founder defended him.

The founder of the Ra Ma Yoga Institute, Guru Jagat — a white woman whose real name is Katie Griggs — was accused of running a “cult within a cult” after an HBO docuseries aimed to center itself around her defense of the late Kundalini founder, Yogi Bhajan.

The accusations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct lodged against Bhajan, who passed away in 2004, were largely ignored, but Jagat defended them all the same before her passing in August 2021.

“Yogi Bhajan is a historic figure, and he remains a historic figure,” she told Vanity Fair journalist Haley Phelan. “I’m not, like, spending my days trying to figure out whether George Washington was doing some things that I wouldn’t agree with in 2021.”


Jagat was widely supported by celebrities in Los Angeles, namely Kate Hudson and Alicia Keys, and although she has no direct connection to Brand, she was close to Tej Kaur Khalsa, who served as a co-founder of the Ra Ma Institute and was Brand’s spiritual teacher.

Khalsa and her ex-husband, Harijiwan Khalsa, were longtime followers of Bajhan and were both close to Brand, according to Hartley. She accused Harijiwan of frequently love-bombing students in order to get them to spend more money on classes.

He openly talked about studying mind control and even loved studying cult leaders. "He was transparent. It's a formula that he does," Hartley claimed.

“There's an addiction component and a power and control, grifter snake-oil component,” she continued. “It is to the surprise of nobody that Russell was best friends with Harijiwan,” Hartley said.


The controversial past surrounding the practice of Kundalini yoga and Brand’s involvement has come back to light as the investigation unfolds, highlighting the shady history of a popular form of yoga.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.