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Premka: White Bird in a Golden Cage: My Life with Yogi Bhajan
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Premka: White Bird in a Golden Cage: My Life with Yogi Bhajan

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  232 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Premka: White Bird in a Golden Cage is a compelling and beautifully unfolding tale, offering a haunting look into a teacher/student relationship. This intimate memoir, written by one of Yogi Bhajan’s prized teachers and exalted students, is full of devotion, love, dedication, betrayal, loss and the healing unification of the self. It also reads as a love letter to a unique ...more
Kindle Edition, 182 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Eyes Wide Publishing
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Proustitute (somewhat here, somewhat there)
A very brave, unflinching memoir about the birth of Kundalini Yoga in the West under Yogi Bhajan in the late-1960s. While Premka covers Pamela Dyson’s repeated sexual abuse and emotional manipulation under Yogi Bhajan and the cult she helped form around him over 16 years as his Secretary General, personal attendant, and head administrator (“We are creating a history, and the world will just marvel at this history one day,” he is recorded by Dyson as having said), it also is a highly personal doc ...more
Mish Middelmann
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a good job she does of writing about a deeply fraught relationship. I think she is impeccable in containing the story to her own experience, not hearsay and not really passing much judgement on the much more powerful man who looms so large in her life. One of the most powerful actions in the world is to hold others to account without indulging in blame, and I believe Pamela Dyson does this. In the end it makes the story much more telling about the costs of powerful people not being so impec ...more
Wendy
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book has been said to be about sexual misconduct of Yogi Bhajan, the leader of kundalini yoga in the western world. However, the sexual misconduct is the least of the abuses he committed toward the author and other followers.

It is a beautifully and respectfully told story of Premka’s relationship with a narcissist guru, drunk on his own power. Yogi Bhajan has become a kind of god or saint in the kundalini community, but this seems to be an honest portrayal of a flawed man who has learned to
...more
Ben Westhoff
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this in two sittings; it's exceptionally well-written, and an extremely provocative story that is told with grace. If you're familiar with Kundalini yoga, you know Yogi Bhajan is the progenitor of the discipline (at least in America), and treated by many followers as a near-deity. Dyson knew him almost from the moment he arrived in the US, leaving behind a wife and family, but furtively taking her into his bed. Dyson -- renamed Premka by the Yogi -- didn't mind at first; in fact, she was ...more
Crystal
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Couldn't put it down

I read this so fast because it was fascinating... not necessarily in a good way. What a life to live with this Guru, caught up in so much drama. I could not imagine living and feeling so trapped in a lifestyle that was supposed to be so positive
...more
Jeannie
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book brought out many emotions, and I had to process a lot of it before writing down my thoughts, though I doubt I’m done processing.

Lessons: any spiritual teacher who attempts to separate you from your inner knowing should be questioned.
Also, as a yoga teacher, I would rather be an ethical failure than have my humanity stripped away by success. I think this is why happens to men like Yogi Bhajan- influence and prestige can be poisonous.

I think this is an important part of the Yogi Bhajan s
...more
Jack Dyson
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great read

This is a great account of our personal attempt to search our life’s for expanded consciousness. And the pitfalls along the way.
Although they are always just insights into our own psyche
Rebecca
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a heartfelt and beautiful account of one woman's spiritual journey. This book has the power to reveal the shortcomings of spiritual teachings that try to discredit a woman's voice and a woman's humble experience. Any man that tries to force anyone to be like him has got serious issues, as this memoir reveals the issues of Yogi Bhajan's mental disorders. I am grateful that the world received this book, and we are able to embrace this side of the story. Thank you! ...more
Julie
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a Kundalini Yoga teacher who discovered the teachings after Yogi Bhajan died, this gives an interesting & disturbing picture of the early days of this man's hegemony in the Western yoga world. Really well-written, & definitely food for thought! I'll be a while digesting this... ...more
Charlotte
Feb 20, 2020 rated it liked it
I am about in the middle and it is disturbing. I am a practicioner and teacher of Kundalini Yoga. I have studied with many teachers including Yogi Bhajan - although things were whispeed and suspected apparently it was more than rumors. It is a good cautionary tale about giving up all for the guru - which by the wqy, simply means teacher - not some exalted mystical being. We all need to remember that and that teachers are human just like the rest of us.
Eddy Brown II
Mar 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
Very subjective

It was a good story, however I don't find it to be the tell all book against Kundalini Yoga that it's been hyped up to be
...more
Marika
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
A devastating insight into how living in a destructive relationship and environment wears you down to the point where you lose yourself.
This will be a very personal review...
As a Kundaliniyoga practitioner and teacher, I am all the more grateful for having met teachers who have encouraged a healthy dose of scepticism and to never just accept, who have tried hard to focus on the good, never to force a habit or a strict dress code or way of living/think/be. I only wish it had always been like thi
...more
Gail
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kundalini yoga, as taught by Guru Singh at Yoga West in Los Angeles, was absolutely transformational for me. There is undoubtedly tremendous benefit in its practice.

According to Pamela Dyson, the author of this memoir, there was also a damaging cult of personality surrounding the individual who was largely instrumental in bringing kundalini yoga to the United States, Yogi Bhajan. Once again, a man with a devoted following seems to have let the power get the best of him, and he abused that power
...more
Cy
Feb 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
Not truthful, one can tell she is not telling the truth
Frannie
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Enough to get me off of Kundalini....
Mrs Susan
May 05, 2020 rated it liked it
More shaded of Grey than White

Sadly this is not an unusual tale within the world of Yoga a man setting himself up as more than .Manipulating ,Controlling,Lying , Using sex and favouritism to isolate some promote others.
Hypocritical,Disgusting and Self aggrandizing, A poor excuse of a GURU. Yet the author themselves does not come out of this squeaky clean. From first laying eyes on the man she was fantasizing about a relationship with him, even knowing he was married she wanted That man. Apparent
...more
Jacqueline I. Sternberg
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Fascinating look inside the world of Yogi Bhajan (who started the cult he called 3HO--the Happy Healthy Holy Organization--in the late '60s, which became an international organization with many hundreds of followers). The author does not exaggerate the craziness she lived within, as an "exalted" member of his staff, and the manipulative nature of the Yogi. If anything, she downplays the sexual and emotional abuse she suffered, and saw others suffering. I know whereof I speak, having been involve ...more
Deep Prem
Mar 04, 2020 rated it did not like it
Yogi Bhajan stressed from the beginning that we are all responsible for ourselves. All of his teachings showed ways to access our inner truth and wisdom, to strengthen the nervous system, and bolster us for the demands of life. Kundalini yoga is the best system I have ever encountered for self knowledge, integrity, and balance. I have spoken to several people who were taught by Yogi Bhajan and it is crystal clear that he was a good man, whose sole wish was to raise up humanity. He was betrayed, ...more
Bill Wilson
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am grateful for the teachings of Yogi Bhajan and the work of his students throughout the world, I've probably even benefited from Dyson's work for the organization. I did read the Olive Branch report first though, and I was expecting and hardening myself for a diatribe about Bhajan- vis a vis Bikram and all the other fallen gurus. Such was not the case though, and I found myself appreciating the simplicity and clarity of her writing, her acknowledgement of her own imperfections and samskaras a ...more
Tracy.3
Dec 03, 2020 rated it liked it
The book started out interesting but got pretty tedious. The author spent too much time giving details on irrelevant things and not giving details on the actual workings of the cult she joined. She glossed over a lot of the cult stuff only to focus too much on boring details like how she got from one place to another. She also glossed over a lot of what Yogi Bhajan did which was the point of the book. I was still able to finish it but skipped a lot of the boring details of her life that had noth ...more
Danielle
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Being a student of kundalini yoga for 20 years when I heard of this book I immediately downloaded and read in a days time. Could see Premka's story unfolding the way she says... Indeed a sad story. I'll reframe Yogi B "keep up and you shall be kept up" type lessons as good lessons regardless. Unfortunately we're all human and while do as i say not as I do (infidelity) lessons ARE SOLID it IS a part of human nature. ...more
Rachel
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
joannne regan
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved it

As a student of Kundalini many years ago and receiving a spiritual name by Yogi Bhajan I found this book fascinating and returned me to a happy time in my life. I’m sure this must have been a difficult story to write but one that must be told.
Joseph Prasad
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring

Encouraging people to tell their truth, be their truth, live their truth !! I recommend this to anyone who feels lost and looking for themselves, their true SELF.
Jasbir Villaschi
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
The complex relationships between a cult leader and his followers, harrowing in places but the reprising of the history of a personal trauma and the aftereffects for Pamela.
Michelle Ule
Jul 30, 2020 rated it liked it
So sad.
Boqueronbecky
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
A cautionary tale about blind faith.
Lori Schmidt
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wow...... incredibly powerful

This book was written from the heart. At times I felt my heart break for her and other times I was cheering her on.
VIRGINIA HATSUE
May 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Amazing...
Sophie Walton
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating and heart breaking biography of a women who spent 40 years of her life 'trapped' under the dominating power of Yogi Bajan. This book outlines her experience of losing her own identity within a strict and structured image that had been created for her, in favour of Yogi Bajan and at the sacrifice of her being able to fall in love, have children, or have any sense of personal freedom. This book made me feel uneasy, as it unveils the darkness and power structures that underlie a seemi ...more
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