Bali Yoga Retreat Criticized for Cramming Over 100 Tourists in Room Together

yoga

A yoga studio in Bali has sparked outrage for packing over 100 people for a “celebration of bliss” and then lying about the event taking place when criticized by the public.

What happened: House of Om, a popular Balinese yoga business, organized an event to raise money for its local employees currently out of work due to pandemic.

  • It ended up breaking COVID-19 protocols with Western yogis not wearing face masks nor observing social distancing, ABC reports.
  • Founded by a yoga instructor from Dubai, House of Om held a yogic chanting evening at its treetop studio on Thursday night.
  • The business invited the public to “invite as many friends and family as you want.” 
  • The call attracted over 100 people, who are mostly white.
  • For several hours, the Western devotees sang and swayed together, without wearing face masks or observing social distancing.

The backlash: When images from the gathering surfaced online, it sparked a furor on social media for risking the spread of COVID-19. 

  • The business backpedaled and tried to deny the event took place amid a pandemic. 
  • Days later, screenwriter Jenny Jusuf, who is a yoga practitioner, came across the event and exposed it on Twitter. 
  • She posted images that the House of Om posted on Facebook and a screenshot taken from the original ad.
  • She also shared posts from people who had been to the event.
  • Organizers from House of Om claimed the event had happened back in December and the images were posted for promotional purposes.
  • In press statements, the organizers claimed the criticisms were an attack on the business by “envious people” with “law vibrations” who were trying to shut them down.

Indisputable proof: More evidence surfaced, including a high-quality video on YouTube uploaded by a photographer friend of the organizers.

  • One of the attendees also posted an Instagram Story, thanking the business for a lovely evening and showing the crowded room.
  • On Monday, just 24 hours after claiming the photos were from 2019, the House of Om confessed they indeed hosted the event last week.
  • “It was a big and unreasonable mistake that happened in this difficult time,” co-founder and CEO Wissam Barakeh wrote in a post. “We apologize to all Balinese people for our less responsible actions.”

Bali amid the pandemic: As of this writing, the confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has reached over 47,000, with more than 19,000 recoveries and over 2,500 deaths.

  • In Bali alone, the number of cases is now over 1,1oo, with 600 recoveries and nine deaths.
  • Local health authorities have urged the public to wear face masks, maintain a six-foot distance from each other and keep away from crowded places to curb the infection.

Feature Image via @JennyJusuf

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: info@nextshark.com