In a series of raids, French authorities apprehended 41 individuals associated with a controversial yoga sect, including its leader, Guru Gregorian Bivolaru. The sect faces accusations of numerous abuses, with Bivolaru having been under the scrutiny of judicial authorities in Romania, Sweden, and France in recent years.
The arrests, carried out in the Paris region and southern France, targeted key members of the sect. A total of 175 police officers participated in the operation, resulting in the liberation of 26 women, several of whom were reportedly held against their will. The conditions in which they were kept were described as “deplorable” in terms of both space and hygiene.
Guru Bivolaru, 71, a dual national of Romania and Sweden, has been at the center of legal attention in multiple countries. The Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute (MISA), the organization linked to the arrests, operates several yoga schools and related activities.
The women rescued during the operation reported being victims of the MISA organization and its leader. Allegations include the encouragement of sexual relations with the group’s leader and participation in fee-paying pornographic practices in France and abroad.
MISA, self-described as the “largest yoga school in Romania and in Europe” on its official website, attributes its success to a traditional and rigorous approach to the yoga system. The group claims to integrate yoga values and practices coherently into the Western cultural environment.