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Imperfect Paradise
Imperfect Paradise - Yoga's Queen Podcast Header
Imperfect Paradise
Stories of the Reality Behind the Dream

About The Show

Imperfect Paradise is a longform narrative podcast showcasing California stories with universal significance. Each story takes on something essential about California -- its progressiveness, its reputation as a home for dreamers and schemers, its heartbreaking inequality, its varied and diverse communities, its unique combination of dense cities and wild places -- and each season breaks it down into multiple 20-40 minute episodes that will be released sequentially.

Season 1 sheds light on divisive housing issues in Orange County.
Season 2 investigates the death of Chicano activist Oscar Gomez.
Season 3 unravels the controversy surrounding LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Season 4, Yoga's "Queen of Conspiracy Theories," is a new season which tells the story of how a former yoga and wellness star fell down the far-right rabbit hole during the pandemic. The first episode will be available to stream starting January 3rd, 2023.

Season 5, LAist Studios & USC Annenberg Media Present: How COVID Changed Everything

When the World Health Organization declared an end to COVID-19 as a global health emergency last month, it marked an over 3 year journey through the deadliest pandemic in US history. While COVID-19 may no longer be an official public health emergency, the effects it's had on every fabric of society, can’t be overlooked.

In this series, graduate students in the USC Annenberg School of Journalism examine the many ways—both dramatic and nuanced—that the pandemic has changed life in ways we are only now beginning to understand: in the workplace, the family and the world. Every story is about change. Every narrative involves a moment or moments when everything was different from before.

Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live. This podcast was made possible with support from the Committee for Greater LA in partnership with the Weingart Foundation.

Funding provided by:

Corporation for Public Broadcasting

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  • 32:44
    Episode 3
    Kundalini Yoga’s #MeToo Moment
    In early 2020, just as fears about coronavirus are worsening, women begin accusing the founder of Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan, of sexual assault. Guru Jagat’s surprising response sets the stage for her radicalization during the pandemic.
  • 34:21
    Episode 2
    Kundalini Royalty
    Katie Griggs, a young woman from rural Maryland, discovers Kundalini yoga in her early 20s and goes all in. She transforms herself into Guru Jagat, a beloved and controversial yoga and wellness influencer in Los Angeles. In this episode, her friends, family, and coworkers grapple with how she changed in the final years of her life. And we explore the connections between yoga and conspiracies like QAnon.
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  • 31:00
    “Queen of Conspiracy Theories”
    Guru Jagat starts the pandemic with an understandable skepticism of official medical advice, but quickly grows to embrace an array of far-right conspiracy theories.
  • 4:21
    Introducing Season 4: Imperfect Paradise - Yoga's "Queen of Conspiracy Theories"
    Before her sudden death in 2021, Guru Jagat had become a famous Kundalini yoga teacher based in Los Angeles. But as the global pandemic grew, she started talking like a far-right coronavirus conspiracy theorist. What does her journey down the rabbit hole tell us about the appeal of conspiracies in the yoga and wellness community? This 3-episode season explores Guru Jagat’s rise to fame and follows along as she responds not just to the pandemic, but to a #metoo movement scandal that rocked the Kundalini yoga world in early 2020. It also explores themes of misinformation, how a healthy distrust in government and medicine can turn dark, the relativism of truth in the wellness industry and the influence of social media on radicalization. Episode #1 will be available to stream on January 3rd.
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