About Dr Josna Pankhania

Josna has over 30 years of professional experience across a range of clinical services. She is a counsellor and psychotherapist accredited with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. She currently works as a senior caseworker for a state-wide counselling service that supports women and children experiencing violence and abuse.

Josna has trained in counselling including person-centred counselling, crisis and critical incident debriefing, narrative therapy, vicarious trauma counselling and group psychodynamic psychotherapy. In the spirit of multiculturalism, Josna is a passionate proponent for incorporating Eastern wisdom into the mainstream therapies of counselling, psychology and psychotherapy and has undertaken training in both traditional Indian and Chinese therapeutic modalities.

Josna has published extensively in areas including counselling, yoga, ethics, mindfulness meditation and traditional Chinese medicine. She has also presented at conferences in the United Kingdom and Australia with topics including counselling, yoga, ethics, and traditional Indian and Chinese healing systems.

Social justice and advocacy work

Josna has campaigned for the rights of women and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and is the founding member of the Race Awareness in Counselling Education (RACE) Division of the British Association for Counselling. She spearheaded the campaign for a refuge and a therapeutic residential home for young Asian women experiencing abuse, and helped to run this organisation in the 1980s.

Josna has also chaired a human research ethics committee for the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. As well as working as a counsellor, Josna has been a community worker and has lectured in cultural studies, women’s studies, international politics and history.

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

As a member of the Satyananda Yoga community, Josna has recently worked towards healing, truth and justice in this community. This resulted from the examination of Case Study 21: Satyananda Yoga Ashram by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Josna’s work in relation to the Royal Commission has been a form of yoga: karma yoga, the yoga of action; jnana yoga, the yoga practice that pursues knowledge with questions such as “who am I?” and “what am I?"; and seva, service to the community. She has undertaken seva, which translates into service dedicated to others, in her search for truth and justice in Satyananda Yoga in the form of campaigning and advocacy work.

Campaigning and advocacy work

Publications: Royal Commission-related

Pankhania, J. 2016. “The ethics of yoga”. Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics (AAPAE) Newsletter. http://aapae.org.au/documents/Australian%20Ethics-12-2016.pdf

Pankhania, J. 2017. “The ethical and leadership challenges posed by the Royal Commission’s revelations of sexual abuse at a Satyananda Yoga ashram in Australia”. In Sunil Savur and Sukhbir Sandhu (eds.) Responsible Leadership and Ethical Decision-Making (Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations, vol. 17) (pp. 105–123). Emerald Publishing Limited. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwrH-vQ6M6nsVk5IcDl5cHZ0MDg/view?usp=sharing

Pankhania, J. and J. Hargreaves 2017. “A culture of silence: Satyananda Yoga”. Friday 22 December. http://theluminescent.blogspot.com/2017/12/a-culture-of-silence-satyananda-yoga.html

Conference papers: Royal Commission-related

Pankhania, J. 2016. “The ethical and leadership challenges posed by the Royal Commission’s revelations of sexual abuse at a Satyananda Yoga ashram in Australia”. Presented at the 23rd Annual Conference of the Australian Association for Professional & Applied Ethics (AAPAE): Responsible Leadership and Ethical Decision-Making, School of Management, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.

Pankhania, J. 2017. “Fractured minds within the Satyananda Yoga community”. Presented at the 24th Annual Conference of the Australian Association for Professional & Applied Ethics (AAPAE): Applied Ethics in the Fractured State, Institute for Public Policy and Governance, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.

Pankhania, J. 2019. “The potential for psychotherapeutic healing and wounding in a guru disciple relationship”. Keynote presentation at the International Conference on Counselling, Psychotherapy and Wellness and the 5th Congress of the International Society for Integrating Traditional Healing into Counselling Psychology, Psychotherapy and Psychiatry, Christ University, Bengaluru, India.

Pankhania, J. 2019. “The search for truth, justice and healing in Satyananda Yoga – Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Case Study 21”. Panel speaker at the Brighton Yoga Foundation Silenced Voices Panel ‘Silenced voices: Sexual violence, accountability and safety in yoga’. 29 July.

Interaction with Yoga Australia

With legal support, Josna lodged a grievance against Yoga Australia, the peak yoga body for Australia and New Zealand, for not adequately responding to the findings of the Royal Commission.

Consequently, Yoga Australia produced this statement: https://www.yogaaustralia.org.au/royal-commission/ in which the following was stated:

Yoga Australia thanks Dr Josna Pankhania for raising her concerns through Yoga Australia’s grievance process and for her assistance and commitment to healing, truth and justice in Satyananda Yoga.

Publications: Other

Pankhania, J. 1994. Liberating the National History Curriculum. London: Falmer Press.

Pankhania, J. 1995. “Benevolent racism: Making sense of policies aiming to improve the position of youth in society”. Youth & Policy: The Journal of Critical Analysis (issue 49).

Pankhania, J. 1996. “Black feminist counselling”. In M. Jacobs (ed.). Jitendra: Lost Connections, in Search of a Therapist. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Pankhania, J. 2003. “Alternative health care: Learning from traditional Chinese medicine”. In W-O Phoon and I. McIndoe (eds.). Untangling the Threads: Perspectives on Mental Health in Chinese Communities. Sydney: Transcultural Mental Health Centre.

Pankhania, J. 2004. “The ‘armour-plated man’ in cross-racial counselling”. In R. Moodley, L. Lago and A. Talahite (eds.). Carl Rogers Counsels a Black Client: Race and Culture in Person-Centred Counselling. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS Books.

Pankhania, J. 2005. “Yoga and its practice in psychological healing”. In R. Moodley and W. West (eds.). Integrating Traditional Healing Practices into Counseling and Psychotherapy (pp. 246–268). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Conference papers: Other

Pankhania, J. 1995. “The conscientization of black and white youth”. Presented at the Conference on Black Youth in a Transitional European Community: A Focus on Citizenship and Nationality, University of Reading, United Kingdom.

Pankhania, J. 1995. “Constructing an agenda for Black Studies as an inter-disciplinary discourse in further and higher education”. Keynote presentation: at the Conference on Education for Transformation, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.

Pankhania, J. 1996. “Ethnicity, migration and multiculturalism: The British experience”. Presented at the Australian Sociological Association Conference, University of Tasmania, Australia.

Pankhania, J. 1997. “The impact of history and culture on adolescent health”. Presented at the 2nd International Association for Adolescent Health Pacific Rim Conference, Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia.

Pankhania, J. 1998. “The teaching of history and social justice”. Presented at the Social Justice/Social Judgement Conference, Sydney, Australia.

Pankhania, J. 2010. “Introduction to yoga therapy”. Presented at the Living Better Longer, Chronic Disease Conference, Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW, Sydney, Australia.


Josna Pankhania at: yoga.ethics@outlook.com


Bachelor of Education, Crewe & Alsager Teacher Training College, Cheshire, England, 1981

Master of Philosophy, University of Manchester, 1988

General Course in Analytic Group Psychotherapy (Psychodynamic Psychotherapy), Institute of Group Analysis, London, 1996

Diploma in Acupressure, Chi Chinese Healing College, Sydney, 2000

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Western Sydney, 2008

Diploma of Yogic Studies and Teacher Training, Academy of Yoga Science, Sydney, 2014

Professional membership

Registered Clinical Psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy