Michael Roach: Mysterious Yoga Retreat Ends In Death Of Stanford Grad Ian Thorson

Michael Roach’s spiritual retreat in the middle of the Arizona desert was meant to be a place of quiet meditation, where followers used yoga and meditation in order to answer profound questions about life.

The retreat, called Diamond Mountain University, is meant to help train people in the ways of Budha, and how those ways lead to financial prosperity, according to The New York Times. However, speculation has risen after rescuers found Christie McNally and her husband, Ian Thorson, cast out of the retreat.

Thorson and McNally were cast out of the retreat in February, where McNally had been the lead yoga instructor. They were found by rescuers in a cave 7,000 feet up a rugged mountain. McNally was dehydrated and delirious, while Ian Thorson was dead.

Before their marriage, The Daily Mail reports that McNally was married to Michael Roach, the former diamond business owner turned monk. Their marriage came to light, prompting the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist teachers to reject Roach and his teachings, as Buddhist monks are not allowed to marry.

Their marriage ended in 2010, and Roach reportedly said of his former wife’s new love, Ian Thorson, that:

“You should see your partner as an angel who came to teach you. I look at Christie that way – the education is finished and now she is teaching a new person. If you try to see it that way, it helps your heart to hurt less.”


The three lived at the compound, along with 40 other devout followers until February, reports The New York Times. At that point, they received a letter from Roach and the five directors of the Diamond Mountain University compound, requesting that they leave, because McNally brought to light the fact that she stabbed her former husband after he became violent with her. The Daily Mail reports that initially, she claimed to use a knife they were given as a wedding present, but later stated that it was an accident while they were practicing martial arts, explaining:

“Of course it was an accident! I would never do harm to anyone’s body on purpose, least of all my holy husband, who I adore. We were simply fooling around, like children playing with their father’s samurai sword, unaware that eventually someone is bound to get hurt.”

Michael Roach’s retreat is set to end on April 3, 2014.

Check out more information about Michael Roach and his retreat here: