Anusara Yoga in the Spotlight
There has been a scandal in the yoga world. I have been reluctant to write about it.
I find it refreshing that few people in the Kootenays know (or care) about the dramatic events placing Anusara Yoga in the spotlight. This indicates that the Kootenays is a somewhat protected nook of the (yoga) world. Because of this we can perhaps maintain focus on the deeper truth of the practice.
Moreover, I have remained silent because I have been listening and reflecting deeply. As an Anusara-inspired teacher and student of the method I have been observing my own feelings of disappointment and sorrow as well as glimpses of hope for what could emerge from the ashes.
It has now been several weeks since it all began. As the media blitz will inform, there have been allegations and admissions of misconduct by John Friend, founder of the Anusara Yoga method. Many certified teachers have resigned. John Friend has stepped down. The community is divided. The method itself has been shaken to it’s core.
I don’t wish to reiterate here all the details of what has transpired. Those interested can find a running timeline at It’s All Yoga, Baby.
Around the world, old structures of power and outdated regimes are crumbling. It’s clear that Anusara, Inc. is based on a model which no longer serves practitioners. This is actually an exciting time of creative destruction for Anusara. The greater yoga community is fortunate to be able to witness, support and learn from this.
It is unknown what the future holds for Anusara Yoga, described as “one of the most highly respected and fastest growing schools of hatha yoga in North America”. I feel deep compassion for John and for all those who have been hurt by his actions and what has transpired. I respect those who have followed their truth and broken their ties to the method. And I admire those who are working hard to salvage and reconstruct Anusara Yoga from the wreckage.
There is great beauty and wisdom to be found in the core principles of this method.
These events have sparked necessary dialogue within the Anusara Yoga community and beyond, even spilling into mainstream media such as the NY Times. These events, as heartbreaking as they are on many levels, serve as lessons for the yoga industry and society at large. They will hopefully lead to the personal growth of many individuals and the forging of evolutionary paths for yoga.
Links to many of the open letters, articles and commentaries posted over the last few weeks can be found at It’s All Yoga, Baby.
May we learn and grow in the shadow and the light.