Anusara Teachers’ exodus.

Via on Feb 12, 2012

A conversation with Bernadette Birney: on Anusara, Authority, Dissolution & Creation.

An inside view of a bumpy path.

The below wet-ink conversation with Bernadette Birney concerns “the John Friend / Anusara yoga situation.”

Bernadette is an Anusara yoga teacher, and announced her resignation just today. Her letter, and (a senior Anusara yoga teacher) Noah Mazé’s letter, are at the bottom here (shared by direct permission).

We just did this conversation via skype. I’ll leave the time stamp in, and BB doesn’t like to cap stuff…but in the interest of getting this up quickly, here ’tis.

It’s all rather raw, both grammar-wise and heart-wise.

~ Waylon Lewis, ed.

Bernadette Birney: what a day. what a week.

Waylon Lewis: Yah, hard to know what to say. I’m not even really involved as are you and so many others and yet I’m burned out and continually a little sad, depressed, about stuff.

bernadette birney: yeah, i know what you mean.

[2/12/12 4:10:55 PM] Waylon Lewis: I think everyone out there who isn’t like you or other teachers in the know just wants to know something basic: what’s been going on over the last day? Tons more teachers seem to be leaving.

[2/12/12 4:12:18 PM] bernadette birney: Well, I believe that John Friend teaching at “The Dharma of Relationship” was just too much. I know that it was for me. Many of us were working to prevent that from happening.

[2/12/12 4:12:40 PM] Waylon Lewis: Clearly. But he agreed not to teach that, right?

[2/12/12 4:12:47 PM] bernadette birney: No.

[2/12/12 4:12:56 PM] Waylon Lewis: Oh.

[2/12/12 4:13:01 PM] bernadette birney: He insisted on teaching asana at the event.

[2/12/12 4:13:05 PM] Waylon Lewis: That’s nervy.

[2/12/12 4:13:14 PM] bernadette birney: Yeah.

[2/12/12 4:13:16 PM] Waylon Lewis: Oh I heard he wanted to teach asana but not the lecture aspect.

It’s probably hard to unplug from being loved and go off, as he’d said he would do, and practice and work on himself. So even if the feedback he’s getting is critical, that’s a positive for him–clearly he seems to need a push to work on himself.

[2/12/12 4:14:30 PM] bernadette birney: Yes, I believe that’s true. It was entirely inappropriate for JF to be teaching anything to anyone at this time. He needs to take a sabbatical and get help. I had great hopes that we could help him and the community but he wouldn’t let us, and ultimately we had no power

[2/12/12 4:14:52 PM] Waylon Lewis: So is there reallllly room within Anusara for you all to take the reins

[2/12/12 4:14:57 PM] bernadette birney: no

[2/12/12 4:15:01 PM] Waylon Lewis: It seems like no: many of you have decided to leave and form a new tribe? I mean you all have been so closely knit.

[2/12/12 4:15:46 PM] bernadette birney: I had hopes that we would actually be able to reform from within, but the Interim Committee was impotent. JF owns the corporation and invested no power in the committee. I do have hopes of aligning to become a part of something that is greater than just me.

[2/12/12 4:16:36 PM] Waylon Lewis: Well, you’re pretty great.

What I’ve been primarily interested in, here, having seen this sexual craving play out with varous spiritual teachers and yoga teachers over the years is how can the Anusara community and more generally the greater yoga community and more generally the greater “mindful” community, spiritual communities, learn from this?

(If we don’t learn from this, history tells us we’ll repeat this)

[2/12/12 4:18:28 PM] bernadette birney: Well, I actually have an answer. We must turn away from the guru model that still dominates in many yoga traditions.

We must learn how to invest in our own power and authority rather than conferring it onto the teacher.

Yoga is always about power. An unethical teacher misappropriates power. A good teacher gives it back to you. And that applies to every kind of misuse of power, not just sexual.

[2/12/12 4:20:24 PM] Waylon Lewis: Yes! Love that. Right on…Beautifully put.

Hold on for a sec, it’s 4:20

Sorry, joke in poor taste considering the various allegations.

[2/12/12 4:21:39 PM] bernadette birney: i don’t offend easily. (:

Waylon Lewis: And the guru model isn’t the whole root of the problem. As you say it’s about seeing the guru (or wisdom, goodness generally) within. We are not fundamentally lacking, and the guru or teacher is not fundamentally perfect.

[2/12/12 4:23:11 PM] bernadette birney:

One of the things I’ve observed is that I have been a part of a community that keeps quiet. We are have been so busy conferring authority onto JF that we forgot our ability to use our voices.

[2/12/12 4:23:26 PM] Waylon Lewis: I’ve been meaning to write about my view of this matter, since some group of our readers seem to mistake my interest in not attacking but being clear on what is wrong and how to go forward and improve as support for John.

[2/12/12 4:23:44 PM] bernadette birney: No, no teacher or human is going to be perfect–not even the one within!

[2/12/12 4:23:56 PM] Waylon Lewis: Exactly. Anusara and many other communites are rather worshipful, dumbed down by the charm or charisma of their leader instead of awakened and inspired by it.

[2/12/12 4:24:18 PM] bernadette birney: My problem with JF wasn’t that he was human–it was the lack of transparency, and the fact that his actions did not reflect his remorse.

[2/12/12 4:25:06 PM] Waylon Lewis: Exactly. But you’re rather mature. I think many made the mistake of putting him on a pedestal. We have to stop doing that to our teachers. Every yoga conference I go to, I see a lot of dumbed down worshipful googly eyes aimed at every celeb yogi.

Transparency and honesty and genuine interest in waking up is vital. We have to look for teachers like that—and even then we don’t worship them. From the Buddhist pov, the root of the problem here is theism. Buddhist talks a lot about non-theism. And it’s useful teachings, since Buddhists like everyone else are suckers for rock star spirituality.

[2/12/12 4:25:25 PM] bernadette birney: As a community, after jfexposed, we needed to clean the wound, dress the wound, heal the wound. Instead, too many people wanted to sit around singing kumbaya, sending love and light.

[2/12/12 4:27:10 PM] Waylon Lewis: …and, too many wanted to attack the wound and throw salt on it.

Neither approach—defensiveness/ignorance or blame/anger helps heal a wound. At all.

{} Bernadette: They did not get that we needed to hold JF accountable for his actions, for his own good, and for ours. Compassion is not always warm, fuzzy and cuddly.

{} Waylon: Yes! Tough mother love is anything but warm, fuzzy, cuddly, just ask my ma!

[2/12/12 4:27:35 PM] bernadette birney: Yes, it’s prevalent in the community, and I get it. Who hasn’t at some time or other just wished that somebody would just tell them what to do?

[2/12/12 4:27:59 PM] Waylon Lewis: Not I, frankly. I always found the atmosphere around the Buddhist teachers I grew up around to be really silly and ridiculous.

[2/12/12 4:28:47 PM] bernadette birney: Well, I am a tortured soul who wishes it every now and then, and then gets really pissed when someone actually dares to tell me what to do. (:

Good on ya for yer good common sense.

[2/12/12 4:30:04 PM] Waylon Lewis: Well in Buddhism we’re trained to disagree with the teacher if his/her advice is stupid or dangerous. And we’re trained to always keep critical intelligence, because that’s what true friendship/loyalty/devotion looks like.

That said again we’re trained in all that because we fuck up devotion and get theistic like everyone else…it’s human nature. Heroes are easy to put up on pedestals. And then we tear them down, like it’s their fault they aren’t perfect.

John was never perfect.

[2/12/12 4:32:08 PM] bernadette birney: That is very much in keeping with the tradition in which I am reared. To be perfectly honest, although I have loved and admired JF, the teacher of my heart, my true teacher, has always been Douglas Brooks–who adamantly refuses to sit above his students, and instead raises the bar on the conversation among friends.

John was never perfect. I don’t fault him for that.

[2/12/12 4:32:49 PM] Waylon Lewis: But let’s not transfer our idolization to anyone. We can study with masters like Brooks without looking up to them.

[2/12/12 4:33:01 PM] bernadette birney: I fault him for fucking it up so royally after he fucked it up.

[2/12/12 4:33:07 PM] Waylon Lewis: Yes! I was just im’ing with Jeannie Page who I respect and often disagree with (and she’s always right in those cases, seriously) and was saying same thing.

I said “I just think if he had been encouraged to open and clarify rather than defend and lawyer up from the beginning this could have been better for all. He could have been a great example of accepting blame, responsibility, and exhibiting enthusiasm for waking up here.”

[2/12/12 4:34:03 PM] bernadette birney: one of the hugest problems in the Anusara organization is that there has only been a one-tiered power structure.

So, when it all blew up, we were all sort of trained to wait for somebody else to fix it because most of us were waiting to be invited into somebody else’s conversation about what to do instead of taking the initiative to generate a conversation ourselves.

[2/12/12 4:36:01 PM] Waylon Lewis: Well this is a great conversation…this is the conversation I wish we could all explore. Non-theism. Protected by our ongoing critical intelligence, dropping hero worship, we can cut the likelihood of future such situations.

[2/12/12 4:36:02 PM] bernadette birney: Yes, you are so right. Instead, there was a lot of silence, and a vacuum of leadership.

Then there was spin.

Then there was huge manipulation of the committee, and a lot of divide and conquer games.

[2/12/12 4:36:17 PM] Waylon Lewis: Yes. It’s felt a bit like politics, instead of spiritual path.

Well so you’re all taking leadership now, so that’s great…a great gift to be forced to accept.

Ironically, the best politics would have been to just warrior up, open his heart and go on retreat.

[2/12/12 4:37:33 PM] bernadette birney: Yes, I sort of stepped up like an unlikely leader, I guess. I was so certain that somebody needed to do something.

He could have come out looking like a hero. He had very good advice from truly brilliant members of our community.

He just wouldn’t take it.

Hey, I’m being really frank with you because I respect your integrity. Thanks for your vote of confidence.

[2/12/12 4:39:54 PM] Waylon Lewis: Well you’ve been who I wanted to talk to, here, you and Noah…

…because it seems like too many of those in the Anusara community, or formerly in the community, have been largely silent.

And then on the outside, too many have been attacking, gossiping, blaming, almost enjoying this.

There have been too few like you who love and respect John but have fundamental obvious problems with what’s happened and are now offering your independent, middle-ground voices. Neither worship / defense or hate / gossip—just personal openness and wisdom. That’s the way to heal this wound and form a new, wiser, independent community.

The blessing of running something like elephant is I get criticized 100 times a month. It’s not fun, and some of the criticism is mean-spirited and full of projection…but most of it serves to wake me up and help me keep elephant on course.

For all of us, our spouses or best friends serve that same purpose. Real friendship is not support. Real friendship is honesty with love behind it, not hate.

[2/12/12 4:41:48 PM] bernadette birney: This whole time, I just went with my gut. I felt some kind of inner guidance the whole way. Maybe there’s actually something to this yoga thing. (:

[2/12/12 4:42:05 PM] Waylon Lewis: Well, you’ve put yourself out there in a sane way and in this context that’s leadership, and I and many others have a longing for some sort of sane touchstone right now, and very little has been offered by anyone.

[2/12/12 4:42:30 PM] bernadette birney: It’s tough, too, in the yoga world where calling for accountability gets condemned as judgement.

[2/12/12 4:42:48 PM] Waylon Lewis: Well there has been a lot of judgment and prejudgment that hasn’t been helpful, or even accurate. Discernment is what we’re all after, as Carol Horton has said.

Going with our gut is the theism-killer…the best way to be non-theistic. Listen to our own wisdom and power. That’s what we all have to emulate and continually remember…or we’ll find ourselves in such a situation once again.

[2/12/12 4:43:52 PM] bernadette birney: i still think that the method is hands down one of the most healing modalities out there.

My teaching is not going to look different tomorrow, you know?

[2/12/12 4:44:29 PM] Waylon Lewis: Hah. I interviewed Katie and she did it to me live on camera. It was intense.

I was a doubter.

[2/12/12 4:44:50 PM] bernadette birney: what, like shoulder loop or something?

[2/12/12 4:45:40 PM] Waylon Lewis: Oh, sorry, I was thinking Byron Katie’s teachings! Too much coffee.

You’re talking about Anusara of course. Yes, I’ve never been attracted to Anusara but I’m sure the teachings attracted so many amazing teachers and students for a reason.

[2/12/12 4:46:55 PM] bernadette birney: oh, she is fantastic. a few months ago i got obsessed with her and disappeared for days into her videos on youtube. she is out there doing really good work.

Yeah, the community is everything to me.

Even resigning was in many ways an offering of love to the community. Do you know what I mean?

Waylon Lewis: Well, Noah and a whole host of others including yourself (we’ll include your letter, and Noah’s, both with direct permission) left today.

How can this leaving be an offering of love to the community, as you say?

Where are we at? How can we heal and go forward, from your pov? What does your gut or wisdom tell you, personally?

[2/12/12 4:49:15 PM] bernadette birney: it was a call to us all not to slide back into unhealthy relationship. that was what i could see happening. The only way forward for the community is for individuals to reclaim their power, and to be unafraid to speak out.

[2/12/12 4:49:57 PM] Waylon Lewis: Yes. Who all left today? I’ve heard of maybe five.

[2/12/12 4:51:58 PM] bernadette birney: let’s see: Noah, Sarah Faircloth, Emma Magenta, Elizabeth Cronise, Lara Demberg Voloto. Some of these teachers are prominent and well respected.

And me, of course.

[Ed's note: also just now: Michelle Synnestvedt, Anne Libby, Jonathan Shoemaker]

Update: Emma’s letter. “John has demonstrated his unwillingness to take any meaningful responsibility for his actions or work with the community to effect real change.”

[2/12/12 4:53:23 PM] Waylon Lewis: Are there more to come? Or is the next step that the teachers who have left and the community that’s left and the community and teachers who remain will just begin the process of healing, and John will go off and work on himself?

[2/12/12 4:53:34 PM] bernadette birney: oh yes. There will be many more to come.

[2/12/12 4:53:49 PM] Waylon Lewis: Just messaged with Noah, he invited me to share his letter. Everyone’s tired.

Many more teachers and students will leave, you mean?

[2/12/12 4:54:02 PM] bernadette birney: yeah, we’re all really fried. I’ve been in pretty much around the clock contact with a sort of fellowship of teachers for the last week.

[2/12/12 4:54:55 PM] Waylon Lewis: Again I’m not in the Anusara community but just dealing with this and knowing many folks concerned with it a bit has been exhausting…I’ve found meditation, dog walks and friends and baths and exercise, biking to be only saving grace!

[2/12/12 4:56:18 PM] bernadette birney: many more teachers. I don’t know about students, if they will leave Anusara. Mostly, students show up to practice with teachers they really love. My guess is that among students we’ll see more loyalty to individual teachers than to anusara. As opposed to leaving a tradition, they’ll just stay with their teacher.

[2/12/12 4:56:37 PM] Waylon Lewis: Right. Like a hair salon.

[2/12/12 4:56:43 PM] bernadette birney: I’ve turned a lot to friends, and to my practice.

[2/12/12 4:57:07 PM] bernadette birney: Yeah, like a hair salon. At least–i think that’s how it will go.

[2/12/12 4:57:30 PM] Waylon Lewis: Okay. Anything else we shoudl bring up or touch upon?

[2/12/12 4:58:31 PM] bernadette birney: just that it is a potent time. From all the dissolution will come creation.

[2/12/12 5:01:07 PM] Waylon Lewis: Okay. Thanks, BB. Deep (but not worshipful) bow!

[2/12/12 5:02:01 PM] bernadette birney: Ha! Thanks for creating an opportunity to open the conversation wider than it has been. Superduper appreciative of that.

[2/12/12 5:02:45 PM] Waylon Lewis: You bet. Hopefully there’s some point. It seems like I just get hated on lately (I know it’s a vocal minority) for trying to put constructive stuff out there. It’s possible to be constructive and critical, both!

[2/12/12 5:03:31 PM] bernadette birney: Hang tough, baby. It hurts but just keep walking your talk. The world needs more like you.

[2/12/12 5:03:52 PM] Waylon Lewis: Well, I’ll have children soon enough.

Now get outta here…step away from the computer!

 

~

 

Here’s Noah’s letter:

Dear Beloved Anusara Kula,

The time has come for me to transition away from my professional ties to John Friend. In this past week of sitting on the Interim Committee and devoting countless hours to a grueling process of attempting to envision Anusara Yoga’s future, I was hit hard by the realization that I simply have no desire for a role in this challenging but hopefully fruitful evolution. I am about to broaden my horizon, and I’m deeply excited to share this news.

I am and will always remain ever grateful for all of the teachings I have received from John Friend, and I wish him only love, and the very best of luck with his personal recovery and professional development. Anusara was founded on solid principles of alignment, and my deepest wish is that these principles will guide the organization and its community members for many years to come. I will dearly miss being in the great company of my beloved Anusara kula. Fortunately though, I will be just around the corner, endeavoring to live the teachings, do my practices, teach and live life with joy, integrity and accountability. I remain a certified Anusara Yoga teacher, despite the fact that I will be surrendering my license. Further, in an effort to serve all of my students who are counting on studying Anusara Yoga with me this year, and those who are enrolled in my programs throughout the world, I will fulfill my obligations to you and offer all scheduled Anusara programming through the end of 2012. These programs and teacher training hours will count for anyone accruing credit to become a licensed Anusara Inspired or Certified teacher; and I will encourage any of my students who endeavor to walk that path.

I am much less interested in drawing the distinctions of yoga methods, and far more interested in the value of what every method and every teacher offers. I am interested in, and more in love than ever, with YOGA!

I will always aspire to keep great company, and am very excited to focus more on collaborating and teaching with my dear friends Christina Sell, Darren Rhodes, Elena Brower and Amy Ippoliti. I will keep you posted about these exciting offerings as we solidify our plans. The upcoming teacher development and Group Mentorship program, Good to Great, will also be a School of Yoga program, which I will offer with Christina Sell, and program hours will also work towards the Yoga Alliance 500 hour registry. Tracy and I have been working for many days and many hours on trying to help the current situation in Anusara. We leave you in the very best hands with the members of the Interim Committee.

I am proud of having been an Anusara teacher for the past decade plus. I am proud of what we have all created. I am so proud of you. I see incredible potential for what all of us can create. I will see you on the mat and in your house online! Live your highest truth, and keep it real.

Respect and with all my heart,

Noah

 

~

Here’s BB’s letter from this morning:

My Resignation Letter

Beloved Friends and Colleagues,

Just Thursday I wrote an open letter in which I urged you not to give up, and not to quit. Today, it is with a heavy heart that I sever my professional ties to John Friend. As for my efforts in achieving the right to the title Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher–they have been honestly earned. I own them. They belong to me.

In the aftermath of the discovery of John Friend’s professional and sexual misconduct, I maintained–right alongside my sense of heartbreak and anger– hope. It was my hope that the Anusara community could rise like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes. It was my hope that we would move from opacity toward transparency. It was my hope that we would move in the direction of a new, healthy, power structure.

It was my hope that we would hold John accountable for abusing our trust when he decided to “heal” his students with “sex therapy”. The lack of a transparent investigation on this topic is troublesome to the extreme. I have conducted my own investigation, and have good reason to believe it is true. I have a high regard for the people who confirmed this for me.They are not yet ready to publicly come forward.

I have gratitude for what I learned from John Friend. I am also clear that the responsibility for my own integrity rests upon my own shoulders.

This signifies the end of my hopes for reform. I have lost confidence in our ability to set and maintain healthy boundaries within the organization. Without our ability to set boundaries, there can be only the façade of change, and no actual change. Following such a course, Anusara yoga will slide back into what I now recognize as deeply engrained, unhealthy habits. This saddens me greatly.

I will continue to teach the Universal Principles with passion. I fully expect that since this is John’s mess, and we are all experiencing the fallout of his poor choices, that Anusara will do the right thing by honoring all of my students’ programming hours.

I will continue to be a presence in the community that I have devoted myself to for over a decade. My ferocious love for you is–and shall remain–a constant.

With love,
Bernadette

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128 Responses to “Anusara Teachers’ exodus.”

  1. Guest says:

    Sorry to add to the criticism you might receive, but I have to say, dear Waylon, if you are seriously interested in being a part of the end of yoga teacher hero rock star guru worship you would post pictures of Bernadette — the smart and gorgeous woman you are interviewing… because she is the person you are interviewing! — not more pictures of John Friend!! doh

    • elephantjournal says:

      Ummm…there's a huge one of her right up top, perhaps you missed it. It's been there from the beginning, and comes direct from BB.

      The smaller photos of John are meant to break up the long text and remind folks of the reach of John and Anusara…for it is in remembering the might of the fallen that we remember how remarkable it is that so few spoke their truth for so long.

      ~ Waylon Lewis

      • Ben Ralston Ben_Ralston says:

        ROFL – you even get criticized anonymously for not doing things you've done!

        • elephantjournal says:

          You know how it is, Ben, you've been there and you're a far sweeter and wise writer! Welcome to the internet, where everyone knows your name…and you don't know anyone's.

      • Vision_Quest2 says:

        Many of us get sick and tired of looking at young ladies in asana photos in a park or on a beach, OK? I don't blame the poster for thinking the picture was of some anonymous model.

      • Guest says:

        I was commenting on the 4 pictures of John Friend that you use throughout the interview of Bernadette. I saw the 1 picture of her at the top — and love it! In my view, using all those pictures of John reinforces a power imbalance; I would be surprised to hear that anyone needed a reminder of his reach at this point.

        • elephantjournal says:

          Well, you sound as if you're knowledgable and in a yoga community. This has been the talk of the town here in Boulder, as I'm sure elsewhere, and most of not nearly all of the folks who've asked me about it aren't so knowledgable, and not only don't recognize the name "John Friend" or "Anusara" but have little idea of what either connote.

    • chan says:

      R u kidding? great photo placement! the Anusara Village one is totally ridiculous – reveals the corporate propaganda and seems a lot like Disneyland. the Yoga Journal cover is now creepy considering the allegations.

  2. Constance says:

    Thank you for this! FINALLY open and frank conversation.

  3. Yogaross says:

    Dear Waylon,

    I have great respect for Bernadette. She is wise and deeply good-hearted. She helped me once in a conflict and she did it with such grace.

    I agree with so many of the things she said. The singular crucial point that is wrong (and this was the breaking point for the teachers that resigned) was whether or not John would teach AT ALL in Miami.

    He DID agree to take a significant leave from teaching. It was simply too soon to cancel the Miami workshop.

    Dr. Douglas Brooks, whom I have the utmost respect and who has given more to the Anusara community more than anyone possibly, was a voice that said John should not teach at all.

    Noah and Bernadette are very close with Dr. Brooks and therefore it's admirable they followed his lead. And they were willing to resign their position because of that. While I disagree with their choice and am sad they resigned, I deeply respect that they followed their conviction.

    I just wanted to clearly state that the teachers who are staying for now: myself, Desiree Rumbaugh, Sianna Sherman, Todd Norian, Suzie Hurley, Betsey Downing, Denise Benitez and many more agreed to let John teach asana and not teach about relationships in Miami … and step aside following the workshop.

    And … we are all committed to working very hard to make real change. All of us agree that falling back into the old paradigm is not an option. And I will state here, that if that happens I will join Noah and Bernadette.

    We're working!
    Ross Rayburn

    • elephantjournal says:

      Thanks, Ross, for the context. That's great to hear that John is indeed planning on taking a much-needed retreat to work on his path.

      It is as someone just said most important that we all learn to speak up and speak honestly to our teachers and one another, without malice. No more muting what BB referred to as her gut.

    • StregaElisa says:

      I suspect Bernadette can make up her own mind, perhaps after having been in conversation with Douglas, among others. Do you really think she was merely "following his lead"?

    • Douglas Brooks says:

      This is nonsense. More, it is disrespectful and insulting to Noah and to Bernie to suggest that they would have to somehow agree with any arguments I may have made —which, by the way, I understood to this point to be part of private counsel. In fact, what Noah and Bernie did was follow their consciences. You underestimate your colleagues, Ross. Anyone who knows me personally would understand that I would insist every individual follow her or his own conscience, arrive at their own conclusions, and act according to their own judgment. No student of mine has ever suggested to me that I have in any way asked for her or his "alignment." Quite the contrary. I am not the sort who asks for my students allegiance nor in any way insist or argue for such an allegiance. Rather, I offer, as far as I am able, a serious, hard-won, and rational opinions, which is precisely what we mean by an argument. Anyone familiar with me knows I will make my case as clearly and sometimes that my tone is blunt. Welcome to adulthood. If someone poses a counter argument, I rejoin and have actually been persuaded to change my mind and retract! My students might also attest to that.

      I believe you owe Bernadette and Noah an apology.
      I believe you have broken a confidence here by suggesting an argument I may have made in private without it being at all clear what may have been my assumptions, evidence, or reasons.
      I feel no need to explain further except to say that this observation that you make, Ross, is tripe.

    • Sarah Greer says:

      Thank you, Ross. I can't tell you how important it was for me to understand the distinctions the Anusara teachers are making. I'm just a dedicated student of Anusara yoga. I have no access to private conversations withing the Anusara teaching community and yet the decisions that are being made do ripple out to me and my fellow students. I feel you honored us by being clear about the decision making.

      I know you took some heat in doing so. I deeply respect the work and wisdom of Dr. Douglas Brooks. I respect him even more now that he swiftly corrected any misstatements made on his behalf.

      • guest says:

        Sarah, you speak for a great number here who can't speak as eloquently as you do! Thank you! I think we in Anusara are adjusting to having to defend ourselves suddenly and weren't expecting some of the agrresison there has been from some parts of the yoga community and others towards us…I also repsect the work of Douglas Brookes and I respect Ross too and…where is forgiveness, spaciousness, in this challenging time? Isn't life/yoga all about the messy stuff and how we deal with it? When it turns yogi against yogi…well it's not the end of the wiorld, and to add more drama to this situation would be frankly excessive to needs….so…Om Namah Shivayah. And may all beings be peaceful. Which starts with us and the words we speak, for one thing. Thanks all.

  4. Arthur says:

    Great conversation. Thanks!

  5. Thank you Bernadette and Waylon for an open, totally transparent conversation.

    I support everyone in speaking and acting their truth. Whatever that happens to be.

    And I really like this line from Noah's letter: "I am much less interested in drawing the distinctions of yoga methods, and far more interested in the value of what every method and every teacher offers. I am interested in, and more in love than ever, with YOGA!"

  6. Emily Perry Emily Perry says:

    Thank you the insight. A lot of us ned the holes filled in! Thank you BB for opening up. Namaste…

  7. Dani Bertoia says:

    Hey Waylon, just want you to know how much I appreciate your dedication to being compassionate, responsible and transparent throughout this entire journey. As a fellow non-Anusaran, I too am watching from the outside, trying to send love to the yogins who are no doubt in pain over the recent happenings and not engage in the gossip-rumour mill, while still questing for the truth. Thank you for being a beacon in a time when we as a yoga community need it most. Deep (but not worshipful) bow to you, Sir :)

  8. Carol Horton Carol Horton says:

    Hooray! This is a great interview. Just speaking for myself personally, until BB opened up a new dialog in the past few days, pretty much every time I read something connected with Anusara, my internal BS meter was screaming, "fake fake fake." Now it's sounding: "yes. this is real." Of course, this is just me. But as an outsider who's always been profoundly skeptical of Anusara to say the least (sorry those who love it, this is not meant as a criticism of you, just being honest as to my own perceptions), watching what's happening here, I'm starting to feel good. I see new things happening, important conversations opening up . . . new leaders emerging who are dedicated to a newly democratic way of teaching – really wonderful! Thank you!

    • vision_Quest2 says:

      When it's Bernadette Birney, people listen it seems. Her blogging has been strong, from the heart, and seems to attract readers like myself, who are barely interested in Anusara yoga ….

  9. Jessica Durivage Jessica says:

    Bernadette – You are a brave soul. You are full of presence, clarity and articulation even in the midst of processing this difficult situation.

    Waylon – 1,000 "thumbs up" for continuing to ride the waves of journalism, mindfulness and morality. Those that think it is easy, should try it for a day.

    Thank you both for this.

  10. Scott says:

    How does one, specifically a male teacher, prevent such an event from happening to them? I mean, this is not the first time we have seen this sort of innappropriate behavior. It's happened in India, Kripalu, Anusara, in your local town, virtually everywhere. Why is the emphasis on the obvious and not on a code of conduct to prevent this from happening to other teachers and students? A youth leader friend of mine has a "no child alone" policy that prevent him from being in a one on one situation with any teenager, male or female, to prevent false accusations or the ability to act on temptation. Just throwing that out there as an example of how other organizations have addressed similar issues with people in leadership positions.

    • Scott Newsom says:

      In Yoga, it is our nature to turn within for answers. We are not accustomed to including structural supports that help prevent inappropriate behavior. Yet, that must be part of the answer. We need to work toward ertification and then licensing of teachers by the state with a statutory ethics code. Anusara would also do well to seek out an external ethics consultant. Their increasingly small inner circle is certain to become an echo chamber as the diversity of the organization decreases and those with dissenting voices continmue to leave.

    • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

      But these were adults. They are old enough and one wold believe intelligent enough to take responsibility for their own actions and make their own decisions…….

      Though, I feel I should say that there is one thing that has been not addressed, and that is that JF is not solely at fault. Those women, most specifically the married ones, the ones that took a vow to honor and elected to disregard it in "finding their truth", are even MORE at fault than he is.

      Yes, he may have slept with other men's wives, but THEY KNEW they were beholden to their vows and instead elected to practice the exact opposite of SATYA by having carnal relations with JF.

      In the end, he took an opportunity when it was available to him, but they need to stop transferring blame and responsibility of THEIR DECEPTION upon HIM.

      I feel it is easy to make JF a pariah to take the burden off themselves.

      This is ANOTHER problem within the yoga community.

      Therefore, the real issue, though it may never be known, may be that there is a shunning of personal responsibility, a self delusion among the supposed "victims", that they are not at fault for their own decisions.

      There was a recent study that stated that women, by frequency, cheated more often then men, and with more partners than men, as well.

      The real controversy, may it seem, is the shame these people are feeling for being "found out"?

    • chan says:

      a male teacher prevents such an event by realizing that he's no longer a child but an adult who posesses control of himself.

      • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

        The truth is that, as I said, though he is at fault, so are those that took him up on his "offer".

        I see this as an abuse of power, yes, but also a passing of the buck.

        Very un satya. Very indeed.

        I am saying this because your response seems to want to still lay all blame pun JF, but unless he violated them against their will, it literally takes two to tango.

    • G.C. Aloha says:

      Anusara DOES have a code of ethics, and even an ethics committee! Here are the guidelines one must follow in order to become a certified Anusara or Anusara Inspired teacher. This is what makes me so upset–that John put these guidelines in place, telling his teachers they were to hold themselves to them, but then violated them himself! Take a look at the first four yamas, all of which he violated, as well as his own statement that the teacher needs to behave as a role model for his students. http://www.anusara.com/index.php?option=com_conte

  11. [...] Ross Rayburn of Anusara Yoga: Where I Stand. Update: a new conversation re today’s Anusara Yoga Teachers’ Exodus, etc. [...]

  12. Perhaps I've been naive, but I seriously hadn't suspected till I just read something online that there were senior teachers who were aware of John's breech of ethics and did not speak up? And perhaps even enabled the situation in covering it up?

    This, if true, is somewhat more disturbing to me. If I were a committed member of the kula, I'd want to know who knew and why they kept silent.

    This just gets sadder….

    • elephantjournal says:

      I've asked a few of the departed teachers to weigh in over the course of the last week…pretty much crickets. I hope that changes.

    • Chadwick says:

      @FJB…The question you have brought up is one that has been heavy on my mind.I hope that more clarity will come!
      Thank you for your insightful words over the last week.

    • chan says:

      economically, easier road was to remain silent. he was their meal ticket. now that someone else blew the whistle, it's safe for them to leave and more beneficial.

      kudos to elena, christina, amy and darren to branch out on their own into the unknown prior to the scandal!

  13. Kimberly says:

    My question is, how can we, the yoga community, outside of Anusara, be of service to you.

    Lot’s to be learned and love and compassion to be shared. I am reaching out to you and yours with nothing but love, compassion, and a heartfelt I… am here if you need me. I just do not know what the next step should or could be.

    My hope is that thru this the yoga community will begin to take down the walls of division, the idea of my style is better then your style and recognize that we all teach what we know to be to true in our bodies. That everyone who walks into our class room does so with a different story and we have much to learn from them as well as from other teachers from different lineages.

    I see all the different styles liken to Christianity and it makes me sad to see us go down that path of division.

    My thought are with you as are many in the yoga community, we just are at a loss as to what to do.

    • Susan says:

      That is a beautiful gesture and the sort of support and compassion that hopfully all yogis would offer to others. Division is the opposite of yoga—we need unity to help us all through to the other side. What can you do? Just what you have done…offer your love and presence, devoid of judgment, and readiness to help in the spirit of yoga. Thank you.

  14. Den says:

    "Yoga is always about power." Really? "Always" about power?

    Am I the only one who has a problem with this statement? Is that the core of Anusara teachings?

    If so, no wonder they got into trouble.

    • mladen says:

      It is ALWAYS about power – about empowering your health, your body and spirit, empowering your empathy, ability to love and to share..
      I understand what bothers you about this word ''power'' but you have gone too far in your ''conclusions''

      • Den says:

        No, it was the "always" that bothered me, actually, which is why I highlighted it.

        And while I can respect that yoga is at times about empowerment of all those areas of self and life, and part of the ability to be a force of good in the world and part of cultivating a healthy sense of self, as Ms Birney says below, you'll have to forgive me if I shy away from the particular language of yoga as "always" being about such things. I think in the West (sorry, not to single out America, but particularly there) there is a tendency to make yoga fit whatever you want it to. In this case, it seems to me that yoga is being made a synonym for the long Western tradition of self-help and self-empowerment movements. And that can be great. Those movements have done a great deal to help marginalised and minority people get out of the shadows of oppression. But all this reads a lot like laying that template on top of yoga and saying that is what yoga "always" is. It's just not.

        "Yoga is…." chitta vritti nirodha… union with the Divine… discipline… attainment of the Self… joining with the Beloved…. connection…. contact…. the path to moksha… a part of some people's religious expression, not primarily a form of exercise… etc. Just not always "about power," no matter how you define power.

    • Hi Den, You're not the first person to have a problem with my statement. I think that's because we tend to be so suspicious of power's corruptive abilities. When I say that yoga is about power–I mean that practicing yoga generates power. Ideally, this takes the form of self-empowerment.

      Being an agent for good in the world–something I aspire to–requires tremendous reserves of inner strength (power). In my own small personal example, I would never have found the courage to speak out, and to resign my certification, were it not for a steady practice over the years that has given me glimpses of–and cultivated– a part of myself that is more powerful than I have often realized.

      There is always a power dynamic between student and teacher. A bad teacher misappropriates your power. A good teacher shows you how to access your own power. Run from the former and toward the latter.

      These teachings do not reflect Anusara, core or otherwise. I credit my understanding of these ideas to Rajanaka Tantra.

      • T.A.H. says:

        I was about to ask if the concept of power you were discussing was rooted in Tantra. That makes sense to me then, since my understanding of tantric philosophies is that they are deeply engaged with Energy or, as you say, Power or forms of power. But not all forms of yoga are born out of tantric traditions, so that may be why the emphasis or centralisation of "Power" might seem alien to some people.

    • matt says:

      Awww… You're just looking for reason to use "Really?". Am I the only one who thinks we've got to find a new word for the disdainful "Really?". And please don't say "Seriously?!". That one's worn out too…

  15. guest says:

    It's really enough with the self aggrandizing judgemental crap from teachers and their struggles of whether to stay or not. Do it or don't but stop making it all about YOU. A teacher slept with his students. Shocker. If you didn't put him on a pedestal to begin with you wouldn't be so shocked and upset. And this puritanical view of sex and relationship is SO NOT yogic. A teaching on the goddess Lalita is so needed and relevant right now. You are the object. Look and say, "That's Me!" Don't stand in puritanical judgement.

    • tenthgate says:

      Well said!

    • Grace says:

      Puritanical, my ass. You sound like someone who has no clue what healthy boundaries are. If this were a matter of John merely being promiscuous I can't imagine who would be bothered to give a fiddler's fart about his sex life. This isn't about sex as much as it is about the abuse of power. (And read back, sexual misconduct isn't the only issue.) John Friend is a charismatic leader in a clear position of power. I am not saying his sexual partners had no culpability, but it's pretty clear that John abused his position of authority and took advantage of the power differential to yes, "sleep with his students" but also to offer "sex therapy" to them. WTF? These were people who trusted him. Misguided trust perhaps, but he took advantage of their trust and continues to try to manipulate this situation to his benefit.

      "SO NOT yogic." Really? Have you taken even a cursory glance at Patanjali's eight-fold path? How about any other ancient yoga texts? What the hell kind of "yoga" are you practicing?

      • Patanjali says:

        Deep breath sweetheart. Do some yoga right now. Be in your heart not studying some "Ancient Texts". They're ancient for a reason. BREATHE.

        • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

          Though, Patanjali, I must ask how you could name yourself that and make such a comment. Grace is correct, though the supposed "victims" are not blameless in the slightest.

          I am hoping that this was also directed to "guest", and, If so, I apologize.

    • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

      So, basically, what you are saying, is you really know nothing about yoga.
      Let me know if I have missed something…..

      • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

        I'm sorry. that was intended for "guest".

        • Patanjali says:

          Harleigh Quinn you've missed so much it wouldn't fit on this post. A sense of humor for one. Yoga is not something you can "Know about" and study in an ancient text. Get present my friend. Feel your breath right now. Let go of that anger and then TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER! Go for a walk, Dance, Breath. That's your yoga, Buddy. Thank God these are our problems though right, Harleigh? Oh, the problems of the white upper middle class who have time to practice yoga and put their teachers on pedestals and tear them down. Yay for us!

  16. melissa says:

    "Real friendship is not support. Real friendship is honesty with love behind it, not hate." excellent. thank you for shedding more light on our humanity.
    Fellow EJ contributor,
    Melissa Smith http://www.elephantjournal.com/author/melissa-smi

  17. Sarah Greer says:

    BB says in her letter: "This signifies the end of my hopes for reform. I have lost confidence in our ability to set and maintain healthy boundaries within the organization. Without our ability to set boundaries, there can be only the façade of change, and no actual change. Following such a course, Anusara yoga will slide back into what I now recognize as deeply engrained, unhealthy habits. This saddens me greatly."

    First of all, what makes you think one week is enough time to decide whether or not "healthy boundaries" can be put in place? It seems to me this SHOULD take time to get right. It SHOULD take a commitment over a "long haul".

    Second, exactly what are these "deeply engrained, unhealthy habits"? This has not been my experience as a student of this system. I need more information about this.

    Thank you for your candor here. I urge you to reconsider your role in the community. Hopefully we have not heard the last from you on these topics. I really wish you were still on the inside working to change "deeply engrained, unhealthy habits" rather than off on the sidelines shaking your head. I fail to see how that helps the students that you "ferociously love". ( I love that phrase, by the way, and sense that you mean it entirely.)

    In the spirit of complete honesty,

    Sarah Greer
    Irving, TX

    • Hi Sarah,

      I'd like to emphasize that I am severing only my professional ties with John Friend, and Anusara, Inc. Physically, I am not going anywhere. I remain where I have always been. For example, this Thursday, I will be attending a Trikula Anusara phone conference with the agenda to help more the community forward in the most optimal ways possible.

      The deeply engrained, unhealthy habits to which I refer are specifically:

      Moving too quickly to forgiveness without actually tending to the wound that has been inflicted on the entire community. JF teaching in Miami felt, to me, indicative of wanting to race forward to the forgiveness without pausing at accountability.

      A lack of transparency in communication that left some people "In The Know" and others "Not in The Know".

      • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

        Thank you, Bernadette.
        I have been dealing with a similar situation for the last year, where forgiveness was demanded of me by a yoga zealot, with no self accountability on their (her) part.

        It seems the trend in the yoga community has obscured what yoga is intended for.
        I'm sorry, but this is just what I have seen, and many other yoga zealots have also attempted to push me to forgive, not taking into account the true weight of the damage done to me by this person.

        I have made many comments on this in other articles and am still working on an article, concerning spiritual materialism and relationships, that will address this (waiting for the final questions of an interview to be answered)

        I thank you for a common sense response that seems to be lost with modern yoga and buddhism zealots, looking for ways to not be responsible for their actions, and utilizing yoga and buddhism, and even (lately) taoism, all practices I have lived and studied (except for yoga) my entire life, as ways to accomplish this lack of accountability and responsibility toward others, as a way to absolve themselves without accountability.

        Again, I thank you for such a common sense response.

        • Vision_Quest2 says:

          All it takes is for them to admit they made a mistake, be decisive about needing to move on; and doing so …

          I still think it's a matter of sunk costs here, on the part of whoever will not come forward.

          Of course, sanctity of their own families and relationships also count for a lot.

      • Marge says:

        "The deeply engrained, unhealthy habits to which I refer are specifically:

        Moving too quickly to forgiveness without actually tending to the wound that has been inflicted on the entire community. JF teaching in Miami felt, to me, indicative of wanting to race forward to the forgiveness without pausing at accountability."

        Well, then why didn't you just say that instead of being all cryptic and making it seem like the whole organization was sick intead of it's figurehead??? And I don't know what this phone call is about, I know job security is important. Despite what y'all might think. 'da yogis gots ta eat! But seriously, with all these resignations being tossed around like toilet paper…what are we to think??? That Anusara is no longer worth your time.

        Hate the drama. Love the Queen.

      • pranayama anyone? says:

        So, wait. John had to be accountable on your terms only? He can't be accountable say…next week. Or for the rest of his life? It sounds like there's more than lack of transparency at the heart of this problem….

        • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

          Do you know anything about narcissism, Pranayama?
          Yes, I understand her need for him to be accountable immediately, and not further inflate and already sick and twisted ego that revels in the public deception it creates and the attention it gets.
          When someone has lied that often, and essentially continues to "get away with it", you form a sense of absolute disgust.

          Marge, if the people he was sleeping with were part and parcel of the organization, as well as no one saying anything about something that is BLATANTLY wrong, yes, nearly the entire organization would classify as sick, in one way or another.

          I feel Bernadette is performing a form of personal surgery, eliminating the cancerous parts and attempting to save what she can.

          • Pranayam says:

            Oh, so you think he has a personality disorder and is incapable of being honest and incapable of accountability for blatantly wrong behavior.

            Personality disorders really do take a long time to get a handle on. Maybe it's good that she just sever her ties now.
            I don't know about the cancer metaphor it seems like more unnecessary drama to me.

            It's just truth, baby. Can you handle the truth? Or do you freak and turn it into drama?

          • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

            It seems that the obfuscation of truth is what's in question here, is it not?
            I feel maybe it might be best to identify what the truth, morally, is before stating that something IS the "truth".

            Again, I feel that there is more to the truth that what is being said. He may have violated ethics, but he couldn't have if people did not openly allow him to (openly, as in take him up on his offers, violate their vows, essentially not live in "truth" or "satya", as you put it.

            I am beginning to wonder if you know that satya is. It is only part of the first five of the first limb of the 8 limbs of yoga, per patanjali.

            I suspect the argument that will be returned is that Patanjali is outmoded and does not apply to the modern world.

            Is that the response you will return?

            If one cannot understand the cancer metaphor, and, to be honest, I have no idea where the truth line even applies in this rebuttal, it may be best to reflect before rebutting, then rebutting with clarity and transparency.

          • Panayama now? says:

            The truth is that John's been lying and he's been unethical and he's been uncooperative in the aftermath of those discoveries. And some people are reacting and getting pissed about it. Maybe you're one of them. Maybe your'e projecting your anger at John onto an annoymous poster on the internet.

            I don't need to moralize or bust out the yoga sutras to understand that.

  18. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Decisiveness should not be shamed.

    BB used her intuition. Why should Anusara get reorganizational services from BB for free as a hanger-on to this Titanic?

    I don't care if she rebrands her yoga school or eschews brands entirely.

    It is true, her time and money spent enabling JF were sunk costs. She owes Anusara, the organization, nothing. Not anymore. And it is not something to be shamed and guilted out of someone, especially not by yoga practitioners.

    Wishing we all could be so decisive in life …

  19. Solar says:

    It was all waiting to unravel..So happy we could sense what was to come…

    Our experience of Anusara here in Geneva, Switzerland was brought

    to our school by a person we will not name. This person was dishonest, and gain oriented. After taking 5 classes with some of the star teachers he presented us I was very disapointed. Not for the alignment instructions which were awesome!! But I was thought to read between the lines and seek out the INTENTION of the practise… and I was left with the words: BULL and BRAINWASH!!! So I kept on walking without looking back, smiling!

    Here we have always been an open, and NON-DOGMATIC school. Our take on “asana yoga” is that no matter what you want to call it, it’s all HATHA yoga baby!!!! Which ever the path or perspective. Thanks to our critical minds left untampered with (thank u Rick), we were always encouraged to try all styles and rythmes of yoga. To better guide our personal practise. That was the basis of my first 200 hour TTC. No worship!!! Only personal growth through asana, pranayama and meditation. Our teacher came as our equal and gave us not only an opportunity to evolve in our practise, he also gave us jobs. He never gained from it financially other than paying his basic needs.

    All the money made is reinvested in the school (payrolls, admin and

    material)!!! The joke is that we make more money than him ;))) ( I worked in

    the office with a very strict and transparent accountant. She is a dragon and we love her for that!)

    I’m trully sorry for the teachers and student of the Anusara world but I would say that now is the time for you to join the real world. It’s cool down here!

    With Love from cold ass Geneva, Switzerland.

    Solar

    • Grace says:

      Don't presume to know all of the Anusara kula's position and intention based on 5 classes you took with one teacher. For every one person caught up in John Friend's charisma, there are 50 or 100 or perhaps more, who practice yoga in the Anusara style with no particular desire to follow John himself.

      I am one of the latter. I am very sad to see what is happening and hope that my dear friends who are invested in the Anusara certification process or otherwise invested in John are able to build something new and awesome from the ashes of this fire. He brought an amazing method of framing and practicing Hatha yoga to life. I credit him with that. His other actions are regrettable, they do not erase what he created.

      If you are "trully sorry for the teachers and student of Anusara world", perhaps lording it over us that you are smarter than we because you associated Anusara with one lousy teacher and avoided it from there on isn't a particularly convincing way to commiserate.

  20. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

    This is an insightful interview! Thank you so much Waylon and Bernadette!

    I am curious – I am not too familiar about the actual 'certification' process of Anusara, but it's interesting to me that certified teachers would have to 'resign' versus simply not referring to themselves as a certified Anusara teacher any longer. Is this a part of the process?

  21. goose says:

    We must turn away from the guru model that still dominates in many yoga traditions.?? Really .. this is the a huge part of the tradition that is just being swept away for personal needs. Why make this great debacle, why not just turn quietly from anusara and say .. im going out on my own. If this was about those teachers wanting there personal desires / powers being obtained why leave anusara in this way, its basically saying we don't care about the community as we care about ourselve much more.

    Anyone heard the saying "dont spit on the plate you eat from."

  22. Jennifer says:

    1st, I want to thank all of those teachers on the Anusara Interim Committee for their tireless efforts, unconditional love and dedicated commitment to this process of healing. They have been a potent voice and I am deeply grateful.

    Now, I would like to present another perspective about the demand for immediate transparency and some of the comments in the interview that state many in the Anusara community "want to sit around", are "trained to wait for someone else to fix it" and "wishing someone else would tell them what to do".

    As an Anusara-Inspired teacher who 1st and foremost loves YOGA and has always studied other methods and incorporated them into my teaching (with the blessing of John, I might add, who strongly encourages creativity and trusting my own inner alignment), I have my own reasons for waiting – no one is training me, I am not wishing for someone else to tell me what to do – here is my view on transparency and waiting (posted previously on the Anusara FB Forum) –

    There seems to be this unrealistic demand for full transparency NOW – wanting to know all the details NOW. That style of transparency does not make sense to me and seems to be a result of this growing technology where we value, demand and share intimate, painful details in quick sound bites – no longer face to face – and if answers to our demands are not forthcoming immediately we think that there is a lack of transparency.

    Transparency takes time – there are many things and people to consider. Even those who have resigned respect that because they are not sharing details.

    Though I don't condone what I am assuming has happened, I understand that this is all fresh to many of us. Let's not get persuaded we need to rush and have clear answers so soon.

    I may resign someday – I may not – I have no idea right now. But I do know that if I do, I will discuss it w/ the teachers at my studio, our students, the local kula, my friends and maybe even my therapist – all face to face, voice to voice – before I share it w/ the larger community. And I know this will take time. Transparency – seeing clearly, speaking clearly, acting w/ clarity – takes time.

    There is a great story that helps guide me when I feel the need to rush to action, when I feel left out, when I want answers now – A reporter was traveling w/ a nomadic tribe and at one point the tribe just stopped, set up camp for a few days. The reporter was very frustrated and wanted to get on the move. He wanted action. So, he asked the group why they were stopped and basically doing 'nothing' (as he perceived it). They told him that when they travel from place to place they usually get ahead of themselves, so they were waiting for their soul to catch up with them before they traveled on.

    I know that feeling of being ahead of myself – it's stressful – and so I value the waiting. The soul of me is too priceless to be left behind in the name of some immediate transparency that will not endure, is not clear and changes w/ each new detail.

    I am willing to be patient – and yes, I can feel my soul thanking me for my patience – she is an ancient one who moves at a soul rhythm – not the buzz of our fast paced, technological age.

    • Christina says:

      What's unrealistic about it? If my livelihood was hanging in the balance based on what more might come out, I'd want to know so that I could make an informed decision. From what I understand, he hasn't been honest with anyone yet, so I think you'll be waiting a long time.

    • Jennifer, Thank you for raising an excellent and important point. The members of the Anusara Interim Committee are fine yogins, fine teachers, and fine humans. They are generously slogging through a huge mess. They deserve gratitude and respect. They are not to be faulted for being unable to implement change where they have not been granted the power to do so. I should have clearly stated that.

      • Jessica says:

        I'm so glad YOU'RE not confused by your decision. You might be the only one. Especially since you were one of the select few who were asked to help. I love how you refuse to admit your own impatience by taking the moral high ground.

  23. really??? says:

    I think, Waylon, you insist on having a discussion about the wrong thing.
    Nobody in their right mind would right now say JF is perfect or belongs on a pedestal. The question isn't is he human? but what sort of a human is he? This should be a discussion about ethics, truthfulness, and violence at best. At worst this might turn into a legal discussion regarding abuse. A reporter dealing with spirituality should have the guts to talk about that honestly not cover it with new age talk.

    • karman04 says:

      I totally agree. Here is a man whose arrogant behavior has made a mockery of the Yamas and Niyamas — every one of them. I understand loyalty to your teacher, your close friend. But at some point, your own integrity goes out of the window. I applaud those teachers who have followed their hearts; the others are following something else and It will undoubtedly have a negative effect on their own teaching careers. Please consider what your teacher has on you. And if you don't see his actions as an imposition, then you also need professional help.

    • elephantjournal says:

      You're right: You're putting a word in my mouth.

      "Nobody in their right mind would right now say JF is perfect or belongs on a pedestal."

      I didn't say "now."

      But before…there was quite a club of enthusiastic devotees around him. We can learn from this. That is all.

      Criticism is painful but if back by love, not pre-judgment or confusion, is the most helpful offering we as "friends" can all make to one another.

      • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

        At least you are criticizing.
        I feel too much is let slide in modern new age yoga and spirituality, which causes scandals such as this.
        if everyone criticized as you did, this may not have happened in the first place.

  24. Scott Newsom says:

    I decided to look at the Anusara website to see if any changes had been made to JF's teaching schedule. I had to laugh out loud when I saw this announcing his world tour: "2012 will surely mark the end of the world as we know it!"

    The very definition of irony.
    http://www.anusara.com/index.php?option=com_anusa

  25. maru says:

    Disappointing but not surprising…

  26. madcrowherbals says:

    Thanks for such posting this. It just deepens my appreciation for Bernadette.

    - Michael

  27. JRF says:

    I felt nauseous when I read about John Friend's "healing of students with sex therapy". That is so incredibly disgusting, such an abuse of power and influence. Power and influence are gifts, great and rare gifts, that should be cherished and used to help others grow and reach their goals.

  28. Oh MY GOD!!!

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

    This cult of personality, the abuses it causes, the warping of teachings that comes with this abuse, this convincing others that living a life without consequence is okay (usually at the cost of others, as this controversy has effectively illustrated) must come to an end if any of this is to survive and not become nothing but a burnt out fad, as things like this always do (free love of the 60s, anyone?)

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, both Waylon and Bernadette for this wonderful interview!!!!

  29. Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

    Though, I feel I should say that there is one thing that has been not addressed, and that is that JF is not solely at fault. Those women, most specifically the married ones, the ones that took a vow to honor and elected to disregard it in "finding their truth", are even MORE at fault than he is.

    Yes, he may have slept with other men's wives, but THEY KNEW they were beholden to their vows and instead elected to practice the exact opposite of SATYA by having carnal relations with JF.

    In the end, he took an opportunity when it was available to him, but they need to stop transferring blame and responsibility of THEIR DECEPTION upon HIM.

    I feel it is easy to make JF a pariah to take the burden off themselves.

    This is ANOTHER problem within the yoga community.

  30. Grace says:

    Favorite quote, "We must learn how to invest in our own power and authority rather than conferring it onto the teacher."

    Amen, Bernadette, and thank you.

  31. Shakti says:

    WOW! This is all so so fascinating…..not particularly surprising, and i am curious to see how it continues to unfold…
    i am not sure of the australian anusara communities reaction…
    i wonder if the rishis, swamis, and teachers, through the ages of yoga, are chuckling away in the ethereal planes!
    Jai Shiva!

  32. Peter says:

    mmm put the Guru model under the microscope??? Maybe some repsonsibility in who you choose as a teacher might be wise? If you can't choose a teacher, then how can you trust yourself, it appears you make bad choices and then blame? If somebody promises what can't be delivered and you choose to believe it, is it the promiser or the gullable that needs questioning. Personally I saw some video of John and Anasara and I wouldn't want to touch this stuff. Would rather other "Guru's" like the Dalai Lama who choose a more grounded way of teaching.

    • Katie says:

      That's not a bad point actually. i know of two people in the community who are upset because this has happened to them before with another teacher….

      Grounded ways of teaching seem lacking in other ways, like they exclude all the fun! Maybe I've learned enough then for this lifetime. Time to find a new hobby/obsession. Akido, parasailing, latin dancing…. If a latin dancer was sleeping with his students, no one would care. Funny isn't it? Either we're making too big a deal or not big enough. Which is it?

      • Peter says:

        thanks for the reply Katie… I would say a too big a deal out of a group that shouldn't be made a big deal out of. All the clapping and cheering made me a little bit sick I must say and it is true, people get bored with true down to earth teachings. Who wants to make daily life spiritual, like sitting with ourselves and seeing what we are… how is that entertaining? We want all the bells and whistles of our "Heart Shining Through". Let's make it bigger than what it is to all feel special and then blame when the promise is broken.

        • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

          Peter, I agree with you, 100 percent, but will admit I have an agenda of them realizing it's not all bells and whistles, just as you stated, so I'm sort of reveling in the controversy. ;-)

      • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

        Not big enough.
        A latin dancer and a yoga teacher are two separate things.
        A yoga teacher is looked at as a spiritual leader, his actions looked at as being moral.

        Again, I feel that those that allowed themselves to sleep with him are equally at fault, however, you really can't compare those two examples.

        • T.A.H. says:

          Harleigh, I agree with you mostly, but I don't believe that's always true. Not all yoga teachers (I'd wager to say not even most?) are spiritual leaders or even strive to be (or if they strive to be, doesn't mean anyone is taking them seriously) and I'd continue to wager most students don't ever think of their teacher as their moral leader.

          Those that teach asana as sport or exercise (even if they add in pranayama and chant OM at the end) just do their classes as safely and well as they can and go about their business. I know teachers who are deeply spiritual individuals in their private lives but when it comes to their teaching they just do their best to share what they know and don't have or give off any pretension to being a guru or moral leader of any kind (and if they did, they would never be allowed to rent out the church hall!). A whole lot of yoga teachers are no more or less spiritual than a latin dance teacher. And we cannot sight passion for the activity or even imparting something that gives students a 'spiritual high' as a difference between them, because if you talk to some ballroom or Latin dancers they can convince you of the heights of spirit they feel they reach doing it at its best and how they put their whole body and soul into it. Same for Akido and martial arts and other things above.

          So I can see where people are coming from when they ask if sometimes yoga is or is not sometimes making too big of a deal of itself? I think it's not a question that can be reflected on and answered once and for all time, but might be part of the continual process of reflection.

          • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

            However yoga is marketed as a way to get in touch with yourself, in touch with your soul, while dance is not. Yoga has a code of ethics, as does aikido, while dance does not.

            Yoga has the 8 limbs, yamas and niyamas, while dance does not.

            In all honesty, due to scandals such as this, among other issues, I feel yoga should not be taught spiritually AT ALL in the United States or anywhere else in the west.

            Egos get in the way, and we, unlike the tibetans, are unable to EVER separate ourselves from ego.

            Even in vipissana (which I actually feel is guided group hypnosis, and will never attend except to obtain my 500hr certificate) ego has been experienced to overtake self introspection.

            Yes, I really do feel that the spirituality aspect should be dropped from it entirely…..

          • Katie says:

            You know, the funny thing is. When I started Anusara yoga, I didn't like myself, I was overweight, I had pain, I had a terrible marriage, and I was depressed. I just kept going to class. Years later I look at my life, I have no pain, I'm healthier, my marriage is back on track, and I'm a better mom to my kids. I even meditate and practice on my own at home. AND I laughed and cheered and had fun in my yoga classes and workshops. So who lost out? Not me.
            I still think John revealed that he's really and egoic phony baloney in his personal life. That truth sent a bunch of people into a tailspin. It doesn't mean that what I learned from him wasn't true and wasn't helpful because it was. Maybe your'e right, TAH, maybe the truth is that my life changed because I put my whole heart and soul into it. Yoga helped me do it and I had kind teachers (trained by the chief phoney baloney JF himself, go figure) who encouraged it.

            So anusara wasn't a sick system for me in my experience as a student. Maybe it was a sick system for the teachers who were directly involved with JF phoney baloney but that's their own crap to deal with. I've spent over 100 hours in John workshops, I absorbed what I needed and left the hero worship for others.

            I still think spiritual life can be a lot less serious and still be effective. I need to laugh once in a while. Is it so bad to cheer for another person who gets up into handstand for the first time? After my strict religious upbringing I will never go for one of those "serious styles" of yoga/spirituality. If I can't be playful, laugh, cheer, work hard, and turn inward with kind thoughts AND talk about God and spirit… then I'd rather be parasailing.

          • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

            Katie, you are an anomaly.
            I have seen the opposite happen to many due to yoga, anusara or otherwise. I have watched people the previously made progress in interpersonal relations become self absorbed, self deluded, narcissistic, emotional vampires, with aloof attitudes and callous disregard for the result of their actions upon others.

            I am extremely happy that you are an anomaly within an otherwise broken, closed off society (ironic, as it is supposed to join others and make them more open, whether those they join to practice or not…)

            However, I still see this trend, even in your responses, of placing the blame entirely upon JF. Was he hypnotizing people to have sex with him? Was he drugging them?

            From what I can gather, no, that did not happen, therefore those that were willing participants in having sexual relations with mister Friend are equally as responsible as he is.

          • Katie says:

            Wow, i didn't mean to give a testimonial. Now I have to offer a disclaimer. YES! Individual results may vary! Nah, I'm not really an anomaly though. That's just the work of spirit in a devoted person. Happens to people all the time. As I mentioned before not all systems would appeal to me given my past negative associations with spirituality- hence Anusara was the right fit for me but obviously not for everyone.

            Yeah…I can't seem to muster up much outrage about the sex part of the scandal. As you said there were willing participants on both sides. I do think it points to a much larger question about the integrity of John Friend, I'm think he dosen't have any. That's why I called him a phoney. I don't know him personally and I'm not professionally invested in the Anusara system so what would I be doing casting blame around? Students will move on, teachers will move on. The wisdom of yoga taught in the Anusara style will move on as well into many new forms, bad habits will be dropped, better ones gained. What will happen at the center of John Friend's world is still a mystery. As far as I'm concerned he's getting enough freaky ill will from other people. I'll let him sort that out.

  33. Steven B. says:

    Bernadette is a great yoga teacher. I don't care what style she teaches. This was a total F-you to JF. I love it. He deserves it. Bernadette, you rock.

  34. David Atlas says:

    BB: "I don’t know about students, if they will leave Anusara. Mostly, students show up to practice with teachers they really love. My guess is that among students we’ll see more loyalty to individual teachers than to anusara. As opposed to leaving a tradition, they’ll just stay with their teacher."

    WL: "Right. Like a hair salon."

    BB: "Yeah, like a hair salon. At least–i think that’s how it will go."

    I'm loyal to my daily yoga teacher because I love her and think she's awesome and she's helped me enormously, and I'm loyal to my hairstylist because he does a good job cutting hair, but to compare the two seems really jaded.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Perhaps in this rather sad context, and via a skype conversation, it's easy to miss, but it's a thing called a joke.

      Furthermore, your belittling comment is offensive to hair stylists everywhere. It's a craft, and an art, and a spiritual practice of effervescent beauty that means a great deal to many people.

      Finally, this comment confirms a growing suspicion: it seems that on the internet, as in life, I'm not able to please all people all the time. Have you found this to be true, too?

  35. Roger Wolsey Roger Wolsey says:

    Outsider perspective. I'm a Christian pastor and a yogi. This situation that I'm reading about here reminds me of the dire straights and train wrecks that take place in Christian denominations (or rather, in independent ministries) where there is no intentional accountability for their leaders. Here's a blog I wrote about an out of control Christian leader just a few weeks ago. "Why Mark Driscoll needs an Elephant" – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2012/01

    All this said, most of the people I meet who "do" yoga don't idolize their instructors or even see them as spiritual leaders or gurus. They enjoy instructors who have some humor and who are gracious and compassionate, but they certainly don't put them on pedestals. They choose classes primarily based upon matters of convenience such as location and time of day. And you know what, there's nothing wrong with that. It may be slightly consumeristic and not as "relational/loyal" as some would prefer. Deal with it. Any yoga instructors (or pastors) who think that people need to learn about yoga/Christianity from them specifically… has issues.

    We, instructor types, are called to be humble servants, to simply share what we know with others, and trust that there are one heck of a lot of others out there doing it too. It's not about us.

  36. Roger Wolsey Roger Wolsey says:

    (1st paragraph, i meant dire *straits*) ; )

  37. Jan says:

    I'm baffled by these resignations. It seems to reinforce the whole guru worship theory. They resign thinking that will separate them from John Friend. Is this because they saw their certification as a kind of allegiance to one man rather than to each other? A certified allegiance that can be successfully burned in effigy if he falls?

    Is it just me or does every resignation hurt the students and other teachers just as much as it sends it's intended message to John the man? Aren't the resignations complicating the problem at hand? If you need to move on, do it. Must it happen in a sudden manner? Could you simply have an interview etc. and share that it's something you are considering, then spend time discussing in a meaningful way all the things that you find troubling?

  38. AES says:

    Go Bernadette!!! Thank you for being honest and real about your experience within the midst of the chaos. Thanks for taking a stand and understanding how this is about misuse of power and JF's continued inability to hold himself accountable in a real, wide-reaching way.

  39. [...] For those new to this situation, we’re talking about this past week’s allegations concerning John Friend and Anusara Yoga. [...]

  40. I'm not a yoga teacher, but I've been a student of John Friend's for over a decade. I've studied with a many other Anusara yoga teachers, and he is the best, although I have great respect for a number of others, including Betsey Downing, Todd Norian, Desiree Rumbaugh, and Sianna Sherman. I'm 57, so perhaps it is no coincidence that many of the teachers I choose to study with are older. They are more experienced and they have more of the kind of wisdom and compassion that can come from suffering, from screwing up and learning from it. (This isn't to say that younger people don't have any wisdom, but from what I've seen, it's of a different sort, except in rare cases.) And, I've stayed with Anusara simply because it's a good system, one in which I'm more likely to heal than hurt myself. It seems likely — and reasonable — that other systems could work well for other people. (After all,I would not dictate one religion, or one kind of diet.)

    In my opinion, the idea that John should have cancelled the Miami intensive is absurd. For me and for many others, his cancelling would have meant losing the money we had already spent on plane fare, hotel, etc. In addition, although I don't regard John or anyone else as Guru, I still think he is a great teacher, regardless of subject (and as a graduate of Princeton University and Middlebury College, I've studied with some outstanding teachers.) I wanted to study with him or I would not have gone. (I'm an adult and could have chosen not to go, right?) As for teaching about relationships, well, doesn't it depends on what sort of teaching you're talking about? And what sort of relationships? There were lots of people in the workshop from all over the world, and many people from countries other than the USA saw things quite differently from people here. That is worth contemplating. I have never seen John be inappropriate with students in class, and as far as I'm concerned, his personal life is his business. Last, I would also like to see more hard evidence instead of a lot of speculation and jumping to conclusions, of which there has been, in my opinion, far too much.

    Last, I don't know much of anything about the Anusara committee, but what I know from being a school teacher is that committees hardly ever accomplish much of anything that is worthwhile.

    • Katie says:

      Thanks, Ellen. Your comment was very well worded. I'm glad to hear your perspective as a long time student and as someone who attended the "controversial" Miami workshop. As I mentioned in another post I've also spent time in John Friend workshops. While I agree his style and approach are not for everyone nor should they be. He really resonated with me at the time. Like you, there has not been a moment during any of his workshops where I felt he was inappropriate. More importantly like you, I've found the certified teachers within Anusara to be the very best yoga teachers and among the most kind human beings that I have met. What I've learned from them has made all the difference in my own life as well.

      I do think you are quick to move past the issues of personal integrity with John that are at the heart of the matter. Obviously there is something to that or we would not see the resignations from the teachers. While John's words in class may be appropriate it seems his personal life is anything but. This makes him seem a bit phony in my estimation. He will have to make many steps in another direction to gain my trust.

      I think you bring up an important point that students and people from around the world see things differently. Truly I haven't been interested in what "others" think. I do, however, care about what the certified teachers think, those who know John best. This is why the resignations are troubling for me. It's like a reaction rather than an in depth conversation about their own thoughts and concerns.

      Like you, I don't have so much faith in the Anusara committee especially after Bernadette's resignation. Do you feel that outside arbitration or a private ethics consultant would yield better results than an internal committee?

      • Katie, I think there is a lot more about business than is really being acknowledged, except by Amy Ippoliti, and I think part of what has gotten confused is the separation between the business of yoga and Yoga. So I am not sure that issues of personal integrity really are at the heart of the matter. When politicians wanted to oust Bill Clinton, Mr. Shakti himself, what did they go after? His shenanigans with Monica Lewinsky. As I said to the group in Miami, I don't condone some of what John did. Plainly, he hurt his girlfriend by having sexual relations with another woman without being open about it. He acknowledged having betrayed Christy, and obviously (to those of us who were there) feels terrible about it. If Christy can forgive him, what's up with everyone else? Is that the personal integrity issue you meant? I'm pretty old school — I would just as soon not know about what people do in the bedroom. I am less worried about the teacher-student power differential than a lot of other people in this community because as I see it, the people involved were consenting adults, not children. If you're a student, don't you know there's a power differential between you and your teacher? Besides, I know a number of adult teacher-student relationships that ended in happy marriages. And last, none of this has any bearing on John as a teacher. It has to do with his personal life.

        In addition, if people close to John knew he had this supposed substance abuse issue, why was there no intervention? I don't understand that at all and it makes me doubt that he had such a problem. Did John make business mistakes? Yes. Did he betray his girlfriend? Yes. I really think here is the kicker: is he the best Anusara yoga teacher? In my experience, unequivocally yes, and I have studied with Amy Ippoliti (multiple times), Betsey Downing, Todd Norian (multiple times), Noah Maze, Desiree Rumbaugh (multiple times), Deb Neubauer, Sara Rose, and many others. Is John the best teacher for everyone? Of course not. Am I capable of evaluating him as a teacher from a student perspective? Actually, I think so. First, I've been a teacher (not yoga, English) for over thirty years, and have had the good fortune to study with some truly outstanding teachers in a number of fields. Second, I can sense and move energy. (I'm happy to supply examples but this isn't really the place for it.) And I have never encountered anyone who can sense and move energy in a room like John can. Not one person has mentioned jealousy, but lots of yogis are very competitive. Even though the talk is that the outer form doesn't matter — and I believe that to be true — when you watch some yogis practice, you'd never know it. So you get some people who focus on outer form, or clean diets, or knowledge of texts, when those things are really not primary. What I mean is, someone can have an incredible asana practice, be married and faithful, never touch drugs or alcohol, be well-versed in tantric mythology, sequence poses like there's no tomorrow, and be good looking and intelligent to boot, and still be a very mediocre teacher. I have walked out on teachers who didn't create a safe space, and I've sampled but never returned for teachers who were arrogant or lacking in heart or spirit.

        I think one of the saddest things is that the frayed seams did not get mended sooner. I think while that cannot be one person's fault, John did acknowledge that he could have responded to some earlier situations better, he could have listened better. Perhaps at those points an outside consultant would have been good but it seems to late for that now. At this point all John can really do is take care of himself, which he plans to do by going on retreat and getting whatever help he needs. I hope he will come back to teaching and I for one will continue to study with him.

        I read a good commentary on the living meditation blog, written by Harshada Wagner, that points to some of the larger forces at work in this whole explosion. I think he's right that it's much larger than John, as John also said to us in Miami, and I think John has really become a scapegoat in my opinion. People are not taking time to sit with what is going on in themselves and in the world. It is a time when great growth is possible, huge change, but not if everyone just points fingers and takes sides. In America we are becoming increasingly polarized, and in the yoga world that seems to be going on as well.

        As Bill Mahoney pointed out during the Miami workshop, go to the Highest first, always.

  41. [...] Waylon Lewis: First of all, thanks, Dr. Brooks, for [the below] letter and further context into what’s been going on and where we’re going [re: John Friend and Anusara Yoga]. [...]

  42. Bethany says:

    Who didn't know JF was a player? Be honest. The entire time you were traveling the world with him, having day after day of transformational and beautiful experiences, getting your certification & making a life built on his practice you knew. Turning against him in such a public way is disappointing. Did you stop along the way to ask him why he acts the way he does? What he is missing in his own life to make him so careless with the hearts of others? His actions make me sad and the yoga community's high horse and hypocrisy is somehow even more disappointing. Women who have been hurt – seek spiritual guidance, therapy. Those who are involved in this slander, "it's not a reflection of me" campaign – please be honest with yourselves. You always knew. This yoga hypocrisy is just as ironic.

  43. [...] been easy for me to see the Anusara community changing so rapidly. It was really hard for me to see Noah Maze and many other beautiful teachers leave. I had to take a moment, and be honest with myself and realize I was holding onto some birds too [...]

  44. Dr. Kamayani says:

    As an aside, can't anyone talk about anything these days without using the "F" word? I've been called a "dinosaur" or an "F%$%%$ing dinosaur" for this point of view. Told it's now "acceptable." My response: Only among those who know no better."

    Why do people speak about "theism" as if it were some quaint anachronism? Some of us believe in God. All the vedas and scripture upon which modern Hatha Yoga is based are all about God and God realization.

    I also see a great misunderstanding of the guru tradition. It's more than a tradition; it's a living reality. A guru is a "remover of darkness" (literal translation) because he or she lives in the light, is the light. A real guru is a realized being not some self-appointed expert.

  45. Steven N. says:

    Another flash in the pan wanna be guru suffering from unresolved narcissistic injuries. I am grateful for people like Jack Kornfield, who insightfully and sensitively write about the repeated insults people in similar roles as John Friend have committed against so many, so called, devotees.
    From a grossly pop psychological perspective, the term, "co-dependence" seems fitting not only for John Friend, but for his followers, too.
    It is amazing what happens when a spiritually hungry person and/or group of people meet a charismatic personality. . .
    Borrowing from the movie, Avatar: "this is sad, very sad."
    Unlike the microwave society we live in, were we have come to expect everything quickly, I hope Mr. Friend will take the necessary years (not months) to do the work he must do; to shed a few layers of his false self, his compensatory charisma.
    I suppose one way or another, the "opportunity" for everyone involved to grow has been, prima facie, opened wide.

  46. guest says:

    Blame JF for everyone's words and actions? Isn't that like going to therapy and blaming your parents for all your bad choices, difficult feelings etc? Everyone is responsible for the words that come out of thier own mouths. Convenient to blame it on JF but totally unrealistic.

  47. guest says:

    I'm not sure I'm seeing any change to the "rock star" model. Every time a teacher bears the inside of the brain with a bit of the usual "following my heart" and "know my truth" a few people who worship that teacher send their worshipful "big love, go sista" stuff. I don't have a problem with any of this human entertainment, but it is a bit ironic. Plus the stuff about how corageous the teachers who abandoning Anusara are – how's that then? It looks to me more corageous to make the unpopular (on lovely right on websites) to stay, right now. Plus everyone of the resignation letters has this form paragraph about how they are going to teach Anusara till the end of 2012. Conflict, much? Anusara students and teachers in training…want to be tauight by someone who couldn't stick around for five minutes? Need to pay the bills maybe? I don't see consistency – judge JF for being unenthical – but…..?

  48. [...] the community at large. This disturbed me. I think Bernadette Birney put it best when she said, in her interview with Waylon, “Instead, too many people wanted to sit around singing kumbaya, sending love and [...]

  49. [...] the culture, are considering not attending, and many of Anusara’s senior teachers have chosen to resign. Others are feeling disillusioned, disappointed and [...]

  50. [...] and was impressed with the exponential growth of this style of yoga over the years. But as the story continued to unfold with teacher resignations , the awareness started to sink in that there must have been some truth to the news. It was sad to [...]

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