Here’s what elephant has to say about the web site accusing a prominent yoga teacher of various things.

Via on Feb 3, 2012

The above Buddhist symbol, of a vajra, or “thunderbolt of discriminating awareness wisdom” has been featured instead of the below “Forgive” image because the vajra represents a few things more appropriate to this situation. First, the vajra is the coolest symbol ever: it represents the relaxed certainty that arises when we ground our body, speech and mind in the present moment. So let’s all take a step back from curiosity, and breathe, shall we?

The vajra represents two other things: an openness to wisdom and discussion (the gaps in the vajra let truth in) and at the same time a cutting of discursive harmful intent (the vajra itself).

We are all here for compassion and waking up, at the end of the day. That doesn’t mean we ought to suppress anything, or exploit it. Middle way, all the way.

~ Waylon, ed-in-chief.


Update: a timely comment/image via a senior teacher’s page. Updated note: I take this image to mean “take a step back, and remember the point of all this–practice.” But it could also be taken to mean “shut up.” Which is not what we’re about. An unwillingness to openly discuss such issues is a huge problem in the Buddhist world I grew up in, too. I’ll leave it up, but with this caveat: we are happy to discuss controversy, but only if 1) it’s sourced fact and 2) there’s a point to doing so. If we could have an intelligent, constructive discussion around the issues involved in this case, I would welcome that. That is what elephant journal is here for. ~ ed.

‎”Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ~ Mark Twain

Here’s what elephant has to say about the yoga web site accusing a prominent teacher of various things.


We are not afraid of publishing anything. We often post controversial issues. That said, we do not publish slander or rumor. If facts come to light, or anyone directly involved including the accused wish to comment, we will share such. Until then, we will not fan the flames when lives are involved. ~ Waylon.

An anonymous career, reputation and family-ruining web site is not the way to deal with such painful community issues, whether true, or no, or halfway in between.

For those who don’t know what’s going on, an anonymous web site has gone up with various accusations about various people. I am ashamed to say the site has been passed along like wildfire. Elephant is here to talk about difficult questions and raise gossip into intelligent, thoughtful discourse. We talk about controversies and we love writing popular articles. But we are not here to hurt people. An anonymous web site is not the way to do this.

Here is my statement to the hundreds of elephant writers:

A really sad controversy has come up. We do not seek to profit off this controversy by publishing gossipy articles. Jenn Cusano has asked, and been given permission to write something simple and link to an article about it on another yoga web site. If anyone else wants to write something intelligent, thoughtful and ahimsa-ish, great. But no, no, no links to the web site in question.

Sorry to be vague, but I do not wish to fan the flames. Please relax your curiosity, and remember that people’s lives and reputations and families are involved. You can read Jenn’s article if you’re curious to know the basic situation, which is sad, whether it’s true or no, or halfway in between.



Here is my statement that I asked Jenn to include in response to her wondering if we should write about this.

“Having a serious discussion about healthy community can be hard, and important, and is a part of our mission. The anonymous site in question does not do so in the form of a dialogue, and we will not link to it. If you want more info about it, go to Yogadork.”

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | | | | | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom



46 Responses to “Here’s what elephant has to say about the web site accusing a prominent yoga teacher of various things.”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    Thank you for upholding journalistic and yogic standards.



  2. elephantjournal says:

    When you hit nerves you know you are doing what writers do best…getting people thinking and talking. Thank you, blessings, Jan

  3. This is not only the most appropriate response to the accusations, but I believe also the most yogic. Thank you.

  4. Tabitha says:

    There should be no argument. Breathe in, Breathe out…..and its gone….

  5. elephantjournal says:

    Yogodork's site is down right now….how much you want to bet the XXXXX legal team filed an injunction or threatened a lawsuit? Publishing unverified information from anonymous sources is not journalism. So glad that Ele is holding to a journalistic standard.



  6. elephantjournal says:

    Comment via our colleagues at RecoveringYogi on YD's site:

    Vanessa Fiola:

    Interesting turn of events… Recovering Yogi was approached several months back (and then more recently) by someone claiming to have this insight. We politely declined the offer.

    Clearly he (or someone else) was not to be deterred. Ahem.

  7. Michael says:

    That is quite a load of accusations to publish without proof. Is yogadork the National Enquirer of holistic well being?
    If anything was perverted in what I've read of the article, it's the notion of mixing wicca and yoga….. keep it real, keep it Hindu

  8. elephantjournal says:

    Having read the accusations, I very much respect the Elephant response. Kudos! ~ Jeannie

    My reply: while I do speak for elephant sometimes, elephant is far larger than me, thankfully. So the above is mostly offered as my personal response, not elephant's. ~ Waylon

  9. elephantjournal says:

    I agree 100%. Thank you for leading with your heart.

    Rachel B

  10. roseanne says:

    great response and thanks for sharing. a nice display of integrity.

  11. Andrea Balt Andréa Balt says:

    This is what mindful media looks like & I'm happy to be a part of it.

  12. dan says:

    there seems to be a new "controversy" every week ♥

  13. I'm proud to be an Elephant writer today.

  14. karlsaliter says:

    Has anyone seen my glasses?

  15. […] For those of you who do not know what I am talking about an anonymous website has been constructed to seek and destroy an anonymous person and those closest to this person who will no doubt be collateral damage. The material was vulgar yet has snaked it’s way, shamefully, through our community, the specifics of which are not important because the issue at hand here for me was they way it was dealt with. A Statement From Waylon: […]

  16. elephantjournal says:

    Amy Poff I'm glad Ele acknowledged the situation, and I respect and appreciate your editorial stance on it. There are some important conversations that can – and are already beginning to – come out of this, but the sensationalist approach taken by some does not serve anyone.

    And "Relax your curiosity" is my new favorite phrase. Thanks, Waylon!

  17. To me the biggest issue here is not whether any accusations are accurate, but how they came out and how we respond. I'm proud to be part of a team that is responding in the middle way–no suppression, no exploitation–just compassionate mindfulness.

  18. willow joines says:

    Bravo Waylon.

  19. Rob Thomas says:

    I’m not sure whIch to pay attention to; this or the political shenanagains out there. Great drama, thanks.

  20. Think about it.... says:

    If one wishes not to acknowledge the drama, it might work better to not acknowledge it. Writing about it without linking the offending article just makes people that much more ravenous for the controversy, and it's all too easy to find.

    I feel elephant journal is being pretentious: one publication lording itself over another publication and saying that they have better values while doing the exact same thing the first publication did. 

  21. I am sick, absolutely sick to my stomach thinking of how some of the people involved must feel to have their private emails, letters, images, etc. out in the open for all to see, judge, blog or not blog about. I don't write to hurt people. I don't host a radio show to expose people. I am not involved with this community for those things. That website did not make me feel closer to Self. This, is not yoga. But – the challenge here is figuring out how to come back.

    My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those involved.

  22. […] Journal made the wise decision to not repost the information but simply acknowledge it, without any links. I am, clearly, falling somewhere in between. Links, ahoy! Along with questions. In the yoga […]

  23. […] only because Indie struggles to stay mindful and free but also because Indie means, first of all, […]

  24. __MikeG__ says:

    I've never met Mr. Friend but personally I am not a fan. That said I believe that Yoga Dork should not have linked to an anonymous web site containing unsupported accusations and that this post is an appropriate response.

    As a programmer I can put together a web site in less than five minutes which accuses Waylon and EJ of promoting Man to Howler Monkey love. If Yoga Dork wrote an article and published the howler monkey link that action would also be wrong.

    Unless one is caught up in the "my God can beat up your God/Goddess" argument there is no reason to care if Mr. Friend is Wiccan or not.

    From what I have read here the only accusations that can currently be proved/disproved are about the pensions. And I also do not care about that. If Mr. Friend at one time did offer pensions in this economic climate then I would question Mr. Friend's judgement as a businessman. There are many options for small business to offer 401K plans and offering a pension would be financial suicide. Backing off a bad decision (offering pensions) would be good for the business.

  25. rachael says:

    Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something,
    and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent-Dalai Lama

  26. […] man wouldn’t want the world’s most trusted source of information (other than Elephant Journal, as proven by Waylon) to write such a story about him? Well, perhaps a man who wants to hide how much money he makes, […]

  27. […] few days ago as a certain scandal began to break the Elephant yoga writers were asked not write about the subject or link to any websites reporting on the scandal until more information was uncovered. It seemed […]

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