John Friend: Response to Allegations, a letter to the Anusara community.

Via on Feb 8, 2012

Below, please find John Friend’s first response to the recent accusations, a letter to his Anusara community. It is shared with prior permission.

His responses to my questions will be shared today, and represent the first public response, and hopefully go into some depth, allowing all who care about John, the others concerned, and the integrity of Anusara yoga to experience full transparency, which is of course vital to any healing or moving-on process.

To read the legal document below, click here. It was shared on this site two days ago, via Dave Kennedy, who works with John. I’ve since updated that blog with new information from “the other side,” but am only sharing general info as the source has thus far declined my invitation to come forward or corroborate their documents with other anonymous sources.

This is not fun for anyone. I’ll be happy when this is over, as I’m sure many of us will be. But for the health and healing of the greater mindful community, and certainly Anusara yoga in particular, we do require transparency, and a respectful, non-anonymous dialogue first.

In the meantime, all we can do is keep on practicing on. ~ ed.

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37 Responses to “John Friend: Response to Allegations, a letter to the Anusara community.”

  1. a student says:

    I support you and Anusara yoga. There is so much good in the world. Keep shining John. Thank you for your letter.

    with love,
    an Anusara Student

  2. Rachel Brathen Rachel says:

    There is love to be found in every situation, especially the tough ones. Remember: the energy you send out is what will eventually come back your way, so try to read and comment (if you choose to do so) from the heart. We must all begin from where we are.

  3. Kathy O'Rourke says:

    Anusara is an amazing yoga school and community. John, I believe in you and the power of reconciliation. Thank you for stepping forward with honesty, humility, openness and trust. All things have both light and dark & pulse in and out. I send you compassion and love.

  4. jbnorton says:

    Why are people down grading these comments? They are speaking from their heart with their own feelings and opinions. If yours differs, why not step up and leave a comment with your own name attached?

  5. Patty Arroyo says:

    As humans we are evolving beings that in the process of living make mistakes. It is the way we take responsibility and make the corrective steps that we prove our true intentions… It is my opinion that John Friend has been a visionary who brought Yoga to a new level of understanding for Westerners.

    Even though, there are misunderstandings and turmoil in the yoga world, I feel grateful for his teachings and enlighten. I choose to see the goodness only and I am confident that all will settle down and then we will have an even more solid community.

    Patty Arroyo
    Anusara Student
    Costa Rica

  6. Ken says:

    I wish John well, what he has created is truly wonderful. Anusara is much, much bigger than John now and will survive this and continue to inspire and bring grace to the world and its imperfect humanity.

  7. hafizdreaming says:

    As an Inspired teacher for many years, I will not follow anonymous accusations against the teacher that opened my heart.
    However, I do trust that if there has been wrongdoing, John's balancing action will be to take responsibility for it and make appropriate remediation without delay!

  8. If there is one thing that this week has proven, it is that the Anusara movement and community is much, much bigger than one person. It is made up of hundreds of fabulous and dedicated teachers and thousands of students whose lives have been changed by the practice (I am one of them). In the midst of great uncertainty, anxiety and many differing opinions, the one thing I saw this week was that the community came together more than ever. I have no doubt that the Anusara community will remain well intact and made even stronger by overcoming this difficult time. One thing remains unchanged: I am grateful for the practice and the kula.- Jeannie Page

  9. Angi Donovan says:

    love and compassion, love and compassion, love and compassion . . . . May we all remember.

  10. Isvari says:

    I love that John reaffirms his devotion to the highest, Shri. That is the highest possible response. John continues to teach us through this painful process.

    • Stewart J. Lawrence says:

      I feel the same way away about Republican GOP candidiate Newt Gingrich, who has been affirming his strong Catholic faith with his second mistress right there as his side. This is what makes America such a great country? That the venal self-serving leaders among us ca be endlessly redeemed and reaffirmed if only to preserve the delusions of their followers in tact. There's no cause for concern or need for deeper inquiriy. Joh has kissed his own boo-boos!! As I say to all Anusara women: "Just lie back and think of John!" This is nice work, if you can get it. My hats off to John. A real American success story. NAMASTE.

  11. [...] (for all the details, see here). A response of sorts has now been posted on both YogaDork and Elephant Journal, in the form of a letter Friend sent to members of the Anusara community, acknowledging that there [...]

  12. Jessie says:

    I think it shows a lot of integrity to comment publicly on personal matters. And they are personal regardless of who you are. I believe John Friend has been one of the biggest influences in bringing real yoga back to America. Not only that, but his way of relating the energy and body in a succinct, understandable way has transformed the yoga practice for many. Anusara has been my foundation and given depth to all other forms of yoga I've practiced. Thank you, John Friend.

  13. [...] (for all the details, see here). A response of sorts has now been posted on both YogaDork and Elephant Journal, in the form of a letter Friend sent to members of the Anusara community, acknowledging that there [...]

  14. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  15. Rick O'Connell says:

    It comes down to us all being human. Light and love to you John.. Thank you for the gift of Anusara youve given to so many…
    Namaste

  16. Patrick says:

    Supports and love to John and to the Anusara community. I am not an Anusara student but it makes me feel right to show my support.

  17. Yogatchr says:

    At my clinical/ therapeutic day job, I would be summarily dismissed and possibly have some other seriously ugly and embarrassing disciplinary action taken against me if I engaged in these behaviors JF has displayed some silly "apology". This is not about being "human" or ":making mistakes". There are just some lines you do not cross as an ethical human being who takes the responsibility of having people trust you VERY seriously.

    There is no way he should get a hall pass because he opened up about how he abused his influence.

    • Yogatchr says:

      whoops. Meant to say I wouldn't be forgiven because of some silly apology.

    • Stewart J. Lawrence says:

      It's elementary, but when you're dealing with guru wannabes and their bleating sheep followers, we enter the world of spiritual make-believe. In the end, it comes down to wanting to be held to a different standard. But the harsher truth here, is that it really is about Anusara, and not just John Friend. You can get rid of Friend but not Friendism. The creation of an entity with this kind of ethos and MO.

  18. yoga bear says:

    Keep on keepin’ on !

  19. Silver Yogi says:

    John,
    To honor Anusara, please step aside and let new leadership emerge until you sort through this. The Fall from Grace is a tough one- don't drag anyone or anything else with you.

  20. [...] me curious. What man wouldn’t want the world’s most trusted source of information (other than Elephant, as proven by Waylon) to write such a story about him? Well, perhaps a man who wants to hide how [...]

  21. zeynep aksoy says:

    Yoga is not about ethics or behaviorism- Joseph Campbell calls this the lowest form of human existence.
    He also says the brightest light casts the darkest shadow.
    Who cares if John slept with an adult? Who can judge him? All that is happening is not yoga.
    Yoga is the recognition of truth- that everything is conditioned.
    John Friend is not to blame, he does not have to apologize. What a confused yoga community!

  22. Stewart J. Lawrence says:

    Mister Friend, this is fine, though all you're providing here is documentation that, under threat from the Department of Labor, you did the right thing. Of course you did — otherwise, you'd be in jail. So, in the interim do the right thing: Steof any step down. Let an independent inquiry unfold. Sow your wild oats elsewhere. You have access to plenty to willing females. Just contact some of the commentators here? They seem more than happy to console you during your time of trouble. Most founders of any worthwhile organization pass the torch anyway. If Anusara is really worth preserving as an entity – as so many here seem to think – it will surely survive your departure. If it can't, then it wasn't worth preserving anwyay. Best wishes for your future endeavors

  23. Heather Dawn heather says:

    how can he write this letter then teach a workshop on the DHARMA OF RELATIONSHIPS! for real….. narcism is a disease and there is help for it at any sex clinic, john! after you've check in, let the forgiveness begin!

  24. [...] of other people are flipping right out about it. Friend responded with a letter (which you can read here) and has written several responses in which he acknowledges his own shadows and mistakes and [...]

  25. Christine Hartman says:

    Just one question for the judgers and condemners.. Do you really have any first hand information about these so called allegations.. have you had the decency to reserve judgement till you heard the full story from both sides? No one is perfect. John Friend has contributed a great deal to yoga in the US. I personally am very grateful to John and Anusara Yoga for all that has been shared. It is after all a tantric path! We are here to experience life. I don't believe anyone ever saying he was anything but a yoga teacher. Were you expecting something else? I wonder why? It is easy to throw stones. I wonder what it would be like if we scrutinized your life and exposed your weaknesses and faults in a public forum with no way to respond…Look to the good and take what is offered.. embrace your shadow side … these events are only passing.. how you react or act says more about you and your practice and your abilty to be compassionate and human. Love and Light to all!

  26. [...] the yoga-consumer, like myself. It doesn’t work, according to all the articles written, that Anusara’s Founding Founder is apparently horny, smokes pot and has some business advisors whose advice, do not appear to align [...]

  27. [...] face it. Whether its peddling a wider yoga mat, or not really apologizing for things he ain’t feeling like apologizing for, people gotta remember: After you toss out [...]

  28. jbnorton says:

    there's a thumbs up for you to bring you back to zero! Haters gonna hate, even here…

  29. chan says:

    if someone preaches ahimsa but is lying about things that affect his community, why should anyone trust him?

  30. yoga bear says:

    Bob Costas said when speaking about the late Mickey Mantle" as much as we loved the Mick, when we found out that he was just a man and subject to the same failings and mistakes as the rest of us, we loved him even more".

  31. Heather Dawn heather says:

    if he was apologizing sincerely then why did he teach a workshop on the dharma of relationships days later? Im all for forgiveness, but dont you think its odd he says, he's learned that sleeping with married women and students is wrong and now i'm gonna go teach a workshop on dharmic relationships?

  32. Stewart J. Lawrence says:

    No shit, there was beau coup $$$$$ riding on the Mick. But Mick also was a baseball star. Not someone preaching an ethicasl or spiritual system. Standards are higher – and the consequences for transgression. That's the way it works.

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