Ross Rayburn of Anusara Yoga: Where I Stand.

Via elephant journal
on Feb 12, 2012
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Update from Ross.

Update: a new conversation re today’s Anusara Yoga Teachers’ Exodus, etc.

Editor’s Note: We have invited two yoga teachers who just decided to leave the Anusara Community to share their letters, already published on Facebook, here as well. We’re not partisan in this matter, our only goal is to offer an uplifted, constructive forum for honesty and healing and then, and only then, moving forward. ~ ed.

Dear Friends of the Anusara Community,

I’m writing from Indonesia where the bright sun is reminding me that this too shall pass.

This morning (Indonesia time) I recommended to John he take a break from teaching for a time of reflection following the Miami workshop and for a significant period of time. I believe this would serve him and the community.

He agreed.

There are, however, respected friends of mine who have or will soon decide that the allegations against John Friend are such that they can no longer have their name associated with him. I understand why they need to make that choice. Like them, I’ve been struggling with what to do.

Firstly, let me state my gratitude for all John has taught me. Even so, I’ve tried to have unbiased, even hypercritical eyes this past week due to the gravity of the situation and my own possible blind spots. I’ve asked him uncomfortable things in order to get to the truth.

But Anusara Yoga is bigger than John Friend.

He’s made mistakes, but I am standing by him since he’s given me his assurance he is retreating from the seat of the teacher and with the help of spiritual and professional guidance go into a period of self-reflection to understand the issues which precipitated his moral violations.

I believe the global Anusara Yoga community, will continue to benefit from the Universal Principles of Alignment, irrespective of this crisis.

My choice is to stand by John as he steps back. My goal will be to teach yoga and do what’s necessary to help pick up the pieces, along with those who will help me do so. There are doubts we can actually change things, but I’m willing to try.

Also, I believe all the organizational issues with the Anusara structure can be fixed, including corporate restructuring.

If John stands by his word, I will stand by him.

I recognize reasonable people will disagree about what Anusara Yoga and its moral core are. And I understand the tendency of people to generalize; still I have always believed as long as Anusara Yoga remains about principles and not dogma, there is room for me.

John’s behavior and Anusara Yoga are closely associated and that might be as bad as dogma. But I choose to stay until John has a chance to retreat and there is space for the changes to occur.

Like all of us, I have benefitted from Anusara Yoga and I don’t want to step away, when the good is veiled and it seems dark.

To those on the outside looking in: Whether you think this is about justice or truth, everyone agrees yoga, and yoga leaders should be a positive force in the world. Anusara Yoga is. Please give us time to fix our house.

Ross Rayburn‘s overriding philosophy is that our hearts and our world are places of such abundance, yet we as yogis must work everyday remembering how much light there is not only for our own happiness but also the joy so desperately needed by our friends and neighbors.  May we all know this abundance so that we never hold back our resplendent light.


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26 Responses to “Ross Rayburn of Anusara Yoga: Where I Stand.

  1. Don't throw the teachings out with the teacher. I really respect that. And I love that you have asked John to step down for awhile it makes so much sense. As a woman I've been a bit disturbed by the almost "ooops my bad" attitude and hope he gets help and offers retribution and begs forgiveness — that he eventually receive it but that he earns it.

  2. Team YogaDork says:

    Lol @ the disclaimer above. I'll believe it when I see it. For now, EJ remains the propaganda arm of the John Friend empire.

  3. KAT says:

    Noah Maze and Bernadette Birney resigned today .

  4. elephantjournal says:

    "It’s an old story, not exclusive to Yoga. Each time it is repeated, real people suffer real harm."

    Scott Newsom:

  5. yogadork says:

    hey guys. while the 'team yd' is a supportive gesture of the work on yogadork, just want to clarify we at yd are not behind the comments using the yd name. and so yd is not "attacking" anyone. hoping we can all comment, debate and disagree respectfully.

  6. and now yoga says:

    Dear Ross,
    It is beautiful to stay by a friend when he is in trouble, because this is when he needs you the most. And John Friend, with no doubt, needs friends, real ones.
    But how can anything be called "yoga" or even house, when there are no foundations? I mean where are the yamas and niyamas? where is the lineage?
    Anusara Inc can remain and maybe restructure. Yoga, the sacred path that some of us are blessed to walk has fundamentals. Anusara, as it is today, is doing a great disservice to Yoga, to dare call itself Yoga.
    As bigger than John Friend as it can be, as supportive and loving the community can be, please for the sake of Yoga, don't call it Yoga. Maybe it is Anusara, but surely not Yoga.
    With warm regards from freezing Geneva where your teachings a couple weeks ago were heart-warming.
    Hari OM!

  7. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

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

  8. heather says:

    " if John can stand by his words" Phewf. AFter reading Waylon and Bernadette' dialogue on EJ that's one BIG, If! To write that apology letter and still teach a course on the Dharma of Relationships, after he's destroyed so many just well….John Friend should ask Tiger woods who his therapist was. Ross, I took your class many years ago and enjoyed it! Keep on teaching!

  9. tootakky says:

    Thank you Ross, and thank you Wayne. Yes this is a mess, but the venom coming from those rejoicing in the human frailties of JF say more than his misdeeds. If they claim to be yogis and yoginis, the yoga they practice differs from what I have learned from my teachers.

    The Anusara yoga kula has been part of my life for many years. I'm not in the inner circle, so I've not been aware of the growing misdeeds, nor do they effect me personally. That is between JF and his victims. I will continue practicing Anusara Yoga which continues to inspire me and introduced me to the principals of alignment and opening to grace. With or without JF, an Anusara kula and Anusara yoga will survive. It may not be called that, but the gifts of JF's genius will persist through the people he taught, and who in turn teach. Hari om shanti.

  10. Thank you Ross, for sharing this. Would love to come and do a class with you.

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