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.
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.