Time Magazine covers John Friend & Anusara Yoga.

Via Benjy Wertheimer
on Mar 1, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

“Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” ~ Henry Kissinger

Looks as if Time Magazine is picking up the thread of the Anusara situation now.

Fortunately it’s less a slam on yoga itself, than what happens to people—or, really men—in power. Definitely worth a look.

The article invites the reader to look beyond the scantily-clad asana practitioners or the red-herring reference the Times’ Broad makes to the practice/alleged history of hatha yoga starting as a “sex cult.”

I for one am pleased to see someone in the mainstream media world who might be willing to look beyond the hype and easy sensationalism of the “fallen guru” stereotype (and, for that matter, to extend the conversation beyond facile assumptions and a complete lack of depth in investigating the history of the practice of Hatha Yoga, as Broad has done repeatedly in the New York Times).

Please take a look for yourself.


Does Yoga Really Drive People Wild with Desire?


About Benjy Wertheimer

Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, Benjy Wertheimer is an award-winning musician, composer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist equally accomplished on tabla, congas, percussion, esraj, guitar, and keyboards. Benjy has toured and recorded with such artists as Krishna Das, Deva Premal and Miten, Jai Uttal, Walter Becker of Steely Dan, virtuoso guitarist Michael Mandrell, and renowned bamboo flute master G. S. Sachdev. He has also opened for such well-known artists as Carlos Santana, Paul Winter, and Narada Michael Walden. Benjy is a founding member of the internationally acclaimed world fusion ensemble Ancient Future. / Beginning his musical studies at age 5, starting with piano and later violin and flamenco guitar, Benjy has studied Indian classical music for over 25 years with some of the greatest masters of that tradition including Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussain, Ali Akbar Khan and Z. M. Dagar. Along with the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart, Benjy was a contributing composer and member of the Zakir Hussain Rhythm Experience. / For over five years, Benjy scored music for the internationally syndicated NBC series Santa Barbara. His CD Circle of Fire reached #1 on the international New Age radio charts in 2002. Now living in Portland, Oregon, he now tours around the world leading kirtan with his wife Heather (as the duo Shantala). / www.benjymusic.com.


23 Responses to “Time Magazine covers John Friend & Anusara Yoga.”

  1. […] controversia relativa a John Friend e Anusara Yoga ha raggiunto le pagine di Time in cui l’autore William Broad sostiene che lo yoga risveglierebbe un particolare appetito […]

  2. AnOldTimer says:

    It would have been nice if the reporter took a paragraph to debunk Broad's ridiculously facile rendering of Tantra and yoga as a "sex cult" — but otherwise a really good piece.

  3. Sara Sita says:

    I take issue with Broad and his assertions mainly because he takes the easy riute. It's easy to simply what happened iwith Anusara yoga as the end result of some kind of "sex cult". If he had done his job as a reporter thoroughly, he would know enough to know that tantric practice is so much more than sex. It's disappointing that even an institution as old and reliable as the New York Times resorted to such an sensationalistic headline as a means to grab it readers and then give a story that is equally sensationalisitc. It makes me wonder if Broad was motivated by wanting to shed light on a topic or if he was trying to garner more attention for his new book.

  4. Vision_Quest2 says:

    In my day (in the 1970s) yoga and yogis were not considered sex-enhancing, sex-provoking or sexy.

    The conflating of yoga and sexuality has much more to do with marketing and hype than anything that yoga can engender. Also, with reference to http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/02/truth-is-o… , tapas (heat) generated by yoga has more in common with just playing hard … and not seduction, heavy breathing or taking a roll in the hay.

  5. Stewart J. Lawrence says:

    The TIME piece may say what a lot of "bruised" yoga people want to hear, but it's really just as shallow as what it purports to criticize. I give it a D.

    The author's view is entirely cynical. Everyone's misbehaving, so why single out yoga? Why? Because yogis aren't Henry Kissinger. An aspirational spiritual movement and its leaders set much higher standards for themselves.

    The author is also dead wrong to downplay sex. Tantric-based Hatha yoga is sex-enhancing – deliberately so, as it stimulates the root chakra and re-connects people libidinally — and psychically.

    The great and still under-rated psychologist Wilhelm Reich knew this, and when he called for more sex-based therapy, he was vilified. More and more people are opening up about their need for sexual healing – and sexual energy – as a foundation for their emotional – and yes, spiritual well-being.

    And naturally, all of this means that a Hatha yoga-based movement, especially one with pretensions of mass appeal, needs to deal with some distinct ethical challenges, ones not found in the compartmentalized world of massage parlors, prostitution, Internet porn.

    It's really that simple, I think.

  6. Stewart J. Lawrence says:

    Very interesting discussion ongoing among Wiccans and pagans about whether and how they should express their support for Anusarans under siege — and for yoga generally.

    And how should Anusarans respond to the loving embrace of the Wiccans?

  7. Stewart J. Lawrence says:

    I understand that people who feel "bruised" by the Broad piece would support the TIME piece. However, it's as facile as the piece it purports to criticize. I would give it a D.

    In effect, the author is saying that everyone abuses sex and power, so why single out yoga? Why? Because yoga and yogis are not, as the author suggests, on par with Henry Kissinger or Bill Clinton.

    Yoga is a spiritual movement that aspires – or should aspire – to higher ethical standards.

    No serious aspirational spiritual movement simply defines itself by what's going on in the larger secular society – the very society that the movement purports to want to reform or enlighten. It defeats the entire raison d'etre of the movement.

    Second, the author is dead wrong about yoga and sexuality. Of course, there's a direct connection. Sexual healing and sexual stamina building are part and parcel of the Kindalini energy generated through Tantric-based Hatha yoga
    practice — and that sexual healing is directly related to emotional and spiritual healing, and indeed to "enlightenment."

    That's the whole point of the practice in fact – to unify mind, body and spirit, and to allow people to reconnect libidinally and psychically..

    And that being the case, there are distinct ethical issues around sexual contact and relationships that can arise among those participating in group yoga practice, or worse, in yoga organizations shield from public purview. These issues need to be addressed, not dismissed as hysterics, or outsider interference.

    The Time article does a real public disservice by trying to deflect – and pre-empt – Broad's entire line of inquiry. The fact that Broad engages in a broad dismissal of his own doesn't change the fact that he's raised real issues, and pointed to real trends. The California Yoga Association tried to address these important issues with a formal code of conduct in the 1990s.

    These same issues may need to be addressed more comprehensively at the national level, assuming that the yoga community actually moves in the direction of collective transparency and accountability.

  8. AnOldTimer says:

    Dear EJ – are you censoring posts? Or are there technical issues going on?

    I posted a response to Stewart J. above and it sat there for over a half hour and now it is gone.

    But I can assure you it contained no foul language or personal attacks or any other issue along those lines… so, whassup?

  9. […] this painful but powerful story winds down, national press has only begun to cover it—and so though many in the yoga community may be ready to get back to the mat, the […]

Leave a Reply