John Friend Rock Star Yogi as Vishnu.

Via Michelle Myhre
on Aug 3, 2010
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Friend has generated clarity on what modern yoga is.

I live by my yoga principles in everything I do—my personal relationships, my leisure time, and my work. It is not like I practice yoga philosophy only on my sticky mat. . .Yoga is my life.” — John Friend

Hindu mythology offers the the holy trinity of Brahma the creator, and amongst thousands of deities, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver, and Shiva, the destroyer or transformer. Vishnu’s distinguishing characteristic in the vedas, is his association with light.

John Friend is a preserver of ancient lineage by making the old new again—by continuously immersing Spirit and heart into yoga. Friend tells us, “From my perspective I see a lot of people wanting to go deeper into their hearts. I meet people every day around the world who love to feel the connection of Spirit within themselves and their relationships. People can align themselves energetically through yoga and revelations certainly occur. Grace is what I think of as the revelatory of power of Spirit. When there are balanced alignments, the curtains open. Align with the Divine in thought, words, and actions and Grace flows in. It is an alignment of body, mind, and soul that opens the curtains and lets the Light pour in.

The recent NY Times article on John has sparked much conversation, which in turn has generated clarity on what modern yoga is and what it means to us. What I realize more every day is that we yogi’s are a global community of sincere people who are committed to health, purity, evolution, and love. It’s not an easy path. We need each other, and we need centered, solid leaders to keep shining & teaching us by example, he says:

Our community is tightly-knit and there is a real enjoyment sharing in the yoga practice together. I just taught in Denmark, Germany, France, England, and Italy and in every culture there is a desire for connection of like hearts. So, the kula is tight. The people that are closest to me are those that I can trust the fullest. At the same time, Anusara has no barrier to entry. I am constantly making mistakes in relationships so I am constantly learning and getting better. I am often too open and looking for the good in those who are looking out for themselves. It is by going through tests in relationships we find our dearest friends, those that we spend the most time with. So, Anusara is improving every day through amazing relationships. And no matter the level of a particular relationship we are often in delight.”

Three of Vishnu’s Superpowers are:

Shakti (Energy), or power, which is the capacity to make the impossible possible

Bala (Strength), which is the capacity to support everything by will and without any fatigue

Tejas (Splendor), which expresses His self-sufficiency and the capacity to overpower everything by His spiritual effulgence

The Yoga’s Rock Star Super Hero’s effectiveness lies in their ability to evoke change and awareness in our own hearts. Another magical weapon from your “yoga arsenal” is the beautiful invocation given before Anusara class.

Om namah shivaya om namah shivaya… Essentially this chant means, “I offer myself to the Light”.

The repetition of this chant is thought to salvage the soul from bondage of the treacherous instinctive mind and the steel bands of a perfected externalized intellect.


About Michelle Myhre

ERYT 500 Michelle Myhre is a licensed massage therapist with a degree is in Health Science and a love for Chinese Medicine. She writes a popular yoga blog, Devi Wears Prana, and had taught 6000+ yoga classes! Michelle teaches on the SF Peninsula and is Director of teacher training at SF Yoga Garden. Please contact Michelle to schedule your workshop with us or to learn to teach yoga! Everyone is welcome to take her class. You'll experience an embodied practice that syncs your movements with your breath, playful sequencing, and themes that include yogic mythology, philosophy, poetry & music. Visit her blog, follow her on twitter or check her out on facebook.


6 Responses to “John Friend Rock Star Yogi as Vishnu.”

  1. Omiya says:

    Should we really be comparing John Friend to the ancient Hindu God Vishnu? Not to mention as a "rock star" and "superhero"? Yes maybe he has done some good for yoga, but the comparison is a bit of a stretch and disrespectful,and demonstrates how yoga in the west sometimes strays too far, with the wrong tenor and intent, into Hindu religion and mythology.

  2. Michelle says:

    Hi Omiya,

    This post is part of a series I’m blogging – It’s a playful look at how the archetypal energies of the Hindu deities play themselves out in our modern teachers.

    I see the Hindu Gods as “India’s Superhero’s”, an exalted version of the Legion of Superheros I grew up with.

    Rockstar is a poke at the NYTimes article. I figure, why not embrace it? Even enjoy it?

    I’ve also compared Ana Forrest to Kali, and Shiva Rea to Durga on my blog, Devil Wears Prana.

    I didn’t mean to offend & appreciate your respect of tradition. I’ll be teaching in India in 2011, and am excited to learn more about the roots of yoga.

    All the Highest!

  3. It did strike me as idol worship.

  4. Michelle says:

    The teachings are ancient, but what makes them exciting is that these energies continue to play themselves out out today.

    It’s true, you caught me! I do appreciate the way John has handled all the crazy press and hoop-lah from the NYT article. I see virtue. It’s beautiful and makes me happy. But I haven’t met or studied with him yet.

    Thank you for the comments. I’d love to hear more.

  5. Yogi Mat says:

    I assumed the analogy was satirical – it IS Satirical isn't it ? I do hope so (hands together / praying) – but having read the piece it isn't so clear.