Q + A with Anusara Yoga Founder John Friend. Guess What He Said About Kundalini Shakti?!

Via Lindsey Lewis
on Apr 15, 2011
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1. You talk in this video interview done by Waylon Lewis of Elephant Journal (video below) about hearing about supernatural yogis as a young boy who seemed like superheroes. Can you talk a bit about your take on the metaphysical benefits of being devoted to yoga?

The Siddhis are accomplishments and powers that allow us to have greater access to Consciousness and the Delight filled realm of creativity. Practicing hatha yoga helps to cultivate the Siddhis. In our Tantric school, obtaining these powers is not our primary goal. Yet, we attempt to cultivate them for expansion of Consciousness and more skillful means to have creative Delight.

Our metaphysical view sets the foundation for how we live. We see our accomplishments and proficiency at living as a direct reflection of ourmetaphysical view. The benefits of yoga are the benefits of life. You can have lightness of being, you can move with amazing freedom, not just the ability to levitate your body (lagima). It is not just about slowing your heart rate down to an extended pause, but it is being able to make your highest dreams manifest. These things are relevant to all people. The efficacy of how we manifest our dreams is reflective of our metaphysical viewpoint.

2. Can you describe how we can access Shakti through our asana practice?

Shakti is the creative power of the Universe that is reflected in the prana, or the life force, of our body. It is further reflected in our breath, the beating of our heart, the movement of our thoughts and feelings. Therefore, every intention, every direction of our attitude within the practice affects the Shakti.

Shakti is also in the environment, the room in which we practice. There are ways to sanctify a space and bring more sacred Spirit into a space. We can use the technology of alignment, the breath, the direction of the flow of prana in the body, all to expand Shakti within the practice of yoga.

3. Can you define supreme consciousness?

Supreme Consciousness is the creative Energy that is Pulsing with an Unbounded Delight and Absolute Goodness at the very Essence of everyone and everything. It is the self-reflective power of pure Awareness that is fundamental to all Being.

4. If you could tell a group of 1000 students just one thing, what would it be?

Life is a blessing. Each person has a unique gift to offer back into this co-creative Dance with the Divine that is life.

For more from this interview with John Friend visit Joy for Life.


About Lindsey Lewis

I’m a yoga teacher, life coach in-training, retreat host, business woman, and entrepreneur. I write, I paint, I draw, I dance. I get outside every day. I challenge myself. I meditate. Riding my cruiser bike along the seawall rocks my world. Being of service is essential. I’m committed to helping the world find their freedom. I believe in love. I believe in the human capacity to evolve, to grow, and to make the world a better place—even if it’s simply through our re-vitalized presence. Let's connect! I'm at Libre Living. Twitter http://twitter.com/lindsey_lewis and Facebook www.facebook.com/lindseyonline. Also, Libre Retreats on Twitter @libreretreats


7 Responses to “Q + A with Anusara Yoga Founder John Friend. Guess What He Said About Kundalini Shakti?!”

  1. Hi, Lindsey. Enjoyed this.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook.

    Bob W.
    Yoga Editor

  2. yogijulian says:

    i know john is an important figure for many people and am sure he is a lovely man, great teacher and knowledgeable dude, but (and perhaps especially because of what i just said) i find this kind of posturing and paying lip-service to nonsensical paranormal claims absolutely dishonest and lacking in integrity.

    levitation? really…but only in a completely dark room by yourself right?

    i also wish we could start to separate the ubiquitous new age fantasy of "manifestation" out of the real transformative process of spiritual practice.

    i mean i am all for setting goals, tuning in on your dreams, working through your blocks toward expressing your gift in the world…. but the implied claim that by taking my class, buying my book, coming on my retreat or doing my teacher training i can make you able to perform feats of actual magic and make your dreams simply manifest before your eyes is quite plainly a charlatan song and dance that has a long and not so esteemed history.

    the most recent shining example of what is so poisonous about this kind of belief system has been the lying, cheating, pedophiliac legacy of a certain sai baba – all kept under wraps because his cheap magician tricks were seen by millions as evidence of his being god on earth.

    where's the substance, where's the depth, where's the honesty about the human condition? i think as teachers we have a responsibility to become aware of the serious implications of perpetuating delusional beliefs and also of the underlying psychological dynamics that are at play in unrealistic spirituality and teacher-student relationships. this goes doubly so for master teachers with massive profiles like mr. friend. step up to the plate, sir!

    yoga and meditation are wonderful enough without perpetuating flashing neon make-believe sales pitches designed (consciously or unconsciously) to get vulnerable people in thrall to inflated gurus. ALSO: a truly thoughtful and integrated spirituality can call these kinds of superhuman fantasies by their true name – delusional defenses against facing our vulnerable existential condition, and then get on with the real work of making compassionate, courageous, honest peace with life as it is. changing of course what we can, working with the transformative power of practice, but not encouraging ungrounded, unfounded fantasy that will surely make students flounder on the rocks of impossiblity and then blame themselves for not having enough faith or practicing intently enough…. ah well, there is always the advanced immersion course, eh?!

    i was disappointed with friend's metaphysical lala land response to the tsunami and was hoping he might have redeemed himself somewhat here, as i really want to like the guy, but…

    anyway here's my post about what i found so problematic with his earthquake comments:

  3. yogijulian says:

    that said he has some sweet and inoffensive things to say here that will no doubt inspire many of his followers to teach a lovely class, but it won't inspire them to develop the essential twin capacity of reverence and devotional warmth – critical thinking and discerning viveka, not to mention psycho-spiritual authenticity.

  4. If John Friend is correct when he says, "Our metaphysical view sets the foundation for how we live," then his life is founded on fantasy.

    It saddens me to see yoga reduced to a set of parlor tricks… even worse Mr. Friend is linking–actually making a causal connection between–deep psychological and ethical principles to magical thinking. If principles like self-awareness and self-forgiveness are dependent upon levitation and other imaginary superhuman abilities then we're all in trouble.

    Friend is promoting ideas that distract us from the real work of yoga that Julian gestures to in the above comment. Authentic yoga practice is firmly rooted in reality and the commitment to being present for what is and not escaping into fantasylands. But Friend is encouraging us to enter into delusional fantasies of super yogi powers that are somehow linked to internal maturity. Is his goal, as a yoga master, to cultivate major mental disorders within his students? Or promote medieval religious/superstitious notions about reality and spiritual development? How is he so out of tune?

    Some worry that pursuing and integrating the insights of contemporary science into the practice of yoga will have the adverse affect of reducing profound internal worlds to mere biology. But the more rational and reasonable we become the more we appreciate yoga (and other mind-body practices) for being so astute at creating a system for inducing various states of experience, and thereby develop many tools & points of reference for psychological development. It does not devalue this experience, because it is neurobiological in origin, but exalts it through rational explanation and gives it validity due to its being biologically observable.

    IN FACT it is absurd supernatural claims (and the linking of deep psychological truths to these claims) that REDUCES yoga to pure fantasy, no more believable than an X-Men comic book or the Spiderman Broadway musical. Do we really want the depth of the psychological methods and insights of yoga (and the experiential states of embodied practice) to be linked with such absurdities?

    Master teachers like John Friend should educate themselves. The fact that statements like these (which Friend continues to make in interview after interview) go widely unquestioned speaks to the cultish landscape of Contemporary yoga in America.

  5. Pavana Tanaya says:

    Nothing that mattered

  6. […] spreading of this young style is a testament to its emphasis on community and the effectiveness of John Friend‘s blend of alignment principles and tantric […]