August 3, 2011

John Friend on the economics of teaching Yoga. Part I: “Supply and Demand”

“As the demand increased, I increased classes.  But I didn’t increase classes until I had demand.” ~ John Friend

John Friend, Anusara yoga’s Titan, held down three to four yoga classes a day at Wanderlust Festival, Cali, while serving as Mayor of the Anusara Yoga Village that he, Dave Kennedy and his community created for the festival. The village was complete with an art gallery, a tea room, yoga pavilion, acupuncture tent, a Shiva/Shakti altar and Manduka Yoga mats.

Where is My Guru and elephant correspondent, Jessica Durivage, talked with John about the noticeable increase in teachers, teacher training and yoga studios in the United States in the last 10 years.

This interview is the first of a series being produced by Where is My Guru for elephant journal, called “Does America Really Need Another Yoga Teacher?” …exploring topics such as the economics of yoga, Guru’s tradition and lineage, leadership and the explosion of yoga teacher trainings around the world.

This is part one of a two-part series with John Friend. Be on the lookout for upcoming interviews with Seane Corn, Dr. Scott Blossom, Dr. Katy Poole, Jeanie Manchester and Yogarupa Rod Stryker.

John Friend and Jessica Durivage get their “Zoolander” on for photographer Carl Kerridge

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Justme Dec 21, 2011 12:15pm

What I love that John said is that he never made being a teacher his goal the true teachers become teachers as a natural byproduct of their own practice it's Dharmic. Just as Byron Katie and Echart Tolle never sought out to be teachers they became teachers as a direct result of their own awakening which is the powerful force (not a teacher training) which attracted people to them and which took many years of integration before they even began to speak of their experience to others (Tolle spent 2 years on park benches) which then again took many years to unfold, Tolle started out with a few people in someone's living room at their request. The true teachers that become "great" become so as a byproduct of something else. The key and mystery is to find what that something else is. I have new respect for John Friend knowing a lot of what is said about him and around him but not hearing firsthand his own account of his stepping into the role it is obvious that it was natural progression. And the sea of faces that come to see him is testament that it is not something you can "plan" just as Tolle and Katie have vast followings and have made a huge impact on the raising of consciousness on the planet without "trying" or planning to do that it unfolded naturally. The true path to "greatness" is always effortless (although requiring lot of effort along the way… if you know what I mean :))

lisa Aug 9, 2011 3:48am

I cleaned a studio every week for 2 1/2 years…I practiced nearly every day…sometimes twice a day. I had no intention of teaching. I loved the karmic exchange of 2-3 hrs of labor I gave the studio to make it clean every week for the students for the opportunity to attend classes. It was my way of creatively financing yoga classes with a limited budget. One day the teacher overslept and the students asked me to teach. I was so nervous, but I did. A passion was unleashed. That was 6 yrs ago, a 200 hour Pranakriya (kripalu lineage began by Yoganand, who lived as a yogic monk in kripalu for nearly 2 decades and studied with Swami Kripalu directly) certification, a couple of 100 hr hot yoga certifications, some kids' yoga trainings, and a few trainings towards my 500 hr certification with an emphasis on yoga therapy. And I still feel like I am in the beginning of my journey.

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Jessica Durivage

Whether in a business suit, on a yoga mat or a meditation cushion, Jessica will follow her Dharma to the ends of the earth and work to bridge the gap with the world and the light that dwells within each being.  Grateful for the wealth of experiences, teachers and mentors who have guided her along her path as a yogi, a business woman, a non-profiteer and an improv comedian; she cultivates mindful, savvy and innovative approaches to make the world a better place each day and lead with compassion, from the heart (and trying not to take herself too seriously). / Jessica is the founder and owner of Where is My Guru – an ever evolving work of life that encompasses writing, art, community, leadership, consulting and a weekly radio show where you can find her contemplating Purusha, Prakriti, the Yoga Sutras and why all Yogis are crazy mo fo’s. Check in with the Where is My Guru Blog and the radio show on Fridays at 11am EST – www.whereismygurunow.com