Some general background to the below, here.
This is a letter to those of you in the Anusara community and to those from other schools or traditions of yoga who are wondering.
Three of my talented, loving colleagues and dearest of friends: Darren Rhodes, Christina Sell and Elena Brower, resigned their formal certification with Anusara Yoga, all in a seven day period this past week.
My iPhone has been inundated with texts, emails and voicemails from students and teachers asking, “What is the real scoop”? “You’re not leaving next, are you”?
YogaDork posed similar questions in their article titled “Anusara Exodus”, posted November 1st.
Both gorgeous resignation statements from Elena and Christina are not easy to grasp. They are filled with gratitude for Anusara yoga, for John as a phenomenal teacher and founder, and love for the lifelong friends they’ve made along the way.
Having been certified in Anusara since 2000, I too share in the feeling of this kind of love fest for how John and my relationships with in Anusara have deeply shifted and enriched my life.
Christina and Elena both cite ideological differences as their main purpose for leaving—yet that has not stopped many from asking the question: “Why the exodus now?”
Christina said it well when she posted, “…while, of course, there were reasons, the deepest truth of my decision is simply that I came to recognize that my dharma could be best and most respectfully fulfilled outside the boundaries of Anusara Yoga”.
In short none of these leaders need to share the nitty-gritty details or differences they might have had with John. That would just create gossip, which is unhelpful, unattractive and unfair.
So my advice would be to let go of getting “the scoop” for now, and allow time to reveal what is true for you.
To all my Anusara sisters and brothers who feel abandoned, crushed or concerned about losing these teachers, as advocates, as leaders for you…
They are still alive! They still teach yoga! They are still working on all the cool initiatives and projects they promised to create and offer. You still have access to them! They have simply renounced a piece of paper. They have not turned away from you.
If you are pursuing teacher training, Darren and Christina are still two of the top teacher trainers in the country, and your teaching will grow and refine under their guidance.
If you want to go deep into the honest truth of who you are, and make profound changes in your life, Elena is still your girl!
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Yoga in the West is so very new. And this yoga is ever evolving and transforming. In the last two years, I have seen a remarkable shift in this yoga, in particular a new cross-pollination between styles, more harmony and curiosity emerging between yoga communities and more of a celebration of differences rather than a kind of “old school” separation or distain between styles.
The upshot? Having Darren, Christina and Elena on the other side will be a great big boon for this new emerging collective that is yoga in the West.
And another upshot: In the same way a forest fire burns the older trees leaving behind more light for the underbrush to grow up, newer Anusara teachers will begin to emerge and offer their gifts.
As we all co-mingle and get to know one another, yoga is only going to continue to evolve.
What can we learn from the events of the last week in Anusara?
> Let the change unfold.
> Let it be a mystery for now.
> Stay connected to your own dharma (truth of how you want to be in the world).
> And as always, let the change surprise and open you.
About Amy Ippoliti:
New York City transplant, Amy travels the globe extensively helping people bridge the gap between ancient yoga wisdom and modern day life. Amy believes everyone has the capacity to “turn up their own volume.” She has appeared on the covers of Yoga Journal and Fit Yoga Magazine, as well as inside numerous publications including Yoga International, Yoga Journal, Self, New York Magazine, Yogini Magazine (Japan), Allure (Korea), and Elephant Journal. Amy is a faculty member at the Omega Institute and Kripalu. Since the age of 14 Amy has championed all forms of eco-consciousness, rainforest and marine conservation, and animals everywhere.