It’s Working.

Via Bernadette Birney
on Nov 2, 2011
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In her Letter to the Yoga Community, Amy Ippoliti reveals that in the days since three of our loved and respected colleagues–Christina Sell, Darren Rhodes, and Elena Brower–resigned their formal certification with Anusara Yoga, she has received texts, emails, and entreaties to know the “the real story.” I have received similar entreaties.

People are curious. I get that. Maybe it’s just human nature to speculate.

Me–I just don’t think it’s that much of a big deal.

YogaDork queried whether more Anusara teachers will leave. What a silly question. Of course they will.  Anusara yoga has over 600,000 students. People come–more and more of them all the time. People go–freely.

Seekers are welcomed when they come. Seekers are blessed when they go. It is a yoga of welcoming but not of obligation. Anusara’s freedom is a very deliberate kind of freedom.

Freedom is foundational to the Anusara method. We are a self-selecting community united by a shared vision of life’s goodness and beauty, and a commitment to seek, and to serve, the highest. Some seekers will stay for a short while.  Some will hunker down and make a home. Some will even commit–as certified teachers–to represent the method in a very particular way.

Christina, Darren and Elena are keeping their feet firmly to the path of their own evolution and growth. Good on ‘em. There’s not much more, or much less, to it than that, and in my opinion it’s pretty effing fabulous. John Friend did the exact same thing in 1995 when he stopped using the trade name “Iyengar Yoga” to represent his teaching style.

I can’t say for sure where my own evolution will lead me. Who among us can? If ever my development as a yogin, and a human, demands it of me, then I hope that I will have the courage to resign my certification in as skillful a way as possible. That course of action doesn’t seem at all likely right now but one can never be certain what her freedom will require of her.

The recent skillful and loving departures hearten me. They are evidence that endings needn’t be acrimonious. Endings can be beautiful. Newsflash–if there is any hope for the global community, the yoga community must be able to get along.

Reading comments that insinuate there must be more to the resignations than has been revealed feels…yucky. John, Elena, Christina and Darren are practitioners of adult spirituality. They are leaders. Why would it be so difficult to imagine leaders navigating in skillful ways that support beautiful, loving farewells? 

I think there are some who actually find the lack of antipathy disappointing.

Me, I see it as a reason to be hopeful.

The yoga is actually working.


Read more of Bernadette’s posts here.



About Bernadette Birney

Bernadette Birney is a dyed-in-the-wool, freedom-loving tantrika. When she’s not busy conquering the world, taking hostages, feverishly freelancing, working on her book, and posting on-line essays, you can find her practicing the art of life-on-purpose, and teaching in Connecticut. / Bernadette has had the good fortune of studying with the great ones: she’s a certified Anusara yoga instructor, and has long pestered her Rajanaka Yoga mentor, Douglas Brooks. Known for her poetic and precise articulation, she insists that you can maintain a hard-core yoga practice and a sense of humor, too. Her classes, immersions and trainings are steeped in a life affirming philosophy that will invite you into the exploration of your own potential. / Bernadette was one of the earliest Certified Anusara yoga instructors in CT, and continues to mentor the local teaching community, leading trainings and retreats. She has contributed to Yoga Journal, Fit Yoga, Elephant Journal and Srividyalaya Amrta. She is also a Lululemon ambassador, and the author of the quirky, award-winning blog .


7 Responses to “It’s Working.”

  1. Kris Nelson says:

    Yo B!

    I like. I agree. And to your adult point, there aren’t many in the world.


  2. Bernie, this is brilliant. Love it. Thanks so much for writing it! Jeannie Page- fellow Anusara Yogini & Elephant Journal writer.

  3. Marietta says:

    Beautiful piece! Amazingly, John's teachings in October in New Jersey spoke so eloquently about relationships ending and so does your post!

  4. Bj Galvan says:

    Beautiful Birney! xo

  5. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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  6. Robert says:

    I truly love everything you write — even if this topic is simply blown out of proportion and ridiculous in my eyes. But, you are one of my favorite writers and I love what you have to say — even on this topic.

  7. […] It's Working | elephant journal 2 days ago… our loved and respected colleagues–Christina Sell, Darren Rhodes, and Elena Brower–resigned their formal certification wi… Elephantjournal […]