February 15, 2012

Dear John.


A Letter Concerning Your Manifesto from the Contamination Pool.

Dear John,

You don’t know me and I don’t know you but you’re somebody’s child just like me and we deserve to be loved. So I’m not writing to make you feel bad but to express my concern about a direction you’ve taken that’s making you look foolish and to express my impression of that foolishness which is what I do.

We’re not so different. I also entered yoga with Swami Satchidananda’s book. We are from the same generation, John.

And I also left my day job for yoga not long after you. I also appreciate Iyengar’s work and thank you for distilling it into broad strokes and ABC’s for easy digestion and accessibility to the general public so I could think of it as principles of alignment: so simple. But that wasn’t all you was it John? You had help and nothing wrong with that.  I mean you’re a money guy right? You must know the mantra for yoga teachers is that it’s O.K. to have a business model as yoga has become industry. Brand yourself and sell it. You were ahead of the curve there; tithing? Fucking brilliant! Well, it worked for the church, eh?

You created a kingdom, John and I get why you are reluctant to stand down from the throne though some of your faithful suggest there is no other way. No one likes to be dethroned from their own kingship. And you have all that business sense that you poured into the creation of a million dollar world -wide broadcast center to spread your message. It’s within hand’s reach now. You must know your penchance for gluttony. How irresistible is that beacon of broadcast at the ocean’s edge!  You have dharma to preach.

Now John, I’m not crazy about the polished posturing of politicians. It just pisses me off. And I recognize the smell of fear and shit when it’s in my face. I’ve seen men throw themselves at the feet of God and beg forgiveness and I’ve seen them prostrate themselves to their public. They are only human, John, like you. They should be forgiven. Like you.

But no, you do not become a better person because you had the shit scared out of you. You just act like one until time and reflection makes that real. You could have at least played the game for your audience.  Crawl away in humility for a little R&R before you start declaring new missives intent on, no sure of, an Anusara posse at your side. But maybe humility is not your thing. Well, we could all use a little more confidence. Hey John, you know what I’m reminded of? The Wall Street Bankers who got caught in moral bankruptcy just last year! Perhaps we can blame all of this on tough times. It might be worth a try.

And John, I recognize a manifesto when I see one.  You have created a new paradigm in which you and the community will heal together and go forward in even greater light and transparency with a democratic founding that insures that the leaders you helped to create will now have a voice in your kingdom.

But c’mon, you know you’ve pissed off too many people and most of them are probably women.  You don’t want to mess with women, John. You know, they talk. And ever since they were written out of a Bible that declared their name and power forbidden, women have been reclaiming their influence slowly ever since. Don’t fuck with women, John, just a bit of advice.

I have two sons and two brothers.  I appreciate men and I have always enjoyed great friendships with men and I am sensitive about the differences between us that can cause resentments and power struggles and breakdowns in socially accepted behavior. It’s part of our yoga story, isn’t it?  All this consciousness, this awareness, this discipline we talk about is more than words, wouldn’t you agree.

Time waits for no man and Wikipedia has already updated the story of Anusara to include your latest event. Wouldn’t it be funny if it was spelled Wicca-pedia?  Maybe you could spend some quiet time developing other interests on a site named just that. It could be therapeutic at a time when the world feels too real. That was meant to be funny. Levity saves us or at least it saves me.

You did so well with your patter of inner body bright and shining out banter. I get it. I feel it in my practice and so I know that is clever. But the cleverest part of it is that you could sense a broken population seeking answers in a dark decade tinged with hopelessness.  People were hungry for that. And they would stay charmed as you cast spells. They didn’t realize that in some small part they were cast in your darkness as well as your light. Or maybe we see what we want to see or what we expect to see and you were also cast as a wise man. Still, rest assured that your pre-corruption framework for the Anusara practice stands on its own.  Those who practice it are doing good work. You can be proud of that.

I didn’t mean to beat you up although I can see how harsh I’ve been. I am not a hater but as one yogi to another, one who has your seasoning and your age, I’ve got your number and I’m just calling you up.

Friend who I’ve never met, go home and sort yourself out. Whoever helped along the way, however it happened, you’ve left a legacy that will probably embrace you in your next incarnation. Take your broken self home and wait for light to shine through the cracks, as it will. Namaste: The human in me recognizes the human in you. We share obstacles. We want to be happy.  In this way, we are one. You are not alone.





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patrick Feb 16, 2012 9:20pm

Swami Sivananda had said that you have to marry in your next lives all woman with whom you had a sexual intercourse. It is reported in the Swami Sivananda Radha book on her spiritual journey in India in the 50's. He said that when he has to deal with a sanyasin disciple that had been caught with a female sanyasin. Sivananda told the sanyasin to meditate on the Goddess, the divine form of the Woman, after having experiencing the worldly woman. I read earlier this day that the problem of JF is not that he is a guru (or not) but that he has no guru. Nobody that give instruction, nobody to be respectful. A strong Guru-disciple is needed in my sens if you put yourself in a situation of authority.

Tanya Lee Markul Feb 16, 2012 5:42am

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Hilary Lindsay Feb 15, 2012 9:28pm

Anna! You're in Elephant country. Come on back to Nashville and bring home some of that Rocky Mountain High sassy. I miss you too. So cool to get a lovegram here. Big love back to you.

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Hilary Lindsay

Hilary Lindsay created the first comprehensive yoga program in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans, choreographed videos for athletes, introduced yoga and meditation to the Nashville public school system and continues to work one on one with private clients including the Nashville Predators. She has been covered by popular magazines and television shows and has worked for a variety of publications as a yoga expert. She authored a chapter in Yoga In America, a book published at the forefront of the discussion among yoga teachers about contemporary yoga in America. Additional writing can be found at www.bitchinyoga.wordpress.com as well as the Journal pages of her yoga site. Hilary teaches classes and workshops in consciousness through movement. Her medium is yoga. Her method is exploring the language of the body in light of the eight limbs. Find her at activeyoga.com.