Leslie Kaminoff on the Fall of John Friend. ~ Corti Cooper

Via elephant journal
on Feb 20, 2012
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A brilliant story from my teacher, Leslie Kaminoff, on the unsurprising fall of John Friend and the example of Leslie’s teacher, T.K.V. Desikachar.


It is a lovely story of a man that has helped so many, taught so many, without necessarily telling anyone what to do or how to do it. Like Desikachar, Leslie refuses to answer my bigger questions about the essence of yoga and my own personal growth, but, rather infuriatingly, continues to ask “What do you think?.”

“I have never felt anything other than absolutely, completely naked in front of this man. Naked, in that, he sees everything. All the things I worked so hard to keep other people from seeing… And yet… he always based all of his interactions with me on the absolute certainty… that I could come up with the answers I needed for myself.”

~ Leslie Kaminoff, Yoga Educator at The Breathing Project and Yoga Anatomy.


Editor: Kate Bartolotta


Corti Cooper is a yogini and a designer. She is a traveler of the world and a determined seeker of learning. Through art and yoga, Corti explores the planes of reality, deconstructs the rhetoric of cultures and looks for the essence of happiness. When home, Corti runs a small design studio and teaches vinyasa flow yoga in the well-manicured and always mannerly, Connecticut USA. Her personal practice consists of breath work and a daily walking meditation with her sweet pup, Amarella.


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14 Responses to “Leslie Kaminoff on the Fall of John Friend. ~ Corti Cooper”

  1. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Thanks for sharing, Corti!

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  2. Kelsey Kaufman says:

    Thanks for posting. I appreciate that this story had almost nothing to do with JF and focused on what we can expect from our teachers and ourselves. The most productive, forward-thinking reaction I've seen to the Anusara situation so far.

  3. That's what my teacher always asked me… what do you think? Thank you, Kathy McNames (Yoga Vermont)…. xo

  4. Robert says:

    Best thing I've seen all week.

  5. Satyam says:


    Very nice – thanks so much for sharing…

    Here is a perspective that falls perhaps in a similar approach -the importance of conduct


  6. Jerry says:

    I deeply appreciate this..thank you.

  7. Eh? says:

    Really lovely. Thanks

  8. Susan says:


  9. Jennifer Rodrigue says:

    Leslie, thanks for the sweet story. A great reminder to teachers everywhere that the most valuable yoga teaching they can offer adoring students is to deflate the adoration and point them back to the path to their own self.

  10. Elita says:

    very very good

  11. my parentheses messed up the links – so here it is again:

    This is SO good. As a Certified Anusara teacher who just resigned last week ( http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/02/leaving-an… ), I will be referring people to the two wisest statements I have read so far on the matter: what my friend Douglas Brooks wrote ( http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/02/conversati… ) & what Leslie Kaminoff says right here. Grounded. Thoughtful. Clear. Thank you so much for posting this. I'll be sharing it.

  12. lisak1 says:

    Not impressed. LK is not a nice person. As a matter of fact, very non-yogic. I find him to be opportunistic and arrogant.

  13. CasperTFG_ says:

    So it seems like elephant journal is creating obstacles to the truth. They seem to be protecting LK by deleting all negative posts about his character. It should make us all wonder who really owns the elephant and who controls the news. It's no different from the conservative-Republican powerhouses controlling the media. Regardless of deleted posts, the reality is that no one will change LK's abrasive, hypocritical, non-yogic behavior and personality. If anyone needs a long, extensive yoga retreat (at least a new lifetime from scratch) it is the subject of this blog/article. This guy doesn't deserve any accolades! He's a manipulative stress junkie. Go right ahead. Rub me out as easily as you can rub out someone's personality.

  14. Ragaman Das says:

    Ragaman Das is watching…