The Little Birds of Anusara. ~ Duncan Parviainen

Via Duncan Parviainen
on Feb 15, 2012
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The truth of life is that it is always changing and evolving.

People come and go, money goes up and down… and sometimes communities fall apart and transform.

This week was a bit of a slap to the face when some of my teachers announced they were leaving the Anusara community.

But some magic did happen, I came across one of John Friend’s quotes, “Be receptive. Allow relationships to freely alight in your upturned hand. Welcome them. If they don’t stay forever–like little birds–freely allow them to fly away. Offer blessings.”

I thought his quote was ‘bang on’ for the emotions I was experiencing with the drastic changes in the Anusara community. In classical yoga thought, it is discussed that the more attached or clingy we are to the outside world (people, things and money) the more we will suffer.

When I was still grasping this idea of non-attachment I asked one of my teachers, “But don’t we want to be attached to people, our lovers, our kids, our family? Is that not healthy?”

The answer was yes. We are going to get clingy and attached to people, and it is very healthy to a certain degree. Butwe must remember that our kids, family, lovers and friends are like birds. They have their own wings, and we never want to cling so tightly that we break their wings or forget about our own.

You never know how long a bird will stay with you, but you can be present to each and every moment you share. You can build a nest, and nourish and love each other so that the next time you take flight, in a few days, years or at your deathbed, you are both stronger.

Photo: Don LaVange

When you are not so clingy, you give yourself and others the freedom and strength to fly.

Sometimes you will fly together, and sometimes by yourself.

It hasn’t been easy for me to see the Anusara community changing so rapidly. It was really hard for me to see Noah Maze and many other beautiful teachers leave. I had to take a moment, and be honest with myself and realize I was holding onto some birds too tightly and forgetting about my own wings. Communities change, grow and transform, and teacher’s change, grow and transform.

As I fly through these challenging times, I have decided to be grateful for all my teachers and friends, who have added to the strength and grace of my own two wings. And whenever I feel doubt, I remember they have given me the greatest gift of all: the ability to stretch my wings and fly on my own.


 Edited by Kate Bartolotta


About Duncan Parviainen

Duncan Parviainen loves yoga. He often spends a lot of time alone in the wild, smiling in the rain, and soaking in the sun. You can connect with him on his website, on Facebook and Twitter or email him at


9 Responses to “The Little Birds of Anusara. ~ Duncan Parviainen”

  1. Hi Duncan,

    I shared your piece on Elephant Journal Facebook Page.

    As a fellow devoted Anusara student, it resonated deeply with me.

    Jeannie Page

  2. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  3. Thank you so much Jeannie – I really appreciate this! Have a beautiful day!

  4. Thank You so much Tanya! I am so grateful! 🙂 Have a beautiful day!

  5. breathingoutismile says:

    Beautifully expressed, Duncan.

  6. Thank you so much jacquelyn! 🙂 xo

  7. alison says:

    Thank you Duncan! At last a spacious, eloquent, calm and reasonable voice in all this. I love Anusara. It has been and remains the greatest gift of my life. I have the greatest respect for my teacher – who is listening to her heart and STAYING, instead of listening to the bandwagon. The greatest respect and compassion for John Friend. Nothing of this has unsteadied me at all – but I am deeply disappointed in some beings and to witness a yogi-eat-yogi world I never wanted to be a part of. Sad.
    But souls like you are uplifting.
    Anusara will continue to grow and serve so many. I believe this will strengthen this beautiful, life transforming, healing yoga system.
    Namaste, Duncan.

  8. Alison! This is such a beautiful reply to read! Anusara, too, has transformed my life and I believe fully in it's beauty and power to uplift people. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a response, it was something well needed today! Much love to you!- Duncan

  9. […] do not know John Friend, nor do I have any experience with Anusara Yoga, but this story is not unique in the yoga community. As we all know, reading and understanding what […]