Anusara Will Endure. ~ Jai Me Allison

Via elephant journal
on Mar 12, 2012
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Anusara Yoga, the method, has given each of us the capacity to harness the power of the Universe.

The top five Tattvas are mirrored in the Maha Bhutas, the five elements. The five elements are the template for the five Universal Principles of Alignment. The five UPA offer any sincere seeker a “map” that can bring into the body, heart and mind, the beauty, power and grace of the natural world. We can, in turn, take this power and refine it into the affirmation of who we are. These Universal Principles are beyond the confines of “ownership.” Anusara Yoga belongs to the sky and to the earth. It is the sweet compassion of water, the fire of the heart and the breath of the wind.

Anusara is each of us, whether we are aware of it or not. We are the essence that flows with the Essence. How could any one individual “taint” such a powerful word? To be Anusara, we open to what the world is offering and ask how we might align to bring more beauty, more joy, love and compassion. To be Anusara, we choose to create meaningful boundaries and take responsibility for how we expand those boundaries. As our skills grow, so does our capacity to be of service, serve ourselves or both. We are free to choose.

There is no “stepping away” from this method. It is a part of each of us who has endeavored to embrace and learn the grand pattern of the manifesting current of the Supreme. The teachings that a student receives from a teacher, and takes to heart, become a part of the student and belong to the student. Anusara is bigger than all of us, just as the universe is bigger than all of us. Anusara offers us the opportunity to live more authentic and potent lives, if we choose.

I have little concern for corporations, licensing agreements or who did what to whom. Embodiment is fleeting and fragile. I have compassion for any and all who were hurt, but ultimately we are responsible for our own experiences.

The “yoga drama” pales by comparison to the vast expanse of the night sky or the first light of day reaching out to caress the earth. My connection to the universe, to eternality, is rich and deep. I see Her in the ripening of the earth, the luster of the moon, the unfurling of flower petals and the soulful gaze of a deer. I am closer to the miraculous offerings of this world because of the insights I have gained through my study of the Universal Principles of Alignment of Anusara Yoga.

Nature is my teacher. She is all around me and inside of me. She is the beginning-less beginning and the never ending story of possibilities waiting to unfold. She is found in the Universal Principles of Alignment and made pragmatic and accessible by their clarity.

In the form of the Universal Principles of Alignment, nature has given me the opportunity to expand what is possible, honor and refine myself, heal myself and offer healing guidance and inspiration to others. Through balanced action of contrary complements, I have found a tangible way to be anchored in eternity while savoring this ephemeral existence. To be Anusara is to be skillful at living, to cherish each moment and to be dressed for dancing. To be the essence that flows with the essence is to align with the breath of the eternal and the heartbeat of life. It is how I choose to live and I choose to live deeply.


Jai me Allison has been described as a woman who has, “little propensity for small talk and bullshit” This is true. Superficiality holds fleeting interest in a world filled with wonder hiding in plain sight. Life is a precious gift, a treasure waiting to unfold, a story longing to be told.

Jai me has studied with both John Friend and Dr. Douglas Brooks since 1994 and 1998 respectively. She received her certification in Anusara Yoga in 1999. Over the last 18 years Jai me has made the Universal Principles of Alignment her own. She has taken them to heart and offers them in a way designed to educate and empower her students. The two greatest gifts a teacher can offer students are a rekindled desire to learn and the tools for self-empowerment.

You won’t find her at the latest “circus tent” of yoga. She and her husband Justin reside on 10 acres in the Arkansas River Valley of Colorado at their retreat center, Ananda Tandava. While endeavoring to live with the land, grow food and pursue perma-culture and biodiversity, Jai me offers retreats and trainings that invite each student into the wonder of their life, the treasure of their existence and the telling of their story.

For more about Jai me, please visit

To invite Jai me to teach in your area, please e-mail,


Editor: Kate Bartolotta


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25 Responses to “Anusara Will Endure. ~ Jai Me Allison”

  1. Maryl says:

    Thank you, so much.

  2. Paulo Vieira says:

    I started an Anusara Immersion with Jai me a month ago at her place – Ananda Tandava – where I stayed 5 days – 5 days that changed my life… It's amazing her deep knowledge about Anusara and Yoga philosophy in general and how clearly she can transfer that. I couldn't agree more with what she wrote – I believe it's because of people like her that this fabulous yoga method will endure…

  3. Steven says:

    To claim the five elements can be insinuated into the template for the UPA is rather disconcerting, and comes across as rather arrogant–as if the UPA was intentionally designed around the five elements, or the five elements were created for the UPA.
    (But, maybe I am misunderstanding what is meant by this opening statement.)
    At some point in time the following will need to be "universally" acknowledged:
    John Friend did not invent the Universal Principles of Alignment. As a student of Iyengar yoga, John Friend took Mr. Iyengar's process oriented teachings and turned them into dogma. Thus he delimited (and might I say, cheapened) the experience of alignment by giving it a name (fancy schmancy it may be).
    To be Aunsara, or to be Iyengar, or to be any of the myriad identifications available in the world is little more than an identification of self with prakriti.
    Why is it important to be a (fill in the blank) type of yogi? What aspect of "self" is served? (Healthy ego development notwithstanding.)
    I may choose to practice a given method of yoga, acting, race car driving, etc., but how could this thing called "I" be any one of them?
    And I apologize if I come across as judgmental in my attempt to discern. . .
    I wish you and all those who are contending with the "fallout" only peace and wellness.

  4. Ben_Ralston says:

    Compassionate truth.

  5. Jarred says:

    Don't kid yourself. Anusara days are numbered as are the rest of the McYogas.

  6. Jeffrey Kuhn says:

    On or off the mat, Jai me Allison is one of my favorite teachers and has been a deep inspiration to me for over a decade. Her teachings are grounded and gifted. Many teachers talk the talk. Jai me Allison walks the walk too…

    With Love and Affection…

  7. Brooks Hall says:

    I went to an awesome new years yoga weekend (2003) in Barrington, IL with Jamie Turner Allison, and enjoyed it!

    This quote from the above is disturbing to me:

    “I have little concern for corporations, licensing agreements or who did what to whom. Embodiment is fleeting and fragile. I have compassion for any and all who were hurt, but ultimately we are responsible for our own experiences.”

    What I get from this is that because life is limited and can end at any moment, it is suggested that we should ignore abuses of power, and who might be gaining money & power from the current ownership, structure and methods of teaching. And this excerpt also seems to suggest that if you’re hurting from abuse that it’s also your own fault (take responsibility, people!)—a far from “compassionate” stance in my view.

    My article with thoughts on healing:

  8. Ben Jacobs says:

    More Anusara exceptionalism. More vague nearly content-free language. This camera pans out so wide nothing matters, only "flow with grace." That is not usefu.

  9. Hi Brooks, thanks so much for your comments. My intent was to focus on the method, Universal Principles of Alignment, which are bigger than all of us and can, if we let them, hold and guide all of us.

    I am not dismissing or excusing anyone or anything.

  10. yogasamurai says:

    I would be concerned about the legal implications. The more that the "rump" Anusarans acknowledge that Anusara is this unique, revolutionary, turnkey system – the more they are making John Friend's legal argument for him – that Anusara, and not just the formal business structure, is a trademarked or copyrighted entity – that is, the yoga pedagogy and method itself.

    Which means you're free to teach the method, perhaps, but if you do, you'll have to pay a fee, especially, if you formally agreed under a licensing agreement and affiliated agreements that the "ownership" of Anusara belonged to John.

    Unless Friend relinquishes the trademark – and I see no good business reason why he would do that – there will be legal claims, and counter-claims here.

  11. yogasamurai says:

    The argument that "yoga is for everyone," coming from Anusarans, at least, is disingenuous, since what they're really saying is, I want to earn a profitable living from a turnkey system that someone else created, and that I will simply appropriate, on the "spiritual" principle that what's yours is mine, too – if I need it.

  12. Brooks Hall says:

    Thanks, Jamie! I see that your intent is to focus on principles you believe in, and are selling. The article also seems to focus on nature, personal empowerment, and transcendence which are not necessarily harnessed to a brand of yoga.

    My feedback is that I think that the intent and focus may serve to distract attention away from healing the roots of corruption, and prevent justice in this situation.

  13. Kaj Hoffman says:

    Thanks to Jai me for this uplifting and broad minded look at the meaning of anusara and the universal principles of alignment.

    I didn't hear Jai me delineating the exclusivity of Anusara Yoga in the article. Rather, I heard a celebration of the meaning of the word "anusara," the flow of being, as a fact of existence, infinitely beyond the use of the word as a name of a style of yoga. Furthermore, I heard her acknowledge the "Universal Principles" are also simply the nature of things and they too transcend any particular style. I took her implication to be the universal principles are one way of understanding and participating in and as nature. And as Jai Me pointed out, those principles have their corollaries in other ways of parsing the whole, which include the elements and the top five tattvas. John Friend himself has often pointed that out. And John wasn't, as far as I can tell, trying to own the five elements or the top five tattvas any more than he was trying to own the Universal Principles of Alignment.

    In fact I remember John himself saying that the principles are, well, universal, and not limited to any system. At the same time John recognized that the tendency of people to teach the UPAs without sufficient understanding, and/or change them to suit their personal vision, could compromise their clarity and effectiveness, and reflect poorly on Anusara as a style of yoga. It was (at least) for these reasons that John chose to trademark (or copyright) the UPAs. And it was for these same reasons that he saw value in distinguishing a particular style of yoga.

    That said, I think there is a valuable discussion underway as to how defining styles of yoga and philosophical perspectives, and institutionalizing them, can be either helpful or limiting, depending on a complex variety of factors. And I think this is a great opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of what serves us best.

  14. April Ritchey says:


  15. 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

  16. Guest says:

    Beautiful piece. That is my experience of embodiment of the UPA's too. Anusara Immersions and the guidance and teachings of my wonderful Anusara Certified teacher are the first time I have really understood my body's intelligence and how to connect to it. I have a life-limiting, progressive chronic illness and Anusara has been transformational. I love many things about many yoga styles. Anusara has been for me personally, the most meaningful.
    I do want to add that it is disturbing that so many are taking rumour and allegations to be true, since they've not been denied. I do know the truth will eventually emerge but it is disturbing how so many jump to conclusions.

  17. Tina says:

    Anusara is a sanskrit word that means flow of grace…The Yoga is named after the term, but is not exclusive of the term. The Universal Principles are a Concept, or a set of concepts to create balanced action in the body, not a piece of propaganda. I loved your article Jai Me! It was about the sanskrit word…ANUSARA, and I loved that. It was a unifying offering to remind all yogi's about their own journey as teachers and sentinent beings. Any delineation that separates yogis from each other, is not the truth about who we are. We all offer, we teach, we try to connect with our students and peers in a way that is life enhancing, for me it means stepping into the flow of grace, or the eternal conciousness, and offering a hand to others who wish to experience the flow of grace…known in Sanskrit to be Anusara.

  18. dharm_singh says:

    How long have the UPA been around? As long as Anusara? Perhaps if you include Iyengar's ideas maybe 50 years at most. What on earth did all those yogis do for the previous 3,000 or so years? Prior to Light on Yoga is there any mention at all of alignment principles? I have not been able to find anything that goes back before when I was born. Yet somehow people successfully practiced yoga without those beloved universal principles of alignment for many, many years. Anusara will continue to be around as long as someone is teaching it. But if it comes to an end, Yoga as a tradition will remain completely unaffected.

  19. longtimeyogi says:

    perhaps John did not invent the principles…perhaps they were as Jai me points out, codifications of how one aligns with the flow of nature, here in the body. yes, we are embodied beings and tantra celebrates that, so, yes there is an identification with the material world/prkriti, which is seen as a manifestation of the divine/shiva…I dare say that Iyengar would not have appreciated this characterization so John respectfully resigned to codify his own understanding/experience of things.

  20. OMG says:

    John has admitted to his senior teachers that the sex therapy allegations are true. That is enough for me!

  21. Ragaman Das says:

    Cute article, but now how do I pick the sweet, candy bubble gum out of my teeth. Oh, yes…by practicing authentic yoga. Anusara is not only stained, but it is dead. It's only a matter of time before Jai Me and all the other Om Mys employed within the manufactured mantle of McYoga World, Inc. begin to realize that what they are promulgating has nothing to do with yoga and everything to do with cashing in on a trend. Anusara an all other Yoga-In-A-Box enterprises will ultimately decline as new enthusiasts discover that all that is required for an authentic yoga practice is a mat and a seasoned guru. Teachers that are churned out at the rate of a dime a dozen are not seasoned gurus. They are the pawns of a system that has gone mad with green. Yes. The yoga world is very green for some folks. So much so that they now patent their mats, equipment, sequences, etc. Beyond banal and simply idiotic, the greening of yoga has nothing to do with…YOGA. Jai Me is nothing more than a bubble gummer with a voice and, unfortunately, the capacity to believe in the delusions postulate by McYoga. She is obviously expecting everyone to take this article with plenty of manufactured cheese. Let this Friendly debate subside into a perpetual Savasana. The apologists and adamant conformists have more to lose than anyone else who has a free choice to opt out of the bubble gum madness. There is only one reason, and one reason only, why these post-Apocalyptic Anusarians are writing articles, producing videos and considering books (yes, books). That reason is Cha Ching! You got it. Aside from a handful of the ancienne regime, these "survivors" are only interested in one thing: generating publicity. Publicity translates into greener pastures with every click on the website link associated with the article.

    So much for Jai Me's self-description as having “little propensity for small talk and bullshit.” Who knew that genuine gurus were so interested in expressing themselves with shallow words, concepts and ideas. So chew your bubble gum, open your heart to the universe and Snap! Crackle! Pop! while you blindly surrender some serious money at your local McYoga school. But the public is neither blind, nor stupid. Thanks to the likes of saintly gurus and guru-ettes, like Jai Me, Anusara is dying a slow death.

    Caveat! Ragaman Das is watching!

  22. SQR says:

    Wow… Is your "authentic yoga" practice as angry as your comment sounds? For your sake I hope not, because people get ulcers, high blood pressure and heart disease from stuff like that (and road rage, domestic abuse, etc.). You make some fair points from what I can tell, but the way you make them has me wondering if what you're really upset about is losing students and/or friends to some of this "bubble gum madness" you mention (repeatedly). Remember, your ideas about "spirituality" and "practice" are probably "bubble gum madness" to someone else who doesn't come from the same culture or set of experiences you do. It doesn't mean you're wrong- just heading down your own road…

  23. JoeC2K says:

    Coming from someone who "has been described as a woman who has, 'little propensity for small talk and bullshit'" I feel like I just walked through a miasma of bullshit fog and stench… I need a breath of fresh air… and why do I sit here and read these articles???

  24. […] I been closer to John Friend I might feel differently. If my reputation were at stake, I might feel the need to set clearer boundaries with where I stand. But as it is for me, for now, I have the liberty to […]

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