Moving On: A Letter of Resignation. ~ Suzie Hurley

Via elephant journal
on Mar 5, 2012
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Dear Friends,


For me, this has been a long time in coming, though I have felt the sense of goodbye deep in my heart for some time. For the reasons stated so articulately by so many, especially Philip Humphrey and Amber Huttner recently on FB, I am severing all connection to John Friend and Anusara as we know it.

Frankly, my view is that until John actually comes clean on everything, takes full responsibility, receives the needed help necessary, and starts afresh, all efforts to save Anusara will be in vain. The New Anusara Yoga School will be but a house of cards built on a foundation of sand.

In essence, John has not done what he told the Interim Committee he would do. In fact, his recent letters are worse than his first, with John attempting to sidestep the accusations—many of which he has previously admitted were true—and using language portraying himself as the victim somehow in this sad affair.

I will be ever grateful to John for this most brilliant evolutionary system of yoga he created, for what he saw in me so long ago and the support he gave to help me become the best teacher I could be. I will never put John out of my heart. But I am, for now, putting him out of my life.

John has often talked about levels of “initiation” for someone who has had to leave the community, and then later wants to come back. I agree with every word he said on this. John must show us that he has completely disengaged from any form of organization of Anusara Yoga, has received the necessary therapeutic help, and has submitted fully to an investigation by and accepted the findings of a new Ethics Committee. If and when John accomplishes all of this and shows that he is ready to come back to serve in a healthy and humble way, I will be the first to congratulate him and welcome him back.

Unfortunately, from recent events, I don’t believe he will truly separate from Anusara. He is still trying to pull the strings in some way, as evidenced by appointing Michal Lichtman as CEO of Anusara, Inc. Michal, who basically bailed Anusara out financially, showed the lack of proper temperament to pull the community together in her reaction to Betsey Downing’s post. I hope I’m wrong on this.

I remain a certified Anusara Yoga teacher, despite the fact that I will be surrendering my license at the end of 2012, wanting to guarantee that all YTT hours, workshop hours, etc. will count toward Anusara certification with the new Anusara School if it is successful. And I truly pray it is.

I look forward to continuing my friendship with the countless awesome beings in this community, including my dear friends now on the Steering Committee whom I served with while on the Interim Committee. We are all innately free to follow the flow of Grace as our hearts dictate, and I remain indebted to John Friend for so beautifully reminding me of that each and every day.


Blessings & Smiles,  Suzie

Suzie Hurley, E-RYT 500
Anusara Certified Teacher


Editor: Kate Bartolotta.

Suzie Hurley has been teaching yoga since 1981 and has been an ardent meditator since 1977.  She received her first certification as a yoga teacher through the Kripalu Center in 1985, followed by an Advanced Kripalu Certification in 1987.  She also studied the Iyengar method for 16 years, principally with John Schumacher along with many other senior Iyengar teachers. She met John Friend, the founder and developer of Anusara Yoga in 1994 and became one of the first certified Anusara teachers in 1999. As a senior Anusara certified teacher, she served on the Anusara Yoga Curriculum Committee until March 2012 when she formally broke ties with John Friend and the Anusara organization. Suzie also holds an E-500 RYT hour Certificate from Yoga Alliance.
In 1994, Suzie opened the Willow Street Yoga Center in Takoma Park, MD. Over the next 18 years, Willow Street Yoga grew from 160 students to nearly 2000 students, adding a second location in Silver Spring, MD along the way. In January 2012 she sold Willow Street to her son and daughter-in-law, Joe and Natalie Miller. Though giving up the mantle of ownership, she continues to teach five weekly classes there and remains the Director and principal teacher of the Willow Street Yoga Teacher Training Program which has turned out many excellent teachers over the past ten years.


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2 Responses to “Moving On: A Letter of Resignation. ~ Suzie Hurley”

  1. OMG says:

    Suzie, you were one of my first teachers in the early 2000’s. This is all so sad and am deeply sorry for all of the pain it is causing. I always respected you and learned a great deal from you. However, I couldn’t believe your words “John has often talked about levels of “initiation” for someone who has had to leave the community, and then later wants to come back. I agree with every word he said on this.” Especially the “I agree with every word he said on this”. I was one of the “someone who has to leave the community” several years ago, 2008/2009, because I questioned John. As a matter of fact he was totally out of his mind and abusive to me when this occurred. Some of my students were first hand witnesses. It was so dysfunctional the way he handled this with me that I never looked back and NEVER had a second thought to “then later wants to come back”. The way he behaved made me want to RUN away from AY not walk. The dysfunction was SO obvious.

  2. OMG says:

    I had no idea that there was actually “levels of “initiation” if you want to come back. OMG! Thank god I never had to go through his abuse in the “initiation” of coming back into the community. Those two sentences are what are to me one of the biggest problem with this “community”. It always boggled my mind how all the respected senior teachers just put up with this behavior and I think in the end were complicit in the downfall. That you agreed with this insane behavior and let it continue for so long. OMG! is really all I have left to say.