The Anusara Implosion from a Parent’s Perspective. ~ Kilkenny Tremblay

Via elephant journal
on Mar 9, 2012
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Dear Anusara, Inc. ~ A Letter of Resignation!

I have been a long-time certified Anusara teacher, though one who is not a bonified yoga star who trots the globe or appears on magazine covers, I am on the frontline of the recent Anusara battlefield as a leader in my local community of Philadelphia.

I wanted to offer for print my resignation letter to Anusara Inc. which details a parent’s perspective that has not been presented by the media within this situation: the implications of this crisis for the next generation of yogins.

As the deeply troubling events within the Anusara yoga community become unraveled and revealed, I have used them as signposts to deepen my own practices. If John had been truly committing to all of his spiritual practices, I don’t think such a tsunami of adharma would have transpired.

My main yogic practice as of late has been one of a mother of three small children.  Though I met John many years ago in the 1990s, my Anusara journey has been one out of the limelight.  Like so many of us, after I spent much money and energy traveling to be with the Kula and to study from John (sometimes with babies in tow) and after many of my loved ones sacrificed so much to support my certification process, I chose to help water the seeds in the garden of the local Kula where I found myself.

Upon my certification, I chose to stay put more and travel to see John and the extraordinary global Kula less in order to be with my little ones fully during their fleeting young childhoods, thinking that there would be endless time and an inordinate amount of years to spend with John and the old Anusara Kula as we all knew it.

So while Wanderlusts, Grand Gatherings and Certified Teachers Gatherings have come and gone,  I stayed local, led trainings, practicing to the best of my ability being the embodiment of the teachings within my local Kula, community and family.

I certainly sometimes fall short with my own efforts of embodying all the yogic beliefs and sentiments that I hold in my heart.  Therefore, my process has been one of really trying to pause, to go deep within my practices and attempt to fully embody the first principle of Anusara yoga: openness, spaciousness of heart, benefit of the doubt, compassion and forgiveness to the point of exhaustion, listening for the whispers of grace in the form of the murmurs of my own heart.

The paramount question that has arisen for me is this: what example and legacy of dharma do I wish to offer my children?  What am I teaching my daughter by staying in an organization that always stinks with the distant odor of a leader abusing and misaligning his power through the lens of sexuality? What am I offering my sons if I were to continue to associate with this organization—another too common and frankly hackneyed example of a man unable to healthily align his penis with his heart, mind and body?

Though I will always be deeply grateful for all that I have learned from John Friend, when my kids get old enough to read Wikipedia and its description of Anusara with a third of it dedicated to its sex scandal, was John’s response to it and handling of it so aligned with the Highest that their Mama continued to align her career, heart and her reputation with it?

Like so many of the beautiful beings that have disassociated themselves from Anusara, Inc. or who are choosing to stay, this has been one of the most heart wrenching decisions of my life.  Like my fellow Kula-mates, my heart is broken.

But like with so many traditions, when we break bread over a meal or break a glass at a wedding, within the act of fracturing, there is an energy of auspiciousness, of light and the sign of a new beginning emanates. Dancing within the space between the breaks, the voice of truth can ring and serve as the soundtrack of true evolution for the next generation of yogis.

Evolution—Revolution now that is the yogic conversation that I want to be a part of.

All Love,

Kilkenny Tremblay, Formerly Certified Anusara Teacher



Prepared By Aminda Courtwright/Editor: Kate Bartolotta

Kilkenny Tremblay is a formerly licensed certified Anusara teacher who is wildly passionate about yoga and deeply committed to inspiring people through her classes and teacher trainings to seek and embody their own yoga both on and off the mat. Introduced to asana and yogic philosophy as a child, she has been a student of yoga for over 32 years and finds the greatest source of yogic wisdom and growth arise from her daily interactions with her husband and 3 small children.


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6 Responses to “The Anusara Implosion from a Parent’s Perspective. ~ Kilkenny Tremblay”

  1. Jen says:

    This is exactly how I feel. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. So much respect. Thank you so much for sharing the perspective of a parent, first and foremost.- Jeannie Page

  3. saracarly says:

    so love the last paragraph of this- beautifully put and eloquent- thank you

  4. Vision_Quest2 says:

    By example, you are showing your children to exercise viveka (discernment): what if they grow to be teenagers and find themselves in the wrong "kula" … ? There are gangs in the suburbs, too, as you know …

    Congratulations and hope to you!

  5. michelle says:

    Way to go Kilkenny!

  6. G.C.Aloha says:

    As a mother of two teenage boys and a 6-year Anusara yogini who has been exploring possibilities for teacher training, I think the approach you took to balancing your life and your professional development was generous (to yourself, your students and your own children) and sane. One of the things that gave me pause–before the big meltdown–was the expense associated with not only attaining but also renewing certification year to year. If John trained his teachers so well–and having studied from several of them, I can say I honestly think he did–then why was it so essential that every trainee follow him around the country/world to obtain a set number of hours with the man himself? And why the need to constantly train with him year after year to retain one's certification? Isn't it conceivable that some of us cannot afford this expense or that the needs of our families dictate that so much travel isn't the right choice for some of us? Or, as has been posited in these pages, that all of this yoga superstar world travel creates a culture of money and superficiality around yoga that is downright bad for the environment?

    You seem to me a reasonable person and a dedicated yogini, teacher and mother who made sane, grounded choices all along. Bravo to you for having the courage to break your Anusara ties. The current situation has been a big topic of discussion in our house, and it feels good to be able to align with my conscience when I speak to my sons about my own processing of this crisis in the Anusara and wider yoga world. As was said above, you taught your children a valuable lesson: that it is okay and even good to break one's ties with an organization if we realize we made a mistake or the organization itself is found to be corrupt. Following one's inner voice IS yoga.

    Thank you for sharing your story.