Philosopher Yogis Diana Alstad & Joel Kramer – A Breath of Fresh Air!

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This is a fantastic interview that starts off with an attempt to make sense of the Anusara Implosion through the lens of Joel & Diana’s powerful and enduring book The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power (which I will review in May) – but becomes an insightful and wide-ranging discussion of yoga, power, community, environmentalism and contemporary spiritual intelligence.

Such a breath of fresh air from a couple who should be regarded as a real national treasure!

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About Julian Walker

Julian Walker is the founder of where he supports new and established yoga teachers in living their dreams through business development. He is a writer who has been teaching yoga since 1994, and co-teaches the Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind Yoga Teacher Training in LA with Hala Khouri.Julian's writing is featured in the book 21st Century Yoga available on


4 Responses to “Philosopher Yogis Diana Alstad & Joel Kramer – A Breath of Fresh Air!”

  1. Brooks Hall says:

    Thanks, Julian! …and find more about the intersection between The Guru Papers and Sexy, Cultish Yoga on Elephant here:–healing/

  2. integralhack says:

    Thanks for sharing. I'm not likely to read the book because it seems obvious that authoritarian guru relationships–as Alstad and Kramer have defined them–are a bad idea, so it was nice to have a summary.

    Their arguments would be stronger, however, if they didn't resort to generalizations:

    Alstad: "Everything is perfect is a worldview from the East." Didn't she ever read Voltaire? "It's all good" is a basic lack of critical thinking, not "imported" from anywhere in particular.

    Similarly, Kramer's leveling of "non-attachment" into his New Agey interpretation of it is just sad (many Buddhists, for example, see non-attachment in terms of process or practice, not an enlightenment goal). Does a Yoga Sutras scholar care to chime in?

    Alstad: "Gurus don't like to hang out together." This is a tenuous claim. Is this a result of a study? I know there have been gatherings of Buddhist gurus, but because of the leveling of the guru definition, it is hard to tell if this meets Alstad and Kramer's criteria. But I know Andrew Cohen occasionally hangs with other gurus.

    I did appreciate their focus on "care," but I would like to point out that they are just rebranding the Eastern concept of "compassion." Yes, I'm being sarcastic.

    Antonio Sausys, the interviewer, was impressive and I appreciated that he called Alstad on her apparently false allegations regarding John Friend's belief about his own guru's infallibility.

    I'm always flabbergasted that so much focus gets put on dangers of gurus and the dangers of religions yet I live in a country that went to war with Iraq because of false claims, caving into fear and governmental authority. Christopher Hitchens, a writer popular for his views against religion, supported the Iraq War. Irrational views aren't isolated to the followers of gurus.

    Which is more harmful or more "care-less": mindlessly following John Friend to a sex coven or mindlessly supporting a war killing hundreds of thousands?

  3. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posted to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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  4. ValCarruthers says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

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