John Friend moving to…Denver?

Via Michelle Marchildon
on May 24, 2012
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Denver, The New Buenos Aires? {Satire}

Breaking News! ASAP!

Apparently, all the problems in Anusara, oh heck, in the whole freaking world, are due to me. Can you believe it? And now John Friend is moving to Denver! OMG! What if he’s coming here for me?

The Anusara Leadership Committee is trying very hard to save what is left of one of the finest systems of teaching and understanding yoga after its founder, John Friend, did a lot of really bad stuff. Please read that carefully: John did the bad stuff. I am just writing about it.

Nevertheless, there is a small but mighty group in Colorado which is telling everyone that this is my entire fault. Really! You know I can’t make this stuff up.

This is what one Denver teacher has been saying in his classes: “Poor John! He is a victim” (cue tears here). He is being made a scapegoat by people like me, you know, the “vicious vocal minority” (John’s words actually) who write about him non-stop in the Elephant Journal. And now the Leadership Committee actually wrote in a letter yesterday that if people like me would just stop shining a light on this, then it would go away. You know, sort of like AIDS, or polio or prejudice. If we would just stop focusing on it, it will go away by itself.

Apparently, I’m the one who lied, and closed the pension, had a wiccan coven and slapped teachers on the butt, blah blah blah. (Well, there is this one student of mine who keeps begging me to slap him on the butt. So like Mr.Bikram, what am I to do? What if he kills himself if I don’t slap him on the butt?)

And now this group, well I believe it’s actually five people—the last five people who still admire John Friend on Earth perhaps—have invited him to Denver! The table is set for Friday night, but he’s also planning a move here, I’m told, unless he changes his mind or unless everyone in this city is on crack.

He is coming to scout out the yoga studios, because yes, I believe he’s planning to teach again. The Leadership Committee has made it clear that they will now own the name “Anusara,” and whatever John teaches here in Denver will be called something else. I’m thinking “John-usara.”

Looking at the upside, perhaps now that John is here I will finally get sexually harassed on the mat. Right? Fifteen years practicing and not once have I ever been propositioned in yoga? I’m starting to take it personally. But I’m thinking my odds are looking good.

So, congratulations to the local yoga community. We are now officially the Buenos Aires for the World’s Most Not Wanted Yoga Teacher. I am going to have to get a new bikini to practice yoga, because I understand, that’s how they practice in Argentina, and I might get a nice slap on the butt.

It’s almost enough to make me move to Boulder.

Almost. But. Not. Enough.

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Editor: Kate Bartolotta


About Michelle Marchildon

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, and the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. Her second book, Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga, is for yoga teachers who want to inspire their students. Michelle is a columnist for elephant journal and Origin Magazine and a contributor to Teachasana, My Yoga Online and Yoga Journal. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches in Denver, Co where she is busy raising two boys, two dogs and one husband. You can follow her on Facebook at Michelle Marchildon, The Yogi Muse. You can find her blog and website at And you can take her classes on


26 Responses to “John Friend moving to…Denver?”

  1. Patricia says:

    Ido not understand what you mean by the new Buenos Aires ………. could you please explain?

  2. amy elias says:

    So cute. Love your voice. Tongue in Cheeky…not "tushy cheek" cheek. but "cheek" cheek. No buts about it, and I do not mean " butts" about it…hee hee.
    All is really well.. It is just peeps doing the peep thing even when they themselves cannot see it. WE ARE HUMAN. you, man. YOUMAN.

  3. Brazil says:

    Click the link Patricia.

  4. Jess says:

    I heard that they practice in bikinis in that studio he's "scouting" anyway….. Wouldn't want anyone in a bikini teaching me "Inner Spiral"

  5. Elías says:

    Yap, please explain the comparison…

  6. Anusour says:

    Perhaps it will be called "Vile High Yoga"

  7. Denise says:

    Wow. I took a long break from Elephant Journal, hoping that after a couple of months I could come back and enjoy this fine online publication without being steeped in the near non-stop coverage of the Anusara situation (which, quite frankly, doesn't affect the yoga world so much as the American yoga scene). But nope. A quick search tells me that — whether in comedy or in earnest — there are no less than 19 articles covering over the past week or so. The obsession with the Anusara situation has taken on a life of its own. Was Anusara really the heart, blood, life and soul of American yoga? Is it really worth all this talk and print? Amazing. Anyway, I'm off for another couple of months, will read elsewhere, and hopefully this will die down enough that other issues and views and concepts can come to the fore.

  8. Denise says:

    Old news, over it. Done with Elephant Journal. The real satire is you call yourself a teacher of yoga??? Now there's a good article.

  9. josh says:

    First off, its obvious the yogini at the top isn't an Anusara trained student…..ghastly external rotation in the right leg and toes clenched as if to protect herself from a nuclear attack. Second, Michelle certainly is a pain in the a**, which is good when needing confirmation of hemorrhoids or other unsightly gluteal wounds, but often annoying in excess. Still, I freely invite her to gather as she needs and what she needs from her view. cue music, pan away from the narrow window she gazes from…..fade to black END

  10. elephantjournal says:

    Don't blame you, frankly. I think most all of us not involved in the Anusara community are well over it. That said, we're an open forum, and our writers write what they write. As long as it's relevant to many of our readers, and constructive, fair, funny or (if we get lucky) all four…we don't delete articles. And to be fair to our small team here: when we have said no to articles on this subject, we quickly get accused by those on whatever side of suppressing and censorship.

    If you'd like to choose for yourself, you're an adult, you don't need to read these articles let alone comment. You can go to our home page: and see 90 articles, including dozens selected by readers as classic, popular, editor's picks, etc. And 98% of them don't mention John Friend or Anusara yoga.



  11. elephantjournal says:

    See my comment above. That said, if you'd like to quit a publication because of one article, good luck reading the NY Times or watching any news program.

  12. yogasamurai says:

    Wait, I hear it, it's all coming back to me….

    "He was born in the summer of his 27th year
    Coming home to a place he'd never been before
    Left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
    Might say he found the key for every door.
    When he first came to the mountains
    His life was far away
    On the road and hanging by a song
    But the string's already broken
    And he doesn't really care
    He keeps changing fast and it don't last for long.

    Was John Denver merely foreshadowing the arrival of…
    THE ONE?
    "Rocky Mountain High"

  13. Denise says:

    That wasn't me, Waylon. Seems two different people posting as 'Denise'. Thanks for your comment above.

  14. Susanne says:

    Wow, I do not support John's misconduct as a teacher, yogi and a person, but the author of this article sounds like a tortured soul and has missed the central point to yoga. Not funny, not even interesting…..just a reflection of her own issues. I wish her healing.

  15. never forget says:

    While I understand the frustrations here, I think making an analogy of John moving to Colorado as equivalent to Nazi's fleeing Germany somewhat hyperbolic, offensive, and suggestive of an anger so deep that you might want to check it before it consumes you further. You've linked your article to Adolf Eichmann, who after living for decades in Argentina was abducted by an Israeli strike force, tried in Jerusalem, and executed. I don't condone what John has done but don't you think the juxtaposition of a man who abused his power among a group of yogis with a man responsible for sending people to gas chambers is just a shade extreme? I think you're giving John more power than he really had, and minimizing the lessons of the holocaust we're supposed to remember about seeing individuals as 'other' and marginalizing their humanity. That said this dinner party shouldn't happen.

  16. G.C. Aloha says:

    I've read a number of Michelle Berman Marchildon's pieces on here, and I have found them consistently mean-spirited and snarky–characteristics I consider to be in direct conflict with a yogic outlook. I encourage Ms. Marchildon to examine why she repeatedly feels compelled to fan the flames of an already volatile situation through mockery and rudeness to those involved. Just to clarify: I have no problems with the many articles discussing John Friend's behavior and expressing anger, betrayal, sadness or frustration. But this sort of holier-than-thou derision doesn't do anyone in the yoga world any good.

  17. Judyth Hill says:

    I agree with my opinion, this kind of "cute, perky, so way all about me" at the expense of someone else is not good writing. What does it serve besides the author? I don't find it funny. It is one-liners that use another person´s reputation to build a case for the wit of the author. What is this kind of writing a voice for, other than to sneer and make someone…ahem…the butt of the writer´s unresearched, nasty opinion._The Buenos Aires reference takes a very real, historical horror, an unspeakable tragedy, and compares it to: the Anusara gossip debacle. _Elie Wiesel asked that we never use or compare the Holocaust to ANYTHING, so that we can stay conscious of what it really was. To protect ourselves from becoming numb to the dimensions of such an event._Out of even the simplest respect, to even allude to the Holocaust in this instance is unthinkable._I do love elephant dearly, and will always read it. I am even glad that this stuff can be published: this is freedom of the press, and we are free to read or not, and elephant invites our responses in this forum: so all is well. _ ._I love satire, and humor….but not the barbed kind, where words become weapons….that breaks the rules of the road, the heart of the world…Come on yáll…let´s stop using John for our 1000 assured clicks. Let´s honor the Muse and write about stuff that keeps something good alive…that grows the heart…that makes us laugh for real….Be a Voice for what matters! Be a mensch!


  18. never forget says:

    Thank you Judyth. Well said. I didn't know about the Elie Wiesel comment…such sage advice. I have since learned that the article is even worse than we thought. In a Facebook group the author has claimed that she wrote it seriously, not as satire, and that EJ posted it that way. So, even worse than satire, she actually meant it.

  19. cathywaveyoga says:

    I am not sure whom this author is, apparently her references imply that she is the one who created the scandal website which caused the fall of jf. I and others have contended that it was a rather back-handed way to open information to the public. Sneaky, yellow journalism, scandal creating. "All about you?" No one cares. People care that their friends lost sleep, energy, their studios and mental helath suffered. People care that amends are being made from many and that we are all moving on. From what I can read!! not from what I experienced, jf made some bad choices and used power inappropriately.. in such a way as to anger and rock his empire.

    He deserves to make his amends, dissolve what seems best and move onto his fair choice. If he needs or wants to teach yoga, maybe he still has a lot to offer and maybe some will make decisions of their own regarding what to do- sign up fo ra class or 2.. and see ho wit goes. It is no longer about the scandal causers.. unless their entire existence is based on scandal.. and there will be another soon.. hopefully not in yoga.

  20. yogasamurai says:


    I for one completely applaud your satire, which is entirely appropriate. So many other women on here post stories about themselves mainly, so it's ironic to say the least for anyone to suggest that you are drawing attention to yourself. If that were a crime at EJ. we'd have to shut the site down!

    And I hope you manage to get laid by a yogi of your choice. I understand that the wide-bodied Manduka mat was invented for just that purpose. You've heard of the "casting couch"?
    Cheers, Sammy

    P.S. By the way, what's your number? LOL

  21. Joy says:

    Are you really slamming a yoga studio and their teachers for wearing a bikini top while teaching? Seems incredibly high schoolish to judge others based on the clothes they wear as they practice and teach. If they choose to allow the man a space to heal that is their choice. The spark of God is in each of us let's not forget that. We have all made mistakes.

  22. […] one partner keeps the other in line. However, my husband completely failed to keep me out of the Anusara Yoga cult, which I blame him for because he was busy earning a living so I could spend nearly all of our money […]

  23. Kellie says:

    Yes, well said! It is about yoga, lets get back to the practice. Stop all the gossip.

  24. Kellie says:

    Do you miss the meaning of yoga and practicing on and off the mat?

  25. it's great to be in denver