May 24, 2012

Desiree Rumbaugh, on the possibility of re-righting the ship that is Anusara Yoga.

Make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Spirit,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
…to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


~ adapted from the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi


A poignant comment on Desiree’s offering, below from an ex-Anusara teacher:

“Desiree, I wish you all the strength and light in this last and brave attempt at saving Anusara.”

Can the Anusara yoga methodology, path, and kula (community) survive its leader’s fall, and the departure of most of its senior teachers?

Click here for more recent context. ~ ed.


Dear Fellow Yogis,

I have been following the various discussions all along and I have heard from many people personally. I know that several are hurting and that many have suffered injustice at the hand of John Friend and Anusara, Inc.

From the beginning, in February, I too wanted change. That is why I served on the early committees and that is why I have stayed until now.

My intention has been to support any efforts being made to genuinely secure Anusara Yoga for the community of its teachers, separate from John Friend. My wish has been to see if we could transform it into a democratically run guild of sorts, keeping the Kula together and allowing us to continue teaching the method that has healed and transformed so many lives and bodies.

A few days ago, when John/Wendy sent out their letters, I immediately began working on my resignation statement, believing the efforts had failed. I was minutes away from pressing the “send” button with my letter, just hours after Andrew posted his, when I got the message from the LC that John had seen all of our suffering and misery and had changed his mind. It seemed to me at that moment, and continues to appear to me now, that this particular chapter is coming to a close. I agree with the LC’s statement that this is a “watershed moment”.

As I see it, the anger and hurt that has been expressed by so many has finally, perhaps shockingly, been heard. John, at least in regard to his organization, has apparently woken up to see that the best thing he could do for the yoga he created was to let go and give it to the teachers. For me, perhaps not for others who would either wish for a complete dissolution or for a return to business as usual, this is a victory.

That is where I stand. Some will agree, others not. I know that some feel that all should resign and Anusara should cease to exist, or that the brand is permanently stained. I do not, at this moment in time, share this view. My desire all along has been to keep the majority of the Kula together, recognizing it is not perfect. There are still many people all over the world who love the method of Anusara Yoga and who, even if they’ve read and heard of the recent events, simply want to continue studying yoga with their teachers, regardless of whether they are licensed or not.

I don’t wish to diminish anyone for his or her choice in this matter and I don’t support John’s actions at all. I’ve been shocked and repulsed by much of what has come to light of the shadow of our organization and its leadership. I am simply choosing to take a stab at trying to organize something new for Anusara, without John. Andrew has warned me that managing a democratically run organization will be more difficult than I can imagine. I am thankful for the warning and hopeful that people with good solid business sense will come forward to help the leadership of what is to come.

Regarding myself being seen as a leader: I am honored and humbled that some might see me as such. I have always tried to teach yoga in a way that inspires and helps other people, and through the years I have made plenty of mistakes and learned much of what I know the hard way. I apologize if anything I have ever done has hurt you or someone you know and I am prepared to listen to anything that anyone wants to say to me. I am not a stranger to pain or criticism. I have also had my share of critical feedback from John Friend over the years.

I have always danced to the beat of my own drummer and plan to continue to do so. Life is short and my wish is to keep living it to the fullest. If my time as a yoga teacher is over, I will happily turn towards my other passions, gardening and cooking. I am not qualified to run the new organization as I have very little experience in the business world. I simply want to put my support behind the efforts of those who would attempt to re-right the ship. If ultimately it is meant to sink, this new course will have proven to be poorly navigated. I am not afraid of making mistakes and I will always look to the guidance that life, that spirit, is offering.

May I, may we each, be guided by our deepest vision and truth.


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