May 20, 2012

John Friend agrees to transfer ownership of Anusara, Inc. (We’ll see)

Via Livia, an ex-Anusara teacher: “the llc is comprised of teachers, but it is based on commnication with JF. They state in that letter it is a verbal agreement. A verbal agreement means nothing with JF. Let’s see if he actually does something. What’s real is that more and more resignation letters have poured in today.”

Via Erin, an ex-Anusara teacher:

“I would ask that you please be careful in reporting this as reliable news. There have been three different letters issued by John/Anusara in the last three days. Everyone involved in this community has been jerked around at dizzying ends of multiple spectrums. There isn’t any reason to believe a verbal agreement from John means anything.”

“(This letter represents) a tangled mess, but it’s become clear that the ‘leadership committee’ who signed this letter are impotent—John still drives the bus. [This] looks to a lot of people like a sham.”


Here’s the announcement:

Dear Anusara Community,

Yesterday was a watershed day for our community. Your voices have been heard, and the path has been cleared for Anusara to become a truly independent, teacher-run yoga school.

Following the stalemate in talks on Thursday and John Friend’s subsequent announcement to move forward with his new plan, there was another wave of teacher resignations. Recognizing that in order… to preserve the value of Anusara yoga he needed to cede full controlto the teachers, John agreed to wholly transfer the school and the Anusara trademarks to a new entity in service of the teachers.

The LC has begun the necessary steps related to due diligence and legal negotiations to effect a transfer to a teacher-run school. Our present verbal agreement with John is that he will play no part in the new Anusara yoga school unless invited by the community to do so in the future and this invitation could occur only if John were “cleared” to teach by an independent, transparent ethics review process. An LC sub-committee has been working diligently these last few weeks on establishing guidelines and determining the independent professionals needed for an unbiased ethics review so that the process could be initiated as soon as practicable.

Whether you have been contemplating in quietude or making your voices heard in the past few months, we would like to acknowledge that everyone in the community contributed to getting us to this point.

As we work through the necessary legal and administrative steps, we will also be releasing a survey to hear your input in a more formal manner. Our plan is to involve the community further, including reorganizing the LC to incorporate new members and re-establishing the Teacher’s committees, as we together begin the process of revitalizing Anusara.

We ask you for your continued patience as things take shape. Everyone wishing to be a part of the new school is welcome. We hope you will join us and be an active participant in this process.

Thank you again for your support and patience.

The Leadership Committee

Witnessed and Acknowledged,
John Friend and Anusara, Inc.


And here’s yesterday’s note from Wendy, also from Anusara’s FB page:

Dear Anusara Yoga Teaching Community,

I am writing to you today directly, from my heart, and in my own words. I am not writing to try to change your mind, but to explain the letter that was posted on Facebook yesterday and to add clarity to the present situation.

As you know, John stepped aside from running the company 2 months ago. When he did this, myself and the 2 other staff told him that …we would be following suit, like many of the teachers who were resigning, if he did not take time and go on sabbatical and hand the reigns of the company over. While I have worked for him for many years, and admire his vision very much, there have been times where I have strongly disagreed with his decisions. Over the last 2 years in particular, John’s focus turned more towards fundraising for the center he wanted to create. While ultimately The Center was to be a support for teachers and the community, the decisions that took place over the last 2 years in order to make it a reality took the focus of the company slightly away from its mission statement because of the many business decisions that had to take place. The mission statement of the company has always been to support the Anusara yoga school. And of course that was still happening, but I did feel that it was starting to take a back seat because of the focus that needed to be placed on the business venture of The Center.

When the debacle in the community happened, John, along with many others, realized that things had to change. He immediately started working with the teachers’ committees and also thankfully agreed with the staff’s request to let us run the company’s daily operations. So for the last 2 months I have been running all of the day-to-day operations of Anusara, Inc. and John has been happy to relinquish control. Recently, he came back from his sabbatical in order to move into negotiations with the current teacher representative body, the Leadership Committee. I was not part of those negotiations, because I am not the owner of Anusara, Inc.

After the negotiations that occurred on Monday, May 14th, John communicated to me that he and the LC had come to an impasse. While he had agreed that it was a good idea that the teachers take over the leadership and direction of the school, there was one central point where no agreement could be reached between the LC and John. Because of this, he assumed that we would be moving forward without the LC, since an agreement had not been reached. He sent a letter to me to read that he was starting to prepare which he eventually wanted to put out to the community, upon hearing final word from the LC. When the LC’s statement came out yesterday, we started receiving calls from people wanting to know what Anusara was doing. At the time, I felt it was necessary to put a letter out as soon as possible, and our FB page seemed to be the best way to do that.

I cut and pasted his letter into the Facebook posting box and began to write my own letter around some of the points of his letter. I did this because I wanted to include some of his points, which I thought were very good, for how we could move forward with the teachers in a leadership role in the school. In my haste to get this letter out, I forgot to remove his name and actually sign it from me. As you can imagine, I am deeply embarrassed and disappointed in myself for the hasty action that I took. It was an unfortunate mistake, one that I am so sorry to have made, especially because of the turmoil, shock, and confusion that it caused in the community. I quickly realized that posting the letter like that was premature, and more time should have been taken to better articulate what I really wanted to say and how it was said.

So, this is why the letter is confusing many people, and why it seemed that John was talking in the 3rd person. As you can imagine, he is pretty upset. I understand how this makes me look, and I take full responsibility for my choice to post the letter yesterday. I am sure that many of you will not believe that this is the case, since I know some in the community feel that I am just a puppet for John. However, this is the truth. Say what you will about me. I made this mistake, and I own that. I apologize to you all from the bottom of my heart.

I want to thank the Leadership Committee for stepping forward through of all the challenges of the last month. They have put in countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears, to try to come up with a solution for the benefit of the Anusara yoga community. I sympathize with how hard they have worked to save something that they and many of you are truly dedicated to and have invested in, in so many ways. I honor each one of them for their dedication and for their love of the Anusara yoga methodology that has helped so many people around the world.

I recognize that there are many licensed teachers who have been on the fence and who are not necessarily “with us” just because they have paid their 2012 dues. I honor their commitment to stay with Anusara and teach their Anusara yoga classes, workshops, Immersions, and trainings for the remainder of the year. I realize that so many were hoping for true change, and I honestly thought that a proposal being put forth by John where the teachers run the school was in fact the change that people were looking for. I am so saddened to think that my mistake in posting the letter on Facebook was the reason that so many people are disappointed, confused, and heartbroken today.

Since the latest letter from the Leadership Committee indicates that they have not fully given up, Anusara, Inc. is continuing its negotiations with them so that a true resolution can be found. Everyone at Anusara, Inc. wants to support what is best for the teaching community. Since I am not taking part in these negotiations, I will wait, along with those in the community, until a final decision has been reached, and we will move forward from there.

In closing, I just want to thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I know that it is lengthy, but I felt that sharing my viewpoint in a forthcoming and detailed way was most appropriate.

In Service,

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