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

Via elephant journal
on May 19, 2012
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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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15 Responses to “John Friend agrees to transfer ownership of Anusara, Inc. (We’ll see)”

  1. Tony in Berkeley says:

    Yipeee! Long live the Kul(t)a!

  2. Livia says:

    long live jf's lies. this is ridiculous. there is no reason to believe johns word is of any good. and regardless of if this happens…irreparable damage has been caused. jf is a spiritual perpetrator. not to mention a very bad business man with a terrible pr report.

  3. Honestly, the past few months have been so much fun, so enlightening and so enriching I can hardly wait to stick around and see what his appointed Ethics Committee will decide. I don't want to give away the surprise ending, but I bet he'll be back teaching and in the company in just a few months. The only reason John didn't take over Anusara yesterday, as he planned and tried, was because just about every teacher resigned. Oooops. Plan B now, only I don't believe it is the Universe's Plan this time.

  4. Richard Bird says:

    To all Anusara teachers and students. I wish you all the very best. Whether John is your leader or not it does not take away or diminish your work, study, skills or Yoga!

    Anusara Yoga lives without John Friend. Most who studied with him were meant to feel like “Rock Stars” and are.

    Study your ethics, look at them and evolve them if necessary.

    Your power and Spirit is just that . . . Yours!
    The power is not in the name it is in your heart and your soul. No-one can give that to you or take it from you!

    The Law just is, you can’t enforce it . . . it enforces itself. When the Teacher is ready, the student appears.

  5. @petrastella says:

    PUT.A.FORK.IN.IT…. it's just so pathetically over.

    Noble teachers, confront your own and your community's ethics and your blindness towards your 'leader' and actually liberate yourself from your teacher. One might consider that a noble goal, even without a teacher such as this.

    Just go teach your yoga, stop paying for the brand and stop associating yourself with this deluded, pathetic, manipulative and machinating man. He's so clearly showed you his intentions, now you all who remain 'steadfast' are really showing yours.

  6. Everyone,s name says:

    Flow in life with all the wonderful teachers you meet,but remember your path is yours so look in you heart and let that be your teacher. In all Truth you are your guru.

  7. sarakimm says:

    Such a sad situation for all. Resigned or staying, angry or sad, no one in the community feels happiness or peace.
    Quite a legacy, John Friend.

  8. fortune-teller says:

    Who really believes that this so called "transfer of ownership" will mean that JF isn't still running the show, or pulling the strings.
    The endgame for Anusara ultimately is becoming increasingly obvious. Just shut it down once and for all. The knowledge and skills taught by JF are not "owned by anyone" just his company is. The longer this bs continues the more damage it does to anything good Anusara Yoga ever had to offer. The brand and it's leader are permanently tainted. The damage by how the scandal was mishandled is far greater than the scandal itself. In the aftermath JF has exposed himself for the person he really is. Instead of stepping up to the plate and taking the heat, he takes a sabbatical. Now so much time has elapsed that it is effectively too late for JF to reinsert himself into a position of authority. Too little, too late. What a fraud! Just the name
    "Anusara" and/or "JF" have become radioactive in most yoga communities.
    Why not simply close the business down, permanently. Anything that emerges from the ashes will likely have more credibility than the continuing sham we are witnessing.

  9. MatBoy says:

    And join us tomorrow for another exciting episode of "As the Stomach Turns".

  10. G.C.Aloha says:

    I'm with fortune-teller. Shut it down already. Those Anusara teachers who have been stewarding their students through the teacher training process can form their own schools and certify those students and perhaps even accept Anusara course hours from other people's students toward their own certification. Former Anusara teachers Noah Maze, Christina Sell and Darren Rhodes have moved ahead with Shravana School of Yoga, and it would be great to see other current and former Anusarans do something similar. It's time to shut it down. The reputation has been tarnished; as someone who spent six great years studying Anusara, I can say that despite all my teachers have given me, I no longer want to be associated with Anusara. Its era has come to an end. It's time to move forward. John Friend is clearly in need of mental help. His friends can certainly stand by him and offer him support if he at last demonstrates steps toward his own healing. But trying to work with this narcissist who is so lacking in the most basic ability to be accountable for his actions is like refusing to get into the lifeboat because someone else is trying to convince you that if you stay on board with him, together you can fix the hole in the Titanic.

  11. Alex says:

    Monstrous Egos, Anger, Pain, Suffering, Name Calling… These are all clear cut signs of feeble meditation practices… I speak from my own experience.

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

  13. Scott says:

    Who gives a f*&k? I never got the "Anusara" teachings…I practicethe yoga of Krisnamacharya and Patanjali…Guess Friend made his $$$$$ off of desperate people….

  14. erica says:

    All of this drama reminds me of how the Anusuara "method" teaches people to move into postures lots of unnecessary language, lack of simplicity, and distraction (you know like when people gather around and clap for each other)

  15. MatBoy says:

    Yes, I feel the method intrudes into my space and 'yoga' experience because of all the talk, demos, etc. This brings me out of my meditative center and greatly detracts from the experience! I've reduced the number of Anusara classes I attend: I do more self-practice. Instructor monologues can be very trite and inauthentic (did I mean to say FAKE?). You cannot train heartfelt authenticity nor understanding of deeper spiritual concepts. Once my BS filter picks-up on something not being quite right I struggle to shut it out and usually wind up not really enjoying my practice. Guess I'm through with Anusara.