May 27, 2012

“Leaving is the best that I can do with what’s before me.” ~ Desiree Rumbaugh, on Anusara Yoga.

And another, final major departure from Anusara. This sad story, that we’ve been covering for months, seems to be resolving itself every once in awhile. This is one of those times.

Here’s to hoping, with Desiree’s help, that this community that’s no longer a community can finally give up, let go, move on, and form something new and fun and meaningful, sans enthusiasm for theism. ~ ed.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

For the past three months I have held a vision that Anusara, the system of yoga that I have loved deeply, benefited from enormously, and supported completely, would gracefully evolve, or perhaps stumble, into a democratically run cooperative. Some say this was naïve. Perhaps that’s true, and yet I don’t regret having given every possibility a chance. During these months, and even in the past days, more revelations have come to light casting an ever-growing shadow on the organization of Anusara and its leadership.

For a time, as more was exposed and discovered, I became increasingly resolved that real authority must be secured for the community of Anusara’s teachers, a genuine empowerment bestowed, and an amicable separation, founder from method, established. I offer my appreciation to the members of the Leadership Committee for their best efforts in this regard. And I extend my heartfelt compassion to all of us whose life path and career has been muddied, altered or washed away by these events.

In the past few days, I have had countless conversations with friends, read the critical remarks of some who were opposed to my efforts, and listened to wise, compassionate counsel. All of it has helped broaden my perspective. I am not one easily bullied, or persuaded by argument. When challenged, I’m thrown to move at my own will. As a practitioner of yoga, I have always preferred to listen to my body and my intuition in order to discover my own truth. I’m also loyal, perhaps to a fault, not wanting to give up on a relationship even when it is no longer serving.

I wrote recently that John seemed to have seen our suffering and misery and finally acted accordingly, signing a letter of intent to transfer the trademarks and properties to the teachers. I had reservations even then though that this choice was brought about mostly by desperation in the face of the newer wave of resignations.

I see now that if John had ever been genuinely caring for the kula, beyond the preservation of his legacy, he would have behaved differently each step of the way. My relationship with John, like other older students, is mainly made up of memories from 2 decades ago when he seemed a different man. In the past five years we’ve barely spoken. For me, and I know for many others, his silence at this moment in Anusara’s history is deafening.

Through all of it I have finally come to see that the method of Anusara will continue to live on in my heart and my body regardless of the name being perpetuated. In fact, many great teachers who have boldly and gracefully moved on from the brand have already evolved into what’s next. I’m learning yet another lesson of non-attachment. For me I see that leaving is the best that I can do with what’s before me. I do this finally now without internal conflict and with peace of mind. To those who are staying within Anusara, those who have looked to me for reassurance, I feel that I am letting you down. I am sorry.

What breaks my heart the most is all the pain that has been caused here on all sides. I support healthy processing and each one’s right for a full expression. My wish is to live in a world in which we humans practice speaking to and listening to each other well; one in which we express ourselves and the truth that lives within us in a way that honors the other as other. I believe much would be solved with this simple intention and act.

And now, the future begins. It is 2012 and it is time for radical change. I can see and feel that old paradigms that engender separation are eventually going to fade.

With love and best wishes for all involved, I sever not only my ties to John Friend but also to the name and structure of Anusara Yoga, my home for 19 years. I move forward with the knowledge and experience I have gained, with the great friends I have made and with conviction that in the end, all will be well and everyone will find their perfect place.

My door is always open, my in-box always free. I hope to see you on the mat, talk to you on the phone, exchange thoughts on Facebook. Nothing real between us has changed, love always remains. And as for me, I intend to continue teaching in my wacky, irreverent, unpredictable, and probably wrong, way.

I offer my love and support to all, wherever you are in your process,




Editor: Kate Bartolotta

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