The maven of mass yoga retires from her roots after more than a decade.
Elena Brower, yoga teacher, studio owner and empowered woman of self-startingness has announced her departure from big daddy John Friend‘s formal Anusara certification. We could’ve said we saw this coming, what with Elena’s growth and subsequent skyrocketing into celeb status, quitting smoking, grabbing ahold of her life and essentially coming into her own.
Much like her guru before her, as J Fri did with his Iyengar certification, Elena has chosen to resign her Anusara umbrella in order to dismiss any nitpicking or needling over technicalities (read: Anusara inspiration, yes, but not required). And she did so in a letter, a heartfelt and respectful message peppered with tidbitty announcements like there will be Iyengar and vinyasa added to the Virayoga studio offerings and further speculation on what this breakup could mean.
This is big news, but Elena isn’t the first in recent weeks to cut the apron strings. Christina Sell, also of Anusara heartland departed from the formal certification with a post on her blog October 24th, citing dharmic differences. Meanwhile, the poster boy of Anusara Yoga, Darren Rhodes, is said to have departed as well. Why the exodus? Disagreements? Personal ambition? A road less traveled? Is this a testament to the next level of yogapreneurship?
Here is lady Elena’s graceful letter of resignation sent out via email to her mailing list. The bolding is Ms. Brower’s.
This past week, after over a decade, I’ve chosen to resign my Anusara yoga certification, in order to honour the method by hereby dispelling any confusion about what I’m teaching. While my work is entirely informed by the brilliant Universal Principles of Anusara as designed by John Friend, my process is decidedly touched by other potent understandings. My teaching will not change; I continue to serve your heart, right from my own, with deep gratitude. Virayoga studio will continue to flourish as it is, populated with all of our beloved Anusara teachers, adding a few more offerings in traditions such as Iyengar and vinyasa for the new year.
Thank You, John. I will forever be your student. As I move forward as a student of the world, I will always be informed by the past eleven years with the highest gratitude. Thank you for all the years you’ve studied, devised, written, planned and articulated the method of Anusara yoga. Thank you for teaching me how to let my heart speak. Thank you for teaching me how to stand up for myself. Thank you for teaching me how to talk about Universal Love, and mean it. And for showing me why it’s important to share that understanding with anyone who’d care to listen.
Thank you for teaching me me how to welcome myself to a strong, challenging, meticulous, playful practice, and how to make it mine. Thank you for being the catalyst for several of the best friendships I will ever know in this lifetime. Thank you for supporting me through a few very strong times. Thank you for trusting me with a few of yours. Thank you for teaching me about radical generosity (especially and particularly how to have a basket at the end of a retreat to collect tips for the workers at the venue! The best!). Most importantly, thank you for teaching me how to SERVE.
P.S. To my peers since the early days in the Anusara world: LOVE YOU, thank you. Huge respect for each of you. From the beginning, you’ve unwaveringly supported and held me; this moment is no exception. I am bathed in your love, presence and wisdom in these days.
Will there be more of this to come?