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Letter From John Friend to Anusara Yoga Teachers

in YD News

This letter from John Friend to Anusara Yoga teachers has been confirmed by a current employee, and we believe it to be authentic. We first found it posted at thebabarazzi.com who received it via email from an anonymous source. Here it is in its entirety:

Dear Teachers of Anusara Yoga,

With anguish, I write to you today in the aftermath of the recent anonymously posted accusations on the Internet, which have negatively and painfully impacted several dear, innocent community members and their families. A blogger posted allegations last Friday from an anonymous website (which has now been removed) however, not until today did this editor make contact to check the veracity of any of the claims.

The truth of the matter is that there is some accuracy within the accusations, yet there are also many falsehoods and completely twisted exaggerations that place events grossly out of context.

The central issue now is that the wonderful image and reputation of Anusara yoga has been severely stained in the minds of some, since my personal behavior has been perceived to be out of integrity with Anusara ethics. I am fully committed to any public process or personal inquiry around these allegations, in hope of rebuilding confidence in me and our yoga school. I have made mistakes, but remain sincerely dedicated to you, to Anusara and to defining myself authentically. In the coming days I will openly and transparently address all of the claims in detail.

This process begins with the attached letter from our third-party pension administrator clarifying the mistake we made in 2010 and the quick resolve to return to full compliance. [ed. document omitted]

Until these allegations are explained and placed into context, I ask only that you please reserve judgments about me.

In the longer view, the disharmony between my personal image and the values of our school needs to be reconciled, if Anusara is to properly heal. This will be a process that takes time and, to ensure that Anusara thrives while I personally amend and repair, we are exploring scenarios in which the company is restructured to give teachers more voice and representation not only in areas of brand, ethics and curriculum, but also in the governance and direction of the company itself. We will arrive at a solution swiftly and I will be completely committed to any structure that best serves Anusara, its teachers and community.

Please accept my deepest, most sincere apology for any poor personal decisions or actions that might have inspired this vicious attack—one that has certainly caused distress and damage while calling into question the integrity of our school.

It is a humbling moment and one that has caused me to reaffirm my devotion to the highest, Shri, the every essence of all of us and of Life. Through this painful experience, I will definitely grow as a person and as a member
of this wonderful community.

I welcome your responses including questions, comments, disappointment and support.

With deep gratitude and abiding love to each of you,

*In the defense of noted ‘blogger’ in JF’s beginning paragraph, the material from the anonymous website was not presented as truth with malicious intent, but swiftly pointed to in the interest of the public. Anusara Inc. was contacted to confirm authenticity or falsehood of pension documents and they still have yet to reply.

UPDATE: Anusara’s John Friend Responds to Accusations in First Public Interview

——

Earlier

78 comments… add one

  • Vague

    Why didn’t he address which parts are true/untrue?

    This doesn’t look good. :(

  • Sarah

    Read again. He states that he’s going to address these issues. This is a good start and I had faith he would do this.

  • Westley Anson

    Nice to see John Friend address these allegations and acknowledge his “poor personal decisions”. From his letter it would appear he is setting the stage for an exit as the leader of Anusara Yoga. What do you think?

  • Franklin

    My favourite part of the letter was when he referred to last week’s leak as a “vicious attack.” I know it’s fashionable in the Anusara world to downplay the importance of Patañjali, but here in the world of classical yoga we still have some respect for the concept of satya. YogaDork has maintained all along that she contacted Anusara for comment or confirmation and that they failed to respond; I believe her.

  • Westley Anson

    Yes, I noticed that too. In a way he is confirming what has happened is a terrible thing. i.e. Those things said about me are vicious, mean-spirited, and terrible!…….but true.

  • Franklin

    Yes – exactly, Westley.

  • Pavanatanaya

    Yes exactly Franklin. Here comes JF the ‘victim’

  • arthur rotfeld

    It’s not that it’s fashionable to downplay Patañjali in Anusara, in fact you could ask why other modern postural yoga styles elevate the importance so much. Either way, Anusara has a non-dual Tantric philosophy, and as such you’d need to look into how Patañjali is handled in Tantra….it’s there.

  • arthur rotfeld

    ^^^Disclaimer: Anusara student here.

  • Franklin

    My apologies Arthur; I should not have generalized. With the Anusara teachers with whom I’ve studied, Patañjali has definitely not been held in terribly high regard, and I have found this peculiar and off-putting. Questions of dualism or non-dualism, in my perspective, are interesting but primarily academic. How to live well, a topic addressed with aplomb by Patañjali, is far more salient. Again, in my perspective.

  • Franklin

    BTW, Arthur, if you can point me towards some resources interpreting Patañjali in Tantric terms, I’d be very interested in reading them.

  • Deborah

    Me too.
    Please share.

  • Justin

    Is mr. friend trying to say anusara is tantric yoga??? Tantra is meditation as I experience it. The anusara practice i have seen has not too many meditative qualities. It does actually the opposite of what yoga is suppose to do. The over instruction of these technicaL DETAILS AND ALIGNMENT CREATE MORE MIND. NOT LESS. Also note the term tantra has been highjacked by the new age movement and used interchangeable with sex magick or other occult practices. So is he a wiccan ? Wicca is not tantra.

  • Carrie

    A whole lot of nothing from John Friend in that letter. Shameful that he is laying blame for his actions with a blogger.

  • SQR

    My impression was that JF was blaming the blogger for the firestorm (rightly or wrongly), but not for the actions that led to it.

  • Photo of a vagina

    He is not laying blame with the blogger, he is saying the form of the attack was vicious.

    DO YOU REALLY THINK IT WAS NECESSARY FOR JFEXPOSED.COM TO PUT PICTURES OF A WOMAN’S VAGINA ON THE INTERNET TO GET HIS POINT ACROSS???

    GET A F-ING GRIP!!

  • HolyBlazingSolarFlames!

    YD only published what was sent to them.
    His letter to the community indicates that the documents are
    authentic, those were his words, his convos, his letters, and his pictures.
    I don’t think anyone paid too much attention to the pictures and who cares, really. Its the content of the letters and his content.
    Why don’t you get a F-ing grip?

  • Mike

    Given the response from the Anusara die-hards, I think you could make a case for posting the vagina. Even with it, they still don’t believe it to be true.

    If not for the pictures, they would’ve done their typical, “rumors… out to get john… etc” routine.

  • Leanne

    Good impression SQR. The language and attitude in the blogs and articles I have read seem exaggerated, words that sell newspapers. I can only imagine that John Friend is incredibly hurt by this. I would choose not to engage with Yoga Dork either. Nothing personal yoga dork, but who the heck are you? There is no way I would respond to someone who wrote about me like this…
    Up til now, we’ve had our share of poking fun at the Anusarans, their meltiness and King Melty Heart Mogul, John Friend. But if these accusations are true, they paint a whole new perspective on the innerworkings of one of the most popular yoga corporations and the possible misdoings of its grand leader.
    The blog posted on February 3rd is flippant to say the least and smacks of sensationalism.
    And, that is not the worst writing from you I’ve seen. I am very sad that the Anusara Community and the yoga community in general have not banded together to protect and support John until the facts are available. There are 1000′s of instructors and yoga studio owners who have taken a big fat prosperous ride on John Friends work, his devotion to a higher cause and his quantum rise to guru status. In fact the entire yoga world in general has prospered from his work. John’s sex life is nobodies business. Walk your talk Anusara community, and all yoga communities who have prosepered from the success of Anusara. Forgive and help John come into balance, if that is actually even in question, because this is not evident from what has been gaffiti-ed all over the internet. At this point, the issue that needs to be resolved seems to be around the execution of funds and that is between him and the people he is in service to. Given that Anusara Yoga exploded in size and wealth in a very short period of time, I have no doubt that John needs some help in wrangling the funding. And, to all those people out there who want to make John into a rapist, sadist, exhibitionist, thief and scoundrel– man, I’d hate to be your friend, child, partner or anything else. I can’t believe what people are reading into letters and blogs and what have you. I am thankful for the SQRs and Authors in this world–people with good hearts and even better minds.
    Peace!

  • Sheanna

    Agreed Leanne!
    Nothing JF does in his bedroom, or in his personal practices of aligning his intention to his actions, takes away from my personal journey. If melting your heart has helped your journey more blessings to you, and hopefully we all have open and shining hearts that allow us compassion, love and aide for everyone.

  • Cathy

    After consulting my crystal ball, I predict a YouTube video any moment now, John Friend crying and begging for forgiveness a la Jim and Tammy Faye Baker.

    A letter full of mishmash and nothing. Really like the way he skirts the real issues and the allegations. Everything which is currently “wrong” about yoga is right here. Moral relativism, not taking direct ownership and responsibility but rather skate around it in a touchy-feely way.
    Thanks but no thanks, too much New Age and faux-Yoga pablum for me.

  • Franklin

    Could not agree more. The New Agey pabulum is, essentially, why I no longer practice Anusara.

  • Janet

    Sounds like he’s been pushing his root chakra into the wrong Mula Bhandhas and got caught.

  • Sarah

    That’s a very vulgar usage of your knowledge of sacred language and practices.

  • Janet

    No, I’m just describing the pictures which were on the “coven” part of the jfexposed.com website

  • Sarah

    cool. how does one photograph a chakra?

  • Janet

    You can’t, but you can still capture the general physical vicinity.

  • Sarah

    Give him time. This is a good start and it’s something for now.
    While many of you who have commented so far are swift to judge and read between the lines, let’s remember our practice is also an invitation to pause, to be patient, and also remember that he doesn’t owe any of you a direct apology. Allow him to make amends to the people who need it first and foremost. This stuff came out on Friday afternoon. It’s Wednesday morning. Let’s remain calm here.

  • yeah

    Looking forward to reading what “context” he thinks some of these issues should be seen in. I mean maybe we haven’t seen the whole picture but I don’t think it is an issue of context.

  • Sounds like a load of authentic BS from an authentic Yoga-shyster.

  • Anusour

    “…since my personal behavior has been perceived to be out of integrity with Anusara ethics.”
    Well it is your school of yoga, forget about our perception; are your actions out of integrity with Anusara ethics as defined by you?

  • Jane C.

    Anasour -exactly. I can’t abide faux apology “if I offended anyone then…” “if you perceived this as, then…” double speak.

    A straight forward response would have been “Mistakes were made, specifically…and based on this, the organization is being restructured for greater democracy and transparency. Specifics to be set forth in ‘x’ weeks”

    This is hooey.

  • Deborah

    its called gaslighting and is a form of psychological manipulation used by sociopaths and narcissitics in which false information is presented with the intent of making their “victim” doubt his or her own memory and perception. It may simply be the denial by the abuser that previous incidents ever occurred, or it could be the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.
    In the case – its the abuse of trust. The trust his followers placed in him. Its very sad.

  • Pavanatanaya

    Deborah is brilliant. Spot on analysis of his pathology

  • and that's the anusarian...

    …flim flam. next up, the old razzle dazzle!

  • Not surprised. That is all.

  • callme naive

    —”direction of the company “– I know yoga is big business today, but it is still sad to see a yoga organization/school to be publicly referred by it’s owner as a “COMPANY”.

  • it's a business

    I’ve always seen John as both a very charismatic and creative yoga teacher and a business man. Hard to tell sometimes which part has more influence. Anusara will not leave John nor will he leave Anusara. He owns all the trademarks http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=toc&state=4007%3Ajmpfsv.1.1&p_search=searchss&p_L=50&BackReference=&p_plural=yes&p_s_PARA1=&p_tagrepl~%3A=PARA1%24LD&expr=PARA1+AND+PARA2&p_s_PARA2=anusara&p_tagrepl~%3A=PARA2%24COMB&p_op_ALL=AND&a_default=search&a_search=Submit+Query&a_search=Submit+Query

    Geoff Falk gives a pretty good run down on our (the west, meaning the USA) easy, naive embrace of “enlightened ones” – http://www.strippingthegurus.com/

    Most yoga schools here in the good ole USofA are either of the franchise kind or multi-level market type. Franchises are easy to spot, got the guru’s name over the entrance, Amway types are harder to see with the many levels and grades but the buck moves to the top. I wonder more what the “we’re all going to be millionaires” comment means than read some silly polyamorous relationship gossip (remember folks everybody has to be ok with it else).

    John’s Muktananda and Malti make Falks shortlist.

  • Anon

    Having met John on several occasions I find these revelations (they seem, based on what is reported above, to have moved well beyond ‘allegations’) disappointing — at his best, John could be wonderfully supportive and inspirational — but not entirely surprising as he was surrounded by people looking for someone to idolise. I’m not going to excuse the behaviour, but it would be quite a good thing for the Western yoga community as a whole (I’ll not presume to tell the Indian yoga community how to practice) and the Anusara community in particular to examine how it treats and talks about the ‘gurus’ in its ranks.

  • Good job, Dork! And yes, don’t let anybody slip in that distracting shoot-the-messenger crap – even JF himself seems to be admitting that your decision to post has brought some important truths to light.

  • You know, there are firms that exist just to whip up controversy so that people can get more publicity. In a way, John Friend has just created a media firestorm that could bring more attention to Anusara. Maybe looking at it from a business perspective is a little crass, but isn’t that what Anusara is in the long run? There is no such thing as bad publicity.

  • Pavanatanaya

    Tell that to the Catholic church,,,lol

  • Barbara

    I have to admit that I am bitterly disappointed in that letter from John. I doubted that any of this was true but he seems to confirm that there is truth in it. How embarrassing this is to the Anusara community. I’m debating whether to mail back my Anusara teaching certificate back to Texas as a way to voice my disapproval.

  • HolyBlazingSolarFlames!
  • Marie

    JF, your busted!

  • vivian araullo

    This post should be dedicated to all the people in the yoga world who castigated YD for even bringing up the possibility that John Friend might have been doing something wrong. Here’s yet another cautionary tale: Don’t be blinded by yoga/spiritual leaders. Please.

  • To be honest, I didn’t see too many people castigating YD just for raising the possiblity that Friend was up to something wrong. I doubt many readers would have minded that.

    And it’s not fair to say that anyone who questioned the journalistic choices made by YD — (most shocking to me was that the names of Friends ‘friends’, who are not famous people who can be said to court publicity and have to take the good with the bad, were not blocked out by YD pending confirmation) — is somehow blinkered or biased. A person can be interested in the truth behind the allegations and still critical of how the allegations were presented. I think Friend could have been called to task without naming the other people (yet) or posting the photos that were posted (entirely unnecessary) — and I still feel that way now, even after reading the above letter.

  • Left long ago

    I left the Anusara community and inspired status long ago. This is a stain on yoga. Period. Not just Anusara. The world at large doesn’t care about the delineations of schools and styles. All they will know is that some yoga teacher was practicing wicca ( withcraft to most) and sleeping with students. Instead of pointing fingers and gloating we should be standing by our fellow yogi’s who have been hurt by this and see how we can support and uplift them. And thank you YD, without you we would have never known about this story.

  • FREE

    AMEN!!!

  • jimmy

    “It’s something for now”. Boy, this sounds like what the domestic abuse victim says after a beating when the abuser says “wipe yourself up and get me some fucking potato chips while you’re at it, honey.” He called me honey!

    No, he doesn’t owe anyone a direct apology. And we are not really waiting for one. If he apologizes it will be because he wants to preserve the value of his own stock or equity in the brand. I don’t give a shit if he apologizes or not because the tone of his first response indicates a lack of any taking of responsibility whatsoever. It is the blog that caused the anguish. It is not his actions, it is the “perception” that is the problem. Read how he talks about how he will “amend and repair” as if he is a sun-damaged dermal layer going in for an herbal facial or surgical reconstruction. He started to believe his own bullshit a long time ago and he doesn’t get that you can convince followers the sun goes around the earth but it doesn’t make it so.

  • Pavanatanaya

    “Please accept my deepest, most sincere apology for any poor personal decisions or actions that might have inspired this vicious attack—one that has certainly caused distress and damage while calling into question the integrity of our school.”
    According to JF, it is the vicious attack that calls the question of integrity into the mix, not his personal behavior. This douche is a sociopath and needs counseling. Anusara Inc would be well served to “reconcile’ his ass to the bricks. Adios mujeriego

  • Pavanatanaya

    Many Many thanks to Yogadork for truth in journalism. Elephant Journal simply deletes any comment that questions JF and his Kula.

  • just curious

    and they praise themselves to be True Journalism ! Curious to know the reaction about the heart- to-heart interview between EJ and JF, especially from the Anusara community !

  • On the Other Hand

    Regarding the interview:

    A tough question is only ‘tough’ if there is a follow-up, when the initial answer is unsatisfactory, incomplete or evasive.

    Otherwise, to simply put the question, print the answer and let the reader figure it out for himself or herself is just plain unsatisfactory.

    There was nothing resembling any kind of follow-up from Waylon.

    My first impression was that JF was far less contrite than he was in his initial letter to his teachers, and he preferred to focus on the unethical behavior and motives of the one(s) who exposed his own behavior, rather than genuinely reflect upon his own behavior.

    No mention of which specific parts of the accusations were ‘distortions,’ though his letter implied that he would be more specific on that.

  • just curious

    At least he admitted sleeping with married women ! I guess once he admitted it, people will forgive his sin ( it’s not such a big deal……, he is just a man……) and he can move on, like so many politicians did.

  • On the Other Hand

    Yes, you’re right — it is huge, and also confirms that these charges are not gossip. His pattern used to be to deny everything (remember ‘Hell no!’ in response to the NYT article? Now it’s ‘Well, yeah.’) and angrily attack the accuser. He has moved forward to allowing that the charges are true…and then attacking the accuser while magnanimously saying that he’ll pray for the poor soul and only wishes the good.

    In all cases of wrongdoing, we basically expect the person to ‘get it’ with regard to his own behavior. Here he doesn’t yet seem to ‘get it.’

  • Pavanatanaya

    Exactly. Waylon fail. If you tried to post a comment about his weak journalistic integrity, he pulls it down. JF was exposed to be the pussy hound he is and he thinks its uncool to say so. Call me vicious? Hey JF, how are those homes you destroyed doing?

  • bitchinyoga
  • The Elders

    I find it interesting that no one is back tracking to when this information actually surfaced and with whom? Did Darren Rhodes, Christina Sell, Elena Brower and Amy Ippoliti know that the shit was going to hit the fan in a big way?

    I sincerely respect all of them for leaving and even for keeping their mouths shut about the whole thing (since the defunct “jfexposed” website was probably constructed for a while before the information was published live on the web).

    But I wonder how many more people knew and didn’t step down when they had the chance?… as one writer above said “We’re all going to be millionaires” is a very interesting thing to say.

    The Elders in the club are obviously going to defend him because he has been their ticket to ride to the top. Only 350 certified teachers yet the organization was established in 1997. When I talk to the teachers who are certified, they say it was easy to get certification “back in the day” but nowadays there is a huge amount of stalling the process and even then, you might not get in the club of the certified circle (and you pay for every trial that you are subjected to).

    These are the folks at the top who have the most to gain by keeping the product scarce. When I ask the “inspired teachers” whether they think it’s fair that one man can dictate their access to the club, I am told “but John needs to protect the product and the branding and make sure that quality control is the same any where you go”.

    If he was selling hamburgers and creating a McDonald’s franchise, that might be an okay answer, but bottom line is that Anusara sells “shri” or spiritual bliss. A heart-centered approach is the theme of every class and it’s the hallmark (trademark – branding) of the Anusara product.

    John Friend has primed every member to patronize him and have an affinity for his antics. As one person mentioned above, any news is good news and he will be propelled to greater heights by this scandal because all of the members are rallying around him and saying “don’t believe it” or “what else is new?” and “we stand by you John”.

    You know, if people want to pay to be a part of their club, it’s their choice. If people want to help create the Anusara religion by funneling their life energy and monies to John Friend so he can build the mother-ship in California, then that’s their choice.

    But just like the message of Occupy Wallstreet, John Friend and the Elders (or inner circle or truth council) – they are the 1% and they are laughing all the way to the bank.

  • On the Other Hand

    Yes. And interesting that you should bring up that mother-ship in California, which apparently can’t be found…

    And don’t forget that fear is a factor too, for those who left and those who as yet choose not to leave. Mr. Friend wields considerable power when it comes to punishing those who cross him — essentially blacklisting such teachers and directing students and candidates for certification not to go to their workshops, and putting pressure on studios that have any Anusara affiliation not to host them. (Those actions are, by the way, actually illegal).

    That is a good part of the reason why teachers who have left have been so careful about their words, and essentially ‘MIA’ in this controversy.

  • Doug

    Looks like Samsara’s the big winner here! Between the John Friend soap opera and the Slobber’n viewers glued to the screen or roll’n in da muck there is little evidence of higher consciousness being displayed..Wheres da love?…Well, I guess we are Billion year old Stardust, animated with the spark of life, capable of realize’n our eternal nature an infinite potential. We could just transend the appearance of duality. Leave illusion and suffering behind and return to the ocean of Oneness!…..Naaah! Where’s the Fun in that?

  • On the Other Hand

    Interesting that the premier preacher of ‘essential goodness’ is the first to rely on ‘he’s just being human’ as grounds for receiving a ‘pass’ on bad behavior. He’s really a good boy who means well.

  • Spin Doctor

    “Fortunately, Anusara yoga became increasingly popular, and so I began hiring people to help me serve the growing numbers of students and teachers around the world. With my business school background I have always run the company in ways that are sustainable, and are in alignment with my yoga philosophy and ethics. The business is designed to fundamentally support the yoga school and community, not the other way around. Furthermore, I believe my integration of yogic principles into my business practices is one of the key contributing factors in the tremendous success of Anusara. I live by my yoga principles in everything I do—my personal relationships, my leisure time, and my work. It is not like I practice yoga philosophy only on my sticky mat.

    Yoga is my life.”

    This was from JF’s reply to the yoga mogul article
    http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/07/ele-exclusive-yoga-mogul-john-friends-response-to-sunday-ny-times-magazine-feature-article/#idc-cover

  • Oli

    If he was/has been promiscuous, it’s going to hit him a big time. People still care for basic moral values. It’s truly between him and God/Universe. One of my yoga teachers in Europe has said something I never forget, “Two biggest enemies of any yoga teacher are PRIDE and SEX.” If John cleans himself, he can bring a new light on yoga with much deeper sense. Perhaps there is something more behind Anusara….

  • Anusour

    Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that one does not actually have. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie.

    Source (“Wiccapedia”)

  • sad for the anusara community

    Sorry, But John Friend is a scumbag! He violated his employess, friends and community. As a leader in the yoga community he should be kept to a higher standard, sleeping with married women and employees is truly disgusting and wrong. So much for Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, and Brahmacharya. We should all offer love and support to the Anusara community and hope that they can overcome this, but John is not someone to look up to!

  • John

    He’s got a workshop this weekend in Miami:

    Event Details
    Miami, Florida
    3-day Intensive: Dharma of Relationship
    Feb 12-14, 2012

    In this 3-day Intensive, we’ll study the Dharma of Relationship through the lens of Shiva-Shakti Tantric philosophy – examining all types of relationships: friends, enemies, teachers, students, lovers, and acquaintances.

    All of life is experienced in relationship. By understanding these different levels of interaction, we can more skillfully align with the highest intention to see Spirit in each other, in all of life.

    No audio recording, video recording, or photography will be allowed during this event.

    Pre-requisites:
    Strong working knowledge of the Universal Principles of Alignment
    Immersion experience recommended

    Oh the irony. The Universe has a sense of humor.

  • Not Surprised, Just Confused

    The recent “exposure” of John Friend as a human being has me confused, not appalled or surprised. I did not see the photos and don’t know a whole lot about Anusara, but has JF ever claimed to be asexual? Does he condemn sexual relationships between consenting adults, or are we just laying our warped western views of sex on him? Doesn’t Tantric philosophy and practice revel in the grand experiences of being a physical living being, including sexual experience? I have always understood it to include sexual encounters/escapades as something sacred, beautiful, and the ultimate sharing of a love of life. Not the vulgar, dirty, shameful tsk tsk abomination we have carried over from our Protestant/Puritanical ancestors. I don’t hear any women stepping forward to say that they were sexually harassed or taken advantage of by this man. I would be willing to guess that they had a pretty good time. I also don’t hear anyone disappointed with his actions saying exactly why they are disappointed. I’m not casting stones, I honestly want to know what was so wrong with a man having sex?
    I have been to one Anusara teacher intensive and there were many wonderful things I learned and took home with me, and some things that did not resonate with me that I left there. While I was incredibly impressed with his wealth of knowledge and his fundamental understanding of many things, I didn’t care for the way his “talks” sometimes sounded like Anusara infomercials. At times I thought, “I’m already here, you don’t have to sell me.”
    I have found his commercialization of yoga more disturbing than his sexual prowess. To suggest that you might just obtain enlightenment (revelation, shri, or whatever else) if you buy this $100 yoga mat, is sad and, to me, very transparent. While I was blown away by him and for the most part enthralled, it never occurred to me to be unfaithful to my husband and family. Those marriages were already damaged to allow that to take place. Why is no one talking about the choices of the women involved? Why is all responsibility and blame placed on him? Is he more responsible to those women’s husbands than the women themselves?
    Yoga is taking some pretty hard hits these days. I’m most concerned that this will turn away anyone who is looking on with curiosity at a movement that is gaining tremendous momentum in the west and worldwide. Yoga is first and foremost a personal and private journey. Please don’t make this man responsible for your own suffering…or relief from it.

  • Pavanatanaya

    Is he more responsible to those women’s husbands than the women themselves?. YES. Teacher/Student…Employer/Employee…unbalanced and damaging engagements at best. So to answer your question, YES. JF ought to step down if Anusara is to thrive.

  • pillagingpirateofthesubliminalseas

    Chihuahuas have no fear of Satan:
    http://www.gonzalescannon.com/node/3392
    ;) ;) ;) ;) ;)

  • Satyam

    Once again a reminder that yoga begins and ends with one’s personal conduct and dedication to a high ideal. That is the true measure of a practitioner: not fame, wealth, fortune, or popularity.

    Here is a favorite quote:

    “Dharma is the assemblage of all your conduct” – the way you eat, the way you speak, the way you perform sádhaná. If your conduct is good, dharma is with you; if your conduct is not good, dharma is not with you.”

    Namaskar,
    Satyam

  • Satyam

    One more thing:
    A big “well done” to YogaDork for bringing the truth to the fore – your courage and persistence are well appreciated – and needed…

  • Yvette Davis

    Uh, so what if he had sex? I don’t get it.

  • mayibefrank
  • J

    Will he be having sex with any of those students?

  • Ramakrishnan

    As a student of world religions, it is my opinion that Mr. Friend is being treated unfairly. His practice of yoga appears to have been to the highest standards, at least according to the religion from which it came and its master practitioners. I think the misunderstanding has arisen from the fact that many of the American students of yoga come from a Western religious background, and have been given a watered-down version of the art. Perhaps those who have helped to propagate it here know that the true heart of yoga, if exposed, would be unpalatable to those in the West who still hang onto the religious beliefs and morals of their ancestors. Morals, at least in modern terms, appear to be determined based upon religion, and as such, they are different from culture to culture and from religion to religion. For instance, it was perfectly moral to sacrifice maidens in the overwhelming majority of world religions, but such would be considered sinful murder in Christianity. And whereas being judgmental is acceptable in Christianity, it is not acceptable in various modern interpretations of Eastern religions.
    Anyone who has studied Satanism knows that being proficient in yoga is
    required in order to get in touch with Sathan. So why would anyone be
    surprised that the master practitioner, Mr. Friend, is a warlock? And anyone who knows the true roots of yoga should not be surprised that Mr. Friend is…intimate.. with his customers. It is only the naive or unlearned who would be surprised at this.
    If you have picked up yoga at a Christian church or some other Western
    religious centre, perhaps it is that organization that you should blame
    rather than Mr. Friend. For they are the ones who misled you and kept the facts away from you.
    The only complaint that the truly unbiased could have with Mr. Friend is that he has not been more open with these facts, and instead seems to want to pacify the public based upon Western standards.
    Also, you should know, that perhaps due to capitalistic reasons, many will say that your interpretation of the art is up to you. But in reality, your practice of it, regardless of how poor, still serves somewhat. You may not achieve the heights that Mr. Friend has reached, but you are still on your way.

  • Mary-Anne

    Each person is accountable for their own actions. It has nothing to do with yoga. If this style of yoga has helped people to find inner strength and beauty, then it has served its purpose. Friend is a spiritual being having a human experience – he has made mistakes and he will face the consequences of his actions whether he is condemned by other humans or not. I choose not to judge him. That is not my business. My business is how I choose to live my life and how I approach my yoga practice. One man’s actions do not “stain” anyone else or a practice, unless you let it. Those who participated in this are responsible for their part in it. They are not victims. It is all in your perception and how you choose to accept what is, and live in grace without judgment. I do not defend nor condemn Friend. It is what it is – now it is time to come together to heal as the One and not perpetuate the negative.

  • third eye

    Freezing pensions for a year and then saying woops you caught me so that was a mistake is called theft. The unknowing people involved who trusted their CEO are called victims. They are not responsible for the theft by trusting their boss. The enabling of JF in the name of dharma is sickening.

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