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Update – Letter from Interim Committee to Anusara Teachers on Mediating Process

in YD News

This is a follow up letter posted by the Interim Committee via a closed group on facebook for Certified and Inspired Anusara Yoga teachers offering an update on their mediating process.

Read their first address to Anusara teachers, along with John Friend’s second letter here. The committee’s members have since shifted with Noah Maze’s resignation. This letter reflects the disapproval of many in the larger community and the move of multiple teachers to distance themselves from the still John Friend-helmed Anusara Yoga.

Letter to the community, Feb 11, 2012

Today, February 11th, the members of the interim committee held a 3-hour mediated conversation with John Friend. Our only topic of discussion was the advisability of continuing with his upcoming scheduled events in Miami.

Many differing views were expressed among the participants. We conveyed to John the sentiments that we had heard from the larger community. We discussed many possible solutions to the situation. We noted the many logistical considerations of changing or even canceling such a large event at this late notice.

Ultimately, we voted unanimously to recommend that John not teach the Dharma of Relationship intensive, and that he invite a scholar to teach a philosophy workshop with a different topic, to be determined.

The committee was split around the decision of whether John should teach the asana sections of the first workshop, the Advanced Intensive, and the weekend workshop. John made the decision to teach the asana in these events. However, John said he would organize co-teaching with some of the certified teachers already present in the group, to be determined.

We know this will not be a popular decision for everyone, but we ask for your support and trust as we walk cautiously into the future. We also want to remind the community that we are strictly acting in an advisory capacity without having been granted any authority, either by you the community, or by the principle owner of Anusara, Inc., John Friend.

Please note that the members of the Interim Committee have changed.

Sincerely, (names alphabetical by first name)

Andrew Rivin
Betsey Downing
Deb Neubauer
Denise Benitez
Desiree Rumbaugh
Ellen Saltonstall
Jimmy Bernaert
Martin Kirk
Suzie Hurley
Todd Norian



24 comments… add one
  • Patrick Sterling

    What happened to dshama, patience? Is the exodus going to make things better or worse for the Anusara community? The yoga community? Even if the process doesn

  • Patrick Sterling

    … Even if the process doesn’t seem to be going the way you would like right now, why not wait for the new structure to be put in place and things to settle down before making a decision?

  • what to change ?

    “We also want to remind the community that we are strictly acting in an advisory capacity without having been granted any authority, either by you the community, or by the principle owner of Anusara, Inc., John Friend.”
    Feel sorry for the “Interim Committee “, they carry so much expection, high hope and responsibility from the community, but don’t have any authoriy to do anything !
    The BOSS still make all the decisions, call all the shots !

  • that's cuz

    JF has lawyers who are threatening them the whole way. Interesting that the committee is not the same as the original. They are so afraid that they resign or couch everything in disclaimers like the letter above. This is “anusara”! See ya…..!

  • Linda-Sama

    frankly, if people knew what was going on and DID NOTHING, these teachers are just as culpable as JF, IMO. this is exactly how abuse is perpetrated in families for years and years. Anusara sounds like one huge dysfunctional family, but I’m sure people will continue drinking the kula-aid.

  • Why is JF still teaching anything right now? More and more admissions keep coming out of the woodwork, and I’ll bet we haven’t heard the last of them.

    So much abuse in one organisation! JF needs to remove himself from teachings and get his head and his heart on straight. If he truly intends to be honest and show reform and growth, give it a bit more time than a few days!

    Also, I agree with Linda. I even heard it in Australia on the weekend. “Oh but the teachings are still okay”. Ummm, perhaps.

    But if you sign up to Anusara trainings, remember that a percentage of money you pay is going back to JF himself. Personally, I wouldn’t want to think that my $$ were supporting his god-realm delusions!

  • Billy

    A report from Miami by Bj Galvan
    Fierce Grace, the way we have to extract the Gracefilled blessings from pain and misalignment. After an excruciatingly emotional week, the first day of Miami was no different. I witnessed John Friend, my teacher, humbling owning up to allegations and take responsibility for his actions, he felt totally authentic and transparent. He didn’t ask for forgiveness, he apologized. He shared his pain and humility, not in the seat of the teacher, but as a peer and student. Student of his own life, choices, mistakes and the consequences he has brought on himself. He said he must cancel some events, take some time to enter into some programs, a pause and self reflect. He is not mad or hold any grudge against the person who originally put out the allegations, or any one. He led the chant and then one by one, Jaye Martin, Peter Goodman, Christy Nones led asana with John giving a little in between, and I ended the class.

    The vibe of the workshop is good, there was zero chaos and everyone open for the possibility of healing and forgiving, unlike what I’ve seen on Facebook. (Mind you, he did not ask for forgiveness, nor did he behave in a wimpy, victimy, feel sorry for me kind of way. He owned up unlike I have ever seen anyone own their shit, the naked emperor, and he knows it.) One friend asked the question if there any more things that could come out? NO.

    Bill Mahoney, the great teacher and author of the Bhakti Sutras, came and taught the afternoon session on the Dharma of Relationship from a yogic perspective. It was lovely and John taught about 30 minutes of strictly alignment focused asana (we were getting antsy) and then Bill finished, John came up at the end for the closing.

    Afterwards, there was much talk by the people….they want John to teach. They came for John we all came for Anusara yoga presented by John Friend. NOW more than ever, I want to hear him teach on the Dharma of Relationship.

    The day was poignant and ‘not fun’, unlike any other Anusara or JF event, and I am so saddened by the resignations of so many of my beloved friends and peers. More than the initial events and allegations, I am also so troubled and have a heavy heart of grief surrounding the reactions and behavior of some of my peers in the Anusara community, friends, strangers, the larger yoga community, and even some of my teachers.
    Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I hope John teaches so I don’t have to. Not that it isn’t a 100% honor and privilege to teach for our community, today it just feels contrived. I hope Bill teaches and brings his steady infinite Bhakti Heart of knowledge and wisdom to the training.
    One thing I know for sure, as we always tie it back to the highest, I looked back at my weeks posts, I can from my Truth, the experience of Consciousness moving through me claim:

    I am STILL Choosing LOVE and Standing unwaveringly steady on the Darshan of Shri, the 1st and foundational teaching of Anusara. All the Hearts holding this same vision are coming together in wisdom, vision and great Grace. We see the Dark as Light, another threshold opportunity to awaken to our Divine Nature, all the ways She expresses, even those we don’t ‘like’. Anusara will not only survive this crucial crossroad…we will use this heat to polish away the dust on the Heart’s Jewel to shine Love and Truth bigger, better and brighter.

    I love Anusara, I love our Kula and I love John Friend. I feel blessed, honored and grateful to journey in company with such great Hearts.

    This too is Grace. I am not going anywhere. LOVE.

    Om Namah Shivaya.

    • Really.

      So you’re troubled and in grief, not because of the behavior that he was forced to admit to, but by the reaction of your peers to that behavior. The behavior was wrong, and yet it is the reaction, which includes sadness, horror and disgust, to that wrong that bothers you.

      Really, really, really strange.

    • billy, billy, billy...

      Those are what is known as crocodile tears…

  • Linda-Sama

    oh please. he only “apologized” because he got called out. like he didn’t know BEFORE he was exposed what he was doing was questionable. if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.

    as one of my blog readers said: “Especially sad because of all the lessons not learned even within the same broader “lineage.” Swami Muktananda was up to the same sort of shenanigans in the 70’s and Anusara is at the end of the day Siddha Yoga Lite (and John Friend is to Muktananda what Mantovani is to Mozart).”

    Friend had a good role model.

    • Linda-Sama

      “I want to hear him teach on the Dharma of Relationship. ”

      that’s like George Bush teaching on world politics…..clueless!!

      • Pavanatanaya

        ” I am humble and so , so sorry…that I got caught” ~ John Friend

  • There's More

    As a former Anusara employee that worked VERY close to John… I assure you there’s more. I know about other women. I am waiting to see just how clean he will actually come. He was with Desi Springer who stayed at his home in the Woodlands recently. He will only admit to what he’s been caught doing. Authentic my ass. Did he admit to using company funds to fly his coven around yet?

    • There's more after the "more"

      I don’t believe he has admitted that yet. I don’t know anything about him flying the coven around, but I have first hand knowledge of other things–things that haven’t been “exposed” yet. I also worked for John a few years ago and have personally witnessed illegal, immoral, and unconscionable behavior from him. He took pictures of me that I wasn’t comfortable with, but I was afraid to say “no” for fear of being fired. No one says “no” to John. In the office, I once heard him scream at an ex-girlfriend (a certified Anusara teacher) that she had better treat him “as an honored person” and that she should be “grateful” for the time he “gave” to her.

      I don’t really care that he smokes pot, especially if he does it in his own home, but I have personally witnessed him drive drunk–EXTREMELY drunk–on multiple occasions. Once, he loaded up in a car with three certified teachers and he was so intoxicated that he drove over curbs, could not stay in his lane, and couldn’t even figure out how to park his car once he got to his destination. He’d been drinking heavily and smoking pot. I’m all for forgiveness, love and light, but he could have killed someone, either in the car or an innocent bystander.

      • Ben

        A lot of people were trashing yogadork for posting it, while other websites chose to not follow up or report on it.

        I for one think that without yogadork posting jfexposed.com, JF would have continued his sensual energy healing ways. The level of arrogance and disrespect for women in those letters are out of this world.

        And the drinking is something that only a few people know about. I know there was at least one attempt from his close circle of friend to stage an intervention.

        He is not remorseful for what he did, he is remorseful for getting caught.

    • Where's The Boycott?

      There’s More, John made a tearful confession in Miami and was asked directly if there was more and he answered an unequivocal “No”. I think the time of waiting to see how clean he will come has passed – can you shed any more light without hurting innocents in order to showcase his ongoing duplicity?

  • Max

    Blah, Blah, Blah. All the dirty laundry is coming out. So now that it’s out the apologies and claims to self healing and learning are being professed. All to protect the bank account and future earnings. Meanwhile the one’s that were washing the laundry have to run to protect their credibility and reputation. And their future earnings. What a sham. So sad for the yoga community. It’s crap like this that give the non-yoga believers ammunition to try and bring down the practice of yoga. How embarrassing!

  • FREE

    It is amzaing the damage we are allowing one human being (JF) to cause to the yoga community as a whole. Seems to me that we all haven’t done enough work on cleaning up our egos. We all need to go and sit at our true Guru’s seat and do some hard core Seva, meditation contemplation… Cleaning toilets for several years may do the trick for JF!

  • Ben

    More senior Anusara teachers resigned. This time Sue Elkind and Naime Jezzeny


  • simply yoga
  • SJ

    Okay, please, enough now. Every single memo or email coming from someone inside Anusara’s fundament cannot possibly be considered news or interesting. Anusara is not ALL of yoga. Sorry for their problems, really, but can YD start remembering that your readers are not all part of this dysfunctional kula and report on something else yoga-related?

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