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Update: More Anusara Teacher Reactions; Noah Maze, Bernadette Birney and Others Continue Wave of Resignations

in YD News

Amidst the allegations, the apologies, the assumptions and awkwardness of business as usual, Anusara teachers are finding their voice and many are speaking out to express their disappointment, sadness and, for some of these teachers, their resignation. Noah Maze, Bernadette Birney, and others follow the early departures of Christina Sell, Elena Brower, Darren Rhodes, Amy Ippoliti who resigned a few months ago before the sexual misconduct or accusations of corruption came to light. (It should be noted the latter three teachers have not explicitly indicated events mentioned in recent accusations as reasons for leaving).

We are grateful for the honesty and courage of these teachers and support their freedom to make these tough choices for themselves.

Full letters below.

Noah Maze, Certified Anusara Yoga teacher for 10 years (also part of the original Interim Committee formed last week), resigns via his website:

Dear Beloved Anusara Kula,

The time has come for me to transition away from my professional ties to John Friend. In this past week of sitting on the Interim Committee and devoting countless hours to a grueling process of attempting to envision Anusara Yoga’s future, I was hit hard by the realization that I simply have no desire for a role in this challenging but hopefully fruitful evolution. I am about to broaden my horizon, and I’m deeply excited to share this news.

I am and will always remain ever grateful for all of the teachings I have received from John Friend, and I wish him only love, and the very best of luck with his personal recovery and professional development. Anusara was founded on solid principles of alignment, and my deepest wish is that these principles will guide the organization and its community members for many years to come. I will dearly miss being in the great company of my beloved Anusara kula. Fortunately though, I will be just around the corner, endeavoring to live the teachings, do my practices, teach and live life with joy, integrity and accountability. I remain a certified Anusara Yoga teacher, despite the fact that I will be surrendering my license. Further, in an effort to serve all of my students who are counting on studying Anusara Yoga with me this year, and those who are enrolled in my programs throughout the world, I will fulfill my obligations to you and offer all scheduled Anusara programming through the end of 2012. These programs and teacher training hours will count for anyone accruing credit to become a licensed Anusara Inspired or Certified teacher; and I will encourage any of my students who endeavor to walk that path.

I am much less interested in drawing the distinctions of yoga methods, and far more interested in the value of what every method and every teacher offers. I am interested in, and more in love than ever, with YOGA!

I will always aspire to keep great company, and am very excited to focus more on collaborating and teaching with my dear friends Christina Sell, Darren Rhodes, Elena Brower and Amy Ippoliti. I will keep you posted about these exciting offerings as we solidify our plans. The upcoming teacher development and Group Mentorship program, Good to Great, will also be a School of Yoga program, which I will offer with Christina Sell, and program hours will also work towards the Yoga Alliance 500 hour registry. Tracy and I have been working for many days and many hours on trying to help the current situation in Anusara. We leave you in the very best hands with the members of the Interim Committee.

I am proud of having been an Anusara teacher for the past decade plus. I am proud of what we have all created. I am so proud of you. I see incredible potential for what all of us can create. I will see you on the mat and in your house online! Live your highest truth, and keep it real.

Respect and with all my heart,


Bernadette Birney, Certified Anusara Yoga teacher for 7 years, resigns via her website:

Beloved Friends and Colleagues,

Just Thursday I wrote an open letter in which I urged you not to give up, and not to quit. Today, it is with a heavy heart that I sever my professional ties to John Friend. As for my efforts in achieving the right to the title Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher–they have been honestly earned. I own them. They belong to me.

In the aftermath of the discovery of John Friend’s professional and sexual misconduct, I maintained–right alongside my sense of heartbreak and anger–hope. It was my hope that the Anusara community could rise like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes. It was my hope that we would move from opacity toward transparency. It was my hope that we would move in the direction of a new, healthy, power structure.

It was my hope that we would hold John accountable for abusing our trust when he decided to “heal” his students with “sex therapy”. The lack of a transparent investigation on this topic is troublesome to the extreme. I have conducted my own investigation, and have good reason to believe it is true. I have a high regard for the people who confirmed this for me.They are not yet ready to publicly come forward.

I have gratitude for what I learned from John Friend. I am also clear that the responsibility for my own integrity rests upon my own shoulders.

This signifies the end of my hopes for reform. I have lost confidence in our ability to set and maintain healthy boundaries within the organization. Without our ability to set boundaries, there can be only the façade of change, and no actual change. Following such a course, Anusara yoga will slide back into what I now recognize as deeply engrained, unhealthy habits. This saddens me greatly.

I will continue to teach the Universal Principles with passion. I fully expect that since this is John’s mess, and we are all experiencing the fallout of his poor choices, that Anusara will do the right thing by honoring all of my students’ programming hours.

I will continue to be a presence in the community that I have devoted myself to for over a decade. My ferocious love for you is–and shall remain–a constant.

With love,

Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin, Anusara-Inspired teacher since 2006, via facebook.

Sarah Faircloth, Certified Anusara Yoga teacher since 2003, via her website:

Dear Friends,

After a grueling week of efforts to hold our Anusara school together, I have come to a decision. I can no longer support a teacher whose actions have caused irreparable damage to our beloved community. It is out of the love I have for our community that I have worked tirelessly to keep it together. It is for that very same love that I leave today.

I honor and support those who stay with Anusara Yoga. I wish John Friend the very best.

I will hold what is real and true and good from all these years of teachings. I promise not only to treasure all that I have received, but to share it, to live with it, to stand by it, and to develop it into the furthest reaches of my life. I look forward to collaborating with my students, peers, and teachers to create beauty of the highest integrity.

My heavy heart feels an emerging freedom. May hope always sustain our hearts, minds and souls.

With Love, Sarah

Susanna Harwood Rubin, who has not officially resigned, shares her thoughts via facebook:

I was certified a few years ago, but dragged my feet on it for years. I finished my TT in 2002. John kept saying, come on, Susanna, move forward. I loved Anusara, but was turned off by the rabid competition & stress of the people around me scrambling over each other to get there quickly & before one another. Yes, that’s very New York, but I also felt that there was something distasteful about it and strangely indicative of Anusara’s tone.

I chose, instead of focusing on my certification, to dive into studies with Douglas Brooks in a very deep way, and that was absolutely the right decision for me personally. Eventually I quietly got certified (thank you Sue Elkind & Betsy Downing), but while I still believe that Anusara is by far the most intelligent yoga out there, my path is with the Shakta traditions of Rajanaka Tantra.

I found the Shiva-Shakti Tantra Primer extremely problematic and disturbing, since it is not a real lineage. If it is not a real lineage, why does it need a name? Anusara was doing just fine under the general umbrella of Tantra. John chose to part ways with Douglas, who he cites as his “mentor in eastern philosophy” in my 1999 TT Manual(see the intro). He told Douglas at the time that he wanted to be less specific than Rajanaka Tantra, which was presented at that time as Anusara’s philosophy. He explained that he wanted to be more inclusive, and make sure that everyone felt welcomed, regardless of their philosophical points of view. This is fairly common knowledge for those of us who have studied with Douglas for the past 10 years. It makes a lot of sense, actually.

So when the Shiva-Shakti Primer was presented, I had that creeping “oh no” feeling. I’ve never been a fan of anyone telling me what to think and what world view to espouse. On top of this, the tithing issue is hugely problematic for me, as someone out there writing, who has published a book before & plans to again, yet can not yet make my living off of my yoga teaching alone. I spend all of these years investing my time, money, life in Anusara, yet have to give up a good chunk of income when I get to a point of greater stability? What those of us out there who are writing & creating (videos, apps, etc) bring to Anusara in the form of attention, promotion, & reputation-building IS the 10%.

This may seem as if I’ve wandered off topic, but it is for this reason: any organization in which people are scrambling over each other nervously to get the proper credentials and then not being able to support themselves once they get them, while being told what spiritual world view they must adhere to is a huge problem. John needs to take a break – a professional Savasana to regroup, heal, and rethink the organization behind this beautiful yoga that he has offered to us. We will lose more excellent teachers if he does not do this. Anusara is bigger than him and the cuts & tears in the fabric of this organization require that a new structure be made entirely – one of many levels of checks and balances.

I love and admire John. I am profoundly grateful for all that he has given me. I hope that he hears our voices and takes the very good advice that I know he has been receiving from many of the people he has been conferencing with. All we need to look at is Nataraja to get what needs to be done. Creation – Maintenance-Dissolution-Concealment & Revelation. No one can skip the Dissolution stage. That’s where we are.



58 comments… add one
  • Anusour

    True courage on display from all teachers resigning.
    Actions do speak louder than words. Bless you all.

  • I just want to clarify that I have not left Anusara. I am thinking, listening, evaluating. I posted my statement in a Facebook group that was intended for Anusara teachers and student in order to share my experience in a way that would open up dialogue between us. I am surprised to find my statement posted here, but I’m ok with it, actually. I believe in openness… So be it. I love Anusara and this will take some thought for me. As Rilke says, “Everything is gestation and then bringing forth.” Here’s another thought that I am finding particularly appropriate, as I sit here right now listening to Douglas Brooks speak at Virayoga,”How you act in the world is entirely contingent upon how you offer, receive, imbibe, assimilate, and remember.” Word.

    • YD

      Hi Susanna,
      Apologies for the surprise. It was posted, assuming it was public information on facebook. Thank you for being open and sharing your response.
      clarification noted that you have not resigned, but expressing your thoughts.

      • Katie

        Bullshit. It was posted on a private group. Either someone leaked it to you, or you are in the group.

        Either way, an egregious breach of trust.

        Not at all what our community needs right now. Show some integrity and respect.

      • WTF

        I gotta say this:
        WTF ?
        WHO CARES? Really? At this point its ridiculous. Seems like
        you’ll do just about anything to try and be “special”. Uh-huh.
        Get over yourselves. Private Facebook is inane.
        Not the brightest lights on the tree, are y’all?

        • Anonymous

          It’s a “secret group”, meaning the only people on there are those who were invited. So either a) YogaDork is an Anusara teacher b) some Anusara teacher breached privacy by inviting YogaDork or c) some Anusara teacher breached privacy by leaking the notes to YogaDork.

          Regardless, YogaDork has been very clear about her lack of integrity in how she’s handling this situation. Sadly, this comes as no surprise.

          • WTF

            You are MISSING THE POINT.
            YogaDork is an F—ing QUEEN and there is nothing wrong with her integrity. But, the integrity of your “secret group” is definetly in question as is the entire organization. OMG. Could you possibly be any more arrogant or elitist? But — this comes as no surprise to anyone outside your private club. Guess what: your ivory tower of Babel has crumbled and no one wants to belong anymore. Suck it up buttercup and take it to the clubhouse. I’ll have a gin martini please, straight up, 3 olives. Thanks.

          • no credible sources

            How sad that Yoga Dork is not only a woman but also a very angry one at that. To have such venom for the Anusara community is sad and wasted energy. What goes around comes around…

          • Through a Glass Darkly

            The postings by ‘no credible sources’ are rather typical of the sorts of attacks mounted by JF himself — most often through the people he directed to post for him. His comment ‘what goes around…’ reflects his own capacity to hold a grudge, and his taste for vengeance against his “betrayers.”

    • Carlos da Silva

      Susanna (and all teachers of every lineage),

      What you do as a teacher in the studio is something that is unique to you, everything you have learned in life, and the product of your unique learned wisdom (not limited to yoga) combined with the students own unique wisdom and needs.

      You do not need to be part of a click, scene, or institution to be able to be a effective and positive, teacher. All you need is to show up on the mat and in the studio, speak authentically with your own voice and share your wisdom and be open to learn from your students as you teach/guide/instruct.

      I am wishing you and all current and past teachers a happy future dictated by your own authentic path and guided by your own students needs.. they will tell you what they hunger for if you will listen to them.

      In spirit,
      Carlos da Silva
      Yoga Instructor | Music

  • Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin

    I posted my resignation in a confidential Facebook forum for teachers. I did not authorize Yogadork to repost this. Please take it down.

    • YD

      Certainly, sorry for any trouble.

  • Wow. I am so relieved that these teachers are taking a stand. What a wonderful example to others who have been hurt by this.

    I’m not one of them, so don’t want to say much. But, I will say that Susanna raised what I think is a very important point that hasn’t yet been discussed publicly. That is, this “Shiva-Shaki Tantra” Anusara ideology that JF has been cooking up, designed to “prove” that he represents the best, truest, more powerful hatha yoga lineage — all supposedly based on some newly translated 1,000 year old texts. This claim to be the purveyor of this made-up exclusive “lineage” is, I think, really damaging and needs to be dismantled along with the processes of disclosure and action that are evidently going on.

    I’ve seen it messing with people’s minds; instilling a sense of unconscious disempowerment and openness to being controlled by others that’s profoundly disturbing. I hope that it stops.

    • I always appreciate your thought process Carol. Thanks for bringing this up. I feel concern about the idea that what has been sold as “tantra” taints the reality and depth of what that practice is and contributes only to the crudification and misinterpretation of the tradition.

    • no credible sources

      it’s not courageous, it’s being a coward and calling out your teacher who gave you all the teachings to make your career and livelihood with no thanks and bashing when he screws up. Where’s the compassion? the loyalty? the gratitude? Thank goodness for this cleansing.. glad they are gone.

      • Through A Glass Darkly

        ‘No Credible’ — that sounds like the very thing JF would grumble as he rages in his musty castle. Chilling.

  • Atman

    If Anusara was a publicly listed company their shares wouldn’t be looking so good right now.

    People have invested in Anusara (money, time & trust) and that investment has now lost a significant amount of value because of the actions of an individual.

    If I were an analyst I might putting a sell rating on the stock.

  • sandra

    tithing? to a yoga group? anusara is looking more and more like the cult it seemed to be imitating at the very beginning, leading to my decision not to join… i wish the best to the organization as it tries to regroup and shift its focus away from john (as kripalu did when they were forced to cut ties to THEIR guru so many years ago – they are stronger for it)


      I took so many workshops with some good Anusara senior teachers. However, I could never get myself to embrace their philosophy fully. It is possible that being a scientist makes me not drink the cool aid of any school of yoga.

    • Maureen Clyne

      I thought I’d point out that what Anusara teachers pay is not a tithe. The first payment is a licensing fee so that teachers who have completed the process to be either Inspired or Certified can use the name Anusara, a legally licensed service mark. The other “tithe” is a “royalty” that John was imposing on the Anusara inspired/certified teachers for anything they self-produce that uses the anusara name. I am not defending these policies, but I did want to make the distinction. Thanks

      • no credible sources

        Fact: John has never collected a dime on any licensing because not one teacher ever gave him any. Get your facts straight people.

        • Through a Glass Darkly

          Apparently, not for lack of trying. Does it bother you that teachers refused to ‘pay up’ on the licensing (royalties for products?) but chose to leave instead?

          I thought teachers did pay a yearly fee for their Anusara license. What are we talking about here, “No Credible”?

  • Susanna (and all teachers of every lineage),

    What you do as a teacher in the studio is something that is unique to you, everything you have learned in life, and the product of your unique learned wisdom (not limited to yoga) combined with the students own unique wisdom and needs.

    You do not need to be part of a click, scene, or institution to be able to be a effective and positive, teacher. All you need is to show up on the mat and in the studio, speak authentically with your own voice and share your wisdom and be open to learn from your students as you teach/guide/instruct.

    I am wishing you and all current and past teachers a happy future dictated by your own authentic path and guided by your own students needs.. they will tell you what they hunger for if you will listen to them.

    In spirit,
    Carlos da Silva
    Yoga Instructor | Music

  • Prianka

    It makes me sad and angry that in this letter, you still need to state that “Anusara” is by far the MOST intelligent yoga out there? Really? This is how “Anusara” got in this mess in the 1st place…..by following someone else blindly. Yoga has been around way before Anusara and I’m pretty sure that Iyengar and Patthabi Jois knew their stuff without doing sex therapy. We should all support each other in the yoga community, Anusara or not. Get off your high horse.

    • WTF

      groupthink, mob mentality, cultish brainwashing has told them that Anusara is the most intelligent system of yoga. Why? Cuz JF and his copywriters came up with that slogan in the ad agency boardroom. The Harvard of Yoga Schools. BULLSHIT. Brainwashed trained monkeys spewing out gibberish.
      The only people who bought into that crap are people who had no prior yoga experience or study (unless it was fashionista faux-ga posers at the gym) … and because they are so needy of being “special” they got drunk on the cool-aid and still believe the crap . even though all current evidence points to the contrary. Yep. Thats the MOST intelligent reasoning ! NOT.
      You got Ripped Off by a sleezy shady businesman and his team of Yes-Men. who sold you a false bill of goods.
      Face it. Move on. Find a REAL yoga school and begin again.
      And .. no one really gives a shit how great your handstand is. If thats what’s important to you, join cirque du soleil. YOga is not about the asana. But you already knew that cuz Anusara is the most intelligent school of yoga. BARF BARF BARF and BARF!
      Anusara is a charlatans game comparable in its fraudulence to prosperity theology (quote).
      Sorry everyone – but my tolerance for inane stupidity is running out.

  • Cindy

    So right Priyanka! If its so intelligent, then why are teachers leaving in droves…and why is their founder/owner in hot water (and refusing to take full responsibility)?

    I think a big reason so many people from outside of Anusara pounced on this story was because of their elitist “we’re better than you” mentality which turns people off.

    Its OK to love your style or path without proclaiming your superiority over all others. Then again, Anusara is a uniquely American creation, so arrogance will naturally be a part of it.

  • TemplePriestess

    I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out;
    and then I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.
    ~ Virginia Woolf, b. 25 January 1882~


  • D_Bob

    This is going to be a process, step by step, for those who are leaving or thinking of leaving. It will be a painful peeling back of layers. What everyone needs to look at honestly is their compulsion to pronounce that they ‘love’ John Friend. It seems noble, but it is at the heart of his continued power over them, if only on a subconscious level, and will continue to cause them pain and conflict until that seed of attachment is rooted out.

    Ask yourself: does he really ‘love’ you? Do any of his actions, especially now, show that love? How healthy is it for you to continue to proclaim your ‘love’ for him?

    Just questions for you to answer for yourself, and you may find your answers changing over time. But for God’s sake, free yourselves.

    • TGC

      I am glad the creepy use of “love” in all these resignation letters was recognized by someone other me. “Kula-aid” indeed!

  • If we share yoga within the context of the dominant populist worldview, without challenging that mindset/worldview, then rather than transform it, we simply reinforce it. Look at what the images in popular yoga magazines promote for example. Sex is often used to sell the practice. Behaviors, of teachers as well as students, will remain consistent with that worldview.

  • Max

    Just a humble opinion for a student…..

    Anusara yoga was my introduction to yoga back in the late 90’s. And I still remember my first class and how great I felt afterwards. I loved it. As a long time student of yoga I have enjoyed and currently am practicing Anusara along with Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Bikram. I have never discriminated against a particular style of yoga but instead pull from my practice what I need that particular day in my life. I remain faithful to myself and not a particular path of yoga.

    As a student I’ve seen many teachers from various yoga communities too wrapped up in their founder’s teachings to really be open and knowledgeable of what their students really need. It’s all about what JF or “fill in the blank” teacher has taught them or about the next workshop they are attending from “blank” celebrity yoga teacher. I have also heard so many negative comments from teachers (Anusara one’s included) putting down other styles of yoga regardless of which lineage they are certified in. I have never understood this. I have never been concerned with being a purist of a particular yoga style or committed to only kind of yoga. How sad would that be? As a student, I am much more interested in being open to all forms of yoga because I have something to learn from each one of them. My focus is on my asanas and breath during class. I don’t want to be preached about why one style of yoga is better than another or be told that Anusara is the best yoga out there. I will let my body guide me and determine what style practice my body needs that day.

    So I question why some yoga teachers are teachers if all they are concerned about is how much prestige, money, and brand status they can gain through their yoga teachings. I understand they are trying to make a living but it’s how they present and package themselves that’s disturbing. I am not at all surprised at these accusations towards JF and not sure if all of them are 100% true. Corruption and misconduct in a organization is nothing new and it’s been going on for centuries. It appears that the Anusara organization along with it’s founder and some teachers promoted an elitist environment. I wonder whether some of the current teachers and recently departed one’s new or had heard rumors of the founder’s misconduct. Even a grain of truth to this information would have been reason enough to question the organization and JF. But maybe some were aware. It’s come to light now so they have severed ties to JF since the cat is out of the bag. Therefore, they do not want to be directly associated with JF (Anusara) anymore. This association to Anusara and JF could hinder and taint their reputation and future earnings. I wonder if this mass exodus would have even occurred had these accusations not surfaced through the internet. I can almost say with certainty had it not it would have been “business as usual”. And the elite group of teachers that new of the misconduct would have carried on within the Ansuara world and kept it preview to their select little community. A good reason and lesson to students not to buy into one style of yoga. It’s nice to have mentors and people to trust and look up to but not at the expense of dollar signs, ego, status, and integrity. Students of yoga have a choice in where and what we practice.


    I practice yoga the same way as you do although I am most drawn to Iyengar yoga. The bottom like for me is to prractice yoga safely and lead a mindful lifestyle. I practice a combination of Anusara, Iyengar, Ashtanga and vinyasa depending on the weather, my mood and time of day. I have always felt that Anusara yoga was a feel good variation of Iyengar yoga. Last fall I took a workshop with Christina Sell shortly before she resigned, and I was struck how similar it was to the classes I took with my Iyenagar teachers. When I mentioned this to the lady who hosted the workshop, she looked askance at me as if I mentioned a heresey. Most of the Anusarans refuse to have an open mind about other styles of yoga and are so brainwashed in the cool-aid. Ever since that incident, I did not go back to her studio. I am mainly embarking on self study ; I do my daily practice and read the classic texts on my own. I take workshops from good teachers when they come to town.

    • Max

      Good for you. I am so glad we are not pulled in and brainwashed by a particular style of yoga but instead open to all that is right for us. What a shame for those who are. It’s their loss.

      • HJCOTTON

        If you read between the lines, every school of yoga has their own set of crooks, jerks and tyrants. The worst mistake a yoga practitioner does is idololizing teachers/leaders and never questioning the orthodoxy. As a scientist, the first thing I was trained to do by my mentor was questioning the data when reading a scientific publication. I don’t see that critical or quetionong attitude among my yoga colleagues.

        • just a suggestion

          Check out the on-line yoga class–Yogaglo. You can practice different style yoga, at your own place, you own time with some pretty good yoga teachers. On-line yoga classes probably will be the future trend to simply practice yoga without all those hassles.

          • Innocent bystander

            I just checked out Yogaglo & irony of ironies, holy crap Batman here’s one of the videos that popped up on home page :
            Marc Holzman | Feb 11 2012 90 min
            A Shared Moment of Trust – The world is literally stitched together by our trust in others and our own trustworthiness. This is a quick-paced class which leads us into deep hip openers..”
            man , I could get snarky here, but…………………….

  • nani

    John Friend needs treatment for sex addiction and, probably, drug addiction. His organization is tainted by his sickness. Really, he’s a sick man, infatuated by his own shakti, done in by his own ego, there’s a gaping spiritual void there, as with all addictions.

    I’m not an Anusara practitioner (or an expert in anything) but took classes w/John before Anusara and in the beginning days. Watching his rise from afar I have hoped that he was authentic. Another mirror smashed! I am sad for all the teachers and students who are now grappling with this huge betrayal. I wish the best for all of you. Blessings.

    And, for John, treatment, recovery.

  • 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!

  • Innocent bystander

    I just checked out Yogaglo & irony of ironies, holy crap Batman here’s one of the videos that popped up on home page :
    Marc Holzman | Feb 11 2012 90 min
    A Shared Moment of Trust – The world is literally stitched together by our trust in others and our own trustworthiness. This is a quick-paced class which leads us into deep hip openers..”
    man , I could get snarky here, but…………………….

  • Conning the Rubes

    There is every indication that JF is a full-on sociopath. No amount of therapy, or sexual addiction treatment, or cleaning toilets will change a sociopath, for the fundamental reason that they don’t believe there’s anything that needs changing. When you find the person you’ve been involved with (on whatever level) is a sociopath, there is only one healthy option: Get out as fast and cleanly as you can. Don’t spew vitroil, because they will remember and may someday seek revenge. Just sever your ties. The rule that is often recommended is NCEA, No Contact Every Again. For those of us, who unlike sociopaths have a conscience and a sense of compassion, this can seem very hard indeed, and cruel. But if you open the door an inch, the charm offensive will begin again, and you may believe they’ve really changed. They may cry a raft of crocodile tears, and profess their shame and remorse, and their deep love for you. And it will be bullshit, as it was from the beginning (hard as that may be to accept). So get out. Don’t answer their calls. And don’t read their texts or emails. Just delete them. It will be hard, but it’s what you have to do to protect yourself.

    • Innocent bystander

      Hmm, checked your assertion out w/number of sites & you speak an awful truth about JF. BUT it must be highlighted & emphasized he did not act alone….he’s had a crew of grifters, wittingly or unwittingly it makes no difference, with him for years.
      The following was taken from & the entire article can be viewed :
      The widely used manual that is used for diagnosing various mental disorders, DSM IV, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, lists out some of the symptoms that have to be present in an individual in order to be diagnosed as suffering from antisocial personality disorder. According to the DSM IV, this disorder falls in the Cluster B list of personality disorder. For a person to be diagnosed as a sociopath he or she must have at least three or more of the below mentioned symptoms.

      Displays heightened levels of deceitfulness in dealings with others, which involves lying, conning others without remorse, or even using aliases
      Inability to abide by the social norms and thus violating law
      Displays aggressiveness and often tends to get into assaults and physical fights
      Displays complete lack of empathy for others and their situation for which they are responsible
      Displays no feelings or shallow feelings
      Displays impulsive behavior which is indicated by the inability to plan for the future
      Displays no concern for safety of others around them or self
      Inability to sustain a consistent behavior that stems mainly from irresponsibility especially at work place or in other dealings
      Displays promiscuous behavior
      Research has revealed that since a sociopath never conforms to the rules of the society, he or she is not bothered about the consequences of his or her actions. Such people at times are also able to inspire like minded people. Some of the other traits that are common in antisocial people are that they are usually intelligent and have a superficial charm and they are able to attain success using unscrupulous methods. Thus they can also never learn from their own mistakes and they do not hesitate to indulge in certain activities that are considered immoral and taboo by the society.”

    • On the Other Hand

      ‘Conning,’ you are 100% right. The reason why JF was insistent upon getting back onstage as quickly as possible was that so he could do precisely what you describe. And judging from the ‘testimony’ of a number of teachers who went to Miami and wrote about it, it worked once again. Splendidly.

      The appeal to ‘compassion’ and ‘forgiveness’ in this case is an appeal to the desire to feel that you are better, more intelligent, more ‘openhearted’ than critics who are lumped together and demonized as ‘haters.’ It is manipulation of the best instincts of those who have a conscience, by a person who has displayed little if any conscience.

      I am saddened by the fact that this works as well today as it has for the past decade.

  • ThePathWhisperer

    Sociopaths are superlative actors and their ability to perform as needed to manipulate their “victims” is always deserving of an Oscar. There is never anything genuine nor sincere except their desire to exploit the situation based on their own agenda.
    Anyone who has ever been involved with one or worked for one knows this. It can take YEARS for people who have fallen under the spell of the sociopath to wake up and smell the coffee burning and that is often because those who fall under their spell tend to be needy and narcissistic therefore, easy and fair game.
    The Anusara community and much of the “kula” has been drunk on the cool-aid of the sociopath known as JohnFriend (known “as” cuz no one really know the truth of who he “is” – only the false persona he presents to to world) for a long time. It has created a deep samskara in them, both individually and collectively. They feed off of each other in their mass delusion and addiciton to him and how he feeds thier own narcissistic ego. What kind of people are attracted to socipaths? what is it in them that craved the cool-aid to begin with? Because not everyone IS and not everyone “bought” the scam, and that is obvious from all the many postings over the last week. SO why do some people buy it and some people see through it? That is what the Kula should be examining with in themselves otherwise they are fair game to continually be manipulated and/or fall for the next scam and, scam artist.
    We have seen much evidence that there are high degrees of narcissism permeating the Anusara “industry” over the last week and here is some reading material that is illuminative regarding the interplay of social dynamic and this “cultish” organization and how their psychology works “both ways”; from HE to We and from We to HE…… http://pathwhisperer.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/search-are-narcissists-attracted-to-sociopaths/

  • mary campbell

    ” I still believe that Anusara is by far the most intelligent yoga out there” Susanna Harwood Rubin states in her letter above. This statement sums it up why many of us in the Yoga Community were never drawn to Anusara.

  • Another Bystander

    Video from the Miami Conference:
    fast forward to 2:37 for best part.

  • Janie

    I’ve been practicing yoga for over 30 years and teaching for 15 and in my experience oddly there is no shortage of narcissistic yoga teachers and students. So instead of diagnosing JF is it possible to turn the conversation a little bit toward the process of accreditation. If you want to become accreditated/certified yoga teacher especially on a national level you have to drink somebody’s coolaid for say 200-500 hours. I became Anusara certified for the certificate. Not for love of JF or kula or tantra. Cost a ton of money too. Is it possible that the accreditation process has inadvertently fueled the commercial aspects that have so silly-fied yoga and given rise to some personality driven yoga schools. Really, I’m just asking.

  • JosephLes

    pofx is this site

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