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Resigned Anusara Teachers Create Independent Yoga Coalition, Free from Anusara, Inc., John Friend

in YD News

Well that was fast. Much like everything else in this scandal so far, the move to unite the now-divided Anusara community has happened with lightning speed. Just under 4 weeks later, some 30 resigned Anusara teachers, including Bernadette Birney, Darren Rhodes, Amy Ippoliti and Christina Sell and 11 studios have joined together to form what is now the Yoga Coalition. Though they’re still in beginning stages, they seem to be on a mission and already have a website, a logo and a slogan: ‘Excellence through collaboration.’

The group is looking to work together to distance themselves from John Friend and Anusara, Inc. to develop not a new style but something of a collaboration, “building bridges to the larger yoga community,” brainstorming and “re-imagining what a serious yogic education with a true standard of excellence looks like,” according to their FAQ.

“True standards of excellence” aside (aren’t other styles considered excellent on their own?), more than anything, right now YC seems to be serving as a support network for those who’ve severed ties with Anusara, Inc. on a certification level and are left feeling confused, disenchanted and asking themselves what now?

“Yoga Coalition is a collective, grass roots initiative dedicated to excellence, integrity, and community.” (this group as it stands is only for  formerly licensed Anusara teachers “who agree to the guidelines and/or standards of membership” currently being developed.)

From their ABOUT page:

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Students,Well. 2012 sure has delivered on its promise of enormous change! In the last month, an overwhelming cascade of events has impacted the Anusara yoga community. All of us are still processing these events in our own ways, and it’s probably not a stretch to say that we are surprised to find ourselves in this place.

Yoga Coalition is a group of yoga teachers who have recently distanced themselves from John Friend and Anusara, Inc. Regardless of our transitions from Anusara, Inc., we are as committed as ever to excellence in the art of teaching yoga, and to our local and global communities. As the dust settles from these recent experiences, we find ourselves asking:

What now?

We find the deep camaraderie we developed as co-creators of Anusara yoga is stronger than ever, and we know these bonds help us both to serve others and to evolve ourselves. Change has invigorated our creativity and our self-awareness, so we don’t wish to replicate the old structure, or to create without careful consideration. Instead, we want to initiate a movement toward a new paradigm of collectivity that we can grow organically over time, one based on our education and shared wisdom.

Moving forward, we know we won’t have a perfectly unified vision. This is a good thing–it allows room for more than one voice, and gives us the freedom to grow, independently and together.

We hope to collaborate and build on existing relationships, in a decentralized way that fosters creativity and allows grassroots initiative. Some of us may collaborate on projects and programs to empower our students. Some may focus on building bridges to the larger yoga community. Some of us may work to re-imagine what a serious yogic education, with a true standard of excellence, looks like.

Perhaps you feel the same?

If so, you are welcome to learn more, join our mailing list, then find us on Facebook to continue the conversation. There is no obligation, other than a sincere desire to move forward, to participate in honest conversation, and to practice with integrity.
Love,Bernadette Birney
Laura Christensen
Betsey Downing
Sue Elkind
Justin Faircloth
Sarah Faircloth
Nealy Fischer
Kelley Gardner
Beryl Herrin
Kendra Hodgson
Marc Holzman
Amy Ippoliti
Naime Jezzeny
Jordan Louise Kirk
Martin Kirk
Chris Magenta
Emma Magenta
Noah Maze
Cat McCarthy
Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin
Joe Miller
Natalie Miller
Stacey Millner-Collins
Katie Myer
Sara Rose Page
Darren Rhodes
Susanna Harwood Rubin
Christina Sell
Tracy Silver
Lara Demberg Voloto

Participating Studios
Be Yoga, Charlotte NC
The Bindu, Cornelius NC
City Yoga, Columbia SC
Dig Yoga, Lambertville NJ & Philadelphia PA
NOLA YOGA, New Orleans LA
South Mountain Yoga, South Orange NJ
Vikasa Yoga, Cold Spring NY
Willow Street Yoga, Takoma Park & Silver Spring MD
Yoga Evolution, Jenkintown PA
Yoga Oasis, Tucson AZ
Yoga Sanctuary, Northhampton MA

So what now?



205 comments… add one
  • more boolshit

    I thought they just got an education…

  • Lor

    Other styles may be excellent, but not all teachers are. I’ve always known that if I take class with an Anusara teacher that they are highly qualified. Yoga Alliance doesn’t really enforce their standards, which aren’t very high, and there are a lot of “certified” yoga teachers out there who shouln’t be teaching. Those who no longer wish to deal with Anusara are entitled to a new designatio. I haven’t met all of these teachers, but those who I have are dedicated and sincere. and I trust their intentions and agenda.

    • Cleopatra ain't alone in de Nile

      There are as many shitty pathetic teachers in the Anusara clique as there are in any other clique. I have taken many an “Anusara Inspired” class and experienced flat & boring, mechanical delivery because the learned by rote, “script” has been repeated too many times by the teacher and any sense of authenticity “in the moment” is long gone and spontaneous enthusiastic creative presence is not to be found as the trained monkey goes thorough class mechanically like an automaton to the point of boredom. YAWN. The top teachers, on the list above (those who had an established practice and training before they met Anusara) might be good or even gifted teachers, but they are the exception and not the “norm” ….
      There are many wannabes who are as stale as last weeks lunch and each and every class is the repeat of the one before it that they don’t even qualify as mediocre. YAWN again. Please. This co-alition sounds like it was in the works before the scandal ever took place and those at the top of the pyramid are just trying to re-establish another pyramid/MLM cuz the coffers in the old one – getting slim maybe? Another elitist “private club” that sets them apart from the rest of the global “kula” and makes them “special” so they can cash in and try to replenish the glory that “was’. So sorry guys – that ship has sailed. An dhow are you all going to manage your immense egos and keep you co-alition viable? This shall be interesting to watch.

      • Dudyoga

        Couldn’t agree more….there are plenty of bad Anusara teachers. As there are bad teachers coming out of every school and tradition. Teacher trainings don’t make you good yoga teacher and requiting your teachers to have a heart them and use language like “lovingly move your sit bones back” just sounds ridiculous for most.

        This Yoga Coalition is just shameless self promotion. Alot of big bruised egos coming out of the yoga scandal–not just John Friends.

        • Anusour

          You are correct that many yoga teachers are below par, but at least Anusara had some standards that required training beyond the minimum 200 hours. Maybe the language of specific teachers did not appeal to you; that is subjective. However, the requirements to be “certified” are/were objectively rigorous.

          There is much self promotion in the yoga world. I see no fault with that, and to label it “shameless” likely is rooted in jealousy. Please elucidate what truly informs your perspective.

          • HJCOTTON

            Iyengar teachers are way more rigorous. Anusara is Iyengar lite. In Iyengar they have at least five levels of certification, There are only two Iyengar senior teachers in the whole US. I think many Anusaris are fed with the Kool aid that Anusara is the best, and I am fed up with the tunnel vision One can find superb teachers in Ashtanga, vinyasa etc..Most of the senior Anusara teachers started either in Ashtanga or Iyengar. JF did not invent the wheel; he appropriated things from different schools of thought and molded them to suit his needs.

          • Kalilicious

            did someone on here say anusara was
            las vegas style iyengar?
            sounds like an accurate appraisal

      • lala


    • suz

      Excellent point! My practice has blossomed due to the high standards my anusara teachers must meet in their training. When I attend an anusara class I know that the teacher has had a great deal of training in anatomy and that I will get guidance so that I can reach my potential and not become injured. I have not always found that to be true in other classes I have taken. Granted there are teachers of all levels of experience out there but I appreciate the education my anusara have acquired.

  • Anusour

    Yogadork, you have a pretty jaundiced take on this matter.
    I construe the phrase “True standards of excellence” to imply a demarcation between the new coalition and the morass they just left; rather than a reference to any other school or style of yoga.
    Give them a chance to prove their intentions.

    • YD

      It’s strangeinteresting that some people saw this posting as a negative spin.

      • YD, I didn’t find the original posting to be negative. It brought up questions that need to be asked and was good reporting – presenting the Yoga Coalition and presenting some questions to the readers. What I was responding to were the subsequent comments/posts that assumed interpretation of intent that this was about maintaining pricey workshops, cliquish behavior etc. as opposed to an association of dedicated instructors looking to further and enrich the practice of others and their own practice through collaboration. Before assuming the worst, I think it is better to allow the future of this to unfold a little bit. For those who doubt, maybe it would be nice to take the stated intent of people as honorable until proven otherwise.

  • I would be interested in participating with them. I’ll join the FB page.

    I would love to see what sorts of “standards” kick up.

    I’m curious to know more and give it time to see what comes up.

  • Occupy Yoga.

  • honomann

    Too soon bro…too soon

    • jeremy

      Far too soon , I imagine the reasons for this new group are not even clear to the group itself , but some of these teachers have schedules and big money schedules , they have got to distance from friend and rebrand the business , for it seems to me it is business and egoic reputation that is driving this , they are training teachers they have schedules and in some cases studios to run. What would they tell the poor innocents who pay large dollar to take the trainings , because word is leaking out ,they cant stop it ,questions will be asked and this is perfect for them, nice shiny words and intentions , of course there is a back story as well this too will be told one day , I expect some of these folk know the truth.
      It seems odd that they feel the need to be in a group , isnt this perhaps part of what caused the problems ? They also seem to be deluded in there own abilities and to what anusara yoga actually was , for its little blip of existence which suggests denial and delusion are still to be worked on . Can anyone tell me what has anusara brought to the table of all the yoga paths ? what are these amazing teachings that need to be preserved and reiterated ? because im really not getting it , was not yoga there before 1997 and will it not be still with us post 2012? What is so special about anusara ?
      What might it be that these folk may share with me ? it seems the tone as usual is subtely condescending to those not in this group , it is trying to sound less like the loony anusara speak but it must be difficult to drop the melty talk when you have sipped from the cup of mr friend , By the way where does this strange way of talking originate from , do they talk like this in siddha yoga ? the cult that must have formed Johns ideas and really make anusara yoga issues seem very small fry , they are much better at scandal , bigger , nastier .
      The maha yoga sangha in all its multitudes awaits with less than bated breath for the sharings we are about to recieve.
      I wish the group metta but feel they might be better off helping each other deprogramme and find their individual voices , then share yoga if they are still called to do so. Perhaps some are ready now but it seems mighty quick, but there again the kula , or is it now coalition , kept saying that they are some of the leading lights of the yoga community and john kept saying that too so there must be value in that , ahem !
      While structures can be useful im not sure that its time to start building one just at the moment, especially with the lack of clarity this group must be feeling and indeed the missive suggests , I would think that an inner enquiry may be more appropriate .But what do I know?

      • Kalilicious

        chuck miller
        maty ezraty
        nikki doane
        eddi modestini
        danny paradise
        BKS Iyengar
        joan white
        richard freeman
        ana forrest
        shiva rae
        rama berch/swami nirmalananda saraswati
        judith hansen lasater
        elise browning miller
        patricia walden
        david life
        sharon gannon
        rodney yee
        AG & Indra Mohan
        Kaustaub Desikachar
        Menaka Desikachar
        Lilas Foran
        Baron Baptiste
        doug and david swenson
        nancy gilgoff
        Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.
        There is not an Anusara teacher that compares with anyone on this list. And – many of the top Anusara teachers were students of some of these great teachers who taught them to be great teachers – before John Friend exploited that greatness and sold them on his brand to ignite their flames towards claims of fame & glory. I’d say the sadhana now – is to revisit the initial moment when they got “sold” and explore why they sold their souls to the devil. Svadyaya.

        • Kalilicious

          forgot donna holleman & orit san gupta. (HOW COULD I???)

          • Kalilicious

            and leslie kaminoff
            paul grilley
            sarah powers
            cora wen
            joel kramer
            …. its endless how many amazing NON-Anusara teachers there are … and scholars (Doug Brooks & Chris Wallis ain’t the only philosophy “scholars” in N.America dudes) …
            Georg Feurstein
            Mircea Eliade

            John Friend was opposed to mention of other schools, teachers, traditions, or scholars as part of his “brand managment”. I think we outside the box should start mentioning all the AMAZING senior N.American teachers and traditions with long track records of excellence in teaching HERE on YD where they get exposure and give another option to those in the kula who may be “without a home”. SHOP AROUND i say — SHOP AROUND. Buyer beware. Anusara ain’t the only kid on the block Try it – you might like it. 😉 Just do it. Go to a class that ISN”T ANusara. Hello. Now that would be good sadhana and aid in healing, methinks.

          • HJCOTTON

            Good for you.

        • yogaartist


          I don’t mean to add fuel to the fire, but Rama Berch/Swami Nirmalanaanda and her Svaroopa Yoga “brand” has its own nasty issues cooking away. There’s a reason she isn’t here in San Diego, anymore. It is also interesting to point out that Anusara and Svaroopa both come from the house of Swami Muktananda and siddha yoga. Does anybody know if there are any other teachers and styles that come from the house of muktananda and siddha yoga?

          • Kalilicious

            tru dat ….

          • jj

            oh dear? Svaroopa yoga too? What happened if you don’t mind enlightening…

          • Katharine Webster

            Hi Yoga Artist,
            I’m a former journalist now working on a book who exposed Swami Rama at the Himalayan Institute as a sexual abuser in Yoga Journal a gazillion years ago. People still contact me for advice after reading that article, including one woman who is concerned about her daughter’s involvement with Rama Berch/Swami Nirmalananda and Svaroopa Yoga in Pennsylvania. I can’t find any negative news coverage online, or on the cult exposure websites I frequent. Could you please give me more information about the “nasty issues” you referred to here? Thanks so much. — Katharine Webster (www.katharinewebster.com)

          • David

            Would love to hear what you know about Svaroopa yoga and Swami. I took training with them twenty years ago when they were still in San Diego, and feel like I’ve been healing from that ever since, as well as from multiple interactions I’ve had with their teachers during and afterward.

            Go to a simple class and you’ll leave feeling great and relaxed and won’t think anything untoward about the organization. However, in YTT or in one-on-one conversations with their teachers I was exposed to some bizarre beliefs which other students would gladly stand behind, ranging from Swami’s stature as being a “better” guru than others to Svaroopa yoga being “the best yoga.” I would sometimes wait for someone to clarify that it was perhaps their idea of the best, or to at least offer some semblance of a less biased view, but it never came to fruition.

            Moreover, when I’d question certain things I was more than once given a response of something to the effect of “oh you just don’t get it,” or “you’re just not ready.” If you didn’t agree, you were just too spiritually inept to grasp whatever they had just thrown your way. This did a number on my already fledgling self-esteem, and it’s been a tough climb ever since. After over three weeks of day-long 6AM-9PM (I believe it was) trainings, I was eventually told I didn’t pass (yeah that’s a thing there), because I “just didn’t get it,” and that I’d have to invest a lot more time and money in retaking the training as well as private sessions.

            Finally, largely because of this cultish vibe I left the practice, feeling way worse about myself than when I started, and have been looking for other’s with similar experiences ever since.

        • Hmmm

          This post is confusing.

          If you consider yourself an authority on yoga teachings and methodology and you have taken classes or trainings with each of these teachers and studied them and compared them to the classes you have taken with an equal number of high level anusara teachers …. maybe?

          But still, it’s one person’s Opinion. Not fact. And this list looks suspiciously like it was copied out of any random yoga journal. And it sounds suspiciously — sweepingly — spiteful of one style of yoga in particular. Why you wanna shoot a man whose already down?

          Though heartbreaking for many on the inside of the org and some students, I think the JF scandal may have awakened a number of Anusara teachers to the need for more inclusiveness. That’s what I get from this Coalition.

          Maybe it’s a lesson we could all learn.

          Oh, and FYI:
          — Rodney Yee has slept with various students of his while married. Then married a student of his.
          — Baptiste hasn’t kept it in his pants.
          — David Life and Sharon Gannon charge 2x the going rate for their yoga teacher training, which is not Yoga Alliance approved. They also recall your credentials if they discover you are not vegan/vegetarian. (I wonder where all that money is going…)
          — Rama Birch has her own troubles brewing
          — Ana Forrest creepily selects “Forrest Guardians”, presumably the next generation of practitioners who will continue taking HER style of yoga to the masses , btw with her name attached.

          Let’s be real. We are human. We are all one. Our main job: practice the ni/yamas.

        • sandra

          Scott Blossom
          Emma Balnaves
          Zhander Remete
          Beryl Bender Birch
          Roger Cole
          Tim Miller
          and countless unknown teachers from many traditions. what is one commonality between them? they have a PERSONAL daily or near-daily practice. They don’t use their teaching as an opportunity to practice or show off, they pay attention to the needs of their students in the moment. they use their personal practices to learn more about how the body performs, reacts, changes over time and use their experiences to lead others to do the same with their own personal practice development. and they don’t trademark or copywrite or brand “their” yoga.

      • Virginia

        Thanks again, Jeremy, for your voice of reason.
        i appreciate it!

  • Kalilicious

    oh damn – Erich Shiffman!!!!


      I can add John Schumacher, Tias Little, Ramanand Patel who I recall trained JF and Rodney Yee, and Jeffrey Devreaux. If you practice on yoga glow, you can find that many of Noah Maze’s and Christina Sell’s sequencing especially in backbends come from Iyengar yoga. There are a lot of excellent teachers in the country who are not Anusara’s, but the insularity of the Anusara community is still baffling me.

      • Kalilicious

        dharma mitra
        dana trixie flynn

      • Anusour

        I am not comparing one school to another, and made no allusion to who is “best”, I leave that irrelevant task to you. Simply stated, Anusara teachers are well trained. I happen to like the style and am therefore motivated to practice. The fact that there are great teachers of many stripes is self evident.

        • HJCOTTON

          I don’t think the beginer Anusara teachers are that well trained. You take almost the same sequence in class with little varaition until you get bored with it.

        • Lynn

          I question this statement I always hear that ALL anusara teachers are “well trained.” Having to send your video in 3 times because someone has their knee slightly bent does not make you a good teacher. Having to say everything exactly like your trainer, with specific heart opening language – just repeating a script – that doesn’t necessarily make you a good teacher either. Certainly there are popular anusara teachers – but I’m tired of hearing they are better trained than the rest of us. They are not – they just think they are. If they want their coalition to be taken seriously – they need to open it up to all teachers – otherwise their “coalition” will just be seen as another insular community. Community I think is at home – in your own home town with your students and the other teachers in that town. When we spend too much time on our long distance “community” yoga friends – our relationships at the local level suffer.

          • Kalilicious

            tru dat Lynne, well said and I agree ….

          • Virginia

            Ditto re: Lynn’s comment.
            No interest in its being open to others, though.

          • lala

            totally! Thank you for that insight.

        • suz

          Thank you anusour. All of the negative comments about anusara teachers sound like sour grapes. It’s not for everyone but why all of the bashing.

    • Danielle

      Bryan Kest!!!!! no bullshit
      Seane Corn

  • It seems there are a lot of people who would rather go negative of the intentionality of this group without even considering what the intent might be. There is a lot of hypothesizing here about the intentions of this group, which may not be fully clear to even the group as a whole.
    While the timing may seem soon to some, or appropriate to others, it is here now. While some may say that having a group is part of what caused the problems, I find that to be like saying “marriage is the leading cause of divorce, because a study found 100% of people seeking divorce are married.”
    From a practical standpoint, you can learn some about yoga by reading or watching a video or going to a website, but the way that the knowledge of this practice has been transmitted for generations is from person to person. Humans are social creatures, and this method is tried and true.
    So, new students start learning when they begin their practice at a studio, or gym or Y or church basement, but if they want to continue to grow in their practice, they wind up going to a studio that is dedicated to the practice of yoga as “the thing that is done there”. At the studio, there are instructors of varying levels of experience and expertise. Typically there are 1 or 2 or 3 who are the most senior or advanced ones. So, where do these teachers go to expand their knowledge?
    Just as with other professions (CPAs belong to AICPA, etc.), it is eminently helpful for there to be a network of studios and schools to facilitate this. No studios are an island unto themselves (hopefully). In my opinion, this group exists to maintain and grow relationships of its members and to provide a framework for continued communication, collaboration and education. It is really that simple.

    • SQR

      This is a good assessment. Obviously, we’ll see how things unfold over time. It seems like there’s a bit of a gray area with the self promotion thing- on the one hand keeping the studios up and running, on the other hand excessive promotion and workshop/”intensive” scheduling without any regard for one’s peers or the local community/market conditions. This is where a group like Yoga Coalition might make a difference.

    • jeremy

      Andrew I felt my post was considering the intent , it seems you dont agree with my consideration, thats fine.
      Thankyou for your little lesson on human nature and how people do yoga in USA . Interestingly my main teacher has no website, no studio , no branding , no products and he is a beautiful prescence and he wont be appearing in yoga journal anytime soon.. I do practise in studios and with branded teachers but they are individuals who teach in a certain methodology of that school , they dont from my observations feel the need to form groups to share what they have understood , as I say i have nothing against groups it just seems a little odd to start one so quickly without as you even say yourself , clear intention and a little time to work out how they got to this situation bringing another negative image of yoga or at least on the people who share it, they have not given much , if any time to reflect on their own part so far and this does not look great , Yoga is about self study and transformation , not group therapy or mutual backslapping . Some of these people have enabled a dishonest situation to occur and perhaps to their credit they resigned or perhaps they saw the disaster about to happen i dont know , they do, and they are not saying as far as i can see , it does not make me feel that they are all being transparent , im sure some of them are , im surprised you would find that negative , given whats going down. It would be positive if they proved my musings incorrect only time will tell , I mean a long time they are going to have eyes on them and they will have to earn the respect through actions in my view. It sounds like you know the intentions and it all is very transparent and simple , no agendas etc , I really wish you are right but the past history does not fill me with immediate hope .peace to you.

      Jai mata kali

      While im here
      David williams
      donna farhi
      kofi busia
      faeq biria
      john scott
      donna holleman
      Glenn ceresoli
      prashant Iyengar
      john kabat zinn (can we count him ?)
      manju jois
      aadil palkhivala
      srivatsa ramaswami
      Natanga zhander (was shandor remete )
      BNS Iyengar

      • jeremy,

        I would be a fool to even guess the full depth of intention of each of the people involved with Yoga Coalition. I am sure there are stated and unstated intentions, hopes, concerns, wishes and all for each person on the list. All I can go with is that the message/website represents a good approximation of the consensus these people formed together.

        Yes, yoga in the USA is generally a commercial enterprise, mostly because operating in another manner here has challenges, both legally and otherwise. Most organizations are corporations, including hospitals, civic organizations, churches et. al. as that is the way things are structured here.

        While it is admirable to avoid advertising, websites, Facebook etc. and teach from a “pure place”, in the U.S., it is generally much more effective to meet people where they are. Non-yoga doing Americans are lead to the practice through word-of-mouth for sure, but having a marketing message, storefront and structure that parallels they way people are expecting and accustomed to interacting, brings a comfort level and allows yoga to not feel to uncomfortably foreign for many people. Meeting people where they are and making yoga accessible, enjoyable and a growth experience is the best recipe to grow a community in the U.S. Avoiding the internet, or advertising, or having a studio sounds lovely, but if you want to be a force of positive change in a community (or town or city), you need to be prepared to meet them where they are, not where you think they should be.

        • jeremy

          Andrew im not against studios or advertising by the way.I go to studios all the time , I might even run one ! . om shanti

    • joyce

      please stop bashing these teachers especially if you have never met them. i ended up studying anusara yoga because finally a yoga studio had opened in my suburban town that i could get to regularly. it happened to be an anusara studio which meant nothing to me. i continued to attend because the teacher articulated her messages in a way that resonated with me. she was smart, openminded and seemed to know things about life that most people don’t learn in a lifetime. she still does. the jf debaucle hurt her deeply. i support her healing process. can’t we all?

      • jeremy

        Joyce can you tell me what teachers are being bashed , because i have missed the posts thankyou. Do you feel that by covering up that this will help your teacher who as you say knows more about life than most , im glad you feel qualified to make this judgement. I indeed support her healing process , there are many who have been dissappointed , may all beings be happy.

    • Yoga Student Coalition

      Critical questioning is still an appropriate response. Intentions matter but so does perception. Some of the language from the coalition does read as “better-than.” And the star system is a problem. As a student, I am not drawn to yoga for “excellence.” This is too corporate. And I think this indicates not enough distance/deprogramming.

      A humble suggestion: in addition to supporting teachers, the coalition (or someone) should support students by asking us what we need and want from yoga in the short and long term. Make a survey. Listen to the results. What else/who else is this about?

      After such a display of power imbalance and abuse, changing the dynamics will be empowering. Ask students what they need and then teach to that.

      Or maybe someone needs to start a yoga student coalition.

      • Dude

        It does read as “better than,” whether intended or not. That is why it seems too soon to me. I would guess that 12 months from now it would seem too soon, so it is more likely the exclusivity of the list that I am reacting negatively to. That, and some of the teachers on the list were huge enablers of JF, and I don’t trust the judgment of people who did that. Maybe a companion group “Former Enablers of John Friend?”

      • Brooke

        “A humble suggestion: in addition to supporting teachers, the coalition (or someone) should support students by asking us what we need and want from yoga in the short and long term. Make a survey. Listen to the results. What else/who else is this about?

        After such a display of power imbalance and abuse, changing the dynamics will be empowering. Ask students what they need and then teach to that.”



    • Brooke

      “While some may say that having a group is part of what caused the problems, I find that to be like saying “marriage is the leading cause of divorce, because a study found 100% of people seeking divorce are married.””



      That was hilarious. Nicely put, Andrew!

  • doctora

    Richard Rosen

  • simply yoga

    The real teachers, the greats, the ones with real foundations, integrity and knowledge (many of who are listed above) are probably laughing their asses off. This too shall pass!

  • echo

    They are seeking mutual support, obviously, in a time of significant transition and I do wish them well. Daily it is evolving for them and no doubt, bringing on the tapasya. But I think that as they do “build bridges to the larger yoga community” they’ll find other teachers who also are devoted to “excellence” in both teaching and practicing yoga and that the larger yoga community has been evolving just fine outside their kula borders. The spirit of creativity and evolution normally happens outside of the mainstream anyway. A true “bohemian”, didn’t JF call them that at one time?, would never join any movement as it could stiffle that very creativity. I believe this new coalition of former certifieds would serve their interests better if their language would be less self-serving and simply just in the interest of service itself.

    • SQR

      Putting the concept of “service” into the Yoga Coalition core principals would help get things off to a good start. Another good start would be some of the high profile teachers in this new organization being forthright about their motives in forming it. While John Friend has nobody to blame but himself, this whole thing was rather convenient for those senior teachers who regretted the licensing agreements and resented the restrictions placed upon their self promotion activities. I’m hoping any new model is less of a “scheme” and more of an actual community, which Anusara seemed to be drifting away from.

  • Anusara student in DC area

    If I don’t want to go to an Anusara class, what are my options? I didn’t pick an Anusara class because of the brand name. Was curious about yoga and the studio close to me happened to teach Anusara.

    • innocent victims

      your options are endless; go to another studio … and a few others. shop around.
      there are yoga studios on nearly every corner in most big cities ….
      explore as many as possible in order to educate yourself to the many options available to you ,how they differ and what speaks most to you… what resonates. make no decisions. drink no cool-aid. stay a free agent. be a bohemian. fly.

    • the main thing is to shop around. just try other styles, see what you like.

      if you have special needs, you might want to go and find out about the teacher’s experience — how long they have practiced yoga, with whom, when they were trained, where and how, and whether they have worked with people with your particular special need.

      from there, ask for those students as a reference. the teacher should be able to get back to you with their information within 48 hours — whether or not you can speak to or meet with them (s/he will obviously have to ask their permission first). then, you can connect with those students.

      if you are generally healthy, just shop around. see what resonates.

      there are lots of great teachers out there and lots of terrible teachers out there. follow your instincts.

  • Classes in NJ

    While we are at it, who are some of the good teachers in the NJ area. Thing about this brouhaha is that nobody has addressed any letters to the students. Apart from reassurances that the same standards of teaching will be maintained, it is class as usual.

    • depends upon where you are in NJ. NJ is a big place, no?

      again, same as DC area — just shop around.

  • innocent victims

    my first personal experience of anusara scandal “fallout”:
    i started to teach olympic level athletes yoga and yoga therapy one month ago. the team ranges in age from 13 to 25. the programme has been very well received and the participants are finding the practice of much value.

    a parent of one of the younger students removed her child
    from the yoga training and told the coaches that she was not to participate in the yoga because of the “sex scandals” and she
    didn’t want her kid being part of anything “like that”.

    thanks John. thanks alot.

    • Victims Of Innocence...

      Oh, give me a freakin’ break! one little dweeber is pulled from your program and you are crying like an infant! what about the kids who drop out because they are bored and think the whole thing is a joke? who are you needing to blame for their departure(s)!? yoga is about waking up, not creating ‘special clubs’ to insulate yourself from your own ignorance. think long and hard: this is more truth than you have received in years!

      • Brooke

        @Victims Of Innocence:

        “what about the kids who drop out because they are bored and think the whole thing is a joke? ”

        In my observation and experience, Olympic-level athletes don’t “drop out because they are bored,” or think their training is a joke.

        That’s how they got to be Olympic-level athletes.

    • Virginia

      That is too bad. That may be the perception and response of the general public once they get wind of all of this.
      It’s not only JF who did this (this time). Some others – some named on the long lists above – have misrepresented Yoga and the teaching position. And, let’s not forget that John had helpers and supporters. He didn’t act alone and, much as i dislike admitting it, it’s not all his fault. We all share in the responsibility of upholding the standards of the profession.
      It really is up to all of us to make better choices and to accept the consequences of the poor ones.

    • Brooke

      That’s … ugh.

      I’m really sorry to hear that.

  • Enlightened? Why, Yes, Yes I Am! Ha!

    Another Lesson In Impermanence! Let the comedy continue!

  • Chris


    Enough with the John Friend and Anusara already.

    The only lesson to be learned from this mess ” Thou shalt worship no false Prophets “.

    This lesson having been well and truly learned, can we just move on please ?

    The Hindu science of Yoga is 5000 years old. There was Yoga before the West tried to subvert it into Yoga, Inc. There will be Yoga, long after the last franchise and retail-outlet of Yoga, Inc. has bitten the dust.

    Patanjali ain’t never heard of Anusara.

    It is entirely sad that the West takes a noble, profound, sublime thing like the ancient Hindu science of Yoga, and degrades it to a pedestrian, commercial trinket, to be sold as as so much retail merchandise.

    In India, Real Gurus like Baba Ramdev and BKS Iyengar are practically giving it away for free – just like Patanjali meant for Yoga to be disseminated, for the greater good of all Mankind.

    The lovely flower of Yoga sprinkles its fragrance in the wind, for all to delight in, asking for nothing in return.

    • Bob

      Thank you Chris, that was very well said. I have been an Anusara student for many years and it has been great. The fact that JF was insincere was very apparent long before this recent scandal. My Anusara teachers have resigned and stayed resigned. As Yoga students we should not feel part of a “separatists” club, or any other club. I wish the Yoga Coalition well.

  • Thanks

    I love the idea of a yoga student coalition. And thanks for listing all the yoga teachers in other forms, everyone! It would be terrific to have a website devoted to that for each geographical area.

    • Yogis W/O Borders

      yoga STUDENT coalition …. thumbs up.
      How about a YogaCoalition that was not Anusara dedicated/exclusive. A branch which honours each of the various styles that is for both teachers AND students. Perhaps a “council of elders” made up of long time teachers with a solid track record (i.e. not glorious self-promoters but those who have consistently displayed integrity, ethic, and high standards in their teaching and conduct) … who facilitate the coalition as well as represent and advise upon their methods and tradition.
      Creating unity in diversity.

      • “Be Careful, VERY CAREFUL about organizations. Yoga cannot be organized, must not be organized.”
        Vanda Scaravelli, Awakening the Spine.

    • Brooke
      • It’s another organization that seeks to control what cannot, ought not be controlled.
        We ought to be controlling ourselves!

        • Brooke

          Oh, sorry, Virginia — didn’t mean to reply to your point. I meant to reply to Thanks, above, who said ” It would be terrific to have a website devoted to that for each geographical area.” Just pointing out that the Yoga Alliance does that.

          • That’s okay, Brooke! Yours was there first – i misunderstood that you were referring to geographical locations……….thanks.

  • Yogis W/O Borders

    Yea; I agree with Vanda … must not be organized.
    I was thinking more along the lines of the council of elders (yes that is organized – I know – but in a “different way” – not for profit at all – simply as an advisory capacity). A coalition which offers space/place (perhaps an online forum) open to all seekers of all traditions that have query. For example – if someone inside the Anusara inner circle that was struggling with the situation had a “safe place” to seek counsel — to ask questions — to receive guidance from those further along the path. And open it up to ALL …. as I am composing this …. I realize that YogaDork has in a way provided something like this. Everyone and their brother has an opportunity to throw their 2 cents in and it is only through such “communication” in which freedom of expression and open transparency takes place (without editing, deleting, nor manipulating the information which is generated/circulated/share) that we truly “commune” with others (don’t have to agree – its ften the struggle between opposites which teaches us the most about where we stand) and community is created. Hmmm….. Maybe we are already there? Maybe the reat gift Anusara gave to the yoga world – the lotus blossoming out of the muck – is thru acting as a catalyst, a first step in shifting conciousness towards the creation of a paradigm that honours unity in and through diversity.

    • Yogis W/O Borders:
      i like your train of thought in this comment: perhaps YogaDork has in a way provided a safe place to communicate and perhaps this is a real gift from Anusara to the yoga world – something to look at, contemplate and learn from – and not sweep under the carpet and not make excuses for.

    • ernst stavros blofeld

      apparently you need “elders” to tell you what to do, how to think? may I suggest that you kiss my ass…Those of us who are grown ups actually think for ourselves. Or maybe you want to be one of the “elders” so you can impose your “two cents” on everyone else. Please crawl back under your rock pompous ass, yoga w/o borders

      • Dr. Guntram Shatterhand

        Siamese fighting fish, fascinating creatures. Brave but of the whole stupid. Yes they’re stupid. Except for the occasional one such as we have here who lets the other two fight. While he waits. Waits until the survivor is so exhausted that he cannot defend himself, and then like SPECTRE… he strikes!

        • ernst stavros blofeld

          and may i wish you, Dr. Guntram Shatterhand, a very pleasant evening…


  • Anusour

    The pejorative labeling of the coalition as engaging in “self promotion” represents a display of sanctimonious pontificating derived from ignorance.
    Which of the following does not qualify as self promotion on some level?
    Swami Vivekananda’s appearance at the World’s Columbian Exposition.
    Krishnamacharya authoring 4 books.
    The books by Iyengar and Jois.
    Release of a DVD or YouTube video.
    Any appearance in Yoga Journal or blogs like Yoga Dork.
    Appearance at a conference, festival or retreat center.
    A Facebook page.
    As far as creating organizations, do any of these qualify?
    Swami Vivekananda’s founding of the Vedanta Societies.
    The institutes founded by Iyengar and Jois.
    The numerous schools and styles of yoga represented by many of the teachers listed above.

  • Yogis W/O Borders

    So – you are saying that you take offence to the phrase “not glorious self-promoters but those who have consistently displayed integrity, ethic, and high standards in their teaching and conduct”.

    In other words – you’d rather see the council of elders opened up to include anyone with a uTube or a Facebook or a blog (or a certification that isn’t worth the paper its written on) and you equate these people with Iyengar, Pattabhi, and Krishnamacharya and Vivikenanda?
    You take umbrage to the notion that proven leaders in the broader N.American Yoga community beyond Anusara, are included in the creation of a coalition comprised of senior advanced teachers of various traditions, with decades of practice and self-study in teachings that have stood the test of time, as well as a solid track record in sharing these various traditions, lineages, and teachings with the public , in an ethical fashion and with integrity in order to advise and counsil? You prefer to maintain a closed coalition, inclusive to any old joe who holds Anusara certification or inspired certification, and closed to the rest of the global yoga community? Hmm…. Interesting.
    I’m sorry – I don’t understand your objection.

    • Anusour

      I will speak for myself, thank you.
      I am simply saying that there is nothing inherently wrong with elements of self -promotion or organizations within the context of yoga.

      • Anusour

        Relative to your derisive comments, I will say this: Your use of the phrases “(or a certification that isn’t worth the paper its written on)” and “any old joe who holds Anusara certification or inspired certification” is indicative of someone who either lacks perspicacity or is willfully oblivious. I take classes in many different styles from many fine teachers some of which have been trained in the Anusara style.

        • Yogis W/O Borders

          re: certification that isn’t worth the paper its written on.
          I was (in my mind) thinking not nor referring to anusara perse – but to the MANY yoga “teachers”out there in the “industry” who took a weekend workshop at a fitness conference … i.e. aerobics instructors who really don’t know any better and the people who hire them who really don’t know any better either …..Themselves victims of charlatans who are blatent: ( Give me 6 hours of your time, $375.00 and I’ll make YOU a yoga teacher. SHAM WOW certifications). And we all know there are plenty of those teaching “yoga” all over the U.S.
          Or – those certificates that are bought online, such as :
          Certificates that aren’t worth the paper they are written on.

          • honomann

            Its frustrating to watch people with weekend certificates go and promote themselves with techniques from marketing classes. They buy a studio and do teacher trainings and charge $2k a pop. These people are the cancer of yoga

          • Brooke

            I’m a little confused about how the discussion badly-trained yoga instructors happening here relates to the Yoga Coalition.

            Whatever else anyone may think or have to say about them, it’s pretty evident that Anusara instructors are all rigorously trained. You had to take 100 hours of immersion to even enter teaching training, and had to have taken 30 hours as a regular student to even enter an immersion. And to be certified as a teacher you had to complete a few hundred more hours training under an already-certified instructor, a hefty reading list and some pretty exacting coursework, including a thirty-hour written exam covering, among other points, anatomy and physiology … I mean, I certainly understand people’s frustrations with Anusara and Anusara (or ex-Anusara) instructors at the moment, but I don’t think we can argue that they were poorly trained.

          • ernst stavros blofeld

            I perceive that you lack a certain certificate, yoga w/o borders. Perhaps you lack the qualifications and credentials yourself and are afraid of being exposed…Is that where you’re coming from? Most people who disdain degrees and certificates do so because they lack the discipline to obtain one (and also practice yoga). Sound familiar to you?

          • Yogis W/O Borders

            Dear Ernst, my angry fella …. why so glum chum?
            no need for such hostility ….
            Relax … take a chill pill bud…. peace out … surrender into the arms of grace … see the good … be the shri …. walk your talk bro ….
            FYI – I have extensive training, probably significantly more then you.- I have trained with almost all the names listed above at one time or another – have 5 different ‘certifications”… (graduated from 6 teacher trainings over 30 years ) including from 2 x 250 hour YTTs in hatha/hatha vinyasa and ashtanga and 1 x 500 Advanced YTT and 1x Sivananda one month programme …
            Plus, certified with both svaroopa w/rama berch and restorative yoga w/judith hansen lassater and not including 2 years Iyengar teachers training (not yet graduated) …. not to mention extensive training in 5 sacred rhythms of gabrielle roth and contact improv!
            Sorry chumppy . nahNahNahNahNahNa ….

          • Yogis W/O Borders

            oh geez — i almost forgot to mention two Anusara inspired immersions …..
            how could i forget those? duh ….

          • ernst stavros blofeld

            Yoga w/o borders:
            Have you ever considered thinking for yourself? You spend your time name dropping. This demonstrates that you are nothing more than a workshop junkie… Consider taking a weekend off without going to a workshop (or thinking about the next one–that’s right, you know I’m right). Be in the moment, if for only just a moment (I know that’s frightening, but try it). Try to be something on your own.
            You know I gotcha…

          • Yogis W/O Borders

            ernie – you offer nothing but projections based on your own self. insults designed to try and one up. i know many workshop junkies but i am not one of them. a path that began in the 70’s and has expanded exponentially ever since … i never believed in drinking only one flavour of kool-aid and explored as much as possible because I can and do think for myself and know how rich my training would be if I embraced it all as it all has so much to offer. irregardless , you are simply looking for an argument and I find you boring and droll. knock yourself out amigo. i’m finished with you.

  • simply yoga

    I seriously don’t any established teacher of a substantial lineage is lining up to join the Yoga Coalition. So it’s really a non-issue.

  • simply yoga

    That would be “don’t think any established teacher…” The only teachers who would want to hook their wagon to a newbie org with dubious lineage are the ex-anusarians and maybe students who were on the path to certification with JF. Why would anyone else want to head in this direction? So I don’t think hammering the Coalition at this point with accusations of exclusivity makes a whole lot of sense. Dunno.

  • simply yoga

    Let them have their little group! They want to stick together, they need their “kula” thingie. It’s obvious they don’t want to be alone, or can’t… so whatever.

  • Leave John alone. Stop being so mean. I give a big thumbs down on all you haters. I’ll be doing my new video soon.


    • BwaHaHa

      Waylon …. (not) …. totally cracking me up ….
      (when everything is sacred- nothing is sacred) …

    • Stewart J. Lawrence

      Be the Change that You Seek!
      I thought this was a documentary until I saw the credits.

    • Joslyn

      Probably kills him that yogadork gets so many comments with a fraction of the traffic of EJ. Just shows how misguided his whole concept is with posting tons shitty stuff and then bragging about all his traffic.

      • simply yoga

        I never read EJ until the recent events and I’ve taken a peek or two. It surprises me the way the administrators “contribute” in the discussions. Generally, no matter what the topic (unless it’s a very small personal type of blog) it’s not a good idea to insert your views so consistently. Especially if they go against the mainstream of the topic at hand. That’s a pretty big no-no if you want free-thinking conversation.

        If you feel it necessary to step in and handle some off-the-charts stuff, OK. But otherwise, let your commenters… well, comment, without interference. It really stops the flow.

        I notice it’s not just the owner (Waylon?) as I saw another person, Kate, continually come in to scold.

        I find the whole thing totally weird!

        This is just coming from an outside perspective because I never heard of Elephant Journal before this whole dust-up. I must be in the dark ages or something. It’s too bad because the loved the Douglas Brook and the Julian Walker articles and would read more if the comment interference all wasn’t so fascist.

        • simply yoga

          Oh and one more thing I find odd about EJ. The constant inference that if you don’t use your “real name” you’re somehow involved in subterfuge or your opinions are not valid. Huh?
          Again, maybe I’m behind the 8-ball, but I’ve always thought you chose a cute “handle” or something that has meaning to you and are able to fully participate in the discussion without derision.

          But I keep seeing “well, if you’d be brave enough to put your REAL NAME” maybe I’d consider what you say” type of thing.
          There are thousands of reasons why anonymity works on the internet. Privacy matters.


          Leave the commenters aloooone!

          • GregariousInkognito

            I used my real name; I got stalked on Facebook and on LinkedIn by Anusara gestapo.
            End of day, what is a “real name” except a tool of our Ego anyways? We and others identify with our identity and the message gets lost in the “ego identity dynamic”.
            In these online forums its really about the message anyway – isn’t it? Why does it matter who the messenger is. The only ones who would care about “the messenger” are those networky smarmy shills who are only interested in climbing up the kula ladder and pandering to those whom they think are a “somebody” (like all the commets and kudos to Doug Keller, for example; nothing against Doug whatsoever but where were all those fans before the jfexposed scandal? same with the various bloggers – those who are lower down the kula ladder sing praises and stroke the ego of their kula mentors/superiors on the blogging circuit, like mindless pandering shills or needy drooling love drunk puppy dogs looking for recongition and a pat on the head? No thank you. See it everyday in the corprate world… don’t expect to see it amongst seekers on the path, but it is all around us in this Anusara organization. Yech.

          • jeremy

            Reading the doug keller story with other stories of online attack , when this was first made public , seeing the level of comment , and reading of the alleged istances and culture of bullying coming from the top down by the enablers of JF and the ” needy, love drunk puppy dogs ” ( thankyou inkognito ) i decided to use my middle name , it is telling that i felt the need to this as i too did not want to be stalked or swarmed in my private life and i feel it says more about the anusarans and the kula than me , that this is the first time i have used an alias in online discussions , admittedly im not a big contributor to the www . I was seriously worried , that because big bucks were involved for some people and i did not know who friends of john were that it would be prudent to use a name i am not normally known by . Im sure that if anusara survives there will be those with long memories and im not sensing the shri from some of these higher up friends of john or some of the more unstable fanatics . Although it does look like it is all over , the beast is on its back will it rise again ?

        • Kate Bartolotti

          Making disrespectful or negative comments is a luxury I cannot indulge since I use my real name.

          Waylon, I’m up there with you in John 100%. Great interview you had!

    • Kate Bartolotti

      I couldn’t agree, more, Waylon. My tongue quivers to taste your next word of wisdom. And great journalistic integrity with the JF interview, BTW!

      • GregariousInkognito

        Dear Kate – Dear Waylon –
        You are both a waste of skin. We don’t care what your opinion is. You are obviously on the Anusara payroll. Why are you here on YogaDork, a site that is openly transparent and honours freedom of opinion as critical to the journalistic & investigative process? How arrogant that you would chastise anyone. Both of you are spoiled pretentious children. GET LOST. Oh – sorry – you already are. And – waylon is NOT a buddhist. Give me a break.

  • joy

    What are the criteria folks are using to identify a great yoga teacher? as I think Rodney Yee and Amrit Desai have had extramarital affairs with their students… correct me if I am wrong please…

    • You are correct, Joy.

    • doctora

      They were not corporations- and did not have thousands of students at various levels of certifications. Cannot be compared.

      • Virginia

        They were exactly the same! They just didn’t have all the tolerance and complicity of senior teachers as JF.
        It was inexcusable behavior – what difference does it make that they were not corporations? They were Yoga teachers preying on their students.

    • Stewart J. Lawrence

      No, no no, they were simply moving to higher astral planes — and their pocket rocket took off. Happens all the time.

      • Brooke


        That just made me snort tea up my nose, Mr. Lawrence.

  • Good one – “pocket rocket”!

  • simply yoga

    GregariousInkognito (If I can call you that lol)

    Absolutely! It’s one thing if you’re a public figure (or want to be) or if you have a preference for signing with your “real” name. Or if you just want to, fine!

    But to mock and somehow indicate you’re unsavory because you choose an online handle is actually not a responsible position. I have never used my real name because I like my privacy and because I personally don’t think it’s prudent to do so. Hundreds, thousands, who knows, are reading your words. We’re in the internet, not in a friend’s living room.

    To each his own, but I feel EJ should stop badgering those who chose their own handle and stop “praising” those who, for whatever reason, want to establish their name in the comments section of a blog.

    Anyway, this was my first exposure to EJ and I find it a repressive and oppressive environment. I’m not a member so I can’t comment there anyway, and I can only read selected articles for a few seconds before I get the “Please Join” page, and I’ll never do that, so…

    Apologies if I hijacked this thread.

    • Kate Bartolotti

      If I may moderate, here, please? While your comment is not quite disrespectful, I would offer that if you choose to not become a member of an intentionally respectful community such as EJ, then that is your choice.

      We do not “badger”. We do not stalk comments or commenters. Why are you so worried about being “oppressed”? If you had no disrespectful attitudes to oppress, then you wouldn’t be oppressed. It is your attitude that is oppressive.

      • jeremy

        @kate if you actually read the post nowhere does it say that they are worried I have read the last paragraph and i still dont understand what you are saying , are you saying that all oppressed people are in fact oppressors because that is a rather odd comment and a slur on the millions of oppressed from the past present and future . and you call yourselves journalists , not that that is necessarily a positive of course . The Waylon interview with john friend nov 3rd which i had not read until you brought this up , is without doubt cringeworthy , sychophantic , and nothing to do with journalism in fact it reads like PR for anusara and john friend , Waylon seems terrified of upsetting john F and why does he keep mentioning buddhism every 5 miinutes ? whats that about ? Why do you delete posts you dont like ? you know the ones that tell the truth about john from the insiders where was the intentional respect then ,with doug Keller and the IT guy, why did you take the thumbs down away ? Seriouisly ej is a joke which is fine, I never thought it was supposed to be serious , and waylons little sexulisation of headlines eeek , is he still besotted by Elena ? it was looking a little creepy . and stacy below I concur. Kate your post really sent my vrittis wobbling so i feel i must leave this debacle , Ma is moving me away from here to a more refined space , thankyou yoga dork for showing integrity and bravery in your part in letting people get the facts .
        Will be intersted to see how the story plays out .
        so long blog .OM AH HUM

        • GregariousInkognito

          Jeremy – don’t go away because of these twits. You are one of the best contributers on this site.

      • GregariousInkognito

        Dear Kate – Dear Waylon –
        You are both a waste of skin. We don’t care what your opinion is. You are obviously on the Anusara payroll. Why are you here on YogaDork, a site that is openly transparent and honours freedom of expression and opinion as critical and integral to the journalistic & investigative process? You censor and delete any attitude that isn’t in alignment with the Anusara PR Program or anyone that doesn’t pander to your agenda, and call that “intentionally respectful”. What a load of CRAP. Censorship is anti-yoga and against FREEDOM of expression; it goes against everything this country stands for. Are you communists? You, Waylon, EJ are insulting to the intelligence of the masses and anyone with half a brain. How arrogant that you would chastise anyone or come on here to “moderate”. Fuck you. Thats intentional disrespect Kate and you can’t delete it on here so — fuck you again. You are spoiled pretentious children. GET LOST. Oh – sorry – you already are. And –BTW, Waylon is NOT a buddhist. Give me a break.

        • Brooke

          Inkognito — that was a bit much.

          I hear you. You dislike EJ. I have no opinion on the matter, though I’d be interested in hearing your points. I’m not interested in reading excessively cruel rants.

          Yes, if I don’t want to read it I can go elsewhere, etc. etc. That’s true. But perhaps you could also save the profanity for private company, next time. Please.

          • GregariousInkognito

            This is not a kindergarten class Brooke and its not ‘your’ kindergarten class. Put your big girl panties on. I am not interested in puritanical polly anna posteurizing. I like expletives, they aid in creative expression. Maybe EJ is a better forum for you; an intentionally respectful community. With LOTS of denial and pretending that everything and everyone is sugar and spice and everything nice. NO THANK YOU. That is not reflective of how I feel therefore, I will express myself based on how I feel, irregardless of how that makes you feel. Therein lies the beauty of this type of forum and communication. Everyone gets to be “real” and who they are. I don’t have a problem with that.

          • Brooke

            Certainly. You have the right to express yourself any way you like, here. As do I.

            The form of self-expression I currently choose is to point out that I’d find your thoughts considerably more worth listening to if you weren’t shouting them viciously. I was with you right until the cursing.

            It is also your right to not particularly care about whether or how your points are being considered by your audience here. If that’s the case, so be it. But if you do wish to use this public forum in a way that invites people to consider your point of view, I don’t think you’ve chosen the most effective means of doing so.

            I always find it strange when people invoke “kindergarten class” as if it’s pejorative. We teach our kindergartners to be polite to people on purpose. I’m unclear as to why that lesson is assumed to have become superfluous by the time we’re all old enough to reply in public forums on the internet, or what its superfluity is in greater aid of.

          • SQR

            Does anyone else find it ironic that someone using the name “Inkognito” is trumpeting the fact that here “Everyone gets to be ‘real’ and who they are”?

          • Brooke


        • Kate Bartolotta

          Wow! Well, a friend mentioned that someone had be commenting using my name (or trying to and misspelling). I know this post is old but thought I’d throw my 2 cents in since someone else thought to do on my behalf. Love Yoga Dork, love working for elephant. I do thing sometimes anonymity makes people feel bolder about being obnoxious in comments…but all of the comments made on Yoga Dork by “Kate Bartolotti” by someone who didn’t like my participation in the Anusara discussion on elephant journal are not mine.

    • Stacy

      Very odd site. They were so upset because everyone was thumb downing Waylon and other comments they didn’t like that they did away with their thumbs down icon on the posts. Waylon comes off like an emotional man/boy who is terrified of criticism while Kate acts as the schoolmarm warning everyone to be nice or she’ll delete their posts. It’s definitely a contrived community because they delete so many posts, it only reflect what EJ wants to in the comments. All in all, there really aren’t very many quality posts there as they seem to want to go for quantity and traffic.

      • Kalilicious

        Apparently Elephant Journal has taken over the sale of cool-aid.

      • GregariousInkognito

        Looks like Brooke is cut from the same cloth as Kate & Waylon. Perhaps she is spy for them and doing their dirty work …. trying to make YD an “intentionally respectful community”. Not part of my agenda. Yawn. Bible belt yoga preaching is so b.o.r.i.n.g.
        Let er’ rip! expletives and all; that is being who I am. Irregardless of my handle. There will be many who don’t shut down when they hear the phrase FUCK OFF. Its my favorite phrase actually. Expletives are expletives for a reason. They expel. Are you expelled Brooke? Why do you care is the bigger question? Or is this just your red herring to divert the attention off Waylon/Kate/EJ? bullshit? Yes – bullshit. Theres some more descriptive profanity for you. If you have a better word for it – please do share. – GI Joe from Buffalo

        • Brooke

          Incognito, Kate and Waylon aren’t actually here. I don’t know if you noticed, but “Waylon” up there posted a link to the infamous Stop Being So Mean To Britney viral video from a few years back. It’s a joke, man. They’re just playing with you. It’s working.

          As for my affiliation with EJ — I’d never heard of it until the scandal broke, I wouldn’t know Waylon or Kate if they smacked me upside the head with a Ganesha statue, and I didn’t even know they stringently moderated comments over there until someone on this thread pointed it out. My only point is that I was interested in finding out more about that issue until you started tossing phrases like “waste of skin” all over the thread. That’s exceptionally rude and cruel language. I dislike it. If I have an “agenda,” it’s one that has to do with my belief that speech is powerful and shouldn’t be used for cruelty, so I said so. End of story. As I’ve also said, you’re perfectly welcome to keep being just as rude or as cruel as you like. It’s a free country and a free forum. If it doesn’t bother you that people may actually *stop listening* to whatever valid points you may be making amid all the invective, then hey. Fire away.

          I’m not sure which part of my calling for kinder language indicates to you that your profanity is making me “shut down,” but rest assured, I’m all good over here. Hope you are, too.

          • Brad

            Even though you turned down my offer of marriage from a couple of posts ago (all in good fun), I still find you have an amazing ability to stay calm and apply incredible intelligence to often brutal challenges to your positions. Are you like this in real life? I’m learning much from your comments here on YD on how to counter criticism with good will. Thanks.

          • Yes Brad, Brooke and I practice at the same studio and I can tell you that indeed, Brooke is like that in real life.

          • Brooke

            @ Andrew: Oh, goodness. Thank you! (I think it should be noted here that it’s easy to practice intentional language when one is surrounded by a community of great people trying to do the same thing. Which you have a lot to do with.) 😉

            @Brad: Once again, my friend, you’ve made my day. 😀 Thank you for that. I was going to say that my mother could tell you that yes, I’m like this in real life and it’s often not particularly pleasant, so I’m grateful that Andrew left off that last part!

            In a all seriousness — countering criticism with good will is a big, big goal of mine; I hope people point out when I don’t do so, so I can apologize, and I’m grateful to you for saying that you do see me doing so here. Many, many thanks.

  • simply yoga

    Wow! I thought the “Kate” posts were an extremely clever person doing some sort of spoof last night. I was laughing!

    If they are real then I am completely gobsmacked.

    Did she really come over here and moderate me? She said “moderate!”

    Hahhahahaha. Point proved.

    I may just follow Jeremy out the door. Sheesh.

    • Brooke

      I thought the same thing. Especially when I got to the “my tongue quivers” bit.

      I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a farcical Kate and a real one posting here, and the real one either hasn’t noticed or hasn’t acknowledged that someone’s posting using her name. There’s nothing to stop someone from doing that — YD usernames can be duplicated.

      • bonanzaJellybean

        Irregardless … Kate & Waylon are reading everything that is posted on here. It would be naieve to think they are not. Whether they actually post themselves or someone is just messing around and poking fun, doesn’t really matter. The comments provide a catalyst towards evolving convo about EJ and their “intentions”…. their censorship … their pandering. Thumbs down on that.

    • Alden

      When I read the Kate posts last night I thought it was just someone playing around…. i doubt it was the real Kate.

      • Rush Limbaugh

        Waylon Lewis is a slut and a prostitute.

        • Brooke

          You know … this is both hilarious and pointed. I think I needed that big picture reminder. I coworker of mine mentioned the Rush conflagration the other day and I didn’t know what she was talking about. Had to look it up.

          Thanks for that.

  • jeremy

    Ok this really is my last post , just to say that ive probably been had , taken in by farcical kate who is not , It now seems the real kate , although there were similarities . i too did wonder about the quivering lip and great interview waylon , when it clearly wasnt , so apologies to the real kate , although my post still stands .
    to SQR is that your real name ? no I dont find it ironic , For reasons i have given i think it is sound practise . It is easy to get caught up in side issues on this subject , stay alert and focussed and striving for the true nature of reality people . Adieu
    JAI MA

  • simply yoga

    Yeah, I seriously doubt that was the real Kate. That would be too ridiculous.

    I really didn’t mean to start a scene. It’s true I never heard of or read EJ before a few weeks ago, so I was genuinely surprised at the way I saw things go over there when I peeked in. It’s unusual (I think!) to have owners/moderators inserting their personal opinions of the topic or the comments, and also being so defensive. The thumbs up/down business was kafkaesque.

    Doesn’t matter. It’s not my kind of place. So I now I know. Ho hum.

  • Janie

    Whoa – I was just spinning the dial and thought I had landed on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for a while there.

  • Yoga Mama

    As the dust starts to settle on the sorry mess that was Anusara Yoga I find myself more appalled by Mr. Friend’s acts towards former Anusara teachers than his sexual misconduct. I do not mean to minimize the sexual exploitation since I know the women involved will slowly realize they’ve been abused and need much support and therapy (a class action law suit might be in order). However, the fact that Friend conducted smear campaigns against and tried to obstruct the teaching careers of fine people such as Doug Keller and Amy Ippoliti truly reveals his dark side. Even more discomforting is the fact that so many in the kula/cult willingly agreed to “warn” people against these former disciples and flood their Facebook pages with condemnations. An Anusara nation of sheep.

    • bonanzaJellybean

      Thank you YogaMama. Agreed. They are bullies. And sneaky bullies at that.

  • Bake Tartolotti

    Sorry, Jeremy and Incognito and Simply Yoga.

    I was Kate. It was me. I admit it. I was trying to be funny and thought it would be quite obvious since it was so absurd she would come over here and start moderating the forum and brown-nosing for the Interviewer. Actually, she did do that earlier. I believe it was the thread where yogadork explained why she chose to post the jfexposed. Kate and the “Buddhist” both came over and attacked yogadork on the thread. She kind of reminds me of the pilot fish that always swims around the shark wherever it goes.

    Anyway, I would have fessed up as soon as I saw someone started blowing a gasket. I didn’t realize it might start a big argument. I just thought it was funny as all fuck and was cracking myself up as I wrote it.

    I’m banned over at EJ for questioning the integrity of the Interview so this is my outlet, I guess.

    • simply yoga

      Awww, I thought it was hilarious! Don’t feel badly. It was just harmless fun. It must’ve been pretty close to the nose because you had some heads turning. Which is pretty funny in itself. If anyone starts milking this just ignore. Hugs.

    • Brooke

      I thought it was pretty funny, too. 😉

  • Bake Tartolotti

    But I wasn’t Waylon. Someone else. That’s why I thought everyone would get it– the Waylon post was so clearly fake. Immature, I know.

    • Stu

      Kate impersonator:

      Yes, you are very immature. You mock intentionality. You mock Kate and Waylon. I suppose you see, after the trouble you started, why Elephant Journal holds to its standards of respect? At least now you see why you are in the wrong and why Waylon and Kate are owed an apology. It has to do with developing a foresight and a fine-tuned discernment as far as the impacts of our actions. But that is clear to you now. I am not affiliated professionally with the Journal, by the way.

      I would imagine that if you were to write the folks at the Journal they would understand your apology and let you come back on a trial basis. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get back in graces with big hearted folks. A simple apology–just an idea. But hey– use your real name so they know who they’re talking to. 😉

      You should be more kind to yourself. Your immaturity is not one of personal development. Sometimes I see this when well-meaning people are fairly new souls. They are new to this human body and have all the grace of a 3 week old puppy– but lots of heart, too! A few more lifetimes and you’ll be up and running with the strongest!

      Rooting for you here– Stu

      • bonanzaJellybean

        I am not the impersonator … but … if I were I’d say why thanks for that little chat “stu” .. I mean .. WAYLON. i can go to heaven now knowing that i’ve been forgiven and absolved of my sins.

      • Alden

        Extremely condescending Stu, plus you are taking this all too seriously. It was just a joke, and it was funny. I laughed hard at the fake Kate.

      • Mike

        Ewwww. Did anyone who read that have any luck scrubbing it off?

  • Doug Keller

    Regardless of whether the ‘real’ Waylon has been showing up here or not (obviously he has not), it is clear that the EJ censorship widgets remain in place, even though he has already been called on it once in my case.

    I posted the following comments with regard to his interview with Emma Magenta on EJ. In that interview he once again trivializes the whole situation by reducing the issue (in the form of a ‘question’) to the “affairs” and the “actions” that followed. This is a deep disservice on the part of someone who places himself in the role of spokesperson and interlocutor for the community, and he needs to be called on it every time he does it.

    I also sent the comments to him via email. Let’s see if he actually gets around to allowing them to be posted:

    [Dear Waylon]:

    This is not ‘just about’ the “affairs” and the actions taken since the ‘scandal broke,’ though if you want to isolate and dwell on that aspect, I highly recommend the article by Kelly Morris, “Teachers, Keep it in Your Pants.’ Its in your magazine (http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/03/teachers-keep-it-in-your-pants–kelly-morris/) and makes a strong case that these ‘affairs’ are not so easily shrugged off. A second read (I’m assuming you read it once, at least) might lubricate your moral compass.

    This is ‘about’ an entire pattern of abuse of power, not just in terms of sexual relationships with students, teachers and employees, married or otherwise, but also in his treatment of employees, treatment of teachers with whom JF disagrees (see Amy Ippoliti’s letter) as well as teachers whose actions and fortunes he sought to tightly control as ‘certified,’ which included capricious favoritism. He defied his own rules and process for certification, jumping the process and granting certification according to his own whim (this is backed up by Betsey Downing’s reasons for giving up on him and Anusara — you might want to interview her). While the system and structure of Anusara may have looked good at first glance, the way he personally ran it led to disharmony and waste that has been expressed in many many ways by those who have been moved to finally give up and leave.

    His actions ‘after’ this ‘broke’ were not a separate or ‘worse’ issue. They simply reconfirmed the pattern of abuse of power and obvious sense of entitlement on his part that led to further lies, rationalizations, and the adoption of the attitude of the victim, when the obvious truth is that he was the perpetrator and central architect of this disaster that has led to so much pain for so many. None of this had to happen. And if you are too squeamish to ‘pass judgement’ on the morality of the behavior, at the very least you have to admit that much of it was just plain boneheaded.

    Please once and for all reconsider the false meme that this is just about the ‘affairs’ and the actions that followed the revelation of the affairs. There is a single pattern of behavior at work, both before and after, which taken as a whole presents a very strong argument that such a person, as Kelly Morris memorably put it, has no business being in the position of a teacher — much less a teacher of yoga, the central codes of behavior for which (yamas, niyamas and etc.) he has repeatedly, flagrantly and even systematically defied over the course of many years, and continues to defy.

    Please consider this once again, Waylon, because your own comments seem to miss the big picture and trivialize the situation.

    • Brooke


      Thank you for this.

      I said in a comment above that I knew nothing about EJ until this scandal broke, and I still know very little. I think you’ve already gotten into this somewhere on these threads, and I don’t want to ask you to re-walk old ground; I’m just curious about your experience over there. Is it specific people they block? Or specific kinds of comments? Or both? Is it automated in some way, or do the editors personally go in and delete posts?

      I’m asking largely because the idea of an “intentionally respectful community” online in many ways deeply appeals to me. I’ve been pretty shocked by some of the commentary that’s happened around here. (Granted, those comments are very much in the minority; it’s just a really loud minority.) But censorship does *not* at all appeal to me, either as as writer or as an idealist raised to be devoted to freedom of speech. In your opinion, is there a way to balance those two goals — maintaining a community in which respectful language is used and maintaining one in which people are free to express whatever opinion they wish? Is there a way to separate freedom of speech from freedom of expression? Or does any form of “moderation” on a forum run the risk of descending into the kind of censorship you’ve experienced?

      • Doug Keller

        What happens is that if a blog wants to block a particular person, the moderator can put a block against any submissions from a particular IP address (meaning no one in your house or office, regardless of their email can post — it’s automatically deleted). This saves the moderator the trouble of having to sit like a hawk at the computer and delete every appearance by that commenter.

        Apparently at some point in the past I made a comment that a moderator deemed ‘rude’ (it was never explained, so I don’t know what it was I said); I can only guess because a block was placed sometime thereafter.

        When Scott Newsom asked a legitimate question in EJ a while back and I attempted to answer him there, that comment was automatically blocked too. EJ was contacted about this and claimed not to know what was going on — and the comment was belatedly allowed — but apparently the ‘block’ itself was never resolved. I remain persona non grata, even though I paid my dues to EJ. (Thanks, dude!)

        Such a block has the convenience of being automatic — but is obviously arbitrary and the end effect is that it is not the comment that is being censored, but the person, whose comments are thenceforth unwelcome, regardless of the merits of the comment itself (which are never considered or given a hearing).

        The alternative is the policy of YogaDork, which is to let the comments fly unaltered, and to let the community correct itself by having the commenters themselves set people straight when they get out of line (that’s kind of how things work in a free society).

        That policy does get messy and tiresome too, when it comes to wading through people’s stuff, pranks and etc. But like you say, it does have the virtue of being far more informative.

        The policy of having a moderator decide what should reach our sensitive ears, especially through automatic blocks against people (not language) easily morphs into forms of control that stifle informative dialogue rather than promoting it.

        And when it’s levied against people rather than language and statements, that’s not really ‘moderation’ of the conversation, now is it? Waylon?

        • Brooke


          “I remain persona non grata, even though I paid my dues to EJ.”

          I find all this particularly disturbing given this point — that one has to pay for more than cursory EJ use. Seems unfair to take people’s money and then block their IP addresses, even if the charge is just a dollar a month.

          I’d be interested in hearing what they have to say about that.

          • Doug Keller

            EJ has since posted the comment — I had written to Waylon personally to press the issue into his awareness. I also brought the issue here in part to, shall we say, shame EJ into reconsidering their moderation policies (plus I thought the comment was worth making on its own merits).

            I have no problem with a site asking for a donation for participation, but to take the fee and then block participation through such mechanisms…seriously.

        • SQR

          This is, for better or worse, an increasingly common situation as public discourse evolves on the internet- the owners of sites like this are still learning how to handle input, and mistakes are inevitable. I won’t take sides about the way EJ or YD run their sites, other than to say the IP address blocking on EJ has wound up costing them some useful and informative content. It’s worth remembering, though, that none of this discourse is as “free” or as “public” as many people think- these blog sites ( as well as Facebook) are privately owned, and any content therein is subject to any whim the owners might have. As one of my friends pointed out on Facebook recently, “if you’re not paying to use it, you’re not the customer- you’re the product being sold”.

        • Thanks

          Well, for whatever it’s worth I just looked over there, at they are taking the piss out of Waylon for that badly-handled interview. We’ll see if he leaves those comments up.

  • Yoga Mama

    Doug, The voice of experience speaks and you lay out the “big picture” pretty darn well.

  • jeremy

    Because it is important and i was so outraged by the PR puff piece by EJ and the non interview with Emma magenta , no blame toward her by the way . It wouldnt bother me but he makes claims to journalistic integrity and bigs himself up without the actions to back his assertions up , where I have seen this happen before ? oh yes I remember . People would pay good money for this kind of whitewash PR and he is presumably doing it for free unless there is something else going on , but the trivilisation is remarkable in its audacity, however Doug has expressed himself so well that i find myself ” alligned ” with him and dont need to verbalise further .

    @stu do you always address people like this , it is not attractive and does not reflect well on you , im not even sure if your post is meant to be taken seriously , makes you seem like a know it all , to me anyway ,. Whats is your , waylons , other anusara apologists thing with the need to know peoples names ? Is a list being compiled ? I know my real name but ironically i dont fully know myself , my nature ,thats why I use the tools of yoga this thousands of years old practise , not this just made up in 1997 yoga , in fact the idea of me and my name , my life , might get in the way of true realisation . Plus for the last time I dont give my name because of the experience of others documented here and elsewhere who have not fallen in allignment with JF/the divine and I dont need that aggravation .

    @Bake tartollotti , no worries , naughty person . Quivering indeed .

    I am really trying to leave, maybe I should throw my computer away .

    • Brooke


      “I am really trying to leave, maybe I should throw my computer away .”

      I hear you. Ditto. It’s amazing to observe myself being pulled by it. There’s definitely a lot about this whole affair I’ve learned only on these threads, and people have shared valuable points of view I wouldn’t have otherwise heard, which is why I was here in the first place. I’m really glad YD’s been around for all this. But … meh. It’s hard to drop!

    • Stu


      I will try my best to give you clarity. Resonating in this truth is your responsibility.

      Why should a list be “compiled”? That’s not how people do things. I don’t know what you’re talking about and I already said I’m not part of EJ.

      Here is an analogy: Let’s say you had 10 kittens. And most of the kittens shared nicely. But you notice that two other kittens are aggressively pushing the others aside at mealtime, “poisoning”, if you will, the calm that should abide. Do you “compile a list” of these kittens? No. But you do notice which two kittens those are, so they may be sequestered for the betterment of the larger kitten community. It is natural for you to notice, si? And: If all the kittens looked identical or you were somehow prevented from identifying the two that were causing problems, well, that would be quite a fix, right?

      And if the two cats somehow tried to disguise themselves, it is a concern because that would prevent you from making sure mealtimes went smoothly.

      And if the kittens circulated among many homes, then naturally the people in those homes would want to have some advance notice about which kittens are causing problems.

      Place yourself in the position of being, not the kitten, but the provider for kittens, and you’ll immediately see that accountability is key.

      So, when I look at EJ as an outsider, I see what they are trying to provide their community. There needs to be some accountability for holding people to the highest.

      As I offered to our little prankster, perhaps you could show good faith to the folks at EJ with some apologies, reestablish yourself and your name, and open yourself to being transparent in the community. Not so hard, right?

      You say you ‘don’t need that aggravation’. Perhaps this aggravation is just what you need. Remember, it’s because of the irritation from the little piece of sand that the humble oyster creates a gorgeous pearl.

      Maybe this “aggravation” of being transparent is just what you need to create your pearl.

      I’ll be waiting to see it!


      • Bandersnatch

        Stuie — get off the pipe man — you’re losing it.
        4 words regarding those 2 kittens:

        1. survival.
        2. of.
        3. the.
        4. fittest.

        To remove them is to weaken the herd. Therefore it makes perfect sense. The agitators and misbehaving non-conformists are the disruptors who plant seeds of unrest, which is responsible for change, growth, adaptation and excellence. Darwins Theory of Evolution.


  • DebW

    Regarding the “list making” : Yes. There is one and they are collecting names all the time. Or .. they “were” …

    Check out the dialogue below.
    How did Bernadette Birney know who I was?

    I posted a link on my FACEBOOK page in December to an EJ article written by Bernadette Birney I was surprised at what she had to say about Anusara certification and made comment on my profile page on Facebook.
    Bernadette and I were not FB friends (then or now) and I had never heard of her at that point. I don’t know how she would have ever seen my post (nor the ensuing conversation which took place) as there was no connection between us. I am not Anusara.

    Peter Goodman jumped on and chastised us for being negativistic angry shitheads, who didn’t know what Love is, etc. and the convo went in a very interesting direction which wound up exposing Mr. Goodman as being a brand wizard extraordinaire (CEO of Kellwood Company for 28 years) … as well as a moderator of online facebook acitivity in relationship with Anusara. (Probably Waylon is the same and I’m not surprised if they get paid for what must be a very time consuming function).

    My point for bringing this up HERE is that I posted a comment on the first Yoga Dork article: “John Friend – The accusations” thread on Feb. 4th in which I made reference to the Facebook situation, but I did so anonymously and did not use my full name (i.e. not my last name).

    Bernadette made comment and called me by my full name. See below. What I would like to know is how did Ms.Birney know who I was that enabled her to post my last name on this thread? (I don’t care that she posted my full name – I have nothing to lose – what I do care about is what goes on behind the scenes at Anusara and what is the modus operandi and the intention behind their “Big Brother is Watching You” “operations?
    Its very dark and beyond creepy.

    Dear Bernadette: Tell us how you knew who I was to make comment on the thread and post my full name. Clearly you had been informed by someone. Who?
    And what is this practice? McCarthyism Yoga?

    Deborah February 4, 2012 at 8:54 am
    Interesting article on young woman working towards her Anusara cert; submitting her 3rd video (at $375 a pop I might add):
    And I quote: “Some of your students didn’t have their knees bent to 90° in Warrior II,” my newly assigned certification mentor said. (really – all students in class must have their knees bent to 90 in V2 in order to get certified? Really? C’mon) …
    “I made a second video. This time a frail, elderly woman whom I’d never met before showed up, and unrolled her mat right in front of the camera. Not only could this new student not touch her toes, or step to the front of the mat–she refused to accept my instructions for modifications.
    I needed her to follow my instructions so that I could demonstrate I had command of the class.
    “Put your back knee down,” I said.
    She ignored me.
    “Put your back knee down.” I fisted my hands on my hips, and fixed her with a stink-eye to show her I meant business.”
    I walked off camera and hyperventilated. What hospital bed had this lady crawled out of for the express purpose of RUINING MY LIFE?!

    Well, how about that? Good on the frail elderly old lady for listening to her body … Machiavellian naricissm comes top down in the buisiness of Anusara and seems to attract more of the same.

    Bernadette February 4, 2012 at 3:11 pm
    This will be my only comment on this site–please do not twist my words out of context for use in your smear campaign, Deborah Whipple.

    • Brooke

      Oh, dear.

      Deb, I’m sorry that happened. I find that conflict between you two so unfortunate, because I think you both have such valuable things to say about yoga and truth, and using one to seek the other … I feel like both of you have that fierce “mama bear” energy you talked about in another thread, a phrase that’s stuck with me in my thinking about what may be valuable to me in a yoga teacher.

      But leaving that one aside, for a bit, as I know it’s a difficult subject, and certainly not one I’m in a position to judge at all — do you think it’s possible that she just followed the FB link in your comment to her article, read your thoughts about her article on your page, and knew who you were that way? I know I, for one, tend to follow all the responses to anything I publish online, even if I don’t comment on them or engage the commenters in dialogue. Maybe she did the same?

      • steve


        Excellent and revealing post! Very dark and creepy activities–and it gets much worse. Psychopathological really…

        • steve

          activities for which they will pay in spades–all of them.

        • Virginia

          Very revealing article.
          i agree with steve – psychopathological.
          Since when do we tell students which emotions they are supposed to feel?

          • steve

            They use many relatively sophisticated (and vicious) psy-warfare techniques to harass others. The cyber stalking is one of them. BTW, not limited to anusara in yoga, though they are the most organized in it. They collaborate with others who want to control the practice, including a certain advertiser on this blog (who is also promoted by the blog)…Much like anusara was also heavily promoted by Yoga Jounal.

          • steve

            It’s called “hiding in the open”, by the way.

          • SQR

            “They use many relatively sophisticated (and vicious) psy-warfare techniques to harass others.”

            Really? Because if they do, they suck at it… anyone from military Psy-Ops who stumbles on this site will likely be rolling around on the floor laughing. Did a few bloated egos try to mount a smear campaign? Probably- along with some 15 year old trolls stirring up trouble instead of doing their homework… damned internet…

          • Bandersnatch

            SQR – you reveal yourself as a 15 year old troll by the comments you make. People such as Doug Keller, and Amy, and so many others who have come out and revealed the play dirty, underhanded and dark psychopathology of the Anusara ™ brand management online and offline “strategies and tactics”. They are vicious and ruthless and there have been many testimonials which attribute to this FACT. You are obviously still drunk on the kulaid and/or one of their trolls so why not climb back under your rock? You have nothing of value to add.

          • Mike

            irregardless of how birney knew whipples last name, she showed her lack of ethic and integrity by posting it.

          • SQR

            Bandersnatch- I didn’t say there wasn’t serious misbehavior by the people you mentioned, I just don’t think it rises to the level some folks here think it does. If not screaming at the same volume you are constitutes having nothing of value to add, then, yeah, I have nothing of value to add. Do you want an actual exchange, or would you prefer just listening to Rush Limbaugh?

          • SQR

            …Because that’s who you sound like. Mike- I think you’re right about Birney.

          • Brooke

            You know, SQR, if someone somehow manages to relate arcane Tantra rituals to free birth control, this thread will have really come full circle…

          • SQR

            Oh, the possibilities!

      • DebW

        Hey Brooke. I applaud your generosity of spirit and willingness to see the good, BUT – no. As in NO. No way.
        There was no link to my Facebook page whatsoever and, unless someone is my FB friend, they can’t see or read too much on my page. The link I posted was to the Elephant Journal article so interested readers could view for themselves what Bernadette went through in order to get certified. Rejected 3 x because all knees were not at 90′ in V2? That’s HOOEY. Sadly, it sounded to me like she was being given the run around and although I am certain she won’t see it that way – the point of my initial (december) posting was not personal but to say and share with MY sangha “look at this non-sense from Anusara which is ridiculous; sounds like these gals are being given the run around and milked for more and more coin” ….
        And that was the message that I tried to impart again on Feb.4th when I shared it with YD. (Only to be jumped all over by Halid Hatic, and called vile names, etc. which you can read in that thread).

        Such conduct comes top down, and to quote Doug Keller from above – …. > “This is ‘about’ an entire pattern of abuse of power, not just in terms of sexual relationships with students, teachers and employees, married or otherwise, but also in his treatment of employees, treatment of teachers with whom JF disagrees (see Amy Ippoliti’s letter) as well as teachers whose actions and fortunes he sought to tightly control as ‘certified,’ which included capricious favoritism. He defied his own rules and process for certification, jumping the process and granting certification according to his own whim (this is backed up by Betsey Downing’s reasons for giving up on him and Anusara — you might want to interview her). While the system and structure of Anusara may have looked good at first glance, the way he personally ran it led to disharmony and waste that has been expressed in many many ways by those who have been moved to finally give up and leave.<……" end quote.

        It has been since exposed that there was a cap on how many teachers would/could become certified, it was all about politic and control, and run along the lines of MLM/Pyramid scams. I have empathy for Bernadette and all the many young women who tried like the dickens to "get it right" and get certified when … it was never even possible. They were making them jump through hoops and hoops and hoops …… cha ching cha ching cha ching …… But not to digress.

        How did BB know who I was and to post my last name? Deborah was all I revealed on my YD comment – so someone on the response team alerted her . Maybe to my intital FB post back in Dec although I never heard a word from her at that time, or maybe not until they (the online police) read the comment on YD.
        Maybe Birney is willing to let us, the readers on YD, know more about the online police and response teams that monitor activity and comments and who alerted her to critical comment of her blog? There is no way she wasn't "informed" somehow … by someone.

        There are many others who were being monitored, as I was, for being "publicly" critical of AnusaraInc., long before this scandal ever broke (Doug Keller being one of them and maybe he will feel inclined to share or validate this claim) but very few on the inside who are talking about these dark practices of online voyeurism, predation, stalking, and like I said earlier, McCarthyism Yoga.

        Halid Hatic tried like the dickens to become my FB friend, poking me day after day … and the same on LinkedIn – looking at my profile regularly and trying to hook up. So its a no brainer that he is one of those who is employed to harass detractors …. they are surely many others. Its not hard to figure out what their agenda is – and in my opinion – its purely EVIL.

        • left

          You signed you comment on her original article and reused some wording here? Good chance Ms Birney, Ms Brower & Co peruse these boards, being as image aware as they are

          • Brooke

            That’s what I thought the explanation was too, left, but I think I misunderstood — I think Deb’s saying that she never commented on the EJ article, just posted it on her FB page.

            I’ll admit to finding this convo really unsettling. Hmm.

            Also, Deb, I just went to that thread and found that HH comment to you. And it’s the grossest violation of right speech I’ve seen here yet. I find it hard to imagine that a yogi wrote it, and if you hadn’t said you know who this person is, I would have assumed it was some troll totally unrelated to the thread, just sort of poking at it like an anthill. Just … wow. I’m sorry that happened to you.

          • DebW

            I don’t understand your comment “left” . I signed my name on her original post? NO. I copied an elephant journal link to my facebook page and then here on YD “anonymously”. I agree that many of the teachers including JF himself, and his inner circle herders, peruse these boards …

          • left

            I mean that the EJ article (by BB) that you linked to above has a comment added signed with you full name, so if the first name and the wording match that’s how she may have known?

          • DebW

            Thanks Brooke. I had someone send me an FB message telling me who Halid was, where he was located, studio he owned, and some non-sense that he had been carrying on in Santa Fe in similar VILE fashion. Meanwhile he started poking me every day, sending friend requests, and trying to hook up on LinkedIn. I believe it was an attempt to get “in” and gather information … possibly even for nefarious purposes. Yech! I confronted him and so did many others on here and he went away …. thankfully!
            You are correct in that I never commented on the EJ post by Bernadette. It came up on my home page “stream” from EJ – I read it and shared it and commented on it on MY FB page — to MY people/friends ONLY. So — how did she know who I was?

          • Brooke

            So … all this is really odd. Possibly a technological issue, possibly human interference, I can’t tell.

            Here’s what’s going on: Deb, there’s a comment at the end of that piece by Bernadette from December that’s signed “Deborah Whipple.” So one of two things happened — either someone who was able to read your FB feed (so someone you know, presumably) copied your FB comment, signed in as you on EJ, and posted it there … or somehow, when you posted to your FB page, your comment was also linked back and posted as a reply to the EJ article. I don’t know whether that second option is possible — Facebook and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship. I don’t spend enough time on there to really know how a lot of FB widgets work.

            Either way, I feel like the mystery of how Bernadette knows who you are is solved. It also might explain some of her rancor — you phrased those thoughts, understandably, more the way you’d phrase them to a relatively private audience of your FB friends than to a public post. (Don’t get me wrong — I know you go in guns firing if you have something to say, public or not! 😉 I just mean that she wouldn’t have known that you weren’t directing those comments, in essence, right at her, and given the intensity of your feelings — the comments were intense.)

            Now there’s just a new and stranger mystery about how your private FB post got posted as a public reply in the first place…

      • DavidE

        When I’ve read and heard stories like this I shake my head. Looking at photos of an Anusara Wanderlust class led by a senior certified teacher I see bodies bowed out of alignment because the fingers have to touch the floor and I wonder what the hell are they getting other than creating a muscle memory that says “I struggle in this position.”

        But their knees are at 90 degrees so I guess it’s all good. Too many club rules. Too many narcissistic elites as I’ve experienced when I helped national teachers, while I worked as an assistant in trainings, and when taking their workshops. Even though I’ve still benefited from those lessons on and off the mat, when asked my advice to students who come to my classes is to take their hard earned money and attend more weekly classes with (a) teacher(s) who inspire(s) them.

        If all of your students happen to be seniors who can barely touch their knees but are enthusiastically reaching with “inner body bright” and working hard with the “universal principles of alignment” but their arms are bent forget making a video. Though shaming would probably help to strengthen the manomaya kosha of a 70 year old, must be a rule about that for teachers somewhere.

  • DebW

    Ohhhh … Thanks Brooke. I just clicked on to EJ and saw the comment with my name on it which is exactly what I posted on my FB page. I wonder why my name is in black lettering and all the other commentators are in orange? (Paranoid? … LOL) ….
    I can’t say if I posted that back in December or not. Its possible I did, but not likely because I wouldn’t use my full name, and because I boycotted EJ as of last spring when he admitted to censoring and deleting comments; wrote to him … was deleted … so stopped going on his page. I would still look at what came up when it was feeding through the facebook threads but I just post to my own page and make my comments there and see what comes up in my community — one that I trust and “understand” and is generally fairly above board. Hm. I wonder if someone did what you suggest and copied my FP post and used my full name with intention to create upset. I bet I know who it was too! Yech. This is just how they roll — and — it IS pathological forsure and definetly not of the “shri”. Oi. Whats up with the thumbs up icons on EJ? No thumbs down? No one is allowed to disagree? Thats F’d up.
    Anyhow this does explain how Bernadette knew my last name. But it doesn’t change my opinion in the least about the online gestapo … because I have been attacked by them before simply for sharing my opinion. ON MY OWN FACEBOOK PAGE.

    • debw

      I was just revisiting YogaDork as I rec’d an update that someone has newly posted … and I got a chance to relook at the “mystery” of my posting or not posting on EJ back in Dec. I have to say, after everything that has been revealed over the last few months – I still feel quite sure that I did not make that comment on Elephant Journal. What I think happened is that those behind the Anusara curtain, the online response team doing aggressive brand management, copied my comments from my FB page and posted to EJ – full well knowing that EJ is read by hordes of pro-Anusara defenders and with the expectancy that there would be alot of negative backlash at me – and ultimately serve to intimidate me and make me shut up. Gah!

      • yup

        These people are such game-playing ass-hats. Nor do I believe for a minute that John Friend is on the edge of bankruptcy. He probably just shifted and hid his assets, like a crooked jerkoff prepping for divorce papers to hit the courts.

  • Unravelling

    In chapter one (of the Gita), The War Within, it is clear that we are to understand the battlefield where Arjuna has collapsed as an allegory for the conflicts existing in one’s soul. The imminent fight with the opposing army is to represent the struggle that one must undertake when fulfilling the highest duty: the duty to the Self. Why then was the scripture written so that the enemies are “teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, uncles, in-laws, grandsons, and others with family ties” –what role does this play in the allegory? Why aren’t the enemies brutish, nasty barbarians that Arjuna could dispose of unaffectedly? Why is Arjuna’s great difficulty to fight an enemy with whom he has history, relation, and compassion for, and not to fight some behemoth monster that is equally formidable?
    The reason, I think, is that The Gita is not just identifying our life’s most fundamental struggle, but the nature of that struggle. When we are unsure or questioning of our duty to our true nature and Self, the forces that our true Self must overcome appear to be unnecessary or even wrong to overcome. When Arjuna collapses on the battlefield in doubt, he is questioning his nature as a warrior, who must defeat his enemies to insure that the rightful heir gets the throne. But in questioning his nature, he sees not enemies but the faces of people dear to him, and is tempted to resign himself to compassion. Both are noble perspectives, and both are right paths of the Self. But they cannot be taken at the same time, and neither can be taken against the nature of the taker.
    When there is certainty in who you are, there is certainty in what you must do. When there is doubt in who you are, there is doubt in all that you do.
    ~kundalini karamazov~

    There are many wars going on both within and without this Anusara scandal. We sit upon the threshold of awakening; the choice is yours and yours alone to make. Each and everyone of us has come here to unravel.

  • DebW

    As illustrated by YD on todays post”True Confessions”:
    from Berndette Birney BLog:

    Dear Bernadette: THANK YOU for sharing this information. I believe you are the FIRST to openly acknowledge that Anusara Inc. was “keep(ing) an eye out for, and report (ing), social media movement that was unsympathetic in nature to Anusara” … and that you were asked by Anusara Inc. to “positively respond to online comments critical in nature of John Friend and Anusara Yoga”.

    It must have been very difficult for you as well as many of your peers to be put in such a situation … like being between a rock and a hard place, especially if what you were being asked to do was not resonant with your own particular experience and “truth”.

    shady shady shady …

    How many Anusara people were “on board” with this, monitoring “social media movement”, and “reporting it”.
    Reporting it to whom? (Peter G?)
    And then what? Is there a black list somewhere?
    Are the actions, words and vile conduct of Halid Hatic on the earlier postings on YD indicative of how people were/are harassed by anonymous Anusara employees?

    Wow!!!!!!!! WOOF woof!

    It REALLY IS McCarthyism Yoga.

    Stever – obviously you are bang on about “vicious) psy-warfare techniques to harass others”.
    and … um …
    @SQR — I think you have a little egg on your face. 😉
    (AND, I think you are one of them – its palpable) ….

    • SQR

      You’ll think what you want- not my worry. If not calling for every Anusara teacher to be hanged in public makes me “one of them” in your view, I’m OK with that. I have friends who teach in several other traditions, so if Anusara goes away it won’t change things for me much. For what it’s worth, I’d been thinking you were one of the more interesting, independent thinkers on this site- as you probably know, thinking for yourself can get you in hot water with all kinds of folks, but I bet you’ll keep doing it. So will I.

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