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Anusara, John Friend Update: Back to Business

in Business of Yoga, YD News

More committees, John will teach in September, and it’s back to business at Anusara, Inc. Update posted 2 hrs ago via Facebook. (the comments are interesting and mixed predominantly opposed.)
Posted from the road so please pardon the current lack of formalities.

Update: Leadership Committee responds to John’s letter via kulaevolution.com. See below.

Dear Anusara Yoga Community,

After several weeks of negotiations with the Leadership Committee, Anusara, Inc. will now move forward with a new management structure for Anusara’s yoga school. We are happy to announce that the school of Anusara yoga will now be led by its licensed teachers. The previous Leadership Committee will be replaced by the Teacher Advisory Committee beginning immediately and will officially run under the direction of Anusara, Inc. through a new 5-member BOD made up of professionals within the Anusara community. The initial directive of the Teacher Advisory Committee is to now organize the following committees:

1) Certification
2) Curriculum
3) Teacher Products
4) Community Communications
5) Ethics

An interim Certification Committee will be activated this week, so that many teachers whose paperwork has been in limbo during the last 3 months can start to flow again starting now.

Also, the office has been working diligently this week to sort and organize all the new applications we’ve received since mid-February. Since then, in total, we have received 34 new applications for licensed status, 70 total teachers in the Anusara-Inspired licensing process, and around 200 in various stages of the certification process.

There are currently 930 licensed teachers who have paid this year’s fees. In addition, we have many, many applications pending for new licenses of which came into the office during the last couple of months. Teachers from around the world have been calling in regularly to see when the certification process will begin again.

The Board of Directors will be expanded from its current 3 members to 5 members. At least 1 of the current Board members will be replaced and a full 5-member BOD will be created. The new members will be considered through applications received from any member of our community who has professional background and experience in business management, marketing, or law. Please send resumes or letters to Wendy@anusara.com.

John Friend will retain sole ownership of Anusara, Inc., and will replace Wendy Willtrout on the BOD if/when he is cleared by an ethics review.

John will continue his sabbatical until September at which time he will return to teaching under his own name and auspices. For the rest of the year he will not use the Anusara yoga trade name to promote his teachings. Pending an ethics investigation, it will be determined when he may use the trademark again in his public teaching.
However, he is confident that when a fair investigation is held, a great deal of truth will arise, and he will be cleared to teach Anusara yoga in 2013 if he wishes.

Through this crisis the mettle of the community has surely been tested. There have been great examples of steadiness and open-heartedness during this time, and there have been terribly negative and harmful emotional reactions as well. Without engaging in the vicious postings on social media from a very vocal minority, many teachers have quietly held their affirmation in the efficacy of the Anusara yoga methodology. Even during this darkest period in its history, Anusara yoga has continued to help many students around the world. This is the greatest blessing of Anusara, the community we all love.

Now we move into a new, exciting stage of Anusara’s evolution in which the teachers take the reigns of the school of Anusara yoga.

May we move forward together now in peace,
John (on behalf of Anusara, Inc.)

Response to John Friend/Anusara, Inc. 5/17/12 Announcement

Dear Anusara Community,

John Friend has announced a new plan forward for Anusara, Inc., the details of which were posted on 5/17/12 (read announcement). We, the Leadership Committee (the “LC”), would like to clarify that:

(1)    During our negotiations, we unanimously rejected this same plan and other similar proposals from John Friend and Anusara, Inc.;

(2)   We do not endorse John Friend’s plan and believe it falls far short of addressing the concerns of and serving the Anusara community;

(3)    We believe that John’s proposal relies heavily on teachers willing to volunteer extensive amounts of their time in service of his for-profit corporation; and

(4)   The LC’s mission is to represent the entire community of Anusara teachers, and John does not have the authority to “replace” us as we are not an Anusara, Inc. committee.

We are not at this time disbanding or abandoning our mission to create a true teacher-led school.


The Leadership Committee


92 comments… add one
  • Honey

    You got to be shitting me! “There are currently 930 licensed teachers who have paid this year’s fees. ” Name them and boycott them and end this whole sordid freak show.

  • David

    I wonder who is going to appoint the members of the ethics committee that will “investigate” and “clear” him to use the trademark, of which he is the sole owner.


  • Cheryl Chaffee

    Let us not forget WHY this is the “darkest period in [Anusara’s] history.” It is because of the inability of its leader to adhere to its own ethical standards. It is because its leader wouldn’t stand accountable for his poor choices. It is because its leader used his power NOT “to help many students around the world,” but to manipulate and control the very teachers who have dedicated their lives to him and to the method.

    See what his feelings are about the teachers who have left Anusara. He refers to us as a vicious, vocal minority, who have had “terribly negative and harmful reactions.” He paints himself as the victim in this scandal. This letter is yet another attempt to manipulate, shame, and separate those who have a viewpoint that does not align with John’s. Why did I leave Anusara? Because I won’t stand for the manipulation. He is a powerful person, using his power for his own pleasure and advancement, not a victim.

  • Scott

    See the other side of this story here: John Friend fired the Leadership Committee which he hand-picked because they didn’t act like the mindless sheep he wanted them to be.

  • 1 mistake up above – the 19,592 “likes” are the “likes” to Anusara’s FB page, not to this post. Also, as Scott noted above, the Leadership Committee had posted about their progress today. John’s letter contradicted theirs. Then the Leadership Committee posted a sort of rebuttal. Scott gives the link above – here it is again:

    • YD

      Thanks for that clarification on likes. Reading mistake via iphone. Fixed

  • Anusour

    Caveat Emptor.
    John Friend is Anusara.
    Supporting Anusara is supporting John Friend.
    Please however support those teachers who have resigned.

  • Andrew

    please note the 19,592 “likes” are for Anusara’s Facebook page. The letter has 66 “likes” as of now. and I suspect that is about how many Anusara teachers there are left. the numbers are misleading. and there are certainly many in the international community who are not aware of the lack of progress in the “process” and are still in the “wait and see” mode. well – here you have it. the writing is on the wall, literally. those who attempt to lead Anusara toward healing and growth will be silenced and dismissed. the guru maintains his trademark and sole proprietorship. this is unfortunate not only for those who held out hope for a resurrection of Anusara but also a setback for the entire yoga community, which is tainted and maligned by this scandal.

  • DDP needs to have a “chat” with John Friend me thinks.

    • Janet

      That would be ideal! And one “chat” I would love to watch!

      • WhoCares

        I can just see the DDP Youtube video now @ JF, “Feel the bang bitch!”

  • DavidE

    “reigns” – Freudian slip?

    • Angela

      Yes! I was thinking the same thing!

  • Disgusted

    How can ANYONE now stay and support Anusara?? Even Christy Nones will have a hard time apologising out of this one. Please Anusara teachers – dump this megalomaniac, take the passion for ‘saving’ Anusara and set up an entirely new school. John does not own the alignment. He can’t order teachers who are already certified or inspired to ‘unlearn’ the system. If we really need labels, set up a new certification process, allow previously accrued hours with Anusara to count towards a separate certification. John Friend has shown himself to be a man with no honour, no integrity. He is attempting to use the worldwide students to built up Anusara again – many worldwide think this scandal is about sex – in fact it’s more and more about corruption, manipulation, lies and control. He disgusts me.

  • Daryl

    I actually support John Friend, and reject the hypocritical and pseudo-Puritanical American “outrage” with which this whole situation has been tainted with. None, and I mean, NONE, of the people involved in this current witch hunt have contributed or will contribute what John Friend has given to Yoga, and when the dust clears, this “incident” will be a footnote against a career of teaching and transforming Yoga. One of these days Americans will finally process their sexual hang ups in a pro-active way, separate themselves from their Judeo-Christian “Ethical” outrage, and their wanting to be constant victims for things that didn’t actually happen to them, or at the level they want it to. Until then, this whole incident remains a sore on the face of Yoga, not what John Friend has “done,” but the way so many of the people who have lined up against him, have acted like huge hypocrites, and made us all look like 8-year-olds, who are so happy to tattle tale on “adult” talk and actions. Seriously people: get laid, grow up, own your own future, and get back to your Yoga.

    • Anusour

      If you care to hang out with Daryl and like minded people, then by all means make haste to an Anusara class. Those who realize that this scandal totally transcends the issue of sex and rather has to do with corruption and misuse of power will be absent.

    • Cheryl Chaffee

      Daryl, the only hypocrite here is John himself. Teaching ethical principles, but failing to uphold them. Changing the rules when he couldn’t bend them enough to suit his fancy. Playing the victim, when the whole “scandal” was of his making.

    • Father of Two

      Just last night I asked my kids what they thought Yoga meant. My 6 YO said its a system of excercise that allows people to gain strength and be more flexible. My crazy 9 YO ,,,She said,,,wait for it wait for it,,,”Yoga is for people who want to relax”..
      I had to explain to them how puritanical and narrow minded they are for thinking such a thing. Thanks Daryl. You are a wonderful teacher.

    • Kendra Hodgson

      “None, and I mean, NONE, of the people involved in this current witch hunt have contributed or will contribute what John Friend has given to Yoga”

      I am going to make it my mission NOT to contribute to yoga what JF has given it, which is complete disrespect of the sacredness of the human spirit and of dignity. JF has contributed a heap load of misogyny and power abuses and a complete lack of accountability. After months of questioning and searching, I am feeling more clear in my spirit and in my belief in yoga than I ever have. It includes boundaries, it includes a willingness to protect the values and ethics that I hold dear. I am so not a Puritan … and this is so completely not about sex.

    • Brooke

      “separate themselves from … their wanting to be constant victims for things that didn’t actually happen to them, or at the level they want it to.”

      Daryl, just checking: what do you mean by that last clause? Because it kind of sounds like you mean that one day people who have suffered trauma of some kind will separate themselves from their desire to be traumatized in worse ways than they already have been. Which would be quite a harsh thing for you to have said. So I find it unlikely that that’s what you meant. Right?

    • Notgonnabuyit


      We are in the same community. I know you. I am just as sexually open-minded as you. This has nothing to do with what you are railing about. JF is sick, he is ill. He needs help. He has been labeled with NPD by people who do this kind of thing for a living. Wake up.

    • Larry, Daryl, and Daryl

      Daryl is either an idiot, a troll, a John Friend plant or a combination of all three. Don’t fee the troll people. Keep the conversation focused on John Friend.

    • Larry

      Daryl, Daryl Daryl……the old puritanical, loosen up, get back to your Yoga line……if only it were that simple. Change your prescription cos you have fallen hook, line and sinker for this one….

    • GTL

      yeah, Get laid People! quoting Darryl (above). is that a supine pose? well, i’d rather not, if that’s OK with you.

    • Janet

      Daryl, since you brought up the subject of sex and getting laid, I’m almost positive that’s what your own focus is, not our’s. It’s people like you and Friend which continue to give yoga a bad name and comedic cliches.

      Reality check: It’s not the sex which pissed off so many people. It’s the lies and manipulations underlying the whole organization. If you can’t see that, then open your blinders.

    • wondering

      what did he contribute, beyond canned phrases about “blooming buttocks” and confusing “loops”s? awareness of alignment did not come from jf., though his followers may blindly believe otherwise.

    • Dale Elson

      The problem isn’t that JF likes to have sex, or that he plays Wiccan games, or whatever. The problem is that JF is a manipulative bastard who took sexual advantage of _many_ women, and used his power to harm teachers who did not fully support his misdeeds. His great power within the org has corrupted him greatly.
      Teachers and spiritual leaders should PROTECT the kula.

  • Sex?

    I understand why you think this is about sex Daryl, really I do. Because in jfexposed, sex was what caught most people’s eye.

    After seeing the website it was K I felt sorry for. She was exposed far more than John in that website.

    Since then however, John has been truly exposed. Account after account of low down dirty tricks. The man’s shadow was hidden for too long. It was only a matter of time before he was actually exposed for who he is.

    For me this is about John manipulating and controlling – telling studios that their currently contracted teachers had ‘mental problems’ because he wanted to steal that business. Bullying people whilst projecting an image of love and light. Having people who dared to challenge him ostracised from the community, having teams of people tear down challengers, blocking the success of his teachers if they dared to criticise. Yet I heard him over and over again at trainings say he was always open to hearing how to improve, that Anusara was not Dogmatic.


    But this is not about sex. No no no.

    • Kendra Hodgson

      If you can edit your comment, I would like to request that you remove the woman’s name. You can use a single initial or something. Many people did not see the website, and naming her furthers the damage to her. I do not know her, I just believe strongly in not bringing her any further violation. Thank you.

      • Brooke

        Agreed. YD?

        • Sex?

          Agreed. I apologise for that. Can’t seem to edit the comment though. I was fired up there. I now want to take the womans name off.


          • YD

            yep, got it.

  • may you take

    a long walk off a short bridge, john (not a) friend…

  • Enlightened Asshole

    It saddens me that Anuasra is going to go on. It needs to die. The whole system of certification is ludacris. The money that a full certification and inspired costs for a student. We are talking 10 to 20 thousand for full certification. John Freind has made up this system to keep himself and top teachers working and for what? Most of the yoga intructors are not making more money, only the top people. Pyramid sceme! Really this goes for most teacher training but Anusara has taking it to a new low or should I say high gross! The Kula must be Killed!

    • Dale Elson

      No no no. Anusara teachers are really some of the best trained teachers in the yoga community. We don’t want to throw that out with the bathwater. We just need JF to disappear for a few years, so that all of this crap can die down.

  • Burt

    Now that John has lost Anusaraland in California, he seems intent on sacrificing the reputations his remaining teachers like a demented general sending his remaining soldiers on a final suicide charge against the “vicious postings on social media from a very vocal minority.” And by the way, where exactly has he been all this time? Huddling with his lawyers, strategists and select enablers on a tropical island, no doubt.

    • Semper Fidelis

      Good analogy with one point to add. The true yoga community (as well as the military) will always be around to care for the weak and injured left behind regardless of the treasonous actions of a few that have defined themselves with their own alliegience.

      He is only a weak male that has built his legacy with dishonor and deception.
      He is a temporary blip in the yoga theatre.
      His mark will be burned over like a bad cattle branding.

  • Travel Agent

    In fact John Friend was recently on vacation in Barbados with a young female student. who knows, maybe he is still there.
    Needless to say, the discovery of his whereabouts after he claimed to be taking a sabbatical for therapy left many in the community outraged. And of course the outrage was not about the presumed sex but rather the hypocrisy and “business as usual” in light of the crisis.

  • Beans


    “John Friend will retain sole ownership of Anusara, Inc.” This is a quote. He OWNS it. They can’t oust him from HIS company. regardless of what anyone thinks about him or this situation, if he owns it, Anusara is his to do with as he wills.

    As to the outrage over those who have paid fees to Anusara to renew their licenses, also a reality check is due. If you want to have the absolute freedom to follow your ethics, you need to refrain from obligating yourself with things like mortgages, car payments and family obligations. Otherwise, most people are not free to simply walk away from their livelihood because their employer (or professional credentialing authority) has not maintained an admirable level of integrity.

    • Semper Fidelis

      I traded our Tahoe for a Forester, moved my family several times during multiple deployments and to the best of my ability helped my wife raise my children to think for themselves.

      Did I walk away from my obligations or simply adapt and evolve.

      It’s only money.

      They’ll either get over it or they wont. The true will march forward with another cadence call because it’s what they do.

      • Dale Elson

        It’s not only money – it is identity.

        • Semper Fidelis

          Point taken.

          Identity is a product of social destruction as well as construction.


    With JF’s intentions now clear about the future of Anusara yoga, and his refusal to cede control, the members LC committee and the remaining senior teachers have a clear choice. They can either resign from Anusara yoga or carry water for JF. Most of the times, reforming from within does not work. I for one cannot bear to attend an Anusara class and hear the invocation as it smacks of hypocrisy and appears so hollow.

  • meet the new boss
  • Tony in Berkeley

    It looks like Elephant Journal got a quote from Desiree Rumbaugh on this: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/05/john-friend-has-clearly-spoken-his-intentions-for-the-future-of-anusara-yoga/

    I wonder what choice she is going to make?

  • Andrew Jones

    Well, there it is.
    Many of us saw this coming and even within the scope of that insight I still feel sick to my stomach. Ol’ JF is a master teacher and a master equivocater. Bummer. Sad. Deeply grieved for my friends and colleages who spent so much time, sincere effort and loads of cash to promote what could have been a ground breaking organization. Just happy my own Anusara instructor was such a &%#* that I pulled back before all this went down. I’m not sure he is done yet so hang onto your hats!

  • I think at this point I’m willing to boycott teachers who continue to associate publicly with Anusara, for their sake. It’s well past time for the Anusara community to take what they know and make it their own.

    That said, pretty much every Anusara-school teacher I have associated with has managed to creep me out in one way or another (all two of them) so not a super hard decision for me to make.

    • Enlightened Asshole

      Anusara has always given me the creeps.

    • Dale Elson

      I don’t think that boycotting people is “for their own good.”

  • hat hanger

    Hey zen master, nice to see you here.he is certainly finished, he just doesnt see it yet

    • Where's The Boycott?

      I respectfully disagree. Yes, today is a great day of unveiling and distancing for many. But I suspect John sees this as a culling of the herd. Not everyone will leave and John will truly know who he can continue this behavior with in the future. He will operate on a smaller budget, sure, but although many see this as the death of Anusara, I think John sees this as the birth of his new rising. That’s why it’s all the more important that we continue to have these conversations and post what we know as truth. We can’t help those that choose to keep their eyes closed, but maybe we can prevent some people from getting hurt in the future. Because if we’ve seen anything, it’s that John Friend is a survivor. There most definitely will be a future…

      • hat hanger

        Seeing this as a culling of the herd reminds me of “The silence of the lambs”. But i digress.

  • Janet

    How about just dropping “Anusara” altogether, taking the alignments, change them a little and name it something else?
    John Friend is a bulldog who is not going to let this bone go. Best to let go of the bone and leave it to the dog.

    • Anusour

      Very wise. If there is a consensus to do so, a new name will arise. I have faith in Douglas and like minded teachers to manifest this.

      • I don’t even think it needs a new name.

        I’ve been teaching in the alignment utilized by the krishnamacharya lineage for over a decade. I have my own method for teaching alignment that is simple and effective for my students. Most teachers (including anusara teachers) send their injured or other special needs clients to me because I find ways to adapt the asanas to their specific needs for proper alignment.

        I have no branded name for it. I do teach my method to other teachers, and I teach them how to design their own methods based on their own observations of their practices and their student’s practices.

        Any teacher can walk away from Anusara licensing right now, go out and work, and teach yoga. They can begin to discover their own voice, their own method, and how they and their students work together and co-create a positive yoga experience.

        We don’t need a brand to do this. Heck, most of my teachers don’t even care about certification papers or being a member of Yoga Alliance. Instead, we both know that they have a solid understanding of the material, a network of fellow teachers (and of course me) that they can call on for information, insight, questions, and now, we’ve set up a system of peer and individual supervision to facilitate our growth as teachers.

        When my teachers go out to work, they tell their employers “Just call Jenifer.” And they give my name. I ask the employer to interview them first, and then give me a call. I talk about the first impression of the person. Their strengths, their weaknesses, how they are best managed based on their personalities. If they are to be hired for a management position, I talk about their perspectives, experiences, and where they may need additional support to manage best. We talk about the training that we did, the supervision that we continue.

        No need for paper. No need to pay fees to organizations that don’t necessarily uphold your values or do anything for you (eg, YA does nothing for me, since I live in another country. It has no quality assurance process, either, so being a “registered school” just puts me on a web site).

        Just go and teach. Know what you know. Know what your weaknesses are. Create a support network. Get supervision (both individual and peer — if you are reading this and curious, drop me a line and I can hook you up with supervision).

        We can talk about branding the business side of things. But no need to brand the yoga. Yoga just is.

        • Well said. True yoga from the heart. Teach what you know to be true from your experience not someone else’s.
          Certifications mean nothing if you can’t effectively share your practice.

  • Where's The Boycott?

    This just posted on the Anusara FB page – they’re attempting to retract John’s statement: The letter posted here on 5/17 was posted prematurely and was inaccurate. It has now been removed. An explanation and further information will be posted shortly.

  • wondering

    how aboaut just teaching yoga or not and not needing to be in a group/club or having a name for it. the name is yoga

    • Father of Two

      Thats just plain Crazy Talk. Keep that up and you wont get the New sacred handshake. 😉

      • wondering

        well there is that, as well as the jumbo mat and all the other trademarked products and the community/confederacy of dunces! maybe it is 10,000 wellspent.

  • Semper Fidelis

    So glad my wife did not continue her training and inevitably support this moron or his rubes. Unfortunately, she was able to meet him a while back and his interest in her had me suspicious to say the least.

    Is there or will there be a future list of the teachers/schools that decided to stick around? I’m just curious but nonetheless determined because I (as well as a few others) plan to spend a great deal of our free time finding each and every school or teacher in this continent that decides to support his future efforts and initiate a massive campaign to find their respective google places ad or like web geo-marker and place an informative review to make certain prospective students or drop-ins understand exactly what these people ultimately believe in before any of the uninformed become duped.

    And John my friend, you and I still have an unscheduled conversation in the not too distant future to clarify your comments to my wife. For more details, see the jarhead on the purple mat in one of ur future workshops in my neck of the woods. It should make for an interesting impromptu class intermission.

    • Brooke

      My hat’s off to you, sir — as soon as I can stop laughing long enough to take it off.

      Almost makes me regret the fact that I never intend to take another JF seminar. I’d look very much forward to witnessing a conversation between Mr. Friend and one of the nation’s finest. I think he might find it … enlightening.

  • Larry

    Ok Daryl,
    So what do you think of the latest news? (ie: letter to community withdrawn cos it was premature and slightly wrong)…..oooopss sorry we sent the wrong letter out….ummm…….errrrrr….wait, I didn’t mean it!!!!……I ….errrrr…..WAIT!!!!! Don’t go!!!!!……

  • Letter from Wendy

    Here is the new letter posted in Anusara facebook Friday evening 8:00 pm from ” Wendy” to explain the situation for the prematurely and inaccurately posted “Letter from John”:

    • Yoga Mama

      How desperate can you get? Of course, John Friend wrote that first posting clearly not expecting the firestorm of criticism. It seems that for most the spell is finally broken. Maybe the Anusara cult along with it’s coercion, smear tactics, syrupy philosophy, hula hoops, and sex games will fade into the sunset. The alignment will continue to inform but JF borrowed most of that from others anyway.

      • wondering

        this jf alignment thing is driving me nuts. he didnt invent proper body mechanics, alignment, posture, proprioception etc. why is everyone forever crediting him with “alignment”, and making such a big deal out of it hellooooo mr. Iyengar come to mind at all or a physical therapist for that matter???? honestly the “loops” are stupid and confusing and the phraseing spewed by the followers corny and stale. It must have been 10-15 years ago that they were all spouting “blooming buttocks” and it was/is still ridiculous

        • I’m with you there, wondering. 🙂

          It’s also become unresponsive.

          Instead of looking at the person in front of you, working together to come to a proper alignment and workable solution for that body based on what you know and what you see and what they say and what they feel, people keep getting forced into “spirals.”

          Sad really.

        • PS

          Exactly. John Friend studied with Iyengar a long time ago, then broke with him. However, he took Iyengar’s alignment cues, wrapped them up in new-agey, hippy-dippy language, and sold them as his “invention.” So Anusara was founded on illusion and delusion, and sustained by a cult of personality. No wonder his followers are having a hard time finding any footing to start the school anew.

        • Dale Elson

          IMO, JF _did_ reinvent alignment. He changed the goal of asanas from making particular shapes with the body, to doing particular actions inside the body. The UPAs don’t tell you where to put your feet, and they are applicable in any position – asana, weightlifting, or washing the dishes. The asanas are of course the most effective poses in which to use the UPAs, but remember that almost all of theasanas were invented in the last hundred years or so, so there’s nothing all that special about them, except that they work. Other poses work, too.
          The UPAs work universally though, since they call out internal actions. Iyengar does not concentrate in the internals.
          And for me, that is JF’s genius.

          • nope.

            It all depends which Iyengar-based teachers you trained with. Also, there have been many, many innovations in thinking about alignment, anatomy and so on, from Paul Grilley to Leslie Kaminoff among others, simultaneous with the gosh-golly-gee-whiz-everything’s-so-pretty shine-your-heart-and-lift-your-ass yoga big-festival-tent groovy-tunes culture Friend created. John Friend’s only “geniuses” were for marketing and bullying. Oh, and getting high and having sex with students and married employees. And talking out of his ass about tantric philosophy he didn’t understand, and making up his own shit and trying to force it on his students. And over-charging for trainings, license fees, and certifications. And bullying other studio managers into stepping aside for the employees he was screwing. Yes, REAL genius.

          • HJCOTTON

            I am fed up with the denigration of Iyengar yoga by the Anusaris as you can’t even mention his name in an Anusara class. Nobody in Anusara acknowledges the influence of Iyengar yoga in their hallowed UPAs as well as the focal point. What JF did was to appropriate stuff from different schools of yoga and philosophies and made them his own . JF presented a more user friendly alignment yoga that is way less harsh with less yelling than Iyengar with all the open heart crap. I took classes workshops from several Iyengar and Anusara teachers.
            I for one, find Iyengar alignment principles and sequencing and even Ashtanga superior to Anusara. I don’t have perfect proportions, and it is the modifications I took from my Iyengar teachers that enabled me to advance in my asanas practice.
            Because of the tunnel vision among Anusara teachers and their refusal to hear alternative opinions, I stopped taking Anusara class although it is the only form of alignment yoga in my city. It is no coincidence that all the ex-Anusaris are mentioning their Iyengar trainings in their bios.
            I am doing all my personal practice through yogaglo, and beeen taking only workshops to improve my yoga. I am benefiting a lot from yogaglo, and I am enjoying the classes given by the exAnusaris tremendously. I feel that there is way more freedom in their teaching, and it is as if a heavy weight that has beeen lifted from their chests. It was so heartening to go to an Ashtanga class after the Anusara imbrglio and see the seriousness and the no-nonesense approach of the teacher as well as the practioners.
            In short, what Mr. Iyengar contributed to yoga to the west is priceless with his innovations that he never ceases to improve on as he gets older. Mr. Iyengar never renounced Krishnamacharya and he always called him his guruji in contrast to John freind .

    • Semper Fidelis

      The serpent continues to devour itself as the puppets strings unravel.


  • Fortune Teller

    Ok, I’m back from my long vacation-uh-sabbatical (I meant to say) and ready to finally talk business. I hope everyone has been hanging in there rooting for me while I decided to step back for a month or two. Just remember, I’m your leader but officially not so on paper. Actually we still need to write this all down, it’s only talk right now. No need to consult a business attorney to represent you or seek any outside professional counsel of any kind. Leave the business decisions to me. All you devoted yogi’s out there just keep believing in me. C’mon everybody whatcha say? All aboard!

  • honomann

    Sabbatical has been lonely for John. He just wants to get laid again.

  • At the beginning all may have forgiven the incongruity between the stated ethics and the “sins of the flesh”…after all, in most other parts of society, being a rock star is in part about the “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”, right?
    What can’t be ignored is the months and years of manipulation, bullying before and the enormous arrogance and lack of humility after the “JF Exposed” came out. JF’s continued, delusional belief, that he can just come back and do as he pleases, and with a “properly framed missive” everyone will just buy that.
    The only reason Anusara, Inc. still have licensed teachers is that there are people who have been holding out hope for JF to come to his senses and for Anusara, Inc. to change its form of corporate governance. These are teachers who have worked hard, invested heavily and sacrificed to be part of something larger than themselves. They can’t be blamed for holding out hope…but ultimately it will come down to this: Fool me once, shame on you….fool me twice, shame on me…fool me thrice, won’t get fooled again.

  • Franny

    I just have to say how disturbed I am by the anger and name calling I see in the comments above and in comments I often see on Yoga dork posts. As someone who studies Yoga Philosophy I genuinely feel there is a constructive way to talk about issues and we should all understand that most everyone on this earth suffers from negative thoughts and that condemning each other/condemning John Friend etc. Is not helpful. What would be more helpful is teaching people by example and realizing that rarely is there a perfect person, we all have a bad side.
    So please try at least when you are on a yoga site to not create more suffering. Isn’t that what we do yoga for? To end our suffering? Which in turn means we have to try to end others suffering?
    In no way am I defending John Friend, I am not an Anusara Yogi, but I do know that there are many heart broken Anusara Yogi’s out there and I feel sorrow for them and hope they can bring meaning back to yoga for themselves.

    • Prepare

      Community life is stressful. Many comments are legitimatly blistering in response to the intensity of the shyster-ing and bs. What might seem to you as name-calling or “meanness” is calling a spade a spade in some one else’s book. It’s subjective. If you can’t take the heat, hon, stay out of the kitchen.

      • Prepare

        Oh, additionally — people are not just made to suffer by “negative thoughts,” but actually by the immoral, unethical behavior of others, which has had real consequences. Get a moral center. It ain’t all about just “think happy thoughts,” kiddo.

  • Spindoctor reposted

    For some reason YD removed this part of the comment thread. Fortunately, I had a copy of this quite brilliant comment… Please keep comments like this up, YD…

    Spin Doctor May 21, 2012 at 3:42 pm
    An amazing mess…. to which, the fall-out still remains to be seen.

    It is shocking that people are still willing to refer to themselves as Anu$ara. All one can say is that it must be the money. Look where the money goes and you will find the answers.

    This DISGRACE of a system that is self-defined as “aligning with the Divine” is reprehensible. Rotten from the Core is what it stands for now as there are those who are still protecting John Friend with their silent approval. If you come right out and defend him and his corporate cash cow then you are actively creating karma that will tarnish your spirit.

    Those who vocally or silently align themselves with him and Anu$ara are giving him strength and condoning his behavior and giving him license to do more damage.

    There is no salvaging a system that has been revealed to be corrupt at its heart. Those who stay are showing tremendous fear and cowardice, not yogic bravery. They are not Hanuman taking the great leap, they are underlings who trying to hold the curtain in front of the “Great and Secret Oz” and make people believe that there is any kind of viability to the system.

    John Friend is Humpty Dumpty and all the Kings yogis and yoginis cannot put him back together again. No one pushed Humpty over his edge. He danced skillfully off the brink and I am grateful to YogaDork for being the one brave enough to publish this at its onset. Obviously it has been going on for a long time and for those who knew it and didn’t speak out, they are probably still loyal to their dysfunctional fame-addicted Father Figure. In other words, they cannot be trusted.

    Anyone who publicly supports Anu$ara is labeling themselves as a Self-Flagellate. Those who stay on the side-lines making quiet excuses for themselves as to why they are staying are showing colossal weakness, a lack of autonomy, an under-world darkness and THIS is what makes up the Anu$ara of today. Scared people with their heads in the sand saying “just shut up and do yoga” to those who are vocal.

    The revelations of John Friend’s mis-deeds have yet to completely surface. Rest assured there is more and there will be more and the unfathomable depths he will plummet is destined to take down any one who energetically supports him.

    Are you falling with Grace? Are you holding the hand of your Guru as he shows you what living two-faced (gemini) looks like? He is not holding yours. His hands are frantically clutching the hillside as he tumbles to down down down the Inner Spiral of the Black Hole that he has made for himself.

    No one did this to him. He dug the pit himself. Why protect that? Why diminish its significance? Why sugar-coat the reality that it is a snake eating its own tail and the time has come for it to spin itself to its resting place?


    R.I.P. Anu$ara – You had a good run, you brought lots of amazing people together and you didn’t deserve to die this violent ugly horrific train crash of a death. Blessed be to all of those who try to resurrect you from the depths. The Monkey’s Paw is all you are now and BEWARE to anyone who tries to bring that thing into the sanctity of their lives.

    • Dale Elson

      Wow. Someone has issues….

      • wow. dale.

        Wow, Dale. Look in the mirror.

        • Enlightened Asshole

          Dale is so far up JF asshole!

  • Brian Smith

    when i think of john friend i think of http://www.whataburger.com/

  • Keeping It Real

    To Dale Elson,

    I was in an Iyengar teacher training cycle in ’97 and JF led a weekend workshop for the program. This was right on the cusp of his breaking out on his own. The loops and spirals and the kidney band fill were all in the Iyengar training. I was right there. The Tantric stuff was JF’s “innovation”. There wasn’t any adherence in the Iyengar system to anything beyond Patanjali, The Gita, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Basically, that was it.

    I had a rather sleazy development at an Anusara studio right at the time when JF was at the height of his “decadence” (the undetected era). I was forced to file a grievance which was a total sham. It was summarily dismissed w/o even a perfunctory appearance at conducting an investigation. It was disgusting. Then I ironically got this blanket postcard mailer from Anusara Central. It confirmed for me at the headquarter’s level that this organization was corrupt. The postcard was a superslick piece of manipulative design and text meant to solicit for – what else? – more money. I was “impressed” by how deceptively slick it was. And this was a good year before the shi* hit the fan. It was no surprise to me when the scandal broke. True story.

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