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John Friend Announces New Shri Daiva Yoga: Our Ticket to Divine Destiny

in Business of Yoga, YD News

This email plopped in our inbox last night and honestly our eyes glazed over, crossed and then contorted into some new fancy acro yoga move. We’ve been keeping those interested informed about John Friend, the yoga guru ensconced in his own divine light post scandal, and his latest news of reinvention, with a tap dancing tip toe back into the saddle. It’s surprising, not shocking. John Friend has proudly announced a new style of yoga.

First we were told he would be teaching, promoting and touring this “new” style he half developed called The Roots (sort of like Bikram with sequenced poses but with less heat and obscenities and more alignment based woo woo). The new new style is called Shri Daiva Yoga and it’s in collaboration with former Anusaran Desi Springer of Vital Yoga in Denver, with whom JFri’s been toiling away working all through his “sabbatical” of 2012. Working on your holiday? Now that’s commitment. Honestly, it sounds like they put a lot of work into it judging by the lengthy description and all the potential wow-power (what on earth is bio-tensegrity? for example)

Vital Yoga sounds familiar. Ah yes, it’s the studio that helped him relaunch his career, or in John’s words, “gave me a chance to begin a whole new professional presentation of myself and my teachings. Their integrity, inner strength, and disciplined life practices have provided a healing environment for me to rebirth myself into a higher form on all levels of my being.” Yeah.

What is Shri Daiva all about? It’s not The Roots? Sounds like you’ll have to see the impacts in person, but here’s the description via the newsletter:

Through regular practice of the complete 108-pose Roots routine, eating pranic-filled foods out of the garden, and daily meditation over the last year, I had a profound change in my life, which will be clearly evident when we meet in person.

Over the last year, I helped to modify and refine The Roots routine, including segmenting it into 8 distinctive vinyasa sets. The Roots routine is composed of 54 base poses, which any level of student can practice, and 54 advanced poses, which can challenge any experienced asana practitioner.

How is Shri Daiva different from Anusara?

Since these alignment principles are distinctive from the Universal Principles of Alignment of Anusara yoga, Desi and I established a new hatha yoga school, called Shri Daiva yoga in order to respectively distinguish with Anusara yoga. Desi and I recognize the high integrity and validity of Anusara yoga in its alignment technologies, philosophy and heart-centeredness of its classes. We think that the certified Anusara yoga teachers are some of the best and most highly trained professional hatha yoga teachers in the world. In establishing a new school of hatha yoga, it explicitly gives students and teachers of Anusara yoga the freedom to have independent association from me. And at the same time, we fully support the continuation and expansion of Anusara yoga.

There are several key similarities and differences between Shri Daiva yoga and Anusara yoga. Both schools adhere to general Tantric yoga philosophy, and both have heart-centered, and thematic classes. ‘Open to the Universal’ or ‘Open to Grace’ is essentially the first principle in both alignment systems.

While the alignment principles of both systems have a lot of similarities, Shri Daiva focuses on specific direction of muscular integration along the insertion to origin of the main muscles in both the appendages and the torso. The gluteus muscles are specifically emphasized in their engagement to help root and abduct the femurs.

A focus on the butt. Good grief, John. (Kidding) OK, we’ll give him that all the in-depth alignment and bio-tensegrity jazz sounds interesting. One question, who’s their first big sponsor?

Here’s the whole dang thing if you want to read about the neato new style. Or click here for the online newsletter.

Today, 1-13-13, Desi Springer and I announce the establishment of a new hatha yoga system called Shri Daiva yoga, a modern school of hatha yoga focusing on alignment technologies for the healing and energetic expansion of the mind-body and the heart.

This is the product of a collaborative unfoldment between Desi Springer of Vital Yoga in Denver, Colorado throughout 2012. In the Spring of 2012 I formally separated myself from the administration and leadership of Anusara yoga. Then in the Fall of 2012 a new global school of Anusara yoga was established independent of my management. Anusara School of Hatha Yoga is exclusively licensed to use the trademark of Anusara yoga internationally. The very high standard of professional training and certification in hatha yoga instruction is being maintained by ASHY within 5 global regions: Asia/Pacific, Canada, Europe/Middle East, Latin America, and the United States.

While on sabbatical last year I regularly practiced and collaborated with Desi, who has been a student of Anusara yoga for 7 years and is very knowledgeable and insightful about alignment principles in asanas. She has been a disciplined practitioner of hatha yoga for 13 years, and is renowned for her strength and integrity of character. Desi and Micah opened Vital Yoga in Denver in 1999, and today it is Denver’s oldest and longest thriving yoga studio.

Along with her sister, Micah, Desi created The Roots asana sequence in 2008. In the early part of 2012 I started practicing The Roots with Desi, and I found the sequence to be one of the most complete and powerfully transformative that I have done in my 40 years of practice. Through regular practice of the complete 108-pose Roots routine, eating pranic-filled foods out of the garden, and daily meditation over the last year, I had a profound change in my life, which will be clearly evident when we meet in person.

Over the last year, I helped to modify and refine The Roots routine, including segmenting it into 8 distinctive vinyasa sets. The Roots routine is composed of 54 base poses, which any level of student can practice, and 54 advanced poses, which can challenge any experienced asana practitioner. The poses of The Roots are particularly outstanding at demonstrating the alignment principles that Desi and I use as the foundation of our practice. Every week for the foreseeable future I will be consistently practicing and teaching The Roots, because I think it is so powerfully healing, transformative, and illuminating. I am also practicing and teaching other sequences as well, as The Roots is a great routine, but not the end-all for asana practice.

Over the year of practicing together and sharing ideas, Desi and I had a mutual awakening to a new paradigm of alignment technology, which utilizes principles of bio-tensegrity. In our model of the body we see the bones and connective tissue as struts and tension lines, which when optimally aligned, create a balance of push and pull energies providing us with tensile strength, flexibility, and lightness of the body. Through specific postural alignment and balanced biomechanical actions the tension lines of the muscles and other connective tissue create a structural integrity with the bones, which are positioned in a congruent relationship with each other. At the heart of our optimizing principles of bio-tensegrity for the human body are spiraling actions in the arms and shoulders, and the legs and hips, which harmoniously unite in a uniform curve at the T-12 line. Rooting and extending the spine and the core of the body, while maintaining integrity of the spinal alignment at T-12 and the low back curve, creates amazing strength and flexibility in the body in every type of position — backbends, forward bends, twists, inversions, etc. The therapeutic value of these alignment principles for musculo-skeletal injuries and limitations is the highest and most powerful that I have worked with in my career. One of the most profound effects of the application of these paradigm-shifting alignment principles in basic postures is on the toning and recalibration of the neuro-glandular system.

Since these alignment principles are distinctive from the Universal Principles of Alignment of Anusara yoga, Desi and I established a new hatha yoga school, called Shri Daiva yoga in order to respectively distinguish with Anusara yoga. Desi and I recognize the high integrity and validity of Anusara yoga in its alignment technologies, philosophy and heart-centeredness of its classes. We think that the certified Anusara yoga teachers are some of the best and most highly trained professional hatha yoga teachers in the world. In establishing a new school of hatha yoga, it explicitly gives students and teachers of Anusara yoga the freedom to have independent association from me. And at the same time, we fully support the continuation and expansion of Anusara yoga.

There are several key similarities and differences between Shri Daiva yoga and Anusara yoga. Both schools adhere to general Tantric yoga philosophy, and both have heart-centered, and thematic classes. ‘Open to the Universal’ or ‘Open to Grace’ is essentially the first principle in both alignment systems.

While the alignment principles of both systems have a lot of similarities, Shri Daiva focuses on specific direction of muscular integration along the insertion to origin of the main muscles in both the appendages and the torso. The gluteus muscles are specifically emphasized in their engagement to help root and abduct the femurs. Shri Daiva uses a ‘Root Spiral’ in the lower part of the body, and ‘Wing Spiral’ in the upper part of the body to create a unified alignment at the band of T-12. From the balanced alignment at the T-12 band, the foundation of the pose is rooted down from the Focal Point while the rest of the body rises in extension. When the pose is rooted and the core is then extended with the right alignment at T-12, a tensegrity within the whole body is created which automatically encompasses the Loops of the torso. In addition, the Focal Point in the pelvis is at different locations in the 2 alignment systems.

One big difference between the two schools is that Anusara yoga will remain a top-level professional teacher certification program, while Shri Daiva will not engage in professional teacher certifications or trademark licensing. However, we will conduct intensives, immersions, and teacher seminars, and will offer alignment trainings for all hatha yoga students of any school, including Anusara yoga.

Shri Daiva yoga also focuses on a wholistic, disciplined lifestyle of living foods, meditation, and The Roots as a fundamental asana practice. Desi and I, along with other expert faculty, will be offering one-week Vital Living intensives at Vital Yoga in Denver each month with daily practices of pranayama, meditation, and The Roots plus catered whole foods based on Ayurvedic principles in order radically shift one’s lifestyle in just 7 days. Furthermore, the Vital Living weeks will help participants deepen their relationship with the Earth, which is fundamental to healing.

I am thrilled about my collaboration with Desi Springer and the entire Vital Yoga community in Denver and Golden, Colorado, who have respectfully and kindly embraced me over the last tumultuous year.

The best way to learn more about Shri Daiva yoga and the power of our new alignment principles is to come take a class or workshop with Desi and me.

I highly regard Desi Springer as one of the premier and cutting edge hatha yoga teachers in the world. I am very confident that our joining forces will provide a greater capacity to serve the world yoga community than either of us would be able to do as individuals.

May this New Year of 2013 be a positive, new beginning for all of us. 

May we better take care of ourselves with healthy, whole foods, and disciplined mind-body practices. 

May we spend more time in our own hearts cultivating more self-awareness and self-respect. 

By expanding self-love may we foster more compassion and understanding of the boundless interconnection we have with all Life. 

May we all heal our hurts.

May everyone feel love and joy in their hearts.

John

——

Earlier

40 comments… add one

  • Tracy

    May we all yawn

  • Witnessing

    AMEN

  • Ash

    My first-ever yoga teacher was John Friend’s ex-wife, Lynette. She is a beautiful, wonderful person who had a gentle, helpful hand when it came to assisting with the introduction to poses. (I’m double-jointed & have a tendency to hyperextend, which she taught me to avoid in ways that have stuck.) I have practiced anusara since, because I had such a positive experience with her.

    It’s a shame that John’s more recent antics have cast such a shadow on anusara, and now he’s announced his intent to spread that shadow far and wide across as many ~new types of yoga~ that he can.

  • I only took a single Anusara class once in my life, at Crunch, back in the days before they were bought out & had a decent yoga program. I would’ve walked out of that class today, but I stuck it out then, not wanting to offend. We’d do one, simple pose and then talk about it for 15 minutes.

    As for Mr. Friend’s new product, I’m not buying unless it also whitens teeth.

  • Denise

    I was really offended when I heard about Roots and couldn’t understand how anyone would host him at their studio. Now that time has passed I figure he’s a person just like the rest of us foibles and all. The teachers who moved on are doing quite well and developing their own styles. Nothing stays the same. I would not like to receive instruction from JF but I’m sure that there are many who would and could benefit. He knows the physical practice of yoga for certain. We’re all at different stages of development including JF. Let the chips fall where they may.

  • I’d like to be able to feel the way you do—really, I’m not being sarcastic. But John seriously violated the honorable seat of a teacher. I feel that all of us teachers—especially the high-profile ones that represent yoga to vast numbers of people—have a responsibility to at least try to follow the yamas. When we don’t, we bring down yoga as a whole, or at least the perception of it.

    It’s true that we all make mistakes no matter how hard we try, but we at least have to try. The mistakes John made were no-brainers. He had to have known that what he was doing was not okay. He would not have covered his actions up for so long if he’d thought they were justifiable. I continue to be surprised and disappointed that studios are willing to host him so soon, before it appears that he’s learned anything from his mistakes.

  • joy

    Puh-lease! Dude, get over yourself, you have worn out your
    Welcome for aeons……fool me one shame on you, fool me twice, not gonna happen.

  • Cheryl

    In Sanskrit, “daiva” means “from the gods.” However, it also means, “a form of marriage; the gift of a daughter at a sacrifice to the officiating priest.” Haven’t we been down this road before with this dude?

  • stephanie herrin

    I learned, growing up, that if you don’t have anything nice to say you ought not say anything at all. From there, I’ll hope for the best for Desi and all the other new women who wind up on mats in front of Mr. Friend.

  • Ricky

    Yeah, I.m looking forward to more ‘money shots’ and torrid emails from this new crop of women who will sadly wind up on mats and exploited by John Friend or worse. It’s obvious that people are ripe for any scam a known charlatan throws out there.

  • Ramini

    It’s officially a comedy!

    Ha

    ha

    hmmmmph

    (short lived…)

  • *eye roll*

    Marketing spin, same shit different name, SO boring.

  • Arlet

    I couldn’t even get through reading the entire post because I was bored and didn’t care. let’s all start out own yoga! extendyoga.com

  • Marketing jizz plus spin

    Just stop, John. Stop.

  • What an ass clown JF is. The Yoga world must be full of suckers!

  • Someone sufficiently snarky should go to the class, just to record it on iPhone memo and write a satire after.

  • BW

    I kinda wanna see this happen….

  • West Anson

    Ahhh, yes. Just what the Yoga World needs, another “School of Yoga”. I wonder if this one will include a Tantric Exploration of our Inner Kundalini Energy by having sex with students and other Yogis?

  • 13

    I guess this is the new site? http://www.shridaiva.com/

  • angel

    No, this is

    http://www.shridaivayoga.com/

    Namaste
    A.

  • frank

    The best thing about any Friend news is the comments “so over” him.

  • Janice

    Doesn’t this new group of enablers, and that Desi person, have any sense of dignity and self respect to get in bed with this manipulator?

  • Frida_K

    No.

  • angel

    here’s the new website

    http://www.shridaivayoga.com/

  • Ha! That’s funny. Thanks for that one. They should’ve drawn the unicorn a little chubbier though.

  • Ramini

    You ARE an angel! I love it!

  • Sam Louise

    “Over the year of practicing together and sharing ideas, Desi and I had a mutual awakening to a new paradigm of alignment technology…”
    I bet they did. Wink Wink.
    ;)

  • Lois

    I hope the babarazzi site exposes Desi. She seems such a tool.

  • I’d like to know what makes John Friend qualified to state that his new system helps in “toning and recalibration of the neuro-glandular system.” Smacking a different word in front of ‘spiral’ is bad editing/rewriting/reinventing/remarketing. Except to all those poor newbies who won’t see past the shite he’s spewing to get their money. Also, how ‘universal’ are those alignment principles if he had to come up with new ones for this newest yoga? I’d love to hear an actual anatomically educated yoga teacher break down this rubbish. Sadly, all the ones I can think of have too much grace and integrity to bother with John Friend.

  • devidas

    The word “tensegrity” (tension + integrity) was coined by visionary architect, innovator, engineer and navigator R. Buckminster Fuller.

  • devidas

    Further, the name was adopted and propagated by Carlos Castaneda. The definition above was copied from his site.

  • First Time Tragedy Second Time Farce

    Yes, Tensegrity was elaborated especially by Buckminster Fuller as a structural principle for architecture (see http://sustainabilityworkshop.autodesk.com/video-script-and-illustrations-lightweighting-tensegrity), and is being used by body workers to understand how the fascia supports form and healthy function in the body. Examples of models for this understanding of the body can be found at http://www.intensiondesigns.com/models.html

    There is a lot of truth to the notion of tensegrity for understanding the body — which is why knowledgeable people have been applying the concepts for some time now. JF is rather late to the party, and will likely get it wrong and water it down for purposes of self-promotion until people are sick of hearing the word. Once again, tragedy and farce.

  • Laurie

    It is fascinating how much interest JF still holds over the yoga world, including Yogadork. By speaking poorly about this man everyone has managed to create an incredible buzz for him, which he seems to be riding quite fully with packed classes and studios clamoring over hosting him next. Seems like the guy is a human being, who made embarrassing mistakes (but not criminal ones), apologized for them, and worked hard to move on by learning and evolving. So the more “yogis” continue to bash him the more it makes him more interesting. I went to his class in Denver because of all the trash talk that surrounded him and I am so grateful for all the haters because instead of a manipulative man, I found an amazing yoga teacher with clear and unique insights and teachings.

  • First Time Tragedy Second Time Farce

    Sadly, you’re right. But keep your eyes open.

  • and you laurie

    are full of shit…

  • Or full of John

    Or Laurie is JF himself, writing his own PR.

  • jar of pubes

    My thought exactly. You claim packed classes I hear he’s Damn near broke. You say forgiveness, I see desperate lemmings jumping off a cliff. He did do criminal acts many of them in fact, he just didn’t get caught.

  • Yoga Mama

    If you aren’t a fake and have truly just met JF, you have seen he is a good teacher but, how can you possibly know if he is manipulative after one class? His dreadful behavior has been well documented by people who knew him a long time. Are “studios clamoring over hosting him next”? He is clearly trying for a comeback which is being met with curiosity and caution but I don’t see much clamoring going on.

  • melting...

    Hasn’t hit home just yet, but it will for friend. It’s over. The fates are only playing with him now. This is an energetic matter. All of the sexual and financial foibles that formed the basis for his downfall are only the surface of what is happening. He used black “magick” to try to cast spells, specifically to bring harm to others. Those who participated with him will also experience the blowback, commensurate with their participation. There are those who specialize in protection at a higher vibrational level. Black “magick” spells cast at them are reflected back so that the intent and effect arrives on the perpetrator three fold. Resistance is futile at this point–you must take your medicine. Keep this in mind, John Friend: it will help you understand why nothing ever works for you again…

  • I personally choose to adhere to a more literal use of the term guru – one who removes darkness or shines light. Aloud I wonder then, should such a term fall in front of John Friend’s name? Each person must answer that for themselves.

    There is no debate we all err, we are all human, we all make mistakes and hopefully move on with aplomb. There is no doubt that forgiveness is a critical skill to be cultivated on the path of yoga.

    However the core issues here remain two-fold;
    1) should I, as a teacher of yoga (not billiards or dentistry) live up to a standard aligning with the practice itself (whilst still having faults, of course AND …

    2) Is the efficacy of my Yoga practice (something greater than my asana practice) determined by the way in which I live my life? And if that is the case, what is to be garnered (about my practice) from a life lacking integrity?

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