The Death and Rebirth of Anusara Yoga

An update on what’s going on with John Friend, Anusara yoga, and the liberating force of destruction.

At the end of nearly every yoga class, we take savasana, which translates as “corpse pose.”

This signifies a transition between the practice of asana on the mat, and the practice of being human off the mat.

It is also a symbolic death which is followed by an inevitable rebirth.

At the moment the yoga world, and especially Anusara yoga, is reeling from public exposure of private and business choices John Friend has made in less than perfect integrity. We all make mistakes. I am not agreeing with John here, I’m just stating a simple fact: no one is perfect, no matter how much we expect them to be.

So Kali, goddess of destruction, has shown up in a big way here. People are reacting with everything from compassion to anger . . .

But I’m actually smiling because I have an overwhelming feeling of hope!

Our community of Anusara yoga teachers and students is closer than never before. In the middle of this controversy and the death of how the organization of Anusara has existed up until now I see the promise and beginning of rebirth.

We have some very strong teachers stepping up to lead the restructuring of Anusara yoga, and a promise that there will be a more democratic process to come.

This is incredibly freeing. And I am glad for it, though my heart goes out to everyone—including John—who is experiencing hurt right now.

I’ve just had an article published on elephant journal that explains why I think This Might Be the Best Thing to Happen to Anusara Yoga.

Perhaps you’ll like it.

When in doubt, practice.

Anusara yoga, as a practice, is the most effective, empowering, liberating, delightful, healing and revealing approach I have personally found. It has absolutely helped me transform and recover from a lot of my own issues and emotional baggage I’d been dragging around for most of my life.

Every single Anusara yoga teacher I have studied with has been of the highest skill, and I think it is important that this controversy not reflect badly upon them.

Everyone has their own path. There are as many ways to practice yoga as there are people. What your heart says is right for you is, in fact, right for you.

When in doubt, practice. It is in the breath that transformation happens. It is in the stillness and quiet of savasana where we sometimes grow the most.

Kali is insperable from Saraswati, the goddess of beginnings, and Lakshmi, the goddess of sustaining and abundance.

2012 promised to bring change. Here is one perfect example of the power of transformation.


2 thoughts on “The Death and Rebirth of Anusara Yoga

  1. Your heart is much bigger than mine Katrina. John Friend apparently only showed goodness and spoke goodness on his mat. He talked the talk but did not walk the walk. He is a hypocrit in my eyes.

  2. Thanks for your comment Irene. Each of us gets to have our own perspective, and I respect that. I spent a lot of time with John and so I have a more difficult time judging, and am filled instead with compassion and other less black and white emotions. That said, it changes a lot, including the level of trust, or mistrust. It is important for any of us to walk the talk – to live fully what we stand for, and to align with what we choose. I align with the teachings of Anusara yoga, which are not dependent on the founder, but far bigger than one man.

    What I find encouraging is the fact that John’s mistakes have called a great many people to rethink the way they associate themselves with others, including John. For me, it comes down to the fact that I learned a lot from him, and I am also my own person. I have taken that knowledge and made it my own. It doesn’t belong to John, because it’s my own experience, and that is what I get to share.

    I’m grateful to be able to teach, and to know that I do my best to live off the mat what I teach on the mat. And I’m grateful to share my practice with you!

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