Interview with Anusara Yoga Founder John Friend

YJ Interview with John Friend

Subscribe to Outside+ now to get unique access to all of our content, including sequences, instructor tips, video lessons, and much more. A rib-tickling piece of comedy. A straight-talking alignment guru. An MBA with a strong brand-building component. When you put them together, you get More than 1,000 Anusara Yoga instructors in 70 countries are trained in John Friend’s heart-centered Anusara Yoga technique. Friend, 51, frequently employs lighthearted tones to convey complex ideas, and he refers to his pupils as the Merry Band (a homage to Robin Hood, perhaps?).

In the midst of the hilarity, you’ll discover a man who is dedicated to spreading the advantages of yoga around the world.

John Friend (interviewer): Kennedy was assassinated when I was four years old.

I was suffering from a cold.

  • As a result, I was in a condition of altered awareness when the Dallas tragedy forced the cancellation of my programs.
  • Why would we be formed if we were to have everything taken away from us?
  • When I was eight years old, my mother read me stories about yogis who have extraordinary abilities.
  • When I was thirteen years old, I purchased the Bhagavad Gita as well as a few Upanishads.
  • In addition to B.K.S.
  • Pattabhi Jois, and T.K.V.
  • I began teaching when I was 20 years old.

Anusara was established on August 15, 1997, by myself.

JF:There is something for everyone in every form of yoga.

Rather than remembering directions for each stance, I wanted a collection of instructions that could be applied to any pose.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll notice an improvement in your alignment as well as physical benefits.

When you connect with the environment and people, you will experience sentiments of compassion and connection, as well as a better understanding of the beauty and goodness that exists in the universe.

Tantric philosophy is life-enhancing, prosensual, motivating, and uplifting, to name a few characteristics.

YJ: How do you reconcile the difficulties of pain and evil that exist in the world, given your positive outlook?

We, on the other hand, perform activities that are not skillful.

There’s karma and interconnection, cause and effect, and reasons for everything, as well as a universe of possibilities.

The intricate interweavings of the fabric of fate and karma are beyond of my reach right now.

There are certain mysteries that we don’t have to solve. We simply go with the flow and respond in the most effective manner for connecting with our spiritual essence. YJ: How are you doing? JF:Yeah, I’m having a great time. Every day, I’m becoming better at dancing with the Divine.

John Friend: The Radical Quantum Shift of Yoga

The most recent update was made on November 19, 2019. Original publication date: November 09, 2010 YTW- Writer Eva Norlyk Smith recently spoke with John Friend, the originator of Anusara® yoga, for an exclusive interview. This is the second part of the interview with the author. This type of narrative about the transformational qualities of yoga is common enough that it is evident that yoga is about more than just working out or feeling better, or even getting rid of back pain, as some believe.

  • Could you please elaborate on this a little bit?
  • They are referred to as the “3 A’s”: attitude, alignment, and action.
  • I encounter a lot of people who tell me that yoga has helped them to make positive changes in their lives.
  • Basically, they’re claiming that their whole outlook on life, as well as the manner in which they approach and relate to life, has fundamentally changed.

YTW: To give you an example, consider the following: The Anusara Grand Gathering in Estes Park had a session where you brought up the story of someone who had been struck by lightning many years ago and had developed such severe back pain as to have been on painkillers for 7-8 years and had become addicted to them.

  1. He claims that after just one yoga session, his life began to turn around, and that he is now free of his addiction completely.
  2. He came to me on the suggestion of someone else, whose life had been transformed by their yoga practice.
  3. In the aftermath of being struck by lightning, Ben had a strange physiological reaction.
  4. He had even developed an addiction to the painkillers as a result of the operation.
  5. As a result, I approached our collaboration from a bodily standpoint.
  6. He had been in chronic pain for a long time, but I was able to get him out of it within a few minutes, if only for a few minutes, and that provided him with immediate relief.
  7. As a result, once he was no longer in bodily agony and no longer required medicine, he could relax.

And the discomfort subsided.

After seven years of service.

And what happens once you’ve been released?

Keep an eye out for anyone getting out of jail.

They take a whiff of the fresh air outside.

It’s the sensation that your spirit, your soul, is no longer in suffering from a chronic condition.

When that agony is lessened, and you realize that you can alleviate it without medicine, and that you have the ability to do it on your own, it breaks your heart apart in a million pieces.

And you say to yourself, “You know what, I think I can accomplish this myself to a certain level in accordance with nature.” “I think I’m up to it.” That is one of the most empowering aspects of this exercise.

John Friend (interviewer): Yes, without a doubt.

That phrase explains so well why and how yoga might have a positive impact on those who are suffering from mental health concerns.

John Friend (interviewer): First and foremost, when we state that yoga has an effect on various problems, we are using a broad catch-all phrase.

And that harmony can only be found at the deepest level of one’s being.

Because, while yoga appears to be limited to physiology, we now understand that the biology of the body is intricately connected with the psychology of the practitioner.

As a result, our yoga practice allows us to become more in tune with nature, which means we have more control over our biology.

I’ve seen this happen over and over again over the course of 40 years, so I know it’s effective.

Because, at the moment, whether individuals are suffering from bodily or mental agony, there are few options for them to turn to for help.

Even after only a short period of time spent doing yoga, people can experience such a profound quantum shift in their physical, mental, and emotional states as a result of this practice. It’s totally mind-boggling to contemplate.

My interview with John Friend regarding jfexposed accusations.

You and I are going back in time for a few years. I admire and appreciate you, as do many others in this room. Having said that, there is clearly a significant problem here in that it impacts individuals, and since the jfexposed exposé web site and subsequently Yogadork’s blog became public, much of the yoga world has been talking about it as well. I hope you will consider the questions that follow to be difficult and that they will provide you with an opportunity to reply as completely as you are able.

  1. Consequently, I’d like to ask you five short questions.
  2. Therefore, up to now, the only thing elephant has reported on is why we aren’t reporting on the situation–at least until we have non-anonymous/agenda-driven public sources that aren’t influenced by political agendas.
  3. We are not in the business of reporting rumors and anonymous claims that are harmful to actual people.
  4. We, as a community, are not interested in gossip.
  5. To summarize, elephant is not frightened of controversy, nor do we consider ourselves superior to any other kind of media now available on the market.
  6. However, in cases such as these, it is critical.
  7. If I’m accused of being a sycophant in this situation, no one will listen to a thing you have to say.

The situation is as follows: a number of your senior instructors, including Darren Rhodes, Christina Sell, Elena Brower, Amy Ippoliti, and Laura Christensen, have departed from Anusara in recent months.

Then, on Friday morning, thisjfexposedwebsite, an anonymous web site that made allegations about a variety of topics that we’ll get into later, went live on the internet.

When I first received it, I was depressed by the content, particularly the sexual photographs, and I requested my friends to refrain from passing it on to anybody else.

A number of things were alleged on the website, which was housed abroad, making it legally impossible to get it taken down:a) that you’d had numerous relationships, affairs with married women who in some cases had children; andb) that you’d been involved with married women who had children.

You admitted to using marijuana and having it delivered around the world.

or Ms.

First and foremost, I couldn’t help but think about the women’s families when I watched this.

John Friend (informal): First and foremost, thank you, Waylon, for providing me with this chance to share my side of the story in the face of these allegations.

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience or injury that my actions may have caused anyone.

These are delicate concerns involving private affairs that affect a large number of innocent individuals, and I will be as open and truthful as I am able to be in this situation.

Thank you for your patience and for waiting for the facts, the truth, to be revealed.

The formal reasons each instructor revealed with me when they left Anusara Yoga were communicated with you when you inquired about why the teachers had gone in the past several months.

Every instructor has their own route to follow, and I respect that completely.

TWO-THIRD QUESTION: WTF?

Neither my business nor the businesses of my readers are concerned with such matters.

There are all kinds of amazing stories and ceremonies in the Bible, for example, which you may read about here.

Having said that, we’re all adults here, and the relationships were, as far as I can tell, voluntary.

Having said that, there is always a power imbalance in any form of close interaction between a student and a qualified instructor.

That being said, how can you justify your acts when it is clear that they have caused uncertainty, sorrow, and the disintegration of families?

Firstly and foremost, I consider myself to be a student of life and yoga, and then a teacher, as well as the founder of Anusara Yoga.

My private life has involved having consenting sexual relationships with women, some of whom have been my pupils and others who have been my workers, some of whom have been married women.

The most crucial thing to emphasize here is the fact that Despite the fact that I made certain blunders, my intention was never to do damage.

MY THIRD AND FINAL QUESTION Why is it that whomever is behind jfexposed is accusing you of everything?

What is the reason for s/he pursuing some form of retaliation?

What is the current state of affairs?

It is quite evident to me that he has decided to attack in a malicious, indiscriminate, and most certainly illegal manner, which has resulted in the injury and devastation of countless innocent individuals.

Finally, I am attempting to show compassion for this individual, despite the fact that it is quite tough, and I do not have any ill will toward him.

The fourth question is: Do you have a pension?

But, from your point of view, what is the narrative behind that?

Pension documents can be found here.

Has this circumstance been beneficial?

Will you be a part of the teaching staff?

Are there any plans for more senior instructors to leave?

On a broader communal level, how can we all utilize this as a lesson experience for how to rise above gossip while still being brutally, boldly open as people, as a community, and, in the case of the elephant, as the media, is an excellent question.

… My life is comprised of study and practice, and my dharma is the act of teaching, which offers me the most delight.

I have made a commitment to being upfront and open, which is something I have not done constantly.

My greatest goal is that this would bring us closer together as a community, in a more personal and honest discourse about life and its challenges.

As a result, I envisage a more cooperative Anusara in the future, with increased participation from all members of our society.

I fearlessly enter into the person I am now, and the person I am becoming in every instant, and I am grateful for that.

~ All of those concerned have my sympathies and best wishes.

Understanding that this circumstance is entirely inside a legal environment, I anticipate that you will be rather constrained in your capacity to provide an appropriate response.

It is my responsibility to ask thoughtful and fair inquiries.

Personally, I do not believe that the revealed site is fair, kind, or beneficial to you, the other parties involved, or even the accuser in any way.

However, I am hopeful that the site and yogadork’s report, as well as this interview, as well as your statement and document pertaining to pension exoneration, may be of assistance in the long run.

To be nicer to one another as a community and to embrace empowered non-theism, as we Buddhists refer to it, we must all work together. Take a deep breath! And a heartfelt thank you to everyone involved. As the ultimate grin, I am at your disposal. Waylon

Waylon Lewis: exclusive elephantjournal.com interview w John Friend, alleged Rock Star Yogi, re New York Times Magazine article.

For a few years, you and I will be together. As many of us do, I admire and respect you. Having said that, there is clearly a significant concern here in that it impacts individuals, and since the jfexposed exposé web site and subsequently Yogadork’s blog became public, much of the yoga community has been talking about it as a result of the situation. If you consider the questions below to be difficult, I hope you will see them as opportunities to provide as complete an answer as possible. It is true that there may be legal difficulties that limit complete replies in some circumstances, but the questions are included here.

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In addition to the specific circumstances of what was alleged on that web site, these questions are important because, in my opinion, the entire situation can best serve the international yoga community as an example of honesty and transparency, learning from difficult “teaching moments,” and how we as a community can rise above gossip and rumor, and communicate to one another ethically and with sourced facts, among other things.

  1. Therefore, up until now, the only thing elephant has reported on is why we aren’t reporting on the situation–at least until we have non-anonymous/agenda-driven public sources to report on.
  2. Our job does not consist in spreading rumors and anonymous charges against actual people.
  3. The gossip is not pursued by us as a society.
  4. To summarize, elephant is not frightened of controversy, nor do we consider ourselves superior to any other kind of media now available.
  5. These is critical in instances such as this.
  6. Unless I can prove that I am not acting in good faith, no one will listen to you.
  7. Here, you and I had a discussion about it.

Several people in the yoga world swiftly spread the word about the book.

The situation was clearly serious and should have been dealt as such rather than mere gossip or amusement.

Among the allegations was that you had had numerous relationships, affairs with married women, some of whom were also mothers of children; and b) that you had been involved with married women who were also mothers of children.

You admitted to using marijuana and having it delivered around the world.

or Ms.

) First and foremost, I couldn’t help but think about the women’s families when I watched this.

Friend, John: I’d want to say something.

Having to self-reflect on how my private decisions have become a cause of significant suffering for my friends and the rest of my community has been a very unpleasant experience for me at the moment.

Given the fact that not all of the charges were genuine and that they were placed on the internet without any kind of proof six days ago, I appreciate the chance to clear the air today.

Thank you for reaching out to me in the first place, Waylon, and for being the first journalist to inquire about the facts of the situation.

Consequently, in response to your first question, every teacher has a different reason for leaving the classroom.

To be clear, none of these instructors informed me that they were leaving as a result of these allegations or as a result of any ethical issues I had raised during my tenure.

I am grateful to the Anusara Yoga instructors who are sticking by the teachings of the practice at this difficult time in our history.

I’m not personally interested in your personal connections, or in the personal relationships of the ladies who have been publicly outed on this site.

The wicca/witch/coven/tantra stuff doesn’t really interest me; religion, in general, is full of amazing and rich myth and tradition, which I personally find to be fascinating and enriching.

In our line of work, however, ethics is the primary focus; as a spiritual teacher or leader, however, you are held to an even higher level.

Everyone, including celebrities, should not be placed on a pedestal and then smashed.

Having said that, there is always a power imbalance in any personal connection between a student and a qualified instructor.

Having stated that, how can you justify your acts when it is clear that they have caused uncertainty, suffering, and the disintegration of families as a result of them?

The first thing you should know about me is that I don’t refer to myself as a “Guru,” and I make an effort not to be referred to as one.

The second point is that it is accurate.

The sensitive facts of each relationship should not be discussed in a public arena, and I do not wish to further infringe on the privacy of others, as has been the case in this nasty attack.

While I’m reading about it online, I’m seeing more clearly how I may rise above my circumstances as a guy and walk differently in my relationships with women.

He/she has been contacting several web sites for quite some time now, in an attempt to get her/his side of the story out there as quickly as possible.

A lawsuit against her/him is in the works.

Friend, John: I’d want to say something.

His deliberate and indiscriminate attack, which has resulted in the injury and devastation of a large number of innocent people, appears to me to be intentional, indiscriminate, and maybe illegal.

Finally, although it is really tough, I am attempting to show compassion for this individual, and I do not have any ill will toward him.

The fourth question is: Do you have a retirement plan?

How about you, from your point of view, tell us about it.

Several papers and public remarks are included here, which provide a comprehensive picture of the pension situation.

Is the current scenario beneficial to your situation?

What part of your professional life do you still have left to pursue?

What do you think will happen in your neighborhood or city?

During the next 12 months, do you plan to lead teacher trainings?

Friend, John: I’d want to say something.

… My life is comprised of study and practice, and my dharma is teaching, which is the source of my greatest delight.

Despite the fact that I have not always been upfront and open, I have made a commitment to be so now.

My greatest goal is that this would bring us closer together as a community, in a more personal and honest discussion about life and its challenges.

Consequently, I anticipate a more cooperative Anusara in the future, one that includes members of our whole community.

It takes courage for me to accept and grow into the person I am now, and the person I am becoming with each passing day.

~ To everyone concerned, please accept my heartfelt condolences and best wishes!

Understanding that this issue is entirely inside a legal environment, I anticipate that your capacity to respond will be relatively limited.

Essentially, it is my responsibility to ask thoughtful and fair questions.

Personally, I do not believe that the revealed site is fair, kind, or beneficial to you, the other parties involved, or even the accuser in this situation.

The site and yogadork’s report, as well as this interview and your declaration on pension exoneration, are all things that I hope will be of assistance in the end.

Our community may be friendlier to one another if we all adopt empowered non-theism, as we Buddhists refer to it. Breathe in and out slowly. Thank you to everyone involved. The greatest grin is at your disposal, and you have my gratitude for it. Waylon

Waylon LewisofWalk the Talk Showinterviews John Friend, founder ofAnusara Yoga, re: controversial, popular NY Times feature article.

For a few years, you and I will be together again. I like and respect you, as do many others. That being said, there is clearly a significant concern here in that it impacts individuals, and since the jfexposed exposé web site and subsequently Yogadork’s blog became public, much of the yoga community has been talking about it. I hope you will consider the questions that follow to be challenging and that they will provide you with an opportunity to reply as completely as you are able. I recognize that there may be legal difficulties that prevent me from providing complete answers in some circumstances, but here are the questions.

There is a greater significance to these questions than just the specific circumstances of what was alleged on that web site, because it is my hope that this entire situation can best serve the international yoga community as an example of honesty, transparency, learning from difficult “teaching moments,” and how we as a community can rise above rumor and gossip to communicate to one another ethically and with factual evidence.

  1. This is why, up until now, the only thing elephant has reported on is the reason why we aren’t reporting on the situation–until we get non-anonymous/non-agenda-driven public sources.
  2. We are not in the business of reporting rumors and anonymous claims that do actual harm to real people.
  3. We, as a community, don’t go after rumors.
  4. To summarize, elephant is not frightened of controversy, nor do we consider ourselves superior to any other kind of media available.
  5. However, in instances like these, it is critical.
  6. If I’m accused of being a sycophant in this situation, no one will listen to a thing you say.
  7. The situation is as follows: many of your senior instructors, including Darren Rhodes, Christina Sell, Elena Brower, Amy Ippoliti, and Laura Christensen, have resigned from Anusara in the last few months.

Then, on Friday morning, thisjfexposedwebsite, an anonymous web site that made allegations about a variety of topics that we’ll get into later, went live on the Internet.

When I first received it, I was depressed by the content, particularly the sexual photographs, and I requested my friends to refrain from spreading it around any further.

A number of things were stated on the website, which was housed abroad, making it legally impossible to get it taken down:a) that you’d had numerous relationships, affairs with married women who in some cases had children; andb) that you’d been involved with other men.

This website displayed graphic photographs (with no faces, therefore seemingly not adding anything to Mr.

Anonymous’ claims), as well as copies of your Skype talks.

FIRST QUESTIONS And the first question is, why should anyone care about this interview since, the last time I questioned you about those instructors leaving, you were not completely honest about the reasons they were going?

This has been a very difficult period for me as I examine how my personal actions in my private life have become a source of tremendous suffering for my friends and members of my community.

I appreciate the chance to set the record straight today because, while not all of the claims were factual, they were placed on the internet without any form of proof six days ago.

So, once again, thank you, Waylon, for being the first person in the media to approach me about the truth behind this story and for your efforts.

So, to address your first question, every teacher has a different reason for leaving the classroom.

I can state unequivocally that none of these instructors informed me that they were leaving because of these allegations or because of a concern with my ethical behavior.

I am grateful to the instructors who are sticking by the teachings of Anusara Yoga at this difficult time in the world.

I’m not personally interested in your personal connections, or in the personal relationships of the ladies who have been publicly outed on this web site.

I’m not very interested in the wicca/witchcraft/coven/tantra things; religion in general, I believe, is full of fascinating and rich myth and tradition.

However, ethics is what we do for a living, and as a spiritual teacher and leader, you are held to a higher level.

No one should be elevated to a position of “perfection” only to be demolished later.

Having said that, there is a power difference in any form of close interaction between a student and a qualified instructor.

That being said, how can you justify your acts when they have clearly resulted in uncertainty, sorrow, and the disintegration of families?

Firstly and first, I consider myself to be a student of life and yoga, followed by a career as a teacher and the founder of Anusara Yoga.

My private life has included consenting sexual encounters with women, some of whom were my pupils and others who were my workers, some of whom were married women.

The most important thing to mention is that Although I made some mistakes, my intention was never to cause harm.

THE THIRD QUESTION Why has whoever is behind jfexposed accused you of everything that has happened?

What is he/she looking for in terms of retaliation?

What is the general state of affairs?

It is clear to me that he has chosen to attack in a malicious, indiscriminate, and most likely illegal manner, which has resulted in the harm and devastation of a large number of innocent individuals.

Finally, I am attempting to show compassion for this individual, despite the fact that it is extremely difficult, and I do not harbor any animosity toward him.

The fourth question is, do you have a pension?

But, from your point of view, what’s the story behind that?

Pension documentation can be found here.

Has the current situation been beneficial?

Will you be involved in the classroom?

Is it possible that more senior teachers will leave?

What we can learn from this as a community is how to rise above gossip while remaining painfully, bravely transparent as individuals, as a community, and in the case of the elephant, as the news media.

… My life is devoted to study and practice, and my dharma is the act of teaching, which brings me the greatest joy.

I have made a commitment to being transparent and open, which is something I have not always done.

My deepest hope is that this brings us closer together as a community, in a more intimate and honest conversation about life.

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As a result, I envision a more cooperative Anusara in the future, with participation from all members of our community.

It takes courage for me to accept and grow into the person I am today, and the person I am becoming in every moment.

~ All of my sympathies and best wishes go out to everyone involved.

I understand that this situation is taking place entirely within a legal framework, and I anticipate that you will be somewhat limited in your ability to respond.

My responsibility is to ask thoughtful and fair questions.

Personally, I do not believe that the exposed site is fair, kind, or helpful to you, the other parties involved, or even the accuser.

However, I am hopeful that the site and yogadork’s report, as well as this interview, as well as your statement and document pertaining to pension exoneration, will prove to be beneficial in the end.

Taking a deep breath! And a heartfelt salute to everyone involved. I’m here to serve you as the ultimate smile, Waylon

John Friend:

Hello, Waylon. Money is, in my opinion, Shakti. It is, at its core, a matter of power. Depending on how you utilize it, it may either benefit or hurt you. Food, medication, housing, and warm clothes are all items that may be exchanged for money in order to offer enjoyment and relief from misery. In addition, it may be used to purchase weapons and other items that are destructive to human life and bind awareness. A high demand exists because to the fact that it is required to sustain life in its current form as well as the fact that it may be utilized to achieve satisfaction, pleasure, and dominance over others.

Because it is a power, the outcome is determined by the intention with which it is employed.

Numerous individuals understand the huge draw and attraction of producing a lot of money, as doing so is widely thought to be a manner of meeting some of our most fundamental aspirations, such as financial stability.

The junction between money and any path, whether spiritual or material, is only harmful when it diverts the mind and heart away from the ultimate aim of spiritual liberation and away from the highest good of everyone.

Waylon Lewis:

That’s fantastic. Personally, I’ve found it to be a difficult but worthy route, sacrificing material gain or hunger in exchange for like myself and having a clear, happy conscience. My mother was and continues to be impoverished, yet she is content. I have many people who devote their careers to getting money by promoting unhealthy items or beliefs, and then give a little back to the community at some time to ease their restless conscience. Such a life path, even if it leads to fame and fortune, is not one I admire or respect.

Right Livelihood can be a difficult route to follow at times.

1969.” “John Friend, 50 years old, doing a handstand in 2010.”

Waylon Lewis:

That’s fantastic! To be honest, I’ve found it to be a difficult but worthy route to take: giving up material gain or greed in exchange for like myself and having a clear, happy conscience. My mother was and continues to be impoverished, yet she is content with her lot in life. A large number of my acquaintances devote their careers to getting money by promoting harmful things or beliefs, and then give a little back at some time to assuage their unsettled consciences. Even if it leads to fame and fortune, I do not respect such a life path.

At times, the path of righteous livelihood might be difficult. In 1969, John Friend was 10 years old and performing a headstand. 2010: “John Friend, 50 years old, performing a handstand.

John Friend:

According to popular belief, spirituality should be associated with a lack of financial possessions: the less you have, the more spiritual you can be (or should be). For example, parigraha (the fifth of the yamas in traditional yoga) is sometimes interpreted as “non-absorption of material things.” However, I do not believe it is a matter of possession. It all comes down to the relationship between the mind and the object of one’s ownership. If you are clinging to something with your thoughts that you do not have, you are confined rather than free.

  1. Living simply and without extravagance.
  2. I started out as a financial analyst in the mid-80s, and my compensation hasn’t changed much since then, even though it’s been 23 years.
  3. I had to move back in with my parents at one point in order to save money, but it was great.
  4. One of the ways I’ve managed to stay comfortable and happy is to always live within my means, even when my income from teaching wasn’t very lucrative.
  5. Given my sense of financial security and abundance, I don’t feel compelled to overcharge or take more than I require.
  6. Even more importantly, I am not the highest-paid employee at Anusara!
  7. Everything in our world is a matter of perspective.

Waylon Lewis

Most likely, you answered the question incorrectly because it was too simple. So here’s a tricky one for you. An Ashtanga yoga buddy and I were just talking about the Times piece on you, and while she likes you personally, she agreed with the article’s premise that Anusara teachers did proselytize (which is not to say there’s anything wrong with it) and that Anusara might be “clique-y.” And she stated that, in her opinion, you were a rock star in her eyes. In a terrible manner, but in the sense that everyone adored you and that you were invited to exclusive events with all of the coolest attractive people, and that you paid more attention to beautiful people.

Do you believe there is potential for development in the Anusara yoga kula?

“I’m not some kind of rock star yogi.”

John Friend:

What is a Rock Star yogi, and how does one become one? Yes, I am a “supposed” rock star in the world of yoga. I guess that when the classes are fully enrolled, you are elevated to the status of a celebrity in the eyes of the general public. The connotation that claims made against me have, such as being one who exclusively parties with a bunch of attractive people, is something with which I do not identify or identify. Everyone in my class is important to me, therefore I make every effort to be accessible and available to assist them in any way I can.

  1. Our group is close-knit, and we all derive a great deal of pleasure from participating in the yoga practice together.
  2. As a result, the kula is tight.
  3. Anusara, on the other hand, does not have any entrance requirements.
  4. I am frequently too open and accepting of folks who are only looking out for themselves, and I miss the good in them.

As a result of her incredible relationships, Anusara is developing every day. And, regardless of the intensity of a specific relationship, we are frequently in a state of joy.

Waylon Lewis

Is there such a thing as a Rock Star Yoga practitioner? As a yoga instructor, I am considered to be a “alleged” rock star. After all, I guess that once the courses are full, you’ll be considered a celebrity in the eyes of the general public. The connotation that claims made against me have, such as being one who exclusively parties with a bunch of gorgeous people, is something with which I strongly disagree. Every kid is important to me, and I make every effort to be accessible and open to assisting them in any manner I can when they need it.

  1. It is a genuine pleasure to participate in the yoga practice with others in our close-knit group.
  2. This means that the kula is quite limited.
  3. Anusara, on the other hand, does not impose any restrictions on its users’ access.
  4. It is possible that I am overly open and optimistic about folks who are just concerned with themselves.
  5. As a result of her excellent relationships, Anusara is developing every day.

John Friend:

From my vantage point, I see a lot of people who desire to go deeper into their own hearts and minds. Every day, I meet new people all across the world who are interested in feeling the connection of Spirit inside themselves and their relationships. Yoga allows people to realign their energies, and discoveries are almost always experienced as a result. Grace, in my opinion, is the manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit. It is possible to open the curtains when the alignments are balanced.

The alignment of the body, the intellect, and the soul is what allows the curtains to open and the Light to stream in.

People are becoming increasingly interested in the energy depths of yoga and moving away from its more surface parts.

I’m seeing a growing number of folks who are looking for inner light.

Mydharma’s mission is to inspire students by reminding them of the greatest aims of yoga practice in each and every session. When I remember the most important things first, I am better equipped to help the students in the lovely opening of the yoga practice that they are experiencing.

Waylon Lewis:

For example, in accordance with the Margaret Mead quote about small communities being the only ones who can ever change their world, how can the kulaor yoga community—not just Anusara’s but all yoga studios students teachers, and communities working together and in union, help to save the planet environmentally as well as politically, and help to create an enlightened society in this lifetime? ~ “I have absolutely no problem with people releasing pieces of facts or stated opinions that are not good about me, as long as they are factual,” you remarked in response to the Times article.

  1. I make no claim to being immaculate or to the fact that “all is excellent” in my business.” Transparency, or a willingness to listen to constructive criticism, is, in my opinion, essential for genuine success on both a spiritual and a professional level.
  2. Upon the death of his mother, Elvis was no longer willing to accept criticism from anyone.and he began to surround himself with yes men.
  3. While they were alive, both of them were controversial—and completely forthright about everything, which had the effect of self-liberating them from any allegations or critiques from the outside, at least for the time being.
  4. Earlier this week, you were featured in the world’s largest newspaper, in their special magazine, on their most important day, in the longest and most notable feature story about yoga ever published— and you took it all in stride, the good and the terrible.
  5. I’m aware that you’ve just gotten off a plane and have been working for the majority of the night.

John Friend:

Wow, Waylon, your remarks are very beautiful. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. You’ve just illustrated how we can work together to literally preserve the earth from its current state of imbalance. You are receptive to the perspectives of others, and it is this that fosters long-term connection and community. The first concept of Anusara yoga is to be receptive and open to life, which is the first step in the practice. If you are unable to locate something, you will be unable to align with it.

First and foremost, Waylon, you are willing to search for kindness in others, which results in a sharing of hearts and a spiritual connection.

Every action we take becomes more life-enhancing as consciousness opens up through the body, the mind, and the soul (or spirit).

Thank you for providing me with this fantastic chance to participate in a beautiful debate about vital subjects in our society, which was triggered by the New York Times article you shared with us. Blessings. John Friend stands front of his puja, or shrine, at his residence. Bonus:

John Friend Opens Up About The Sex Scandal That Shook The Yoga World

Oh my goodness, Waylon, your words are magnificent. It has been a pleasure speaking with you. The example you provided merely went to show how we can work together to practically save the earth from itself. Being receptive to other people’s perspectives is essential to building long-lasting connections and a strong sense of belonging. It is the basic principle of Anusara yoga to be receptive and open to life. The inability to feel the location of an object prevents you from aligning yourself with it.

  1. First and foremost, Waylon, you are willing to search for kindness in others, which results in a sharing of hearts and a connection of Spirit between people.
  2. Every action we take becomes more life-enhancing as consciousness opens out via the body, mind, and soul.
  3. Because of the New York Times piece, I was given the opportunity to participate in a beautiful debate about critical issues in our society.
  4. Blessings.
  5. Bonus:

mbg: What did you do after the fall of Anusara in early 2012?

JF: I made the decision not to work or perform any type of revenue-generating job in the yoga industry until October of the following year. I was simply practicing, learning, taking care of myself, and attempting to learn from the events that had transpired around me.

Do you have regrets about the choices you made?

It hurts my heart to think of the mistakes I’ve done in the past. No one, including myself, was ever in danger because of my actions. When such things happen, it’s critical to experience them and remember them because that’s how we grow and evolve. I’m using the discomfort I’m experiencing to propel myself ahead into the future in a constructive manner. I’m not going to go down that road again. I promise. I accept responsibility for my own karma — I’m not sure how much regret can assist in this situation.

See also:  Talking Shop with Krishna Das

Did you feel like you had to go into hiding?

When I think back on my blunders, I can feel the anguish in my heart. No one, including myself, was ever intended to be injured by me. When such things happen, it’s critical to experience them and remember them since that’s how we grow and adjust our behavior. In order to go on in a positive way, I’m channeling the anguish I’m experiencing into action. Certainly, I won’t travel down the same road twice. The only way I know how to assist myself is to accept responsibility for my own karma. After what happened, I want to reflect on it and decide how I want to proceed moving forward.

Are you still in touch with anybody in the Anusara community?

By mutual agreement, I have decided to separate myself from the Anusara organization at this time. People make errors; therefore, let us attempt to be supportive of one another—this is my primary emphasis right now.

During the previous couple of years, the yoga community hasn’t always acted in the most respectful manner. I think that we can all grow, and that is exactly what I’m attempting to achieve with my own personal development. If you don’t forgive, there is no hope for improvement.

How did you start to take care of yourself physically after the scandal?

As a result of our joint decision, I have decided to separate myself from the Anusara organization. People make errors, so let’s attempt to be supportive of one another—my that’s primary emphasis at the present time. In the last couple of years, the yoga community hasn’t exactly been on our best behavior. Everyone, including myself, can and should strive to be better, and that is exactly what I am attempting to do with myself. There will be no change if you do not forgive.

Do you have any larger take-aways from what you’ve learned?

I recognize that I am the only one who is responsible for my own actions. There’s no one else to blame in this situation. I can now see that I had created a dysfunctional organization, which was my fault. That served as a massive wake-up call for me. I’ve been much more selective in my social interactions, and I’ve placed a strong emphasis on personal accountability in my actions. I simply tend to keep to myself more. Previously, I allowed people into my private life, and many of them—perhaps as a result of my public image—never truly expressed their dissatisfaction with anything they observed in my personal life or conduct.

Aside from self-reflection, what have you been up to?

I recognize that I am solely responsible for my own actions and decisions. The only person to blame is oneself. My mistake was to create a dysfunctional organization, which I now recognize. To be honest, it served as a huge wake-up call. In terms of my social interactions, I’ve become much more selective, and I’ve placed a greater emphasis on personal accountability in my actions. My only change is that I am becoming more self-contained. Previously, I allowed people into my private life, and many of them—perhaps as a result of my public image—never truly expressed their dissatisfaction with anything they observed in my personal life or conduct.

Where does the nameSridaiva, which means “divine destiny” in Sanskrit, come from?

I recognize that I am solely responsible for my own actions. There isn’t nobody else to blame here. I can see now that I had created a dysfunctional organization, and I apologize for that. That served as a huge wake-up call for me. I’ve been much more selective in my social interactions, and I’ve placed a greater emphasis on personal accountability in my actions. Simply put, I am more self-contained. Previously, I allowed people into my private life, and many of them—perhaps as a result of my public image—never truly expressed their dissatisfaction with anything they observed in my life or actions.

Would you say all of this happened for a reason?

The route I’m on now was only possible as a result of a catastrophic scandal in which I lost everything: my affiliations, my friendships, and my way of life. Everything had vanished without a trace. The experience was almost fatal, and I only woke up after realizing that I needed to do things differently moving forward. This chat has been edited and shortened for length and clarity. And do you want to transform your interest in health and wellness into a rewarding professional career? Become a Certified Health Coach by completing this course.

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A Six-Step Process For Radical Self-Healing

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Winter Traditions interviews John Friend

My interview with John Friend, the inventor of Anusara Yoga, for the Winter Traditions Project was recorded and I wanted you to hear it and share it with your friends and family. John has an incredible ability to elevate us to our fullest potential, not only in our professions, but also in our relationships with one another in particular. In this 30-minute podcast, John provides knowledge and shakti on a variety of themes, including but not limited to:

  • Light and dark cycles, depression and the pineal gland, rituals around the solstice, becoming the light and uplifting others are all topics covered here. The sushumna and Santa Claus have been de-mythified

Light and dark cycles, depression and the pineal gland, rituals around the solstice, becoming the light and uplifting others are all topics covered. Demythification of Santa Claus and the Sushumna

John Friend: The man who would be yoga king

Los Angeles traffic is heavy at rush hour. As the buzz of traffic echoes about the second-floor classroom, Hillary Rubin calls her Anusara yoga class to order in the customary manner: by lighting candles and encouraging the dozen or so students to close their eyes and chant together the word “ommm!” A little while later, she pulls up to my rubber mat and makes a solemn declaration about me. There is something wrong with my pelvic. It’s overly tight, which is most likely due to the fact that, like many others, I utilize that part of my body to “store” bad feelings.

  • And in turn, this will assist me in feeling more positive about myself.
  • The heat and gentle movement have made me feel a little more cheerful after about an hour of work.
  • Rubin instructs the students to chant “ommm!” once again.
  • “Did you hear how much better the ‘ommm!’ sounded at the end?” she asks.
  • He is giddy with excitement.
  • Hillary is likely to have regarded my inexperienced yoga poses to be technically poor, he speculates.
  • She, on the other hand, made you feel welcomed, encouraged, and powerful.
  • Yoga gurus are typically thought to be wise artists who live a life of tranquil isolation in a secluded location.
  • His journey from nothing to a huge worldwide empire has taken him less than 15 years.
  • Although it has faced fierce resistance, it is often considered to be the fastest growing style of yoga in the world.
  • Earlier this year, he appeared in the documentary Titans of Yoga and was featured extensively in the New York Times’ biography of him.

In the meantime, fans will soon be able to see his most ambitious initiative to yet in the Californian surf town of Encinitas: The Center, a newly-constructed training facility with a studio large enough to accommodate up to 200 students at a time (while thousands more watch over the internet).

  1. Staff at his business headquarters in Texas are preparing for the publishing of his first book, Dancing with the Divine, which will be released this summer.
  2. You can even purchase Friend’s eco-friendly “Revolution” yoga mat, which he invented and which he now touts as “probably the greatest yoga mat in the world.” Although it seems to be a rolled-up piece of rectangular rubber to the untrained sight, the retail price is $89.95 (£56).
  3. His licensed teachers, such as Hillary, deliver a bottom-tightening exercise as well as an injection of new-agey philosophy in a single hour or two.
  4. “You may go to other types of yoga and sweat like crazy and get a wonderful exercise, but they’re not going to talk about the spirit at all,” he adds, running his fingers through his white curls and looking me in the eyes with a set of deep blue eyes.
  5. “If you go to other places, they will sit you down and give you a long lecture on the spirit, but you will receive no practical exercise.
  6. You’ll get practice as well as a spiritual invocation when you come to one of our classes.” People all across the world are enthralled by it.
  7. This year has been, in his words, “the most artistically expansive in the history of Anusara.” He is looking forward to the rest of the year.

He will lead courses of hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of pupils at a time.

Essentially, this gets to the core of what makes Anusara yoga so appealing: it’s a kind of “everyman’s yoga,” meant to be easy enough for beginners to take up, but with hints of a greater spiritual grandeur.

Unlike other yoga schools that require inexperienced students to practice simple postures in countless sequences before progressing, Anusara Yoga allows even complete beginners to put themselves through their paces.

“Because of the universal principles, the entrance barrier is reduced, making it less complicated to learn.

“Another significant distinction between Anusara and other techniques is the way in which a teacher interacts with his or her students.

” Allow me to give you some encouragement’.

Indeed, devotees of competing methods have referred to Anusara as “yoga light” on occasion.

Several commentators have said that he encapsulates the way that yoga’s growth as a commercialized western leisure activity is moving it away from its carefree eastern beginnings.

Whenever people question, ‘Why do you have licensing?’, I can kind of understand their skepticism: yoga is a spiritual activity, and trademarking it would appear to be a contradiction to that.

Before attending an Anusara class, participants should be aware of what they are getting themselves into.

That is why I registered the trademark Anusara.

He receives a small salary from Anusara (which employs 25 full-time employees in Texas) and does not travel in private planes, drive costly automobiles, or dress in fashionable clothing to supplement his income.

He believes that envy is a major motivation for critics.

Apparently, I’ve offended some people by allowing a class to celebrate a kid who had finally managed to get into a handstand.

I’ll accept that criticism any day of the week.” According to John Philp, author of the book Yoga Inc., which explored the commercialisation of the pursuit, while Friend is tenacious in protecting the Anusara brand, his pursuit of financial reward pales into insignificance when compared to rival star yogis such as Bikram Choudhury, the multi-millionaire creator of Bikram yoga, who has fought a slew of very public lawsuits and copyright battles, Friend’s pursuit of financial reward pales When someone tells them that this isn’t a company, but is instead a spiritual endeavor, and then attempts to sell them yoga mats and chakra underpants, they think it’s absurd, adds Philp.

  1. “Does John Friend behave in this manner?
  2. But there’s nothing quite like Bikram.
  3. He’s quite forthright about what he’s doing with the company, and he conducts himself in a lovely manner.
  4. From the time he was a child, growing up in the 1960s in Houston and Ohio, he was pushed by his parents to begin researching spiritualism at the age of six.
  5. “I grew up with a wide range of viewpoints,” he continues.
  6. He began teaching a class once a week in 1980, while still a student at the University of Michigan’s business school.
  7. Following a decade of frustration with some of the basics of Iyengar, he founded Anusara Yoga and Meditation Center.

A lot of yoga may be quite traditional in nature, which means that it places less emphasis on the body and intellect than it does on the spirit.” Friend, on the other hand, “viewed the body as effectively the incarnation of soul itself.” His first class of instructors was trained by him in 1999, and the school’s trajectory has been on an exponential growth trajectory ever since.

After the New York Times published a profile on him last year, he responded with a 2,000-word statement posted on his website, addressing what he termed five “major lies” contained in the piece.

According to him, “that type of rock-star behavior is not something I encourage.” Despite this, for every cynic who criticizes him of protesting excessively, there are hundreds of committed followers who credit John Friend and his journey to spiritual enlightenment with transforming, and in some cases saving, their own lives.

“I saw a difference in my physique almost instantly,” she adds.

However, the most significant improvement was in terms of self-esteem.

I started attending to back-to-back lessons and was physically weeping after each one, with streams of tears streaming down my face.” The symptoms of her Multiple Sclerosis have abated, and she is no longer taking any medications, contrary to medical policy.

Stretch’s most famous stars Pattabhi Jois is a well-known Indian businessman.

Bikram Choudhury is a well-known yoga instructor.

David Life and Sharon Gannon are two of the most talented people in the world.

BKS Iyengar is a Hindu philosopher. It was in Pune that the Indian guru established his institution in 1973, and he has been teaching there ever since. Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa is known as the “Queen of Kundalini.” Jake Gyllenhaal and – you guessed it – Madonna are among her admirers.

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