John Friend has sent a new letter to licensed Anusara teachers, and it’s available over at Bay Shakti.
I deeply feel your pain and confusion since it is also my pain during this time. My highest wish is to live every moment with impeccability from this point forward, so I am now in deep self-reflection and looking directly at all of my shadows. I am seeking help for all my personal integrity issues, and with your love and forgiveness, I trust we will all make it through this very challenging time. Although it would be easier to retreat for a while, I am stepping out today into the public to speak and teach, being completely transparent about my behavior.
I want to inform you all that I am currently in close communication and process with a core group of teachers, Anusara staff, and advisors about taking positive steps toward healing and bringing a new structure to Anusara with formal teacher representation. By necessity, our current process requires some smaller/intimate group work and mediated discussions. Therefore, I have chosen this interim core group of teachers, which is largely representative of the previous ethics and curriculum committees. (Noah Mazé, Desiree, Andrew Rivin, Todd Norian, Suzie Hurley, Betsey Downing, Ellen Saltonstall, Denise Benitez, Martin Kirk, Deb Neubauer, and Jimmy Bernaert).
We intend to quickly set up an election process within our greater teacher community as a whole so that we have equal and fair representation within our organization moving forward. Working together, we arrived at a plan to establish a new Ethics Committee and a Leadership Committee, the members of which will be elected through a transparent and democratic process. These committees will also serve as a communication hub for teacher feedback and representation. Details about this process will be coming to you next week. There will be a series of communications coming to the certified and inspired teachers over the next days. We request transparency, open communication, real input and feedback from all of our licensed teachers.
Thank you for your patience now as Anusara yoga shifts to more of a teacher-driven organization and away from a John Friend-centered yoga school. We are working diligently on recreating this new structure of Anusara, and I assure you that this is my decision and not that of “a rogue group of teachers presenting me with ultimatums,” as I have heard some suggest.
I have taken a workshop with Desirée Rumbaugh and know by reputation her husband Andrew Riven (thanks for the hand clasp modification for big-shouldered guys in pincha mayurasna). I have taken workshops with Todd Norian, and he has trained so many of the Anusara-inspired teachers I love. I did not get to study with Betsey Downing, but her method of progressive teaching has influenced many of these same teachers. I recognized Ellen Saltonstall from the Anusara documentary, and when I was in Montclair for Dancing with the Divine, introduced myself to her. I told her I especially appreciated her anatomy and therapeutic posts in the Facebook group for Anusara teachers and students. I’ve also taken a workshop with Deb Neubauer, and many of my friends have returned to her workshops again and again.
Therefore this all feels very real, concrete and safe for me thus far. It is appropriate at this juncture for the school to be more student and teacher-centric. This is what it always was for me. May injury be a path to the highest.