February 3: Yogadork.com publishes a blog post with links to an anonymous web site accusing John Friend of sexual and financial misconduct, involvement with a Wiccan Coven for sexual purposes, and marijuana drug use.
February 9: A committee of Certified Anusara teachers forms and meets for the first of many meetings with John Friend and a mediator to examine the allegations and determine a course forward for Anusara. The committee consists of: Tracy Silver, Deb Neubauer, Ellen Saltonstall, Jimmy Bernaert, Andrew Rivin, Desiree Rumbaugh, Todd Norian, Martin Kirk, Denise Benitez, Betsey Downing, Suzie Hurley, Noah Mazé. This interim committeeoutlines an action plan for the future.
February 12: Letter from Ross Rayburn, a Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher, about his involvement with negotiations with John Friend and the Interim Committee, and why two teachers resigned in relation to the committee’s deliberations. A major area of disagreement was whether John should teach at the workshop in Miami or not. Noah Maze and Tracy Silver leave the committee.
February 14: Integrity and Lack Thereof: What it Means to be in Processby Chris (Hareesh) Wallis. Gratitude, Truth, Love, and New Beginnings by Katrina Hokule’a Ariel. Amy Ippoliti shares in full detail her reasons for leaving on Elephant Journal. Douglas Brooks who once told us how Anusara got its name publishes a letter in response to the Anusara controversy.
Ross Rayburn lets us know that he’s spoken to John Friend and “He’s told me he will be leaving on sabbatical for an extended time“. The list of teachers below continues to grow. Another private list online tells us some 79 103 Teachers have now resigned.
March 15: Statement of Progress Letter from Anusara, Inc. which includes “Michal Lichtman is not a co-owner, nor is she serving in any executive capacity for the company, she remains a great supporter of Anusara yoga”.
(See the BayShakti post for a list of teachers who have resigned, and of studios no longer exclusive to Anusara Yoga. BayShakti also thanks Contributor John Watkins for assisting them in compiling this information.)
I am Senior Adjunct Faculty in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and I have been a practitioner of Anusara™ yoga. I have completed 200 hours of teacher training within its diaspora community, consistent with its philosophy and alignment principles.