The following letter was sent to the Anusara Yoga teachers community this afternoon in response to the recent accusations made about John Friend and other Anusara Yoga teachers. This letter is shared with prior permission from Anusara, the company, as public information for the entire Anusara Community.
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.
We are beginning the process of, and are fully engaged in, positive actions now in our community. We must unite as dedicated teachers of Anusara yoga, aside from any personal feelings towards me or anyone else in our community. Please help today by turning any anger and disappointment in our process thus far toward constructive, cooperative action. There are going to be many steps in our process of creating an improved organizational structure within Anusara. I ask for your patience. This is a journey in which we will take together one step at a time.
Thanks to each of you for your forgiveness, loving support, and unified cooperation. I am entirely committed to demonstrating to each of you that I mean what I say through my actions, not just my words.
With humility and love,
This is such a transformative time, one of opening and receptiveness from Anusara, the company, as they are in the throws of a reorganization. This is the time for a radical shift in the paradigm from a top-down traditional hierarchy (which is masculine or Shiva) to a more flat and collaborative, democratized (feminine or Shakti) organization structure. With Shakti in mind, and all the swirly water that comes to mind when I think about the fluidity of Shakti, I’d like to invite you to suggest ways in which you’d like to see the organization shift for the better. This is the day and age of Occupy movements, where the protester has power to make changes. As we’ve seen as of last Friday’s blogs spurring on this upheaval, any and all of us have power to publish anything, and the impact of expression can mar or take down personal reputations and companies or conversely, blogs can uplift. From John’s last letter published on Feb. 7th, he wrote, “I welcome your responses including questions, comments, disappointment and support”, which leads me to ask you, what questions/ comments/ disappointments/support come to mind for you at this time? I invite you to help make healing shifts for Anusara in the comments below.
Creative Commons photo via Flickr by blumpy
For a more complete overview on what’s been happening, please visit: Anusara Controversy: Overview and Timeline