• It’s Working | Bernadette Birney: It's about yoga (sort of)

    It’s Working

    In her Letter to the Yoga Community, Amy Ippoliti reveals that in the days since three of our loved and respected colleagues–Christina Sell, Darren Rhodes, and Elena Brower–resigned their formal certification with Anusara Yoga, she has received texts, emails, and entreaties to know the “the real story.” I have received similar entreaties.

    People are curious. I get that. Maybe it’s just human nature to speculate.

    Me–I just don’t think it’s that much of a big deal.

    YogaDork queried whether more Anusara teachers will leave. What a silly question. Of course they will.  Anusara yoga has over 600,000 students. People come–more and more of them all the time. People go–freely.

    Seekers are welcomed when they come. Seekers are blessed when they go. It is a yoga of welcoming but not of obligation. Anusara’s freedom is a very deliberate kind of freedom.

    Freedom is foundational to the Anusara method. We are a self-selecting community united by a shared vision of life’s goodness and beauty, and a commitment to seek, and to serve, the highest. Some seekers will stay for a short while.  Some will hunker down and make a home. Some will even commit–as certified teachers–to represent the method in a very particular way.

    Christina, Darren and Elena are keeping their feet firmly to the path of their own evolution and growth.  Good on ’em. There’s not much more, or much less, to it than that, and in my opinion it’s pretty effing fabulous. John Friend did the exact same thing in 1995 when he stopped using the trade name “Iyengar Yoga” to represent his teaching style.

    I can’t say for sure where my own evolution will lead me. Who among us can?  If ever my development as a yogin, and a human, demands it of me, then I hope that I will have the courage to resign my certification in as skillful a way as possible. That course of action doesn’t seem at all likely right now but one can never be certain what their freedom will require of them.

    The recent skillful and loving departures hearten me. They are evidence that endings needn’t be acrimonious. Endings can be beautiful. Newsflash–if there is any hope for the global community, the yoga community must be able to get along.

    Reading comments that insinuate there must be more to the resignations than has been revealed feels…yucky. John, Elena, Christina and Darren are practitioners of adult spirituality. They are leaders. Why would it be so difficult for people to imagine leaders navigating in skillful ways that support beautiful, loving farewells? 

    I think there are some who actually find the lack of antipathy disappointing.

    Me, I see it as a reason to be hopeful.

    The yoga is actually working.




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    11 Responses »

    1. Beautifully put Bernadette. I couldn’t agree with you more. Freedom in action requires both skill and trust — ” a deliberate kind of freedom” exactly! And we, the yoga community, must continue to model it – precisely the best that each person can at the given time. Life is messy play right? so how we respond to it is the yoga. I too think it is wonderful to witness loving and beautiful transitions within our community. Thanks for being you Bern and for class today.

    2. Well written. Reminds me of the traditional phrase/song/hello/goodbye:

      May the Circle be open, but unbroken
      May the peace of the Goddess (God/Circle) be ever in your heart
      Merry meet, and merry part
      And merry meet again

    3. Thank you Bernadette for such simple yet deep insight… I remember being at the advanced intensive with John and Christy and being so proud to be a part of a community where two people could have gone through a break-up and be so honoring of each other, showing their mutual respect and admiration for each other! I wish for all of us to see in this time of dissolution how much love can remain even after certain aspects of relationships come to a conclusion… we are all free to walk our paths and I feel in my heart that John wishes nothing but the best for all three of these beloved teachers…

    4. AMEN…Nicely said. Thank you for this

    5. Girl. I. Love. You. Thank you for keeping it real and close to the ground.

    6. So true, so wise, so real. Thanks Bern…

    7. indeed, who could say where the evolution will take us? thank you for sharing! xo

    8. You are amazing. I look forward to holding more space with you dear!

    9. Well made article about yoga. +1 to this article here.

    10. What a thoughtful and intelligent response! This point in particular really touched me:

      “John, Elena, Christina and Darren are practitioners of adult spirituality. They are leaders. Why would it be so difficult for people to imagine leaders navigating in skillful ways that support beautiful, loving farewells?

      “I think there are some who actually find the lack of antipathy disappointing.”

      We evolve and adapt—it’s pretty much a guaranteed effect of steady spiritual practice and devotion to the Divine.

    11. This is fascinating. Yes it’s the timing though that makes it seem a little “fishy” but yes for me as a yoga teacher for over 15 years I’ve been wanting to and have added to and evolved my original certification: Kripalu. I literally today after my practice was thinking about this very issue-how does one present ones own authentic take on yoga? Does it need a cute name? Should it be trademarked? All of it gave me a headache and then I stumbled on this unfolding issue among these master teachers….Yeah i think branding is getting out of hand and of course limits the teachers hugely!

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