Response to John’s Latest Letter

The thing about love is that it doesn’t just disappear overnight. I may have resigned my license but I haven’t stopped caring about what happens to my friends of over a decade, or about what happens to Anusara. Yes, I have freed myself, but just sailing away into the sunset without regard for the community feels…wrong.

I find myself in an awkward position:  much as I’d like to shift my conversation away from Anusara, Inc., new developments continue to require that I use my voice.

In that spirit, here are my thoughts on John Friend’s latest letter to the teachers about the future of Anusara yoga.

John Friend writes:

“Three weeks ago private information about me was posted on an illicit website in order to harm me, Anusara yoga, and all those named on the site. Although there has been no investigation or verification of the claims, a wide range of intense reactions and judgments has divided our community.”

This paragraph–in fact the entire letter–is full of troubling passive language. For example, “private information about me was posted on an illicit website in order to harm me…,” and, “…a wide range of intense reactions and judgments has divided our community.” This passive language carefully creates the impression that the circumstances we find ourselves in have somehow just happened to us, rather than being the result of John’s misconduct.

The passivity of the language makes John appear to be the victim of a situation beyond his control. Let us remember that this is not the case. John is not the victim in this situation. Lest attention be diverted away from the actual victims here, we should remember the teachers and students who have invested years, effort, and lots of money in Anusara yoga. These teachers are the actual victims.

Should we be reflecting upon the ways in which we may have given away power and conferred too much authority upon John Friend? Absolutely. Does that make John Friend the devil? No. Does it make him the victim? No.

The letter continues:

“During this month, many of our licensed teachers resigned (8% in total), including some of our leading teachers. I am very sorry and sad for the hurt that everyone has experienced during this scandal, and over time, I fully believe that truth, clarity, and great soul lessons will be revealed for all of us.”

Here we get more passive language, and a statistic. I would be interested in seeing exactly how that 8% percent is calculated. Given the lists tracking resignations that have been posted to Facebook and Bay Shakti–and given that there are currently 505 members in the Facebook group for teachers who have resigned– I find it hard to believe that the resignations amount to a mere 8%.

Actually, I find it impossible to believe. Actually, I don’t believe it at all. I wish I could say it’s the first time I have been suspicious about statistics John has cited, or claims that John has made, but it’s not. In this case, downplaying the number to 8% would certainly be some good damage control. It would also effectively–and conveniently–marginalize the number of teachers who have left.

“The first change is that I have joined in a business partnership with Michal Lichtman, who will now serve as CEO of Anusara, Inc. Michal is a successful business woman and a certified Anusara yoga teacher, and I am very confident that she will skillfully direct Anusara for the greater benefit of all. I am remaining as founder, student, and teacher of Anusara yoga. I am embracing this profound change in my life with bright openness to the next chapter for both Anusara yoga and me personally.”

I do not know Michel Lichtman at all. I have no reason to doubt her integrity. I’m sure she is a perfectly lovely human being. Here’s what I find questionable:  the new CEO is a former student of John’s? She was already in business negotiations with John to expand Anusara? Now she has been appointed by John?  To avoid conflict of interest, I would have much preferred to see someone less close to John appointed as CEO. Also, all this appears to have done without John having been subject to an ethical committee review.

“With significant counsel from teachers in the Kula, we will be transforming Anusara yoga into a teacher run non-profit organization (501C3), Anusara Yoga School, dedicated to serving the Anusara kula. Anusara Yoga School will direct certifications and curriculum and will serve as a central hub of information on Anusara yoga and its licensed teachers.”

A non-profit? That would be admirable. It would perhaps be just the thing an uneasy community would love to hear. Right now we are a long way from being a 501C3. Assuming the claim of going non-profit is made in good faith–who is going to elect the board of directors? Am I correct in my understanding that it is the current organizational structure that would elect the officers of the non-profit? That doesn’t sit so well.

Also, don’t non-profits require donations? Business wizard, Taro Smith, points out, “Given that the non-profit will require staff (executive director and development director as well as administrative support, office, ability to publish materials, website, directory, enewsletters, training manuals, etc)…I am estimating that is will need roughly $1,000,000/year to meet operating expenses to stay competitive with the current landscape of certification options. This means if there are 1000 remaining certified and inspired teachers then that is likely average donation annually they will need to keep this afloat…”

Who is going to donate this money?

“Details of the next steps for the establishment of Anusara Yoga School and the election of its Board of Directors will be communicated to everyone next week by a Steering Committee composed of Ross Rayburn, Todd Norian, Ellen Saltonstall, Deb Neubauer, and Jimmy Bernaert.”

This Steering Committee is made of upstanding members of the Anusara community. I have nothing but respect for these fine yogis and humans. That said, I would feel a lot more comfortable that the community was being well represented if the Steering Committee included more teachers who have publicly asked challenging questions, and pushed back on a single tiered power structure.

“I would like to personally thank every one of you who have stepped forward to support Anusara and myself during this tumultuous time.”

I fear that I am not one who would be counted among the supporters. I feel, sadly, that support in the form of disagreement has had no place here. It appears to me that “supporters” will be appointed to committees. It strikes me that the promise of being given a voice will be a balm to anyone who has ever felt unheard, unseen, or overlooked by John. That makes me nervous.

“May this new era of Anusara yoga continue to expand Light throughout the world.”

I hope so but I can’t say that I think it’s looking good. As my friend Natalie Miller explains, “For me, it’s not an “era of Anusara yoga” that will expand Light throughout the world. It’s you, and me, and our teachers and students. One by one, community by community. We deserve – no, we REQUIRE – direct, truthful, authentic communication, to be able to do that. This is not a good start.”

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51 Responses »

  1. Amazing. You are a true light in all of this, both for seeing positive ways forward and for remaining steadfast in your belief that the only way to do that is to remember why the community is in this situation. Thank you for all of your posts.

    I only hope that more people with more information come forward soon. Otherwise, we will just see more “spin” like that letter.

  2. Thank you for speaking so bravely and clearly. This sounds like an addict sounds when they are in denial and pretty damn sure they can still wiggle their way out by fast talking and blame shifting. I feel VERY uncomfortable with his response and see him taking zero responsibility for his actions.

  3. I have been slowly but steadily working toward “Inspired” status. I have long been a reader of your blog, a student of Amy Ippoliti, Christina Sell and Darren Rhodes. You graciously added me to the facebook group you started for Inspired and Certified teachers, recognizing that even given my non-standing as a full member of the Anusara teachers community, I have invested a great deal of time, money and energy toward this system. Being able to read the posts and the many opinions and comments has been so important to me as I make decisions on whether or not I will continue on this path and apply for formal status. I thank you for your candor and your willingness to say what needs to be said. You have unsentimentally addressed some very important issues, recognizing that hard questions needed to be asked and answered. I think you nailed it when you said “We deserve – no, we REQUIRE – direct, truthful, authentic communication”. It has not been forthcoming.

    The “8%” (and I agree, it is quite likely MUCH more) does not reflect all the people in my shoes. Standing on the edge, loving the method but now completely disillusioned with the man, the corporation and the structure. I am not sure something so broken can be fixed and I am fairly certain it cannot be with John Friend’s continued involvement. He has breached ethics in so many roles…as a teacher, as an employer, as a colleague, as a business owner, and even as a decent human being and he seems to be unwilling to own up to the whole of it.

    I intend to continue to study with wonderful teachers, learn all I can to be the best teacher I can be. Thank you so much for all you have done. I appreciate your clear voice, your steadiness in an emotionally difficult situation (for you and your friends) and most of all for being a stand up person. I sincerely hope to meet you someday. Best to you, and I will keep reading!

    • Hi Patti,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a generous and thoughtful comment. I really hope we get to meet someday too! xob

  4. This is a great response – thank you for outlining it so clearly and for illustrating that disagreement does not mean you aren’t having conflicting feelings about a friend (no pun intended) who has done some very harmful things.

    The last comment from John that he hopes to continue to “expand light throughout the world” made me think of an important tantric idea that I’ve held on to throughout my time as a student, training and teaching as a hatha yoga teacher. There’s this idea that we “Create, sustain, dissolve, conceal and reveal.” All human action falls in these categories. And I think John is not seeing the importance of dissolving. For all the expansion of light, there must be some contraction – the night to the day. Its similar to our economy right now, we can’t continue exponential growth on a planet with limited resources.

    I hope John and others at the helm of Ansuara hear your powerful words and can let in some of the teaching he’s been giving lip service to for so many years. Thanks again!

    • Hi Brennan, What an insightful comment! I so agree that the importance of dissolution is being overlooked. Thank you for making that point so clearly! xob

  5. I had the same awareness when I read the letter. One thing I would like to add is that this CEO Michel was just made a certified teacher in January right before John was going to head to Israel, where she has laid ground for Anusara. She was publicly introduced in from of all of us at the practice in Encinitas. I thought it was a little odd to make a big deal about her, since many people become certified and barely get a nod. I thought to myself, what is behind this. I thought it was perhaps just a political move for the Israel trip, but now it is clearer. It feels like a veiled attempt to pacify the community and still keep business as normal.

    • Debra,

      That is so interesting. Hmmmm….

      I also think that it is too soon to be getting back to business as normal.

      Thanks for joining the conversation!

      xob

    • Re: Michal – well, yes – special treatment – and more. Her husband is an internet/real estate mogul. my guess is she was fast tracked in her certification because she’s bringing funds to the table.

      Bernadette – great job with this.

  6. Thank you for this Bernadette. I agree with you and Shannon that John’s carefully crafted letter seemed to make him out to be the victim, not all of the teachers and students who have found their worlds rocking, and sounds like an addict in denial. I also find it just a little suspicious that Michal and John were in negotiations before all of this. The rest of the business issues of becoming a not for profit company makes me wonder if John will be the major contributor (hmmm). I too, like Patti, will continue to study with the fine teachers I have been studying with, and others. I also believe the truth in what Brennan said. As for me, I’m still hoping for positive change.
    Thanks again…

  7. I haven’t seen the text of the most recent letter, and have only your excerpts. But I note that in his letter of resignation (more accurately a letter announcing a sabbatical, not a resignation), JF promised that in this next communication, he would “make a full public statement that will transparently address the entirety of this situation.”

    This promise does not seem to have been kept.

    JF asserts that the claims have not been verified. But in the case of the pension issue, the claims that were made are backed by documentary evidence. Also, in the case of the sexual improprieties, JF himself has at least partially verified the claims by acknowledging that he had sexual relationships with both employees and teachers, in clear violation of his own teacher code of conduct. Can he seriously be claiming that his own public admission does not constitute “verification”?

    Notably, JF has not himself addressed the allegations around involving employees in the receipt of marijuana, either to confirm or deny. Perhaps he does not care to publicly implicate himself and his employees in a criminal conspiracy, but if there is no truth to the allegation, why has he made no denial? The silence is deafening.

    JF also notes the lack of an investigation. In the absence of a lawsuit by an injured party, no one has the standing to conduct such an investigation, unless of course JF himself enabled an independent investigation and offered his full cooperation. Taking such a step would reflect a commitment to the second yama, a commitment to truth. It might also increase his own legal exposure, so it’s not realistic to expect it. But the absence of an investigation into the alleged wrongdoing of a corporate officer is an indictment of JF and the organization itself, not a reflection on his critics.

    Finally, JF, by his own acknowledgement, is quite actively involved in directing the affairs of an organization — including but not limited to establishing a business partnership — from which he supposedly stepped down (or, more accurately, took a sabbatical). He now states that he is continuing as teacher and founder.

    The sabbatical is over. Nothing to see here! Everyone move along!

    JF wants Anusara yoga to expand Light throughout the world. That should include shedding light on his own conduct. “Light,” as Louis Brandeis said, “is the best of disinfectants.”

    • Hi Danius,

      Wow, I am so grateful for your in depth, thoughtful comment. I couldn’t agree more that promises have not been kept, and on so many more of the good points you have raised. Below, I have pasted John’s letter in its entirety. XOB

      Dear Anusara Yoga Kula,

      As a follow-up to my stepping down on Monday from the leadership position, I am writing you to share the new organizational structure for Anusara yoga.

      Three weeks ago private information about me was posted on an illicit website in order to harm me, Anusara yoga, and all those named on the site. Although there has been no investigation or verification of the claims, a wide range of intense reactions and judgments has divided our community.

      During this month, many of our licensed teachers resigned (8% in total), including some of our leading teachers. I am very sorry and sad for the hurt that everyone has experienced during this scandal, and over time, I fully believe that truth, clarity, and great soul lessons will be revealed for all of us.

      One of the perplexing falsehoods that has been propagated through the Internet, not just within the past few weeks, but within the past few years, has been the perception of Anusara, Inc. as a big corporation – when in fact, Anusara, Inc. has largely been supported by my personal teaching and speaking engagements. So, in order for me to step down as CEO of Anusara, Inc., there are significant organizational changes that now need to take place to keep Anusara yoga alive.

      The first change is that I have joined in a business partnership with Michal Lichtman, who will now serve as CEO of Anusara, Inc. Michal is a successful business woman and a certified Anusara yoga teacher, and I am very confident that she will skillfully direct Anusara for the greater benefit of all. I am remaining as founder, student, and teacher of Anusara yoga. I am embracing this profound change in my life with bright openness to the next chapter for both Anusara yoga and me personally.

      With significant counsel from teachers in the Kula, we will be transforming Anusara yoga into a teacher run non-profit organization (501C3), Anusara Yoga School, dedicated to serving the Anusara kula. Anusara Yoga School will direct certifications and curriculum and will serve as a central hub of information on Anusara yoga and its licensed teachers.

      Anusara Yoga School Board of Directors, of which I will not be a member, will be elected by the entire community of all licensed teachers. There will be forums and open communication channels between the kula, all teachers, and the Board of Directors. An Advisory Board of teachers, including Desiree Rumbaugh, Sianna Sherman, Scott Lewicki, Sumei Shum, and Barbara Noh will also be formed to help guide the Board. This Advisory Board will expand greatly in the coming weeks.

      Details of the next steps for the establishment of Anusara Yoga School and the election of its Board of Directors will be communicated to everyone next week by a Steering Committee composed of Ross Rayburn, Todd Norian, Ellen Saltonstall, Deb Neubauer, and Jimmy Bernaert.

      My hope is that this reorganization of Anusara yoga will give the teachers the opportunity to elevate Anusara yoga as an outstanding hatha yoga style independent of me. We will all endeavor to focus on the exceptional methodology of Anusara yoga, and I will look forward to joining you as a fellow student and teacher on the path.

      With this new restructuring I am effectively putting Anusara yoga in the hands of the community and then trusting that it will grow beautifully in service to the world for many years to come.

      At this time, I will be postponing teaching events until at least June in order to take time for a sabbatical of healing and insight.

      I would like to personally thank every one of you who have stepped forward to support Anusara and myself during this tumultuous time.

      As the old saying goes, “If you found anything of value and goodness within my offerings, then it was from the greatness of my teachers. If you found flaws, foibles, or imperfections in me or my teachings, then those are all mine.”

      May this new era of Anusara yoga continue to expand Light throughout the world.

      With love to all,
      John

  8. Bernadette,

    I don’t know you, but Roseanne Harvey and Carol Horton turned me on to your blog a few weeks ago, and I’ve been following your commentary on the Friend/Anusara debacle. And I must say, yours has been a wonderfully refreshing, grounded, certainly honest sounding voice, for which I thank you.

    Ironically, I had written a blog piece that had nothing to do with the recent disclosures but it came out just in time to be caught within the maelstrom. I had taken some of John’s first Anusara trainings, and followed up with workshops with him, and immersions with several senior teachers, but never felt comfortable with the “culture” that was becoming established as early as 2001. By 2005, soon after my book came out, and after a disagreement I had with John in Toronto, it had become clear to me that while a phenomenal asana teacher and charismatic individual, John was a manifestation of yet another ‘wounded healer’ and that fractures in the “culture” and “kula” he had created, mirroring his shadow, would lead to something like this.

    Thanks again for your clear voice. I’ve subscribed to keep up to date with your musings. Perhaps some day conditions will permit us to meet and practice together!

    metta
    frank jude

    • Hi Frank, I have read and admired some of your work. I’m so appreciative that you’ve joined the conversation–thank you! I shall check out the post you mention, and I hope that we do have the opportunity to meet live and practice together. XOB

  9. Right on Sister!! You totally addressed my concerns along the lines that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. Very disturbing spin. Too bad. Opportunity lost. Glad a lot of you left.

  10. By the way–I have an article coming out on Bay Shakti which is a bit of a psychological take as I am a Psychiatrist (the third in a series) that is about toxic bonds and why it may be so hard for people to leave or see clearly what is happening. My first (The path to our inner Guru) deal with Shadow, Projections and Projective Identifications, my second (further reflections on opening to grace) dealt with defensive mechanisms. You and your readers may find find my contemplations useful.

    • Thanks for joining the conversation, Michelle! Would you consider posting a link to the articles you mention here? Not only would I love to see them, I think my readers would, too. XOB

      • Here’s a link with my article’s links:
        http://bayshakti.com/anusara-controversy-overview-and-timeline
        My first one as I said is called Path to our Inner Guru and I go into a lot of detail about Shadow, Projection and Projective Identification. The second called Further Reflections on Opening to Grace goes into some other defense mechanisms.I offer ways to work with them. I unfortunately forgot to mention Identification with the Aggressor which so many people are using.
        My third one posts on Tuesday and goes into toxic bonds and why people may be having such a hard time leaving. It includes my story and why I am a bit plugged in….They kind of build on each other..and the unfolding posts. I love your fresh, smart and direct approach to calling out your opinion. Bravo!

  11. Dear kula, I am sorry.
    I have betrayed you all and I am deeply sorry from the very depth of my being. 
    I realize my shortcomings and I will attend to it with the best professional help possible. It will take time but I am committed to healing and staying with therapy for at least 6 years.
    Adult addictions usually manifest from childhood wounds. I have many.
    My willingness to abuse the whole community by lying, and manipulating is wrong. I now see why?
    From the outset there should have been 6 universal principles of alignment(UPA), not 5! If only I had made the 6th UPA the same as the first limb of yoga, the Yamas!
    The Yamas are the first limb for a reason, now I see why? The ancients were smart, they knew the weakness of the human condition can lead to lies, abuse and deception. 
    So I am now implementing a 6th UPA: the Yamas. 
    I am also implementing two more A’s to the 3A’s of Anusara: it will now be 5A’s going forward: attitude, alignment, action, apology and accountability. We will each hold ourselves accountable for our actions and own our own lives. We will each apologize to those we have wronged past and present. With this attitude and action we will align even more than before.
    Also Anusara will longer be a sole proprietorship. I am turning it into a non profit organization (seva) something along the lines of the gates foundation where it’s only goal is to bring yoga to the world in a proper manner. The owners will be you, certified and inspired teachers of Anusara. We shall set up committees to oversee different areas and have checks and balances in place so abuse will not be permitted or tolerated. We will hold ourselves to the highest.

    I believe these changes will create a system of success void of abuses going forward. I deeply apologize for abusing you all by way of lies and deception and abusing my power. 
    I love each and every one of you and hope you can find it in your heart to believe in my healing and truth going forward.

    Love always

    If I were John friend the yoga master!

  12. It is not fun to fall from so high, but I don’t think the falling, the falling that bottoms you out, has taken place yet. We all need grace. But, we must to admit that we need it. Truth & Grace.

  13. I love this! Superb article. You GO!
    If I doubted you in the past – I do no longer. Very well said and
    thought out.

  14. Perhaps organizing as a worker owned or client owned coop would help the problem. The problems seem to be related to materialism which is certainly related to the profit motive of the corporate form and the relative gap of wealth between the CEO and the rank and file. There is also the issue of examining the teachings for the traces of this materialism.

  15. http://vimeo.com/36138225

    This is the new CEO receiving her Certification in January 2012

  16. His first paragraph could have been forthcoming about what was true in the allegations. “Although there has been no investigation or verification of the claims,” Uh, John, couldn’t you simply state what’s true, what isn’t? That’s kinda lame.

    Bernadette, I don’t think a 501c3 has to be a charity, though it often is. It simply means that a private interest or shareholder (e.g. John or even a board) cannot be benefitted.

    Well, at least the teachings are great and I love the practice….

  17. Passive voice is not the same as past tense.

    Yes, the 501c3 will have to support itself. It won’t
    have the income from John’s personal appearances
    to support it anymore. Time for the Kula to grow up.

    Many teachers who did resign (e.g. Todd Norian
    and Deb Neubauer) have returned. So 8% amy well
    be the current number.

    I am proud of John for moving forward with generosity
    and courage.

  18. Thank you for giving voice to my questions as well. I started feeling uneasy when I read John saying that an investigation had not yet been conducted. That’s true, but what I’m waiting for is an explanation, from John, about what John actually did. He could have fixed much of this by simply coming forward with details of what happened.

    And I do wish that more teachers, such as Ross Rayburn and the other members of the interim committee, would come forward and explain what they knew about John’s actions, and when they knew it. To continue in the passive voice, reservations will remain in our minds until that happens.

  19. On the subject of the 501(c)(3) status of the new organization.

    A 501(c)(3) organization can certainly offer services (like teacher training) for money, could own the Anusara trademark, and could enter into contracts in which royalties are charged for the use of that trademark (e.g. by folks selling yoga mats or even by teachers who advertise that they teach Anusara yoga.) The organization doesn’t have to get its money from donations.

    Friend claims that the current Anusara Inc. business is mostly about income that he brought in through teaching and appearance fees. If that’s true, then it casts a lot of doubt on the feasibility of having a new nonproft take over the trademark and teacher training. Unless of course he’s proposing to keep teaching for the non-profit with much of the money going back into the organization…

  20. Tip of the hat to you, Bernadette! No reason to add anything after reading all of the comments before me on your insightful and logical breakdown of John Friend’s letter. Thank you, to everyone to take the time to say thank you! Your speaking out when so many people have been too afraid but feel the same way has had a tremendous impact on people standing strong in communities that are telling us we are not aligning with grace and heart because we do not align with John Friend’s actions. Bernadette, as soon as I read the letter and made my own assessment of how convoluted it was my next reaction was to go to your blog! (Kind of cool!) I have followed you a long time, connected with you on every single topic! Especially, with this topic you remind me, I am a really good person, I just am not naive, or would turn a blinds eye on accountability for one’s actions. I hope you know your honesty gives so many people support to stand strong in what they believe know they are not alone. Tip of the hat…not once a wag of the finger from this gal!

  21. “The fox condemns the trap, not himself.”

    “Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you.”

    – William Blake (“Proverbs of Hell”)

    http://www.levity.com/alchemy/blake_ma.html

  22. Fantastic. The BEST communique I have read on this “debacle”. You are a beacon and I wish I knew you personally!

  23. I had gotten off of this news reel for a bit, because I just couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to check your teaching schedule, and saw the new blog(s) and I am having a hard time not being once again nauseated by this all. Thanks for sharing the letter and your thoughts, which I definitely hold mutually. Much love.

  24. I have to agree with the others here, B.

    The passive voice here is very telling, and I do not think that the exposing web site was “illicit” by definition either (illegal, unlawful? perhaps it is against ‘custom’). As I wrote in other places, this is totally shooting the messenger/scape-goating. And, as you point out, it’s as if “all of this is happening to us!” not “I caused these things to happen by my actions!”

    Your communication is very clear and not at all bitter, cruel, or insensitive to the situation. After all, you are *in* the situation.

    I’m really glad to read your take on this. Thank you for being so clear and bold.

  25. Hell to the yes. The first, FIRST thought running through my mind when reading JF’s letter was “disassociate much?” I recognized the distance he was putting between himself and the scandal, the unwillingness to even hint any ownership of his role, and it sounded like to me ….ok I just pictured him scratching his head in bewilderment, as he was writing this letter. As if this whole situation was cooked up and served to him, not the other way around.

    I really appreciate your frankness, the ability to question, and doing so in a refreshing manner during this time. I’m not an Anusara student, but I have enjoyed many a class. I’m the kind of person who likes to not commit to just one style.

  26. Hi Bernadette,
    Most of what I would like to say to you has already been said. I applaud your efforts at constructively questioning how this is unfolding and keeping JF to his word. I had similar feelings of ‘the victim’ when reading his latest letter; in fact it had a similar tone to his first public statement when all this came out.
    It isn’t that easy to just walk away. In fact, I have been going through my own process on the other side of the world for the past year wondering if I would stick with Anusara or not. I have been carefully watching as senior teachers resign, I subscribe to their blogs. I sensed so much was not being said and that they were respectfully bowing out without wanting to reveal the full reason – that is ‘damage control’. Now I fear that the damage control by JF is only just that. It was of particular interest to see Betsey Downing resign most recently.
    I would hope that there are more teachers out there in the community whether liscensed or not, who are prepared to ask the questions you are asking. Too many constructive critiques are being howled down by the ‘get back on your mat’ brigade; however, it is precisely the virtues off the mat and in business that are most at stake right now.
    I wish you well, and keep up your great blogs!

  27. I’ll echo the notion that the disassociate quality of his letter felt beyond just legalese and more to the somewhat disturbing.

    I’ve never dealt with JF myself so I don’t tend to judge, but I’ve never felt drawn to him as a teacher. So far he’s doing nothing to change that feeling.

    But your actions have only increased my respect for you. Stop hogging all the awesome! ;-)

  28. I must say, Bernadette …
    I read your blog all the time. Kudos – as you speak with sincerity, sans the PR BS and you remain a caring person. I respect your bravery speaking intelligently without censorship. Compassion, kindness and leadership can be refined, but not taught. It is clear that these are traits you naturally possess; you will be just fine.
    Thank you for sharing as well as informing.
    Best. Christine

  29. Is John banging Michel?

  30. That’s a great article. I like a lot. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  31. Thank you for your clear communication, courageous and felt response to the quagmire of emotions surrounding the Anusara community. Your voice and the dialogue you have initiated has been very healing and affirming.

  32. Thanks for this honest explanation. I read Douglas Brook’s “Open Letter to Anusara” yesterday. I agree with him. In my opinion, the brand “anusara” is sadly in the toilet.
    I still don’t understand why the committee forgave JF so easily without even explaining why they forgave him. I think you said before something like, “I’m all for seeing the Light, but not at the expense of seeing the real.” So true! Why do you think Desiree Rumbaugh has not spoken up to explain ‘why’ she supports this desperate attempt to save Anusara, Inc.? By her agreed upon association to the “new” anusara inc it makes me feel like her identity is so wrapped up in anusara that she is holding onto dear life to save it. Sad really. I am hoping that someone on that committee builds a better case as to ‘why’ they are on the committee. Their silence and vague explanations only frustrate me more.

  33. Chris. I apologize if you feel my comments above are inappropriate. That was sincerely not my intent. I didn’t mean to come off rude. I felt as though this would be a safe forum for me to confess my concerns. My writing skills are not as eloquent as others. Please don’t confuse my candor as disrespect. I have always loved Desiree and everyday I search her blogs, Facebook page, the elephant journal, etc in hopes she can better explain the committee’s stance. To be honest, Chris, I was super nervous to even comment on this page. Everyone seems so much more yogi smart than I. I am just a layman yogi typing my frustrations and confusions. Again, I sincerely apologize if I offended anyone. Bernadette, feel free to delete my earlier comment.

  34. OOPS! On my iPhone, Chris’s comment appeared sequentially after mine. I thought his comment about “being inappropriate” was directed to me, but I see now (as I review this blog using my computer rather than my iPhone) that Chris’s comment was in response to someone else’s entry. Phew! :) Happy Thursday.

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