Dr. Douglas Brooks: Conversation & Statement re: John Friend & Anusara Yoga..
I have been quiet for a few days due to several things. One working with the Inner Fire Yoga teacher trainees over the weekend. Also the past few days have been spent celibrating my anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and birthday today. I also have been reading blogs and articles and resignation letters from Anusara teachers. This article I am sharing is from Dr. Douglas Brooks, a close colleague of John Friend. I also read a lot of comments on articles and blogs.
The unfolding story has been very painful to watch. As a yogi I feel the grieving that the Anusara students/teachers are feeling. It is a process. I feel the yoga community should offer support and love to all who are figuring out where they should go from here. When I first blogged about Anusara teachers leaving without relating the specifics, I felt at least they are not leaving yoga. Anusara is a great style of yoga and John Friend has given a great gift to all of us from his studies and experience.
Reading the resignation letters is painful. For a lot of these teachers it is like a divorce. They were in a committed relationship and had to leave. They also have to explain to their students why they are making such a personal decision. I hope they all give themselves some space to heal. As yoga can be healing, they need to go back to the source of their own teaching, their practice without definitions or boundaries. Go to your own source of spirit and strength.
In reading these letters I can also see that some suffer from guilt. Some of the words reflect in some complicity. Some knew of the rumors. Or more. Some sound confessional. Again, go back to your source.
A lot of his teachers were willing to give him the space to heal and to step down from teaching, but he refused and if he had listened to the people he taught and should have trusted in his own family, he might have been able to redeem himself. But going to teach a workshop on relationships after this? Or just to be there? Wow. I have to say, this guy does not have a lot of humility.
Dr. Brooks discusses the teacher/guru relationship in this article. Always a good topic. BUT, John Friend is not a guru. Students who saw him as that, as I have mentioned before are basically left with nothing.
If you stake all your faith and belief into a yoga teacher, LOOK OUT. You will be disappointed. I don’t know if JF ever spoke of himself as a guru. He claims he has not, while students claim he has. I don’t know. But students and teachers who align themselves into one person’t dogma are at risk. I don’t care who the teacher is. And I hear it ALL THE TIME.
A true guru probably doesn’t hold himself out as such. A true master teacher doesn’t plaster a lot of marketing all over the place proclaiming to be that. I know a lot of people don’t like to hear that, but it is true. Like the real guru says, their job is to make you see your own divinity not to elevate theirs. If you have a true and humble yoga teacher, and they are out there, they are just teaching what they know best. If they are good do you owe them respect? YES. Do you owe them fealty? NO
I don’t think JF is the only teacher who is guilty of crossing way to many boundaries. He just got caught. I am sure he is sorry for getting caught and I hope he is sorry for the rest. I hope we see him back down so his great teachers can flourish untarnished.
As teachers and students, it is important to set boundaries. You have to set your own personal boundaries so you do not get caught up in your own ego. It is hard. It isn’t easy. Trust your own intuition on it.
And again, most of all, as a yoga community we should pray for and support and love the Anusara community. I hope they can hold together the best part of Anusara. I alwasy felt that being called a cult was somewhat unfair. I think it just got to be too much about greed and putting the business first. Actually it almost seemed more like Scientology. The layering and the expensive track to being a teacher, but again, I don’t know. I am not in it. I am only an observer. I certainly like a lot of the message and honor what they have done.
Well, on to my morning practice. I will continue to follow this and update. Any sources that you can share would be appreciated.
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