amy ippolitti leaves anusara, nobody really cares

Amy Ippoliti has decided to leave Anusara, announcing her resignation yesterday to newsletter subscribers and via social media channels. In a newsletter with the subject, “I’ve made a decision… You’ll want to open this,” Amy made a short announcement with a link to a blog post. She writes,

I have decided to Leave Anusara yoga.

It’s been a wonderful ride and one that has deeply influenced my life in infinite ways; however, I have found myself no longer in alignment with the direction of the organization.

Some of you will be upset with this decision, others will be elated, but one thing I can assure you is that I am not going anywhere. I am still Amy, and will continue in my mission to expand the horizons of yoga, and to teach from my ongoing practice as creatively as I know how, and in doing so, I will not compromise my personal values or commitment.

My calling is to help yoga teachers and practitioners of all styles. (read the rest of the departure blog post here)

The brief blog post, highlighted by a rather dramatic newsletter introduction, indicates that somebody may be looking for attention. However, YogaDork’s post on the subject has so far received only three comments, one of which was “Yawn…”

Following on the heels of last fall’s mass Anusara exodus (the resignation of Elena Brower, Darren Rhodes and Christina Sell), this announcement is going to make us all wonder about the direction of Anusara yoga. It’s also called into question the integrity of Amy’s delivery. As Carol Horton points on the IAYB fanpage, it’s “a weird combo of dramatic and public on the one hand, and devoid of sharing insight and info on the other.”

I think it also points out bigger questions about the fine line between the personal and the private – not only in the yoga world, but in our hyper-connected social media saturated world, where words like “transparency” and “authenticity” are overused to the point of being almost meaningless. How forthright should teachers be after making public declarations about personal decisions? How are students affected by these decisions? And is there a difference between leaving a tradition and leaving a brand?

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  1. It’s all yoga, baby!! I dislike the “elitist” nuances of Anusara Yoga. I say you made a great choice, Amy! And, if anyone cares I think it means they nave an “elitist” nuance in their practice as well.

  2. I’ll be honest (as a non- yoga instructor)- four well known yoga instuctors all leaving anusara within six months claiming about the exact same line (as vague as it may be) makes me pause. The cynic in me wonders exactly what is going on in the anusara world to result in this exodus. Honestly- it’s a bit beyond coincidental. So yes, it makes me wonder at the ‘behind the scenes’ of anusara (especially after that ridiculous John Friend- Manduka mash-up video silliness for the soul mat).

    And… I’m a little confused- isn’t anusara a tradition? or is it a brand? or is it both?

    Unless you teach yoga for free (seva!), I also feel like yoga teachers have to market themselves- Why else would a student choose your class over another instructor’s? Therefore, as a yoga instructor you create an image of yourself as an instructor as a product to invest and support. YOU are the business. As a result, anything you do relating to your business (teaching yoga) is relevant. Such as making a statement regarding the future of your teaching style/tradition.

    Consumers like transparency in what they support. So yeah- it makes sense that people find this a bit frustrating, the vagueness. If she were another type of teacher- such as a private Montessori teacher who has decided to switch to the Waldorf tradition, as a parent you’d want to know why.

  3. I agree with Eco-Yogini about the transparency issue. People who are considering committing to the Anusara system, and those who are currently investing time, energy and money to become a teacher in that system, ought to have all the information they need to help them make that choice. Whatever has sparked the exodus of four of Anusara’s senior teachers may be completely benign, but the lack of transparency certainly makes it seem on the surface as if there is something to hide even if there isn’t.

  4. Darren and Christina left because they were on twin paths and found that their deeper spiritual path was pulling their teaching away from the Shiva/Shakti Tantra of Anusara Yoga.

    Amy’s departure as stated seems to be pointing in the direction of expanding the size of the hunting ground.

    Two completely different situations.

    I am an Anusara-Inspired teacher and I can assure you there is nothing draconian that has come my way in the six years I’ve been associated with the business side of Anusara Yoga.

    It’s a valuable system that starts out simple and then grows to an amazingly complex depth, and then pulses back and forth continuously. Basically, you can do what you want with it as long as you are still teaching “it”.

    Most of the brouhaha has been created by the many and varied media and the seemingly endless love affair with gossip which is emblematic of our current time and place.

    Really, if you don’t know what you are talking about it’s probably best to keep it to yourself, especially if what you have to say is mean spirited. Lots of yogas for lots of people.

  5. Not even 9 days ago she was in Tokyo with 30 people who she agreed to teach Anusara teacher training and accepted their money, then she comes back to the states and makes this dramatic and cryptic announcement, while simultaneously promoting her own teacher trainings again.
    I don’t think that is good business or personal practice. Even outside the yoga world, because these students in Tokyo spent a lot of money and time and hours of study to train with someone who 9 days later says, “wait, I don’t really align with this.” THis was a teacher training. How could she just accept their money and go through the motions of training Anusara yoga to trainees when she doesn’t even align with it? I can’t align myself to that.
    So you won’t find me sending her “spread your wings follow your heart” poetry. How about “spread your wings and return everyone in Tokyo’s checks”?

    • Hi Jane-
      I was at the Tokyo training and it was fantastic. The breakthroughs were tremendous as expected. We have a growing yoga community in Japan that craves more. Amy came to Japan because she was invited and not because she exerted herself on the community. I think you might have a point if she forced herself there but she went because she was requested to teach. Look at her website and the fact that she took the time/expense to translate it in Japanese shows her level of dedication to the Japanese students is above and beyond many teachers.
      Much love to you!

      • Taro, aren’t you Amy’s boyfriend? Let’s hear from the 30 other students.

        • I’m shocked, shocked to see people putting personality before principle in Yoga – especially Anusara yoga! Who’d have thought such a thing was possible? Not in My Beautiful Yoga (NIMBY)


    • Hi there, Jane.

      I have been a student of Amy’s before her decision to leave Anusara and will continue to be her student long into the future…unless she does something really terribly evil…which I just can’t imagine happening….. Anyway, I think your missing an important point – regardless of what style of yoga Amy is teaching, she is a brilliant and compassionate teacher of yoga, period. The students in Japan, no doubt, got what they paid for and beyond!! I really don’t see what harm has come to them. So Amy no longer feels “aligned” with Anusara. It doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong or bad about the teaching and I don’t see Amy just dropping the principles all together…even so, isn’t yoga about growth and change and expansion….and how about non-judgement. I don’t need to know the details of her decision to leave Anusara, I trust her to know her own heart and what is best for her to serve the world of yoga teachers/students better. Isn’t that something to honor? The true practice of yoga has become so skewed in this culture that I actually find it refreshing that Amy is courageously stepping away from a BIG name in yoga to reach even more students. More yoga students=more radiant people=more bright & peaceful planet!! Isn’t this the goal of yoga?

  6. A friend of mine from Anusara told me this:
    John asks for 20% of what these teachers make to go into Anusara. These teachers don’t feel that 1/5 of what they make should go there.
    However, Anusara is the reason why so many people seek these teachers out, and without paying into a centerpiece, Anusara can not afford to promote their events on their extensive online website which includes a list of teachers and a detailed calendar of how and where you can find these people. Anusara has responsibly promoted these teachers and these teachers don’t want to pay back in to it anymore. They are established enough and ready to go.
    Most yoga teachers make 70% and the studio that hosts them make the rest. The 30% goes to support the space and time that the workshop or training coordinators deserve along with the expense of promoting. Anusara asks for less than 30% and promotes these events internationally.
    It’s not about “aligning with yoga” its about dollars. It’s a diva thing.
    Christina, Darren, Elena and Amy didn’t want to make it look that way but they no longer wanted to pay in.
    That’s fine, just don’t make it appear like it’s something else.

  7. Personally I feel that it’s all gone to John Friend’s head, too much ego for me. It’s just Yoga.

  8. I have to tell you, this doesn’t matter to me. I’m a private music teacher and all of my colleagues follow different pedagogy. If I move towards a different philosophy of teaching it does not make headline news. I simply attract more student who like what I’m doing. As a new yoga student, I just go with how I feel in a class. I really don’t care the branch of yoga it is – just that it fits with how I like to learn and move. Sounds like much ado about very little.

  9. Barf!

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