john friend rises from the ashes, starts teaching yoga again

The last time we heard from John Friend, the founder of Anusara yoga and the centre of a dramatic yoga scandal, was in June. He had posted a long statement on Elephant Journal about his choice to “focus on my own healing and transformation in a private way away from Anusara yoga and the greater yoga community for some time.”

Well, it looks like his time has come. On his freshly launched and understated website, “John Friend, Inc.” has announced his Fall 2012 teaching schedule. He writes:

In October I return to public teaching with a refreshed view and rededication to healing through disciplined practice. I have spent this year in deep, humbled self-reflection, which has led me to realigning with principles of inner harmony, individual accountability, and open-hearted service to the whole.

His tour schedule includes stops in Denver, CO, Lake Tahoe, CA, and – symbolically – Phoenix, AZ. Friend has posted his personal policy on the teacher-student relationship on his website, saying “I respect students’ private lives, and so I do not engage in a student’s personal business or issues. The same respect from the student is also expected by me.”

It also appears that Friend has put some of his recent free time towards developing an asana sequence, “The Roots,” in collaboration with Desi and Micah Springer. The webpage introducing the sequence reads like a press release and also promises the release of a book to “bring attention to this routine within the global yoga community.”

Okay, I know the past few months have been challenging for John Friend and want to have compassion for his process. But does anybody else think he’s back in business a little soon? Three months since his last public statement, seven months since the allegations against him spread through the North American yoga world… Of course, we don’t know what’s transpired in his heart and mind, and perhaps with a team of skilled therapists (and lawyers) personal healing and transformation can be accelerated.

Anyway, I do sincerely wish Friend the best as he enters this next phase of his yoga career, and I also send compassion to the people and teachers in the Anusara community who are still healing and processing recent events.

  1. It’s all just a little too cynical for my liking. Seems like he’s been very busy setting himself up with a new career direction. A new yoga sequence, a new book and website? Gotta wonder how much time is left for reflection when you’ve been so productive getting consumer products ready to go to market… just sayin’.

  2. Anytime is too soon for him to insult the public with his presence.
    It will be interesting to see if people fall for him — again.

  3. He’s coming back so soon because it’s called a cash-flow problem.

  4. Is there a reason that John Friend is held to a higher standard of scrutiny and judgment than any of his former senior leaders who covered up his sexual shenanigans and also eagerly promoted the very same abusive cultishness and Friend personality cult for so many years?

    Elena Brower, Amy Ippollitti, and Christina Sell among others are all heavily implicated in the culture and organizational environment of Anusara Yoga, yes?

    I don’t recall any of them going on a retreat or engaging in anything other than a self-serving public statements as they busied themselves with the weighty task of exploiting the power and status vacuum left by the very man they helped bring down?

    Do female yoga power-seekers get a pass, because after all, they’re just so oppressed? Or is this really just about promoting one group of yoga celebrities over another?

    Old narcissists never die – they don’t even fade away – they just get a JAMA makeover. That goes for everyone involved here – many of them still involved in resurrecting Anusara under a new aegis.

  5. I am sooooo happy to learn this news!!!! I would be very sad to loose John Friend as a teacher, since even if he could commit human mistakes, wich I think is kind of natural, is impossible not to recognize how amazing teacher he is!!!
    I thank John for just having the courage and keep going, following his Dharma, and keeps sharing all his knowledge!!!

  6. the community around me was divided after john’s “scandal”
    many devoted cult followers could not continue
    their presence is missed, but sadder still is how they cannot forgive

    john continues absent the super-stardom that engulfed him
    his teaching however, is more focussed, demanding dedication
    his new approach could never have been possible w/ in anusara’s la-dee-da formula

    unlike many, john only became fitter, happier, and more productive after he was thrown from the nest.

    choking on bitterness fuels the heart, it takes time-hang in there

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