new anusara school of hatha yoga announced: independent, teacher-led, student-centered & global

New school, same branding palette: Anusara School of Hatha Yoga

If you have minimal experience with Anusara Yoga, you know the system is based on the principles of contraction and expansion. And you probably know that expansion always follows contraction. After eight months of painful contraction, a group of committed former Anusara Yoga teachers have announced, via an email newsletter, its expansion: the new Anusara School of Hatha Yoga.

We are delighted to announce that in response to the requests of many students and teachers from around the world an independent teacher led Anusara® School of Hatha Yoga™ has been formed.

Inspired by our deep love of service, the community and the method of Anusara yoga, an enthusiastic team of global teachers has been working with great devotion on the ASHY to retain and cultivate what was, is, and will continue to be great about Anusara yoga.

The mission of the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga is to uphold and promote the philosophy and methodology of Anusara yoga, maintain the integrity of the method, and to include the leadership, talents and voices from communities at regional and local levels in creating a globally sustainable school of Anusara yoga.

As you may remember, John Friend has already reinvented himself and created a new series of yoga. While he reportedly supports the ASHY initiative, he is not directly involved.

The multi-coloured font newsletter goes on to say:

This summer an informal group of teachers joined forces to preserve what is valuable and meaningful to the hearts of so many in our community. Our interest was to uphold the integrity of the method beyond any one individual in a way that would be sustainable and evolutionary in the future. It has evolved into an entirely independent new school. We have formally obtained and secured the exclusive legal rights to use all Anusara registered trademarked material.

Soon after we came together, we learned that the European teachers had been organizing along the same lines since April. We reached out to them and began a dialogue on how we could grow together into a global yoga school. The original group of US teachers, with representatives from Europe, now includes Andrea Boni, BJ Galvan, Kai Hill, Christy Nones McKenzie, Jane Norton, Charly Pivert, Jackie Prete and Doc Savage. There are many others who have pledged their support and will serve in various ways. This diverse group of licensed teachers is a collaborative effort with the vision of an independent, globally represented, democratic, teacher-led school of Anusara in contrast to the hierarchical model.

So what does this mean? Our ultimate vision is that the ASHY is teacher-led, governed by a Global Board of Directors made up of Certified Anusara yoga teachers, Anusara-Inspired teachers, and Anusara yoga students that democratically represent all the regions of the world.

To get established and operational, a few teachers have volunteered to serve as interim team coordinators. They will be joined by representatives from each of the following regions: Asia/Pacific, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Israel, Middle East and USA. In late 2014 or early 2015, the intention is to replace the interim teams with elected representatives from the world regions, from an electorate of all teachers currently licensed at the time of the elections.

If you are a currently licensed teacher with Anusara Inc. you are a member of the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga, if you choose to be.

The license to use the trademark rights will be held by a company called First Principle, Inc. which forms the legal foundation for the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga. Creating a separate legal entity is the most efficacious way the school can be truly independent of Anusara Inc.’s authority and legally use the Anusara trademarks.

First Principle, Inc.’s only purpose is to support the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga. The corporation will be involved with day-to-day administration of business issues for the school – managing the website, communications, collecting license and certification fees, paying assessors and creating a self-sustaining structure for the school’s future. Beginning January 1, 2013, all fees will be administered by the ASHY and will be the primary source of income to pay expenses incurred while establishing and running the school. The Policy and Procedures team will publish the new licensing guidelines, updated curriculum, and inspired and certified status requirements on our website by end of 2012 for your review.

If you were in the process of certification, or getting your inspired status when the Anusara crisis unfolded, please contact Jackie Prete, interim Certification Coordinator at She has been working closely with Anusara Inc., to gather the information needed to help you move forward toward your goal. We appreciate your dedication and are committed to help you continue on the path of Anusara yoga.  Moving forward, all license and application fees will be handled through our website, and any questions about your status can be directed to the ASHY, rather than Anusara, Inc.

We realize for some of you being an Anusara yoga teacher is no longer a title you choose to uphold. We honor that choice and wish you well as you move forward on your path. We also acknowledge and appreciate the great efforts of other AY teachers that tried to achieve a similar goal earlier this year. While it may not be exactly as it was envisioned by earlier teams, their labor was not in vain.

Anusara is now an officially independent and teacher-led hatha yoga school, very much alive and committed to moving to new levels of growth and refinement. 

To date, the ASHY has been focused on creating the container that holds the full legal rights and use of the trademark laying the groundwork for the emergence of a truly independent, teacher governed organization. John Friend and Wendy Willtrout align with our intention and have been supportive and fully co-operative without desire to be directly involved in any of the decision process. They have pledged to help the new school in any way we request to ensure our success as a self-governing model.

What can you do now? If you desire to get involved in any way please send an e-mail to For more information, please refer to the FAQ’s at our website

Please note the new web address is

We look forward to growing this school together with you and bow, palms together…. to you, our peers, our community of the Heart.

With Gratitude,
The Anusara School of Hatha Yoga

  1. At the very least interesting. Don’t know how the reality will shape from their efforts.

  2. An ex-Anusara teacher I’m friends with was very negative about this; said it was spearheaded by teachers who had wanted to squelch the JF scandal and never processed or dealt with it at all.

    • interesting…

    • I guess you can’t blame them for trying. I’m sure the teachers spearheading this had, and still have, a major investment in the brand. If they did indeed try to squelch the scandal–and from what ex-Anusarans have told me, many did–it is a symptom of their attachment to the form. If they didn’t deal honestly with the repercussions of the scandal, they will only carry that pattern into their own school.

      Many of the upper level Anusara teachers became very successful in their own right, but it seems to me that much of the “juice” behind the Anusara thing was John’s energy and charisma. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

      • I also hear that JF is in fact very tied into this behind the scenes and will maintain considerable influence over the new group.

        • That’s interesting, but not completely surprising. Anusara was John’s invention, so it would make sense that the people who are invested enough in the system to want to continue it would want John to have a hand in it.

          • Sure. What’s creepy however is the continued sense of secrecy and duplicity that characterized Anusara in the past. Why not just come right out and be clear about the loyalty and the connection? As it is, it “looks” like JF Hatha Yoga and Anusara Yoga are now divorced, but the reality is reportedly completely different. Not cool.

            • Agreed. It is dishonest. If John is involved, the school should be clear about it to people who might want to invest the time, energy and money into it that it requires. It seems that there has been a significant chasm between what Anusara displays to the world and what is actually happening on the inside, perhaps mirroring its founder.

  3. There is no secrecy or weird duplicity and the people involved did not want to squelch the scandal at all. some were quite vocal on the chat groups calling for learning from the mistakes of the scandal and from john’s behavior and channeling those insights into positive growth and forward movement, rather than angry blame and criticism with no energy towards moving forward with peace, compassion and lessons deeply learned.

    On the faq page of the schools website,, you can clearly see that john friend has no legal involvement in the school whatsoever, except to be honored as the visionary founder of anusara yoga. he is the owner of the anusara trademarks, but has legally agreed to give the school exclusive and complete rights to use them.

    All sounds quite in line with the vision of moving anusara yoga forward as a globally represented, sincerely teacher-led school. seems like a pretty level headed, heart felt and wise step forward. i am all for it and very curious to see how it grows. i know many people are thrilled to be getting back to anusara yoga in a new, fresh and more balanced way.

  4. After all the lies and bs and equivocations, I’m very skeptical and cynical. John Friend still owns the trademark, and is still collecting fees. Who is to say what is a “small percentage” to handle legal and administrative work? Puh-leaze. And also, given that Christy Nones is an ex-girlfriend who herself got sexually involved with Friend when he was her teacher, I don’t have much respect or trust for the integrity or “intent” here. Come on. Don’t continue to insult people’s intelligence.

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