Dear Garden Street Peeps,
There is a big ugly expose going on about John Friend - founder of Ansuara Yoga. So it is time for me to write an open letter to our community here.
First of all. I believe this is supposed to be happening. As usual in Yoga, all the players are in the right place at the right time for the next evolution of Yoga to take place. Yoga is the driver here.
Yoga is a living, breathing Intelligence (and a good driver). . It is a Blessing Force and a Wisdom Force. It arises to save you if you let it. And that arising Intelligence will demand alignment and it will not always make that demand nicely.
Yoga teaches alignment which is, at first, gentle and imprecise. You learn to stand up a little straighter, to hold your balance a little longer. You learn to sit in meditation with a bit more steadiness. Perhaps you study the yamas and niyamas (moral and ethical precepts) and become a little more honest.
Yoga also teaches the "how to" of alignment. You learn how to "take the head of the arm bone back" - and how to "gather attention to your breath".
Finally, Yoga teaches "what to align with". You contemplate - and aim to align with - "The Highest First".
The more you practice Yoga, the stronger will become Yoga's pull on you. The time comes when you realize you are no longer "doing yoga" - but that instead - "Yoga is doing you" and drawing you closer and closer to the Light of Consciousness.
Where there is Light there is Fire. The closer you get to that Fire - the greater the tapasya - the stronger the purification.
John Friend named his tour this year "Ignite the Center" - ironically. He is being fire-blasted. The whole of Anusara Yoga is being fire blasted. Out of this fire is arising the intelligence of the community of Anusara teachers. Communication - cooperation - mediation. This kula is in the birth pangs of becoming the new center. It is not easy - but what seems to be happening is an Anusara Spring. Anusara teacher Marc Holzman put it this way in a post yesterday:
I am not quitting on Anusara now. What we have here is worth working for. I will stay in communication with teachers nationally. The discussion is going full blast. I will be part of that conversation.
I have a deep heartache for what John Friend - to whom I will always have great gratitude - is going through. But I am glad this has all come out, I am relieved for Anusara Yoga.
Because of my great good fortune to live, teach and have a community of practice here in Coeur d'Alene as a sort of backwoods mushroom (thanks Jen) - I have not had real information over time, just rumors and hearsay. Rumors about something which may be going on at the national level have not claimed my attention nearly as much as what I see to be Real on a daily basis - that being that there is a steady and consistent brightness present in the Garden Street Yoga community of practice.
Yoga happens at the LOCAL level and between people. It is not a virtual thing. It is - in the phrase of meditation teacher Darlene Cohen - a "warm- hand-to-warm-hand" practice.
Here in our local community 99% of us are showing up for our own practice and are going to the studio where there are other Yogins showing up, complete with skin and muscle and blood and bone and breath - ready to practice together.
Abhayasa - "steady practice, over a long period of time, with devotion - happens in the BODY - the body of the practitioner and the body that is formed by a community of practitioners. It is only in the body that real sadhana can progress. No really - I mean it. ONLY in embodied life can we engage the great Path of Yoga. No REALLY.....I mean it again some more. Yoga, when taken "to scale", will always fall apart. Why should this be surprising? Perennial wisdom has always said that power and loss of connection with the local and embodied will lead to inflation and corruption. Yep.
And you know what else? I love what has happened with Anusara Yoga here, I love Garden Street and I love all of you - amazing friends and students and teachers, (several of whom I have the good luck to see in just another couple of hours).