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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Karen is a yogini, writer, student, teacher and meditator. She founded Garden Street School of Yoga in 2000. Karen lives with her husband Chris. They have two amazing sons, Eli and Leo (both of them young men).

Feb 12, 2012

Namaste - or - "nah-ahmm-gonna-stay"

Anusara - the corporation - is continuing to go through either death throes or birth pangs. And I am continuing to act from a platform of hope that it is birth pangs.

Some of my good friends - teachers who came up with me in the method as my litter mates  -  have resigned. It feels like a tearing of a fabric each time another one leaves. Any kula or sangha shares an energetic nervous system and I have felt the truth of this in my flesh and bones the past few days.

A far greater number of dear friends and amazing lights are sitting tight in Anusara.  I have litter mates on both sides of the line.

I have considered resigning - have been considering it for some time now - ever since the news started coming out that John Friend had apparently behaved with gross malfeasance in the domains of sex and drugs (apparently rock and roll was not a problem:).  I've not wanted my affiliation with Anusura to hurt the diamond like brightness of Garden Street.

So - for me - as painful as it is to say - I have been divorcing myself from the personality of John Friend who has been one of the most important teachers of my life. That is a painful tearing of the fabric for sure, but it has been a long time coming. I became a dedicated student of John Friend years ago in 1995. I watched him go from a brilliant, centered, funny and great-hearted teacher, devoted to his own Teacher - Gurumayi -  to being over-extended, inflated and surrounded by adoring and ambitious groupies. There were no checks and balances -  no way for feedback to take root. And his teacher -  Gurumayi stopped public teaching just as John's fame started to swell.

I am not divorcing myself from Anusura. Not now. Not yet. For me - in my context and local circumstance  - that would be the easy way out at this point. I'll stay in the trenches and work to save a beautiful method from being trashed by the effects of popular culture and blind ambition and inflation (and I don't mean just John's)

I don't want to teach any other method - I already did that.  I don't really want to teach "no method". And I don't want to develop my own method. Of course I will do one of the above if Anusara at the national level cannot separate itself from the personality of John Friend.

I am holding steady and praying that Anusura can rise up as a method and survive and thrive without a sole dependency on the charismatic figure of John as its leader. That will be a whole new evolution. I know that Yoga does evolve itself and I think the method of Anusura can continue to be a strong carrier wave for that evolution.

Meanwhile, John is acting with extreme humility. He is being honest, real, humble and totally taking responsibility for his actions as a human who made mistakes. He isn't hiding. He has publicly apologized, taken ownership and spoken to all of the accusations with humility and truth.

So - I continue hold to the mid-line. I continue to aim to be a bright and steady carrier wave for the intelligence that is Yoga.

I am sorry to post about all of this. It is the sort of thing that so easily devolves into a feeding of a voracious appetite for gossip.  And It can be a tawdry distraction from what is real and is right in front of us.......our own community and our own practice.

Please practice.
Thanks for reading.

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