It is in the silence that you can hear the true calling of the heart…
To our beloved community of teachers, students and friends,
As some of you already know, Anusara yoga has been in a serious crisis the past ten days. Allegations spread via internet about the unethical behaviour of its founder, our teacher, John Friend. Naime has been in Athens teaching all week, experiencing crisis in a different way as the city has been under seige with riots. This past week, I have spent every free moment scrambling to make sense of the ‘mess’. Through an endless stream of conversations with many of my friends and leaders in the Anusara community, and through John’s own admission, we painfully discovered certain accusations to be true. Banding together in hope John would pay attention to our unified voice, we offered our heartfelt pleas and recommendations on how to best support Anusara through these turbulent waters. The level of integrity, commitment and raw honesty that I witnessed this week with my colleagues has left me with profound respect for each of these courageous hearts as well as for the entire Anusara kula. We have been brought to razors edge of our emotions, each one of us being asked to ‘risk it all’ in the name of our highest truth. I realize now that John’s actions have become a catalyst for all of us to dig deeper inside, and along with John, start answering some tough questions. Are we offering ourselves the dignity to be honest and real with ourselves and each other? Are our words truly in alignment with our actions?
After much deliberation and a heavy heart, Naime and I feel it is time to move in a new direction, away from John. We have the utmost respect for the teachings of Anusara yoga and will always honor John Friend for all that he has given us personally and professionally. We remain steadfast and forever true to our commitment to the Principles. Having served the Anusara community for 13 years, we are trained to seek nothing less than excellence and Shri (beauty). Our commitment to these values and the beautiful communities we serve are unwavering. We intend to complete all of our 2012 Anusara trainings with integrity, clarity and dedication, and are confident our students will receive the total support and credits necessary if/when they seek Anusara certification.
As we peek delicately off into the horizon, we are inspired by what we see. We are birthing our second DIG YOGA studio, in Philadelphia, in just a few months with our new partner Mariel Freeman. Many collaborations with our beloved friends are already in the works, including advanced trainings and workshops with our pals/teachers Noah Mazé, Sianna Sherman, Douglas Brooks, Amy Ippoliti, Paul Muller-Ortega, Christina Sell, Desiree Rumbaugh, Martin Kirk, etc. Our vision for DIG is to expand the boundaries of yoga to celebrate the diversity of many voices and humbly serve our yoga communities with integrity, compassion and depth.
Our dedication to living yoga has lead us to everything we have today, and while it surely is not always the easiest path, it has offered us the ability to sit closer to the very light and core of our heart. We lovingly accept John for his humanity, offer him blessings for true healing and thank him deeply for every gift he has given us.
In love and light,
Sue and Naime (arriving home tonight!)