The account of the downfall of one of the most famous asana teachers in the contemporary American yoga movement has gone mainstream. A link to the feature article in the Washington Post is below.
Initially, back in February, when the story first broke I shared my thoughts on this issue: The John Friend Scandal – The Great Benefit.
Now that the matter has come in such a grand way to the mainstream press, I feel again it is important to address, or at the very least recognize the article.
Here are just a few thoughts to consider.
As we know, yoga is not just about the pose; yoga is more about being a living example of an ideal – a high ideal. This means polishing the mind: Keeping it pure, honest, straight and truthful through meditation and abiding by all kinds of moral principles (yama and niyama). A great support in this aim is keeping the body healthy. When the body is healthy the mind tends to be more buoyant and positive. Hence, we practice yoga asanas (postures). Asanas when done properly definitely are a mind-body practice.
All this seems to have been totally lost on Mr. Friend and certain elements of his Anusara yoga community. In fact his dealing was so far out there – so outlandish, it is hard to say, or even think, that he was even involved in yoga at all. Whatever may be, when one deviates from the truth, then a fall is bound to occur. That is exactly what happened here.