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The John Friend Scandal Goes Mainstream

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.

Washington Post Feature Article on John Friend Scandal

2 Comments
  1. Ummm, “yoga is not just about the pose; yoga is more about being a living example of an ideal – a high ideal.”

    WHERE did you get this from???

    As someone who has been practicing yoga for over 25 years, this is absolutely NOT what it is about for me. That’s for amateurs, novices, and wannabes.

    Yoga is about understanding– exploration, learning, communication, and ultimately union between an infinite number of opposites.

    Sorry, but John was not the Pope- even to those who adored him. Your foundation is just WAY OFF.

  2. Greetings Danielle,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts – though it is hard for me to believe that you actually read or understood the blog post. For more please read my earlier post on this topic:

    http://www.renyoga.com/blog/issues-of-yoga-movement/the-john-friend-scandal-the-great-benefit/

    Given your 25 years of yoga experience, I am going to chalk up our perceived differences to semantics, and assume that we both agree that progress on the path is marked by a moral standard of living and spiritual practices whereby one day one realizes the inherent link between unit and universal, or jiivatman and Paramatman.

    Best wishes to you on this splendid journey.

    Namaskar,
    Satyam

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