While Anusara is not an ordinary business, it is also not a traditional guru-led organization; and John Friend is not an ordinary teacher or boss, but he's not a swami or a guru either. This illustrates the ambiguous position of modern yoga in general.
I'm aware that some traditions teach that gurus are unblemished, and that admiring the perfection in them is a way to glimpse God. But I personally go farther on my own spiritual path when I remember it's okay that I'm fallible, that wherever I am or whatever I've done is fine.
It's hard to read any yoga blog these days without coming across the lengthy, messy break-up currently unfolding in the Anusara yoga community following the disclosure of Anusara founder John Friend's, well, rather philandering ways.
We do need external teachers for a while to guide, teach and hone our understanding and skills. But, at some point, all a teacher can do is lead us inward. Like a big cosmic U-turn, the guru is ultimately only trying to lead us home.
Do these leaders misuse their power because they have risen to such great heights that they have lost touch with reality, or have they risen to power because their egos knew no bounds in the first place?
As the increasingly ugly Anusara scandal unfolds, yoga and yogis in America seem to be approaching yet another defining moment. Do the movement's most sincere and thoughtful leaders have the strength -- and humility -- to push their industry to reform its ways?
Gratitude seems the most effective, healing state I've found in ten years of studious seeking. In a situation where we find ourselves complaining, the healing reaches into our hearts and everyone nearby.
The process of placing our attention on the doubt and fear - and learning what we need to see in order to bring balance to this life - is the process of awakening that brings us toward that evolution again and again.
I've been in this business for seven years, and Wanderlust Fest is the first time I've ever seen first tier yoga in a context of "hip," or big-time music in a context of mindfulness (green, yoga, etc.).