Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thoughts About Anusara

Why I Stay

My last post was a tribute to my teacher, John Friend.  This one is a tribute to the method he taught me, not to him.  As allegations against him are made public and as more and more very respected teachers are resigning their ties to Anusara, I have been contemplating the healthiness of my own connections to the organization.  This is what I have come up with.  This went out on the Certified and Inspired Teachers page this morning, but in case any students or friends are hearing rumors or wondering what my choice is, you can read it here.

I have been reading everyone’s accounts both of resignation and of retaining their certifications for the last few days with great compassion and emotion.  I understand people’s wishes to stay and I understand their wish to un-affiliate.  I have been reading all these entries with the hopes of finding some kind of motivation for me to take some kind of action.

I have not agreed with many of the business decisions and practices of Anusara, Inc. in the last few years.  The Center, Shiva Shakti Tantra and simply the magnitude of John’s teaching schedule always seemed unsustainable to me, but then, I teach a small number of local classes in a small studio to a relatively small (around 30) number of students. 

My questions is this: If I do not teach Anusara Yoga, what do I teach?   I begin with an invocation to ask for blessings and to give focus to the practice. I take a heart based theme and weave it into the Universal Principles of Alignment.  Through years of practice and teaching I have learned to recognize when a given body part or asana or situation requires more Muscular Energy, more Organic Energy or more Openness to the bigger picture.  If this is not Anusara, what is it? To call it simply “Hatha Yoga” seems not specific enough.  To call it anything of my own creation feels disingenuous.

The truth is that I don’t think my students care one bit what I call my specific style of Yoga.  They just know that it works for them.  I am the one who feels the need to give it a name, mostly as a way to honor my teacher for the creation.  I love trying different styles of Yoga, but every time I do I am reminded how much I love Anusara.

So, just out of practicality, I don’t feel any need to change my certification status.  I worked hard to weave this method into my body, and until I can figure out a way to undo those seams, I remain stitched.

Much love and respect to all…


  1. That's really lovely, Sharon. Hugs and love.

    1. Thank you Jill. It's always nice to see your voice! ;)

  2. Beautifully said, Sharon. My heart goes out to the entire Anusara community and to dedicated yoga practitioners everywhere. Yoga is larger than the actions of any one individual and strong enough to endure the inevitable "crises" that arise out of the high-speed swell of popularity we've witnessed in the U.S. in the past decade. Your integrity is a testament to the yoga that you love and live. We can all learn from you. ~ Namaste, Dee

    1. And thank you Dee. Your heart is well received!! Much love and thanks for the wonderful community at Inner Reaches.