John Friend Returns to Teaching Yoga

Anusara founder John Friend has announced his return to teaching yoga, after several months spent in what he describes as “deep, humbled-self reflection.” Friend stepped down from his leadership role at Anusara Yoga earlier this year after facing accusations from within the yoga community. On his website, Friend announced he will return to public teaching as an independent hatha yoga instructor this October.

 Certified Anusara Instructor Ashleigh Sergeant told My Yoga Online she hopes John’s return to teaching will enable the next generation of the Anusara community to be viewed as separate from John Friend. She said she feels that Friend’s return to teaching is an essential stepping stone in the evolution of the yoga community.

“I think teaching asana is one of John’s purposes and callings in life. I believe that people have the right to offer their gifts and talents to the world to the best of their ability. If 2012 has taught us anything it's that we need to take responsibility for our own spiritual development. We need to give less power to our teachers. With John back in the seat of the teacher, the community will be called to a higher standard of personal responsibility,” she said.

Friend’s teaching schedule will include a series of public workshops with the focus on a set sequence called The Roots. His website describes The Roots as “ a well-rounded practice that includes some hand-balances, fundamental thigh stretches, backbends, some basic abdominal exercises, sitting forward bends, hip-openers, and twists.” The set sequence of 60 poses was developed by Desi and Micah Springer in 2004 and was modified by Friend in 2012. Friend and the Springers are also working on a book, in hopes of bringing attention to the routine within the global yoga community.

Sergeant notes that as Friend returns to teaching, it seems his focus will be on smaller communities, whereas “before, he was focused on bigger, faster and more... so much that everything blew up. It grew too fast.”

“I am interested to see if he will return to the idea of slowing down and nourishing local communities with his teaching,” she said.

Friend states on his website that he is returning to teaching “with a refreshed view and rededication to healing through disciplined practice.” 

Irene Zafiris is the Managing Editor of My Yoga Online. As a writer and Registered Yoga Teacher, Irene is passionate about bringing yoga into people's lives. She believes in yoga’s transformative power to calm the mind, nurture the body and soul, and bring balance to our lives.  


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