Tuesday, 7 February 2012

What pension? I'm here for the yoga class.

It seems to me people are losing touch with what really matters.
I love Anusara Yoga. Let me make that clear, Anusara Yoga. Not Anusara politics. Or any politics for that matter.

Anusara Yoga, as a philosophy is centered on the Tantric approach of intrinsic goodness, Anusara focuses on alignining the individual with the Divine, allowing the human being to flow deeper in the sweet current of life. Sounds pretty awesome, right?
Well, it also uses, let's call them physical tools, which have received the glorious name of Universal Principles of Alignment (trademark!!), which allow the practitioner to go further in the practice and if we align ourselves with the Anusara idea of yoga being an artistic expression, then whoever practices Anusara Yoga knows this to be true: it rocks.
And this is the part that I love.

I'm not an Anusara Yoga teacher, I practice Anusara Yoga because I love it, because it makes me feel good, because it provides me with the tools to better explore myself (body, emotions, what have you), so what I'm stating here is merely an opinion. It's merely my opinion.

In 2010, John Friend replied to an article published in the New York Times regarding himself and Anusara Yoga. Some of the points he defended seem pertinent to the point I'm trying to make.

Is Anusara Yoga a means to make a lot of money?
Well, yes and no. They do have an online store, where they sell their products worldwide; John Friend has worked directly with both prAna and Manduka, designing a very special "Anusara line". Their ideas are trademarked... (I mean if the principles are universal... shouldn't they belong to the... Universe?) The Anusara workshops or trainings don't come cheap. So yes, Anusara Yoga can be seen as a way to make a lot of money.

But. But, they have something called "Anusara Aid": Anusara Aid is used to financially assist students in their training with John Friend. Financial difficulty should never be a hindrance to attending an Anusara yoga class. Students who need financial assistance to study with John are welcome to submit an application for Anusara Aid or request a payment plan option. (quoted directly from the Anusara Yoga website)
In my opinion, this means Anusara Yoga wants to make money - granted, they have become a business after all, they have employees who live on their salary, I'm sure (and they're awesome employees by the way, I know this from personal experience). But they're not only interested in making money, they want to spread the yoga. Their teachers and John himself travel extensively throughout the world to share the teachings of Anusara Yoga.This is a fact.

What explains the exodus of Anusara certified/senior teachers?
Well, John Friend founded Anusara Yoga in 1997. Most of the teachers who left recently had been studying with John Friend since before 2000.
Now, are you the same person as you were 10 years ago?
I'm not.
And I'm pretty sure none of those teachers are, and neither is John Friend and neither is Anusara Yoga.
Do you want the same things, do you think the same way?
Does this answer that question?
And didn't John Friend also felt like he was no longer aligned with Iyengar Yoga and returned his certification and later came up with this awesome idea of founding "Anusara Yoga"?

All this talk of money with a huge hint of politics makes me cringe.
Yoga and politics are two separate things.
Anusara Yoga's popularity is the main source of money for the Anusara organization and John Friend. The thing is, John Friend didn't impose Anusara yoga on anyone, people chose it. People tried it out and either loved it or hated it, but he didn't shove Anusara yoga down people's throats and threatened them to give him all their money so he could look pretty on television and design a revolutionary yoga mat.

People allowed this.
We go to Anusara Yoga classes and workshops and trainings.
We buy their products.
We click a link anytime we read "blah blah Anusara blah blah".
And we do all of that because it resonates with us.
Because we love Anusara Yoga.
And I mean, Yoga.

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