Anusara Founder in the Spotlight

Last Friday, February 3, news spread through the yoga community about an anonymously published website, on which Anusara Yoga founder John Friend was accused of sexual and financial improprieties, among other things. The site was taken down shortly thereafter.

Friend has since admitted, in a written response to questions posed by Elephant Journal, to having sexual relationships with some of his students and employees.

Anusara Yoga also provided to Elephant Journal documents to back up the assertion that it corrected alleged problems with its pension plan. A document provided to Elephant says Anusara Yoga discontinued contributions to its pension plan, then reinstated them after learning that the law required the organization to give employees proper notice of the change.

Meanwhile, five prominent, senior teachers have left Anusara Yoga since November 2011, some citing unnamed differences with the organization. Some teachers who remain actively involved in Anusara Yoga are asking for the leadership of the organization to move out of Friend’s hands and into those of a board of directors.

We have requested an interview with Friend, who was on a plane and unavailable on Friday. Friend has long been a member of Yoga Journal’s editorial advisory board and a frequent presenter at Yoga Journal Conferences.