He’s baa-ack! It has not been that long since the infamous yoga teacher uprising that declared it time to un-Friend Anusara. While the cult of personality drama was a fascinating display to watch if you were devotedly not committed to Anusara teachings, the pain and anger at the center of it all caused aftershocks that were rippled around the world. The digital cacophony of news, confessions, and denials that ensued dominated many yoga blogs, and even made appearances in national papers. In the real world, studios closed, relationships fell apart, disillusioned devotees formed support groups. After several attempts to make things better were only met with more scrutiny, John Friend ultimately left the Anusara brand to his teachers. But now he’s back, and he’s professing a new found humility as he announces his new and improved system of alignment that beats the socks off Anusara.
Oh, the dharma that is an abundance of charisma. It’s like he can’t even help it. He’s humbled, he’s apologetic, and he his brand is about to take the yoga world by storm. Again.
In a recent interview for the Denver Westword News, he describes how much he’s learned from this experience, how he’s living simpler, and how much he appreciates this fresh perspective. And by golly, it just might be true. Yet, by the end of the article, he has described his new brand as both “something revolutionary” and as “the holy grail of yoga alignment.”
He does realize that, given the circumstances, his devotion to this new brand may appear a bit extreme, possibly even unbelievable, and that it may be a further insult to those he left in the Anusara wreckage; yet, he just can’t help that. And not to add insult to injury, but that new Anusara his old students and teachers are practicing? He is happy they have found Anusara 2.0, but his brand, Sridaiva (“divine destiny”), is Anusara 7.0.
He recognizes it is an “unbelievable cosmic irony” that his fall from grace landed him in the arms of the woman that helped him to discover the most “optimal template…[he] has ever used,” yet, this is his story and he’s sticking to it. In his January newsletter he told his remaining faithful that the Westword News article was the “most accurate and honest piece of journalism on the Anusara scandal.” If you are interested in seeing how Shri Daiva was originally presented in 2013, you can read the official announcement here.
So there you have it, he really can’t help it. He messed up, he learned his lesson, and the universe gifted him with the best yoga ever invented. Who’s on board?