Anusara Yoga

Lola Williamson



1959 John Friend, founder of Anusara yoga, was born.

1987 Friend left the profession of financial consulting to become a fulltime yoga instructor.

1989 Friend received shaktipat (spiritual awakening) from Gurumayi while traveling in India.

1997 Anusara, Inc. was established.

2010 Property was leased and plans began for “The Center,” a yoga and performing arts complex, in Encinitas, California.

2012 (February) A scandal erupted concerning personal and business choices made by John Friend.

2012 Anusara, Inc. restructured after the scandal and mass exodus of Anusara teachers.

2012 (October) Friend resumed teaching as an independent Hatha Yoga instructor.

2012 (November) The Anusara School of Hatha Yoga, a global teacher-led school, incorporated.


Anusara® yoga developed under the inspiration and leadership of John Friend. In the early stages of developing the brand, Friend asked his guru, Gurumayi, about a name (Williamson 2012). She referred him to Douglas Brooks, a scholar of Tantra who teaches at Rochester University. Brooks was, at that time, translating the Kularnava Tantra while residing at Shree Muktananda Ashram, a major center for Siddha Yoga – a type of meditation-based yoga brought to the United States in the 1970s by Muktananda and now led by Gurumayi. Friend consulted with Brooks just as he was translating a sentence from the scripture as, “By stepping into the current of grace, the student becomes capable of holding what is of value from the guru.” The word anusara comes from saras, which means flowing. The literature of Anusara yoga translates anusara as “flowing with grace,” drawing on the larger context of the sentence. Friend continued to consult scholars of Tantra whom he had befriended during his stays at this ashram as he developed Anusara yoga, but Friend is the ultimate architect.

As Friend trained teachers in Anusara yoga, some rose to the top as stars, beloved by many students. However, John Friend was undeniably the virtuoso of Anusara, with his classes attracting thousands of devoted followers. In fact, he was adulated to such a degree that some considered him a guru. Friend, however, denies any status of enlightenment beyond the divine nature he believes everyone possesses (Author interview of Friend, 2010). In spite of this, a power differential developed over time between Friend and others – even those who worked closely with him in the organization. Some Anusara yoga teachers and leaders would later accuse Friend of abusing his power.

The road to Friend’s ascent as a hatha yoga guru began at a young age. His mother introduced him to stories of yogis, and he determined that he would someday acquire the powers these yogis had. He began the study of Hatha Yoga at the age of thirteen in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. His yoga teacher, a woman he simply refers to as Margaret, together with his mother, exposed Friend to an eclectic group of Eastern and Western esoteric teachings. Through his teen and young adult years, Friend studied the philosophies and practices of the Theosophical Society, Wicca, Sufism, New Thought, and Buddhism. His inspiration to deeply pursue the practice of yoga and meditation came, in large part, from reading the autobiography of Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) in the late 1970s. For a period, he pursued the meditation techniques taught by Self-Realization Fellowship, the organization founded by Yogananda. From his teen years to the present day, Friend has been interested in the connection between physical movement and spiritual ecstasy. This was witnessed in his practice of Sufi dancing, but even more so in his embrace of physical yoga. T.K.V. Desikachar (Viniyoga style), Patabbhi Jois (Ashtanga Yoga style), and Indra Devi are among the yoga teachers under whom Friend studied. Of these, he worked most consistently with B. K. S. Iyengar, eventually becoming an instructor of Iyenagar Yoga and serving on the board of directors for the Iyengar organization.

Friend attended Texas A&M University, where he received degrees in Finance and Accounting, and upon graduating, he worked as a financial consultant. In 1987, he left this profession to teach yoga fulltime. While a student of Iyengar, he traveled throughout India in 1989. In Ganeshpuri, near Mumbai, he met Gurumayi, the head of a guru lineage known as Siddha Yoga. He received shaktipat (spiritual awakening) from her and shortly thereafter began teaching yoga courses for her devotees, primarily at an ashram in South Fallsburg, New York. There, Friend was exposed to different Hindu philosophies, including the philosophy of Tantra, which was to play a large part in his formulation of Anusara yoga.

In creating his own brand of postural yoga, Friend developed a positive teaching vocabulary. Phrases such as “lead from the heart” became emblematic of Anusara yoga classes and inspired students to view their yoga practice as a melding of the physical and psycho-spiritual realms. Friend encouraged students to perform their postures from an internal space of joy and peace. In training teachers, he instructed them to, “Communicate to the students on a personal or heart level, not to their outer bodies on an impersonal level” (Friend 1998:101). He also integrated the physical and pycho-spiritual by developing a theoretical framework that connects the muscles and bones of the body to circular energy systems, or “loops and spirals.” By developing a set of principles which “bring the body into alignment with the Optimal Blueprint” (Friend 1998:39), his approach stands in contrast to that of Iyengar, who worked more from the purely physical level. Friend fine-tuned and formalized Anusara yoga as he trained instructors and wrote a manual for the extensive teacher training process.

Friend organized large gatherings of Anusara yoga practitioners from 2008 to 2012 and also participated in the Yoga Journal conferences where his classes drew such a crowd that his image needed to be projected onto screens throughout the room. Anusara yoga’s presence also became well known at music festivals, such as Wanderlust. At workshops, conferences, and festivals, Friend tightened the association of Anusara yoga with Tantra by arranging for some former swamis of Siddha Yoga (Sally Kempton and Carlos Pomeda) and scholars of Hinduism and Tantra (Douglas Brooks, Paul Muller-Ortega, and William Mahony) to speak and offer classes. Later a younger scholar, also formerly associated with Siddha Yoga, Christopher “Hareesh” Wallis, joined the group and became a popular teacher among Anusara yoga practitioners. Those seeking Anusara yoga teacher certification have been strongly encouraged to study with any one or all of these teachers. Friend also began to incorporate Hindu chants into workshops, and several kirtana (chanting) groups regularly traveled with Friend, including Krishna Das, Benjy and Heather Wertheimer (known as Shantala), and MC Yogi. Friend included performing arts in these various gatherings through talent shows that featured music, dance, and drama. Some of the performances enacted hula hooping and light or fire twirling, which were prevalent at large festivals such as Burning Man.

Anusara, Inc. grew by leaps and bounds throughout the first fifteen years of its existence. At its apex, Anusara had approximately 1,500 instructors and 500,000 practitioners in seventy countries. All of this came to a grinding halt in 2012 – just at the start of Friend’s “Igniting the Center 2012 World Tour” that was to add yantras (sacred geometry) and pyramid power to the mixture of practices. In February, a website posted incriminating evidence against Friend, which is detailed in the Issues/Challenges section below. Currently, after a brief hiatus for self-reflection and therapy, Friend is back on a touring schedule, acting outside of the Anusara yoga organization as an independent hatha yoga instructor – albeit “one of the most knowledgeable and experienced hatha yoga teachers in the world,” according to Friend’s website (“About John Friend” n.d.).

As Anusara yoga restructured, new faces have come to the fore. However, with the lesson of the corrupting influence of power still fresh, no one person is viewed as having authority. Decisions are made through committees. Three licensed Anusara yoga teachers are now the owners and managers of the newly formed Anusara School of Hatha Yoga (ASHY) ®: BJ Galvan, William Savage, and Jane Norton.

Galvan has traveled extensively in the United States, Australia, South America, and Europe, apprenticing under Friend and assisting him with classes. She has been teaching globally since 2007 and played an integral part in introducing Anusara yoga in South America. Currently, Galvan leads bi-lingual Anusara yoga events and trainings around the world. Passionate about her yoga practice, she is also a Reiki Master, Hypnobirthing® practitioner, former commercial real estate developer, volunteer for local civic organizations, and a mother and grandmother.

William “Doc” Savage specializes in one-on-one yoga therapy sessions. He has been teaching yoga for five years after studying under many teachers, including John Friend, Adam Ballenger, BJ Galvan, and Martin and Jordan Kirk. Savage also traveled to India with Douglas Brooks in order to deepen his understanding of Tantra. Prior to teaching yoga, he spent twenty-two years in the U.S. Air Force. He and his wife, Donna, teach yoga in the Black Hills of South Dakota as well as regionally under the moniker Dakota Yogi.

Jane Norton, the third manager of ASHY, became hooked on Anusara yoga when a nagging wrist pain was cleared up after attending her first class in 2003. Like Savage, Norton specializes in using Anusara yoga’s alighment principles to help people recover from injury and chronic pain conditions. From 2005-2007,she toured the United States as Anusara yoga’s boutique manager. Norton lives on the island of Martha’s Vineyard and enjoys cooking, beachcombing, and gardening.


Anusara yoga, as a form of physical yoga – also known as asana, hatha yoga, and postural yoga – is similar to other contemporary, global brands of physical yoga, but also has characteristics that set it apart. The practice centers around postures that are held with focused attention, accompanied by breath control. Types of physical yoga might be dotted along a line stretching from secular at one end to spiritual at the other. Anusara yoga’s placement falls toward the spiritual end because of its emphasis on developing “heart” qualities and, for Anusara yoga teachers, upon studying sacred texts from the yoga tradition of India. Required reading includes the Bhagavad-Gita, Yoga Sutras, Shiva Sutras, and Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

The philosophy section of the organization’s website states: “It is through the revelatory power of Grace that we awaken to the truth that this Divine flow is our essential nature. This higher knowledge naturally fuels our deepest desire to lovingly serve the creative flow of life through each breath and posture in our yoga practice. On our yoga mat we artistically offer our individual light and our unique music with the heartfelt prayer of adding more beauty, love, and goodness to the world” (“Philosophy” n.d.).

Friend developed his own philosophy of yoga when he realized that his views did not align with those of his teacher, B.K.S. Iyengar, who embraced the philosophy of samkhya found in the Yoga Sutras (Author interview of Friend, 2010). Samkhya is a dualistic system that divides the world into purusha and prakriti: the unchanging yet conscious spirit and the changing yet non-conscious matter. Because samkhya privileges purusha and thus tends to devalue the physical world, Friend favors the non-dual Tantric approach.

Tantra is multi-faceted system of philosophy and practice that developed in India during the Middle Ages. André Padoux provides a simple definition when he writes of Tantra as “an attempt to place kama, desire, in every sense of the word, in the service of liberation . . . not to sacrifice this world for liberation’s sake, but to reinstate it, in varying ways, within the perspective of salvation” (2004:15). The ultimate goal behind the philosophy of Anusara yoga is to leave behind ego-driven desire and align oneself instead with divine desire, or divine will, known as iccha. The specific form of Tantra that Friend learned during his time with Siddha Yoga is Kashmir Shaivism. Scholars from the Siddha Yoga tradition who have been associated with Anusara yoga align themselves with different sects of Tantra. Douglas Brooks proffers Shrividya Tantra, which focuses on Shakti, or feminine creative energy, and which Brooks teaches under the auspices of his newly coined Rajanaka Yoga. Paul Muller-Ortega aligns with Trika Tantra, which focuses on Shiva, considered to be an all-pervasive supreme reality inseparable from the creative power of Shakti. Muller-Ortega teaches his system under the moniker, Blue Throat Yoga.

Some confusion ensued for those Anusara yoga students who studied with both of these scholars. Thus, Friend coined the term Shiva-Shakti Tantra as a way to incorporate aspects of both sects, as well as his own larger worldview. Tantric scholar Christopher Wallis (2012) stated in an article for Bay Shakti that the terminology is “too broad and too vague.” The philosophy is indeed broad as it brings together Buddhist and Hindu Tantra, philosophies of China and Japan, Celtic and Wicca philosophies, and even aboriginal Australian views. The bottom line in all of these, for Friend, is that reality is orderly and good, and that all levels of life and the cosmos are interconnected (Coy interview of Friend, Bay Shakti 2010). Douglas Brooks and those Anusara yoga practitioners who followed his teachings objected to the newly articulated philosophy, eventually forming one faction that left Anusara yoga following the scandal disclosure. However, Shiva-Shakti suits the eclectic and loosely-defined Tantra that Anusara yoga represents. Former Anusara teacher Christina Sell expressed this potpourri when she stated in her blog: “Rajanaka Tantra lives within the world of Shiva-Shakti Tantra with no conflict although it has its own worldview, operating paradigm and points of difference. As do the profound teachings of Kashmir Shaivism that Paul [Muller Ortega] is bringing to life in his courses. As do the heart-ful teachings of Jesus, Budhha, Wicca and anything else that brings us closer to the direct experience of our intrinsic beauty, delight, and creative expansion” (2011).

Another aspect of Anusara yoga’s philosophy has to do with linking the physical body to the foundational principles of attitude, alignment, and action. Attitude comes into place before any movement begins as an Anusara practitioner “opens to Grace.” Grace is understood to be the revelatory power of spirit that animates the postures; it is a life force that opens one’s body, mind, and spirit. The second foundational principle, alignment, requires integrating the different parts of one’s being. The third principle, action, applies to “the natural flow of energy in the body” (Friend 1998:25). The concept of “shri” (beauty and abundance) also plays a large role in Anusara yoga’s philosophy and is said to unite spiritual and worldly aspirations.

It is the philosophy of Anusara yoga that unites its followers according to the organization’s website: “Anusara yoga is held together by everyone’s implicit alliance to the spiritual principles of Anusara yoga philosophy, such as celebrating beauty in all its diversity, truthfulness, and honoring the creative freedom of the Divine in all beings. Everyone is aligned with the truth that Grace plays the key role in the successful flow of their practice, classes, and the community itself” (“Philosophy” n.d.).


Anusara yoga is built on rituals of the body that create a sense of community and connect practitioners to a larger cosmic reality. Words are used to link the body to the heart and to instill virtue. The body becomes the axis mundi toward which all levels of reality coalesce and which elevates the physical toward the spiritual. Each Anusara yoga class begins with an invocation that Friend had learned from his mother at an early age and which he encountered again during his time with Siddha Yoga. He asked Krishna Das to write a melody for the verses, which serve to unite Anusara yoga students from around the world. The Sanskrit words are rendered on the back of Anusara yoga invocation cards as, “I honor the essence of Being, the Auspicious One, the luminous teacher within and without, who assumes the forms of Truth, Consciousness, and Bliss, is never absent, full of peace. Who is ultimately free and sparkles with a divine luster.” (This is more of an interpretation than direct translation; the first words, for example, namah shivaya gurave translate more directly as, “I bow to the Guru, who is Shiva.”) If the class is being taught in a more secular setting such as a gym, the opening mantra may be omitted or replaced with a simple chant of om three times.

Following chanting and bowing to each others’ and one’s own deepest self with the word, namaste, the instructor relates a spiritual story or theme she or he has contemplated. This theme sets the tone for the class and is referred to throughout the session so that students perform the postures as much from inner inspiration as from outer willpower. The organization’s website states under Methodology, “Each theme gives a direction for the attitudinal energy that infuses every action and breath in the poses. Effectively, all the poses in Anusara yoga are expressed from the ‘inside out.’” The Teacher Training Manual offers suggestions to teachers as they create an intention for each class. Among these are: “Experiencing our innate goodness, joy, love, worthiness, or divine power through the poses,” and “Doing the poses as artistic expressions of celebrations of one’s spirit” (Friend 1998:93). Classes end with the corpse pose, or “final relaxation,” followed by a final namaste.

The class ritual is the face of Anusara yoga that has inspired people around the world. While mostly focused on the physical body,“opening the heart” is an integral part of the class experience. Following class, community is built in some Anusara yoga studios through chatting over tea. Some Anusara yoga kulas (communities) organize social outings and support each other in times of need by preparing food or offering transportation. Some groups also hold benefits to provide donations to non-profit service organizations.


The purpose of Anusara yoga’s organization – formerly Anusara, Inc. and currently Anusara School of Hatha Yoga – is to offer instruction and to certify teachers. In addition, the organization has profited from selling clothing, yoga props, and print and electronic media. Some of the books, CDs, and videos they sell were produced by their own publishing company. Two scholars have recently had their work published by Anusara Press: Christopher Wallis, who wrote Tantra Illuminated (2011) and William Mahony, who wrote Exquisite Love: Heart-Centered Reflections on the Narada Bhakti Sutra (2011). But primarily, the organization sells Anusara yoga itself. Andrea Jain calls Friend a “a second-generation yoga entrepreneur,” who “selected from Iyengar Yoga and Siddha Yoga and subsequently introduced, elaborated, and fortified the Anusara yoga brand” (2012:13-14).

Under Friend’s leadership, the organization reached its financial apex in 2010 when it took in $2.8 million, according to a memorandum prepared for investors in 2011 (Roig-Franzia 2012). At that time, Anusara, Inc. was attempting to equip an educational and performing arts center in Encinitas, California, which was to focus on practices and precepts of the yoga and Tantra traditions. Friend envisioned a community growing up around The Center in Encinitas (Author interview of Friend, 2010). According to The Coast News, Anusara, Inc. had signed a 73-year lease for the 8,269-square-foot building for $1.86 million in October 2010 (Cagala 2012). The scandal, in part, involves allegations surrounding the funding for this project, but an investigation did not reveal intentional illegal activity. The plans and the lease were dissolved in 2012.

At the time the scandal erupted, there were 1,200 “Anusara-Inspired” yoga teachers (having completed at least 200 hours of training) and over 300 fully certified teachers (having completed at least 500 hours of training, among other rigorous requirements) for a total of over 1,500 teachers. The number of practitioners was about 500,000. According to Wendy Willtrout, operations manager for Anusara Inc., this number was estimated based on the number of students John taught in a year, plus all of the licensed teachers’ students. Currently, Willtrout states, there are 177 certified Anusara yoga teachers and 656 Anusara-Inspired licensed teachers. Thus, the number of instructors was reduced in the months following February, 2012, by about 700. Some of these, including John Friend, have gone on to become independent hatha yoga instructors. A good number have joined a break-off non-profit organization called Kula Evolution. The rest are currently re-organizing to continue under the trademarked name of Anusara yoga.

All Anusara application paperwork, videos, and trademarks have been passed on to the newly formed school called Anusara School of Hatha Yoga (ASHY), a for-profit teacher-owned school, which will license teachers in Anusara yoga in the future. The school is run by licensed Anusara yoga teachers representing five regions: the United States, Canada, Central and South America, Europe and the Middle East, and Asia and the Pacific. ASHY’s European and Middle East region encompasses all of the countries in the European Union, Israel, and Turkey. Its Asia/Pacific region is comprised of Australia, New Zealand, China, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand. The Anusara School of Hatha Yoga will be the sole licensee of the Anusara yoga trademarks and will be the central global body to administrate curriculum and certification in these five regions.

Kula Evolution is the other main entity that has replaced Anusara, Inc. According to their website, they are not associated with Anusara yoga in any way. In their words, “By forming Kula Evolution we are pursuing a new path with a new organization that has grown from our experiences in this past time period. Phase One of our organization includes a simple network that any current or former Anusara teachers and supporting students are free to join. In Phase Two, we will be re-writing curriculum and teacher training materials” (Kula Evolution n.d.).


Criticism of Anusara yoga began long before the scandal of 2012. Some complained that its practitioners maintain a myopic focus on the positive that obscures a balanced view of the human condition. Tantric scholar Christopher Wallis, for example, referred to Anusara yoga philosophy as “Pollyanna” rather than Tantra (Author interview of Wallis, 2010). In an article for the New York Times, Mimi Swartz compared John Friend to Christian evangelist Joel Osteen (2010).

Anusara yoga has also been criticized for its consumer orientation, an assessment common to the yoga phenomenon more generally. Jeremy Carrette and Richard King, authors of Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion, argue that contemporary groups, including those promoting eastern practices, exploit people’s desire for spiritual experience for capitalistic gain. Furthermore, the authors indict “private spirituality” for its disregard of issues of social justice. Mimi Swartz stated that Anusara, Inc. was bringing in revenue of two million dollars a year, and that Friend paid himself a salary of just under $100,000 a year. This is not viewed as problematic by Friend who stated, “There’s no differentiation between yoga philosophy and business philosophy. We honor spirit, based on our vision that life is good” (Swartz 2010). In 2010, Anusara teamed up with a well-established vendor of yoga accessories to the benefit of each. A statement of endorsement appears on John Friend’s Blog: “With Manduka, I was able to ask, ‘What is important to me in a yoga mat?’ Wider. Light, to fold and fit easily into a day bag or suitcase. Produced in greater harmony with the earth.’ – John Friend” (November 8, 2011). Just as Friend has been accused of using his savvy business sense to form partnerships that might help him sell his products, he also has been criticized for teaming up with scholars and swamis for his own advantage in order to sell Anusara yoga.

The emergence of incriminating evidence against John Friend with the publication of a website,, which appeared for a day and a half in February of 2012, was the final straw needed for some who had been questioning the direction of Anusara yoga to make a clean break. For others who were distant from the inner workings of the organization and who had little contact with Friend, the news came as a heart-breaking revelation. The allegations included Friend’s involvement in questionable financial practices, in sexual relations with several female employees, some of whom were married, in a Wiccan coven that used sexual rituals, and in using marijuana and placing employees in legal jeopardy by having them accept packages of marijuana on his behalf. More recently, Friend stated that, “Someone sent a box with marijuana to the office without my knowledge and it was opened unknowingly by an employee” (Personal correspondence with author, December 11, 2012). He also stated that “the coven never used sex acts as rituals!” (December 11, 2012). However, earlier he had a written a letter to one of the coven members with the statement, “As part of our rituals you and I both agreed that we would use sexual/sensual energy in a positive and sacred way to help build the efficacy of our practices, which is a common element of most Wiccan circles, as you know” (YogaDork 2012).

In February of 2012, the yoga conglomerate began to crumble. A group of senior Anusara yoga teachers attempted to meet the crisis by demanding Friend step down as CEO of Anusara, Inc. and immediately cease teaching. Friend was due to teach at a conference in Miami, and he continued with the plan, garnering yet more criticism from increasingly disenfranchised followers. On March 20, 2012, Friend wrote a letter of apology to the community of Anusara yoga practitioners in which he stated that he took full responsibility for “being out of integrity” by engaging in intimate relationships with married women. The allegation regarding financial indiscretion was dismissed as untrue, and the allegations regarding marijuana were not addressed.

Roig-Franzia stated in an article for the Washington Post that several teachers had reported that Friend had changed the ethical guidelines for the organization in 2009, essentially allowing sexual relationships between Anusara teachers and their students. Friend had formed a small Wiccan coven around that time with some of his students called the Blazing Solar Flames in which he was the only male. The “high priestess” of this former coven revealed in an interview for The Daily Beast that the rituals involving Friend and several women were sexual in nature. When she told Friend that she wanted to leave the coven, he implored her to stay, saying that the coven was the “battery” for Anusara yoga (Crocker 2012). It may be that Friend considered sexual energy the foundation of his charisma, an idea found in “left-handed” Tantra.

Amy Ippoliti, a former Anusara yoga teacher stated for The Daily Beast, “The model of working for a monarch can’t function in 2012. If there’s one good thing emerging from all of this, it’s people feel like they can teach without being connected to a brand. They know now that the collective is stronger than any one person’s view” (2012). John Friend still owns Anusara, Inc., which now functions as a holding company for ownership of the trademarks, all of which have been licensed to the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga. So the brand, Anusara yoga, continues even without its founder’s direction. BJ Galvan stated, “I believe on a global level, people are still practicing Anusara because the scandal was almost entirely an American phenomenon” (Personal correspondence with author, December 7, 2012). Andrea Jain attributes the brand’s popularity to its principles, stating, “What made Friend’s yoga brand stand out most was that it signified the idea that goodness is present in everyone in a life-affirming way” (2012:12). Whatever might be said of John Friend’s personal behavior, aspects of the spiritual practices and teaching style he developed continue to spread – both through those teachers who have left the specific Anusara brand and through those who continue to promote it through the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga.


“About John Friend.” n.d. Accessed from on 10 December 2012.

Anusara Homepage. n. d. “Philosophy” and “Methodology.” Accessed from on 8 December 2012.

Cagala, Tony, 2012. “The ‘Center’ for Anusara Yoga no longer holds lease.” The Coast News, April 26. Accessed from on 6 December 2012.

Carette, Jeremy R. and Richard King. 2005. Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion. New York, NY: Routledge.

Crocker, Lizzie. 2012. “John Friend Anusara Scandal: Inside the Wiccan ‘Sex’ Coven.” The Daily Beast, April 15. Accessed from on 3 December 2012.

Friend, John. 2011. “Part 2: Interview with John Friend-Dancing with the Divine, 2011 World Tour.” Bay Shakti, March 1. Accessed from on 8 December 2012.

Friend, John. 2011. John Friend’s Blog. November 8. Accessed at on 11 December 2012.

Friend, John. 1998. Teacher Training Manual, 12 th ed. The Woodlands, TX: Anusara Press, 2009.

Jain, Andrea R. 2012. “Branding Yoga: The Cases of Iyengar Yoga, Siddha Yoga, and Anusara yoga.” Approaching Religion 2:3-17.

John Friend Homepage. n.d. “About John Friend.” Accessed from on 8 December 2012.

KulaEvolution. n.d. Accessed at on 11 December 2012.

Padoux, Andre. 2004. “Tantrism.” Encyclopedia of Religions, ed. M. Eliade, Macmillan, 14: 273; cited in D. G. White. 2006. Kiss of the Yogini: “Tantric Sex” in its South Asian Contexts. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Roig-Franzia, Manuel. 2012. “Scandal contorts future of John Friend, Anusara yoga.” The Washington Post, March 2. Accessed from on 2 December 2012.

Sell, Christina. 2011. Blog, April 20. accessed on 3 December 2012.

Schwartz, Mimi. July 21, 2010. “Yoga Mogul.” New York Times. Accessed from on 7 April 2012.

Wallis, Christopher (Hareesh). Feb. 28, 2012. “What is Shiva-Shakti Tantra? Did John Friend make it up?” Bay Shakti. Accessed from on 2 December 2012.

Williamson, Lola. 2013 (forthcoming). “Stretching toward the Sacred: John Friend and Anusara yoga.” In Gurus of Modern Yoga, edited by Ellen Goldberg and Mark Singleton. New York: Oxford University Press.

Williamson, Lola. 2012. “Methodological Issues.” Anusara is considered a “brand” rather than a system of yoga because of its trademarked status. Due the fact that over a thousand people worldwide have put in many hours of training as well as significant financial outlay toward becoming an Anusara yoga instructor, and many of them have recently left to teach on their own or to join a break off group, the registered trademark symbol signifies that it is the system that John Friend developed and that continues today under the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga, also a registered trademark.

YogaDork. 2012. “John Friend, Head of Anusara: The Accusations.” Feb. 3. Accessed from on 16 December 2012.

Post Date:
3 January 2013







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