New York Times – you have published another utterly ridiculous article about yoga. Shame on you.
It all started earlier this week (no idea how I missed until today), when John Friend (pictured above) stepped down as head of the Anusara school of yoga. Apparently, he was boinking his students… and basically anyone else who would have him. And he was cheating people out of money. (Side note – I will not comment on this second allegation, because it is what I would consider to be a valid problem. This was also not the main focus of the NYT article, either, interestingly enough. Sex sells more newspapers than stealing, apparently.)
Major story in the world of Anusara. However…. as they like to do with yoga, the New York Times has blown this out of proportion. (Cough cough, interesting that the author has book that JUST came out… Hmm.) Read the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/health/nutrition/yoga-fans-sexual-flames-and-predictably-plenty-of-scandal.html Some of the more interesting points from the article:
- Yoga teachers have, on occasion, had sex with their students. OH MY GOD! The HORROR!!! While I agree that if the teacher is using their charisma to force or trick the student into bed – they should be flogged. (Not in a sexy way though… that does not solve anything.) Otherwise… these are consenting adults. Who cares what they do?
- Yoga is a sex cult. Well duh, why else am I doing it? (KIDDING) This bozo is a big fan of misreading yogic doctrine and misleading people into believing that the basic tenet of yoga is the Kama Sutra and other such things. And not even just crazy two-person sexcapades – orgies up the wazoo. Up. The. Wazoo. Yoga does mean “yoke” or “union”… so to get better at it could only mean that you should add more people to your sexy times. In the words of GOB Bluth, “COME ON!”
- Yoga releases chemicals in the body that mimic those released during sex! Wow – he has opened my eyes. His next article should be about how runners masturbate a lot, since running also releases these same chemicals in the body, but it is more of a solitary activity. Then, the follow-up could be – “Boning During Bear Attacks: The Fight, Flight, or F*ck Response”. Yeah – the chemicals released when you are terrified? Same ones, too.
- Some major yogis were basically rapists, using spirituality to corner their prey. Yes, that is awful. I agree. But, gurus are only men, not gods. They make mistakes – it doesn’t mean the entire yoga community should get the heat for it.
Yeah, I can see this upsetting Anusara devotees. It sucks when you put your faith in someone and they do not live up to your expectations. He founded Anusara yoga. The way I see it, though, Anusara is (or at least SHOULD be), more than the man at this point. It is still a great and uplifting form of yoga to practice – why should that all fall to pieces because of one man’s indiscretions?
So, as I have said, I am agnostic at best, an atheist at worst. However, to quote the Bible (in some cases a relevant text, even for non-believers), “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. – Matthew 7:15. Be careful of who you trust and who you put all of your faith in. But what we have to remember, as practitioners of anything (yoga, religion, life), our role models are human. That means that they make mistakes, just like everyone else. You make mistakes, too. (Hopefully not illegal ones, though…) Just do your best to be a good person, and surround yourself with other people who are also trying to be good. That is all.