Emerging Potentials after the Anusara Fallout

Emerging Potentials after the Anusara Fallout

I resign as a Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher.

I am finally ready to resign. I needed to witness, to get a more complete picture. In the time warp, I didn't know. I couldn't get a clear sense of the whole. Now, I'm clear. I sense a past and a future. I'm ready to serve what is emerging.

My Perspective

From the biggest perspective I can glimpse into, I sense something like this is happening: Anusara in its heyday represented an evolution for a small group of human culture. We were evolving how to be and teach embodied higher connectivity. While the brand is crumbling around us, the big question for me is what is emerging from that evolution and how can we work together to co-create something that is truly for the highest good.

What is the potential that is trying to emerge through us? 

First, we can consider the ways that Anusara has positively contributed to the world and see where that has the potential to go. Second, we can tap into the emergent potential that never existed before, but which is possible right now in this moment between us all.

What Anusara contributed:

  1.  A non-denominational system for helping people (1) get in shape, awakening physical potential (2) awaken to Spirit within (3) connect with heart-centric awareness.
  2. A teaching model that is highly replicable to enable more humans to become healthier and more awake to personal and collective potential.
  3. A worldwide network of teachers centered in an explicit, systemic, and hierarchical curriculum and code of ethics. (That John Friend chose not to uphold).
  4. An awakening of hatha yoga into non-dual Tantra.

Where we are now:

Like many of us, I was disoriented by the recent scandals in our community and the resulting fall out. If you need details, read Elephant Journal.The initial backlash to John Friend’s actions and responses created fallout and some reorganization. When you look back at the history of the human species, you can see that what happened in our community is not that unusual. Despite warning signs, it often takes a systems breakdown for human beings to actually make better choices. We have had a system breakdown in our teaching community, and now we are aware of a vacuum and a sea of choices about how to move forward.

What is emergent from the breakdown of Anusara

From a non-personal perspective, in pure curiosity for the emergent (or for what feels like it wants to emerge in our community), I sense a 3 potentials:

  1. Smaller, more potent schools of Tantric Yoga emerge to carry on and evolve the tradition of Tantric Yoga. This group is seated in the depth of authentic teachings applied to modern life.
  2. A group reclaims and potentially rebrands Anusara Yoga, sans John Friend. They refine what works from the system and uplevel the worldwide network with higher ethical integrity.
  3. Others take the methodology and alignment principles from Anusara Yoga, and drop the Tantra. This may be shocking to the yogis. If, however, we see this move in the Integral context, it seems less radical. What this looks like is yoga movement and alignment with the depth of non-cultural, non-denominational spiritual awakening. In other words, if you have a human body, and are interested in awakening to your health and interconnected awakening without importing the cultural context of yoga, you qualify.

Of course, there are other possibilities for what can emerge from this crisis. I’ve laid out the three main camps I see. As a generalist, I’m interested in contributing to all three. As a new era in yoga comes into being, I'm ready to engage the best I've learned from all my teachers.

I’d love your comments. I know you’ll have your own contributions on what Anusara contributed and what is emergent. Please continue the conversation with me below.



Cate Stillman
[email protected]

Welcome to Yogahealer.com. We’re all about vibrant health evolution, both personal + planetary. Let’s step deeper into dharma and an awake life together. Start with your Yoga Lifestyle Upgrade Kit + Upgrade your body, your dharma + your life.

  • Alex
    Posted at 13:15h, 23 May

    I’ve been wondering when you were going to weigh in. As usual, you offer a unique and forward-thinking perspective. It is refreshing to hear such a perspective, especially after numerous Facebook groups have devolved into blame and vitriol.

    I hope more people will focus on what can good emerge from this debacle. That is not to say that John Friend should not be held accountable for his actions – he abslutely should. But, for most of us, focusing on the future, rather than John’s mis-deeds will bring more positive results, both for each of us personally and as a community. We don’t need to agree on what that future looks like either. But, I agree with you – we should move towards it, and help it to evolve.

    Thanks for your wisdom.

  • Cate Stillman
    Posted at 15:30h, 23 May

    Good to hear from you.
    Focusing on John to move forward at this point is a losing battle. He has deep work ahead of him and I haven’t heard any sign that he is engaged in that work as of yet.

    I am grateful, as most of us are, for his groundbreaking contributions in systematically organizing an effective method of yoga, and creating a model of how to network a method worldwide. May he realize the gravity of his situation and get the help he needs.

  • Marjorie Nass
    Posted at 18:51h, 23 May

    Thank you Cate. I’ve been looking forward to your healthy and balanced viewpoint. I particularly resonate with the potential of #3, and love the way you describe it.

    It’s not shocking to me at all, rather it describes what I’ve personally been teaching during the past few months of turmoil. It is authentic, evolutionary, and the future of yoga.

  • Cate Stillman
    Posted at 18:54h, 23 May

    Awe, thanks for your feedback, Marjorie. I find myself backing up and backing up to get a big enough picture of what can emerge. I’m most interested in #3 too. Let’s start collaborating.

  • Susan
    Posted at 02:08h, 24 May

    Hi Cate, I too have been waiting to hear what you have to say on this and am honestly relieved that you are choosing to move on. You have your own voice and so much more to say than what the container of Anusara was able to hold. Your teaching style is impeccable and I really appreciate the way you are able to seamlessly weave Ayurveda, evolutionary philosophy, and spiritual growth into each of your sessions. I look forward to the ever growing expanding body of knowledge that you so generously put together into accessible form. I’ve learned so much from you just from doing the cleanses and reading your emails. Through the practices, I’ve learned to care for myself and my husband in far better ways than ever. My garden is bursting with planted and wild greens happily co-habitating and harvested in equal measure. Here’s to the future and what new forms grow out of the composting past.

  • Cate Stillman
    Posted at 02:28h, 24 May

    I’m touched by your words and sense I’ll be able to step into a deeper authenticity in my own unique voice and contribution. Thank you for taking the time to write.
    Go Wild!

  • B
    Posted at 17:54h, 06 June

    Sound like your rationalizing your fall out. Reorganizing your ego on some supposed evolutionary spiritual trip. There are real enlightened gurus still out here in the world, though they don’t create a business around themselves (sometimes they do spring up out of necessity). The fact that you got sucked into Anusara just speaks to your “evolutionary ” status and now trying on some new hat through enlightenext I believe. Just seems like more ego games to me. The west does not understand Tantra and to see Anusara as somehow authentically tantric on any level seems a joke. He merely took Iyengar’s system mixed in some extra philospohical tantric jargon and branded the whole affair. Nothing original, enlightened or inspired. He was a business person and you seem one too. You need a qualified guru to practice tantra or it is an extremely difficult path to follow on your own if you are serious about actually becoming enlightened. Good luck.

  • Cate Stillman
    Posted at 18:40h, 06 June

    Dear thesadhakasjournal.com ,
    If I can understand your claims, are you pointing to:
    – Anusara Yoga added no value to modern yoga
    – Anyone who taught or teaches Anusara yoga doesn’t have an understanding of Tantra
    – Anyone one who is awake (or more awake than most) won’t engage in business as a means of spreading teachings
    – The only way to engaged in an enlightened nondual orientation to life is through Tantra

    Perhaps, if you can engage without a tone of superiority and negativity that might be most enlightening to other readers.

  • Sarah
    Posted at 01:43h, 09 June

    Hi Cate, Initially this was very disconcerting and left me with a feeling of being duped. As I have had time to sort through the good, the bad, and the ugly I realize that there is actually a freedom and opportunity to get closer in touch with our own truths. Really being able to see where we all stand on our own mat, in our own gardens, in our own lives. Deep down we all want to cheer for each other – we want to see ourselves doing well. This is taking great listening. Thank you for voicing.

  • Cate Stillman
    Posted at 01:50h, 09 June

    Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for adding your voice.

    I think not only getting in touch with our own truths.. but also the greater truth that is emerging. Two of the greater truths that I sense into are:
    – We are all always on stage. Transparency is a quality of our higher potential. Those who hide behaviors create karma.
    – The old model of one person guiding a large group is over. Authentic collaboration is imperative.

    I love your expression of collaborative support. I cheer for you deep down!

  • confused
    Posted at 05:19h, 26 June


    I’m glad to have run into your blog but I’m sad to have to give this more thought as I thought I was over it. But I guess my inner confusion is good and I can learn from these feelings. I figured, by practicing all styles, avoid Anusara and all will be good but there is a lingering feeling of being a fool. I now feel distrusting and dismissive when teachers wax philosophic.

    Oh well, it’s just part of the path.

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