I was in India when the whole Anusara situation erupted and not being an Anusara practitioner I didn’t pay it much attention. Occasionally I would check up on EJ for a bit of news, but during our travels, gossip certainly wasn’t one of my top priorities. Not to say that I was surprised by the scandal; for in fact, I knew just from looking at a picture of John Friend that he was up to no-good, but that’s neither here nor there. I do believe, as the shastras say, that people get the teacher they deserve. But sometimes that sounds a little cold-hearted, eh? A huge number of people dedicated their lives and hearts to the world of Anusara and having that world break apart is well, earth-shattering. Given what my fiance and I have been through recently, I have a greater sense of compassion for those former-Anusara yogis who are floundering in a life post-kula. It’s easy to become too identified with a single community. And it’s even easier for the tides to turn and toss you out to sea. Everything in life is subject to change – that’s the only constant.
During our last weeks of traveling in India, FY received an email from the owner of our shala informing him that he was fired, no discussion, no warning, just boom – fired. He had been leading Mysore practice there 5 days a week as well as teaching an Intro to Ashtanga class. The reasons she gave for this shift were many and sketchy at best. I know there’s a back story, but it’s yet to become quite clear. A series of emails ensued and many feelings were hurt. None of this was very professional, nor compassionate. It only got worse when we returned to the states. We were in shock. FY felt like he had been stabbed in the back. On top of the hurt feelings we also had to deal with the fact that our major source of monthly income had, without any warning, disappeared.
FY and I wanted to move past it and continue to practice at the shala, even though to do this meant he would have to pay a monthly fee of $150. This shala had been our sweet, comfortable little cocoon for the past year and a half. It was the main thing that was keeping us in Charlottesville as well as a place where we felt like we belonged in a community. All this vanished in the blink of an eye. Suddenly it was so frigidly uncomfortable for us at the studio that I, being the overly sensitive woman that I am, immediately hurt myself under the pressure of it all. (Ugh…..and as soon as my knee started to heal a few weeks later, I returned to the studio for my class, feeling emotionally fragile and abruptly hurt myself again!)
We do still feel close to many of the people that we met while practicing and teaching at the shala. We have received many loving and concerned emails/calls and visits from former students and fellow practitioners. We were certainly not the only ones surprised and upset by this huge change of heart and structure at the shala. I continued to teach my weekly class there, but it wasn’t the same. At Mysore, I couldn’t practice pratyahara – I was still too entangled in my feelings – the roller coaster waves of dread, resentment, rage and sadness. It hurt me that the studio owner said such unkind, untrue things about my partner and it also really angered me that she acted like we were crazy and irrational to be upset by the situation. I felt belittled by the way she spoke/wrote to us. Her behavior exhibited a deep lack of respect for FY and for the hard work, love and energy he had dedicated to her shala (and only two months before she had been thanking and praising him for all that he contributed to the community). And as always with love, it hurts the most to see the one that you love being hurt.
Today I quit that class. I realized that it wasn’t healthy for me emotionally to be working in that environment and that it wasn’t safe for my practice to feel pushed by the energy of the studio to do something that could once again injure me. I’m excited to commit myself to a home self-practice (started today with a gimpy primary!) and I’m feeling confident that this is the right thing for FY and for me.
We were beginning to feel super settled here in Cville, and that was wonderful, but deep down I was always a bit afraid that I would get “stuck” here forever (it is my hometown after all). So, despite the sadness and the feelings of abandonment and distrust that still sometimes arise in me when I think about what went down, I am able to see now, with gratitude and clarity, that the universe is offering us a way out! And that is totally thrilling because it means that as soon as we can, we are heading back out West!! Yee-ha!
FY and I live our life at the will of Spirit. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense (believe you me, I resisted the insistence of the universe that he and I get together in the first place!), but I’ve learned that if you offer yourself up humbly and stay open to the flow of Grace, it takes you exactly where you need to go at exactly the right time.
There are always bumps along the way, but with honest practice, deep faith and trust, it’s possible to flow without fear.
So here’s to the future – looking bright!
Blessings and Love,