Tag Archives: Jordan Bloom

AnusaraGate’s impact on DC and my favorite article so far…

What does AnusraGate mean for DC yoga?  Well three things at least.  First, two of our better teachers have stepped out of the tent.  Second what was the biggest Anusara studio in the US is now no longer exclusive to Anusra.  Third, Douglas Brooks is getting some more air time, and as usual–if you get through it all–it is worth it.

1. Two DC certified teachers resign. A week ago, a couple of my favorite teachers (both of whom featured in my list of what I consider a rockin’ week of yoga in the District) “resigned” from Anusara.  Jordan Bloom posted to his mailing list and Naomi Gottlieb-Miller posted this brief statement to her facebook page:

Today, I am taking the leap and walking away from my licensing with Anusara, Inc and John Friend. While I will always hold the method of Anusara in the highest esteem and continue to teach it’s brilliant, effective and empowering principles to my students, I cannot in good conscience, continue to align with John Friend.  Today and every day, I will continue to offer the yoga I love to the students who inspire me guided by the teachers I admire.

Both statements came out on the 15th and the list of Anusara teachers who are leaving is long.  You can see a timeline and list of teachers at the SF Anusara blog.  There are likely other teachers who resigned, but these are the only two certified teachers I know of in DC, please feel free to let me know who I’ve missed.

What I’m curious about is, what actually changes?  What changes for these teachers when they step out of the drooping Anusara tent?  Or is this like a fire drill, everyone outside, and then when we get the all clear we can go back?

2. Willow Street goes “beyond.”  As I read their letter, it seems like they are taking  a step away from John Friend as it is a timely thing to do.  It doesn’t sound like there will be any major changes at Willow Street, other than that they can now have non-certified teachers teach.  (Which is good, because at least two of them just resigned 3 days before this letter came out).  The letter is signed by Joe and Suzie, who according to the timeline are in slightly different places.   Joe resiged, and Suzie is on the committee to rebuild Anusara.

But quite frankly, little needs to change.  It is a great studio teaching a powerful system.  Distancing themselves from John Friend seems like the right thing to do, it will reduce the guru adoration of JF and that is not a bad thing.  This is their leading paragraph, underlines are my own:

Regardless of whether they are maintaining an official license with Anusara, Inc., every single one of our yoga teachers is highly trained in and committed to the elements of Anusara yoga: its principles of alignment, its heart-oriented method, its therapeutic approach, and its underlying philosophy. Indeed, we have the deepest respect and highest regard for the teachings of Anusara yoga, and are grateful to both John Friend and Anusara’s many senior teachers, including our own Suzie Hurley, for this yoga method that inspires and heals bodies and hearts.

3. Doug Brooks get a louder voice. It feels like a each teacher has written eloquent goodbyes, and the leading formerly-Anusara teachers, like Elena Brower have had some revealing commentary.  But, if we want to get past the “what happened” and learn something from all this, then the best thing I’ve read so far is Doug Brooks statement on Elephant Journal.  DB left the Anusara tent a long time ago and continues to teach.  I have more of his stuff on my shelf than official Anusara materials.  He writes about the Guru, as usual he is verbose, but also–true to form–he’s good.  Watch this space, I am still reflecting on what he wrote and will be adding my take soon.

My ideal week of DC Yoga

“I’m moving to DC, my friend said you would know which classes I should check out…”

I have answered this question a few times, so here is my Winter 2012 answer complete with options and backups…

Monday: “The Practice” with Jordan and Batya 615p at Willow Street Tacoma Park.  Yes you can drop in.  It’s not cheap, but it is worth it.  They are pretty senior in the wonderful world of Anusara and I always leave these classes with new insights and the pleasure of practicing with a powerful room.  Well worth the schlep to Tacoma Park.

Tuesday: My class! 745p at Yoga District on 14th between T and U.  This is a level 2-3 so prepare to sweat, and an established practice with arm balances and inversions is suggested.  If you have not checked out YD yet, please do.  It is a wonderful community offering affordable yoga with 4 different studios.  No retail, and no manicured lounge areas, but lots of good people and great yoga.

Plan b: Sadly (for me) Chanda Creasy teaches at the exact same time at Studio DC Dupont.  Chanda is good and has been teaching for a while.   She was away from DC for a few years for work, but we are glad she’s back.

Wednesday: Off the mat, onto the cushion… Meditate with Tara Brach at 730p at River Road Unitarian.  Tara is a great DC-based meditation teacher and her Wednesday night class is a powerful gathering.  If you live in DC and haven’t been to this class, you’re missing out.

Plan b: If you aren’t quite ready to mediate, then I suggest taking advantage of the all levels AcroYoga class with Jen Leisch at 730p at Yoga Chai on Columbia Rd.  Jen is the best and most experienced Acro teacher in the area and the only reason this class isn’t bursting at the seams is because she’s new to town.  (Disclosure, I occasionally sub this class.) Note, the Acro class pairs well with Naomi’s Anusara class at 6 right before.

Plan c: If you don’t want to mediate, you don’t want to learn Acro and you’re tired of inner spiraling, then (I’m not sure why you are reading my blog) I have one more recommendation for Wednesday.  Julia Romano at BuddaB is a Dharma teacher from LA with lots of Shakti.  This class is known to fill up.

Thursday:  Powerful Devi night in DC.  I’m listing these in chronological order if you can try to get a couple of them in, they are all very close…  Jen, Hannah, Faith and Mimi are remarkably strong women and wonderful teachers.

  • 530pm: Jen Rene teaches Pilates at Flow.  I had a Pilates phase, sadly all evidence has been eradicated, and I have to say, Jen’s class was my favorite.  Jen is a Rocket & Ashtanga teacher, she also leads Mysore on Wed and Friday mornings.  Jen is extremely talented.
  • 615pm: Hannah Allerdice teaches Dharma 1  at Yoga District on 14/T 3rd floor.  Hannah is a dedicated Dharma Mittra teacher here in DC and I am so glad she’s here, she is always teaching me things from our beloved teacher Dharma. (Aqeel Yaseen teaches Dharma 2-3 at 630 on the second floor, while not a Devi, he is both powerful and a wonderful teacher.)
  • 615pm: Faith Hunter the owner of Embrace teaches at same time.  Don’t miss her, she brings of some of the Laughing Lotus (NYC studio where she trained, to be covered in an upcoming post of my favorite NY yoga spots) magic to DC.
  • 8pm: Mimi Rieger teaches Rocket 2 at Studio DC Dupont.  She rocks.  The Rocket is the signature sequence of It’s Yoga founded by the late Larry Schultz.

Friday: My class!  See Tuesday, but we start at 630p and it is level 2.

Saturday: I think of Saturday morning as Yoga Rush hour (I taught at this time for years before I headed to India in ’09 and really enjoy this time) here are my top 3 classes:

  • 9a: Gail Harris at Flow, my first Ashtanga teacher.  She makes the series approachable and fun.  The room has some inspirational practitioners in it, but Gail takes good care of newbies.
  • 10a: Rob Hess at Hot Yoga, he’s fabulous.  I can promisetwo things, it will be hot and you will smile.
  • 1030a: Mimi Reiger Studio DC Dupont.

Sunday: “Full led Primary” with Peg Mulqueen at 430p at AYC.  Peg is a perfect blend of warmth, inspiration, drive all mixed well with a damn good teacher.  You can jump to many conclusions about a teacher by regulars on the mats and, like with Batya/Jordan, you will find more inspiration on the mats if Peg is standing at the front of the room.

And meditate.  My other favorite DC Meditation teacher is Hugh Byrne.  He teaches a great Sunday morning class at 1030a at Lil Om Studio.  It is a wonderful way to spend your late morning.

Disclaimer, I live in Mt. Pleasant and don’t like to travel, so the best Yoga on earth could be in Virginia and I wouldn’t know about it.  Also, these are just the classes I would try to take in a week, there are a ton of other great teachers and classes I would recommend, but that will have to wait.