What do you think about John Friend/ Anusara Yoga?
John Friend - The Yoga Mogul
John Friend Response to the New York Article
Looking at Anusara Yoga it's one of the few styles in the west that uses a lot of Hindu elements in their teachings. They sing "Aum Namah Shivaya, Aum namah Shivaya" and "Sita Rama, Sita Rama." They have murtis of nataraja, sarasvati and hanuman at workshops and John Friend says he has an alter at home where he performs puja. John Friend also funds yoga research in Kashmir and Nepal. Teacher trainees have to study the Bhagavad Gita, Patanjali, Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism. Even though it's probably highly watered down, they speak of philosophy like Sri Vidya and Kashmir Shaivism. Friend says:
Our curriculum which is among the most extensive of any hatha yoga school is directly supported by some of the preeminent yoga scholars in the world including: Douglas Brooks, Paul Muller-Ortega, William Mahoney, Carlos Pomeda, Mark Dyczkowski
, Eric Shaw, Sally Kempton, Christopher Chapple, Christopher Tompkins, and Harish Wallis. No other hatha yoga school in the world has such an illustrious and high caliber assembly of yoga scholars and professors supporting them.
Is Anusara Yoga a good attempt to reintegrate the practice of yoga with Hindu philosophy and practices or is it just commercial hype?
My personal opinion after watching a little bit of a anusara yoga workshop DVD, I am impressed with their effort to integrate Hindu (which they call Tantra) philosophy in their yoga practice, although I think John Friend is overly positive, he gives the impression of Tony Robbins, the self-help guru. But I don't want to be to negative, because he is one of the few yoga teachers who liberally uses Hindu elements in their style, while most yoga teachers are teaching Buddhism or fitness syle yoga.