Mixsonian Yoga

Anusara Yoga
Comments by Larry Mixson

Anusara Yoga As described by John Friend

"Anusara Yoga is a hatha yoga system that unifies Universal Principles of Alignment with a non-dual Tantric philosophy that is epitomized by a “celebration of the heart”.   Anusara Yoga is an all-inclusive yoga in which each student’s various unique abilities and limitations are deeply honored.  The poses in Anusara Yoga are considered to be “heart-oriented”, and are expressed from “inside out”.  Instead of only trying to control the body and mind from the outside, the poses originate from a deep artistic feeling inside.  Anusara Yoga teachers practice looking for the good in things, especially in themselves and their students. Anusara Yoga teachers do not try to “fix” or “correct” students, instead they help enhance and reveal the beauty and divine qualities that are already present in the students’ poses."

John Friend created the Anusara style of yoga, formalized the method, how to teach it and then formed a network of certified Anusara teachers trained in the Universal Principles of Alignment (UPA). My primary teacher for over ten year, Susan Van Nuys, the director of the Health Advantage Yoga Center, was an early Anusara Certified teacher and she inspired me to take the teacher training course and to teach yoga. 

In 2006 the Anusara Yoga begin to unravel when John Friend began to put more emphasis on “heart language” and less emphasis on alignment.  After a couple of workshops with John in which I had awkward conversations and interactions with John Friend, I began to question the intentions and direction John was going with Anusara. After a final incident at a John Friend workshop, I talked to my teacher Susan, and found that she and other teachers were not happy about the heart language emphasis.  Susan as well as other teachers were excellent and excelled in the alignment principles but found the heart language, well just not their style.  Several well known teachers in the next year begin to separate from Anusara although they still mostly still taught the Anusara style. 

In early 2012 significant ethical issues were brought forth about John Friend which caused a major upheaval and fallout of the Anusara community and teachers.  In the following months John had publicly admitted to and apologized for many of the ethical issues that were bought forth.  John subsequently left the Anusara community.  Anusara does survive, but in my opinion,  in a much diminished form, without the many top senior level teachers it previously had.


Larry Mixson 04-17-2023