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Gurus of Modern Yoga$
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Mark Singleton and Ellen Goldberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199938704

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199938704.001.0001

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Stretching toward the Sacred: John Friend and Anusara Yoga

Stretching toward the Sacred: John Friend and Anusara Yoga

(p.210) Chapter 10 Stretching toward the Sacred: John Friend and Anusara Yoga
Gurus of Modern Yoga

Lola Williamson

Oxford University Press

Following the typology developed by Elizabeth De Michelis, this chapter locates Anusara Yoga within the context of Modern Yoga, primarily as a form of Postural Yoga. John Friend, founder of Anusara Yoga, has established a spiritual system based on rituals of the body that creates a sense of community and provides meaning to individuals who have abandoned traditional religion. Since Friend holds the community together, consideration is given to his role as a modern guru, or, as he refers to himself, an ācārya. Anusara Yoga links students to ideas and practices that go beyond Postural Yoga through its network of teachers, both of Postural and Meditational Yoga. The chapter explains how Friend’s encouragement of these networks is helping to establish a Tantra-based philosophy and practice in America, as well as in other countries as Anusara expands.

Keywords:   John Friend, Anusara Yoga, Modern Yoga, Tantra, Siddha Yoga, Kashmir Śaivism, Spirituality, Charismatic moment, Guru, Enlightenment, Emile Durkheim

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