John Friend’s new ‘Roots’ yoga practice sounds awfully familiar

I know there’s nothing new under the sun, but …

As was discussed in comments yesterday, Anusara’s John Friend is back from his … ummm… hiatus? … and he has both a new workshop schedule and a new yoga sequence (since he can’t really use Anusara anymore).

He’s calling it “The Roots Practice.” Parts of it sound familiar:

“The Roots” is a well-rounded practice that includes some hand-balances, fundamental thigh stretches, backbends, some basic abdominal exercises, sitting forward bends, hip-openers, and twists.

A set routine provides the students with something that they can take home and practice each day. The Roots routine is exceptionally detoxifying and transformative for any level of practitioner. When practiced as intended, ‘The Roots’ helps to cultivate focus, stamina, determination, and self-forgiveness, along with many other desirable life qualities. With a set of asana sequences, students will be able to clearly gauge their progress as they practice it on a regular basis.

Pranayama and meditation can be added and practiced with ‘The Roots’ for a complete well-rounded daily or weekly practice.

“Exceptionally detoxifying?” Students “can take [it] home and practice each day?” “Clearly gauge their progress as they practice it on a regular basis?” “Cultivate focus?” Add in pranayama?

You get where I’m going.

No, it’s not to a Bikram lawsuit. (If you don’t get where I’m going, read Pattabhi Jois’ Yoga Mala right now.)

Perhaps this just points to the intelligence of Ashtanga, as Bobbie just wrote.

Posted by Steve

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theconfluencecountdown

Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

21 thoughts on “John Friend’s new ‘Roots’ yoga practice sounds awfully familiar”

  1. You missed the economic and egoic aspects of the story: “A video of Desi Springer performing The Roots is planned to be released on the Internet this Fall. Also, a book on the Roots by John, Desi and Micah is in process, which will help to bring a lot of attention to this routine within the global yoga community.”

  2. It may not be well known but John Friend also practiced with Pathabi Jois in Mysore.

    He is a very well rounded teacher.

    One of his stories is that they were in some pose I can’t remember which one exactly, and Guruji went out for some chai and came back and expected everyone to still be in the pose. I’m assuming it was a lead class.

  3. I attended the roots workshop this past weekend in Tahoe and was blown away. It was by far the most powerful and transformational sequences and practices I have ever experienced! I am a roots man………

    1. i also attended a roots workshop in winnipeg, manitoba, canada one month ago.
      john stressed discipline and alignment. the same thing every style preaches.
      a testament to his exceptional teaching ability is that so many people want to take from him and belittle him.

      -brief testimony of roots efficacy-

      i have continued my regular practice and added a minimum of four roots practices/week.
      the roots practice is very challenging, the level of difficulty keeps me interested.

      when i step away from the mat, i begin to savour the fruits of my labour
      as an arborist, i depend on strength, balance, and composure
      one must maintain poise when climbing and handling potentially lethal tools aloft
      after four weeks of dedicated practice i can say that i am a new man.
      my strength surprises me.

      this comes especially from being able to relax the muscles that are not needed in any exertion
      not fighting the body but letting every breath guide the movement
      i feel the asanas i am accustomed to in my work-movements.

      when i see a new practitioner of the roots, i am assured that i have come a long way
      seeing yogis of all kinds struggle with a myriad of balancing poses is sobering

      learning long pose sequences develops the mind and body
      the body informs the mind when it forgets it’s place
      the mind orders the body when necessary

      the community formed by regular practitioners is tight.
      not just anyone signs up for a program of this magnitude
      one needs a reason to practice in such a way
      i thank john friend for helping me to find my own purpose, 
      the justification i needed to dedicate myself, to myself
      in order that i can benefit all

      i’m a bit nervous when i think that i will be doing something like this for the rest of my days!
      rock on hateful doubters!
      get over your self and do the program.

      1. So you’re introduced to a not-so-terribly original stringing-together of poses by someone who didn’t even come up with it himself, describe it according to qualities that have been used to describe the effects of yoga practice for quite some time, and then laud JF for introducing you to it, promise to do it for the rest of your life, describe it in terms of personal growth worthy of a late-night infomercial, and then tell us to get over ourselves (with a little hint of your superior yogishness for following the program). Apparently not much has changed around the JF dog and pony show.

      2. Yes, yes, yes, but tell us about the women there!

        It’s John Friend for Buddha’s sake!

        Was he ever charged with anything? I guess spiritual, moral, and ethical lapses aren’t criminal offenses? Gives a new meaning to Namaste, doesn’t it?

  4. I attended John and Desi’s workshop. It’s not the sequence that’s so powerful… it’s the whole “sticking your butt out” which is so different. Knees slightly bent, legs engaged, butt out, c curve in lower spine, chest out, shoulders back, and chin up. This alignment can be replicated in most asanas.

      1. I was introduced to this today and I was skeptical at first, thinking all these poses would reinforce my lordosis, but to the contrary my low back and spine feel amazing. I have so much energy, I feel like I could take on the world. I am inspired to take up an African dance class!

  5. This is all becoming so cliche. Once I saw yogi/ini’s as holding light. Now I see them as fabulously frazzled individuals exceptionally in need of self soothing whist preaching peace and looking like an exaggerated caricature of what was once ‘counter’ culture. Now mainstreamed to the money man, who else can afford so many classes any way?
    No problem with the frazzled part, only the pretense of having mastered a peace they have yet to achieve except on a little piece of rubber. Many seem more like fanatics then practitioners, and for good reason: unlocking the body’s natural pharmacy is indeed wonderfully addictive. The fruits of a truly integrated yoga practice speak for themselves in realtime life off the mat in my book though. Take a visit to Harbin and let a yoga teacher sporting OM literally everywhere nearly run you over for a parking place: Or have a former nanny for well known yoga studio owners discuss what is this generation’s version of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” Never a prude, I don’t mind that at all: just the pretense of being something holier. As the book of Ecclesiastes says: there is nothing new under that sun we all salute.

  6. So it’s a bit like ashtanga, and a bit like bikram..I’m assuming led for the most part, but told you can take it with because of the set sequencing structure. My perspective on this as a devoted ashtangi, is great, yoga is for everybody, getting to the mat is the hardest part, if roots is the way to get someone started, wonderful. Breathing, mindfulness, and building strength, stamina and inner peace are not negative things. I have never met John Friend, though we have some mutual connections. His perspective had obviously become warped, forgiveness and non judgement are key. As advice I’d say he needs to build trust and not take advantage of his devotees. I know it sounds ridiculously simple, but true non the less. Once you add in the human element to any yoga practice there can be impure action, it is equally important to be your own best guru first!

  7. I have just taken three classes with John and Desi in the last couple of days. I am curious about the different alignment, but have to say I love how feminine it feels. Your torso becomes long and strong feeling, today I am feeling muscles in my back and butt that may have been dormant for my entire life!
    As a surfer the curved back feels natural for me. It does feel weird not to tuck my tail bone and raise my chin, but it really feels kinda liberating.
    Every thing has to evolve and change, so adapting my practice helps to find more awareness in my body. I ultimately will choose a style that inspires me and helps me achieve health and freedom in my body.
    I am not sure why the Yoga community is so upset by JF. It seems pretty hypocritical. We all mess up, we are all driven, we all here to experience the most we can. He was just being human.

  8. I have just taken three classes with John and Desi in the last couple of days. I am curious about the different alignment, but have to say I love how feminine it feels. Your torso becomes long and strong feeling, today I am feeling muscles in my back and butt that may have been dormant for my entire life!
    As a surfer the curved back feels natural for me. It does feel weird not to tuck my tail bone and raise my chin, but it really feels kinda liberating.
    Every thing has to evolve and change, so adapting my practice helps to find more awareness in my body. I ultimately will choose a style that inspires me and helps me achieve health and freedom in my body.
    I am not sure why the Yoga community is so upset by JF.it seems pretty hypocritical. We all mess up, we are all driven, we all here to experience the most we can. He was just being human.

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