HOW I BEGAN PRACTICING AND TEACHING YOGA
A reprise of this 2007 post.
It's because of my mother that I do yoga.
She died of cancer in 1997.
Up to that point, yoga was something I had always wanted to do but never had the time for; but after caring for her for seven months, I finally had the time.
Actually, it was a miserable time. As the executor of her will, I was trying to take care of her affairs and empty and sell her house -- all the while fighting with Dreyfus.
But I was able to enroll in a super-easy Wednesday night hatha yoga class at the Lincoln-Belmont YMCA. I was immediately hooked. Not only did I feel peaceful after class – but during class I did not think about my problems. It resonated like nothing else I have ever done.
I used to drive to class after working on my mother's house, which was 50 miles away. It was the highlight of the week - my lifeline.
One day I arrived late. I cracked open the door and heard what sounded like a dozen people hyperventilating. I cracked it a bit more and saw their chests heaving. Frightened, I slammed the door and ran.
The following week, all of the students were complaining about the substitute teacher. "You were lucky you missed it," they said. The class had been too hard; she'd been "too aerobic."
Intrigued, I found out her name and immediately signed up for her class. She was a Sivananda teacher from Eastern Europe, and she was terrific.
Soon, I was taking her class three times a week at the YMCA.
But it still wasn't enough.
I looked in the phone book and found my way to the N.U. Yoga Center and the ashtanga vinyasa yoga classes taught by Suddha Weixler and Eric Powell (who now teaches ashtanga in New York). I felt like I had come home. In no time, I bought a monthly pass and went to class every day – and sometimes twice a day.
In 1998 Eric told me he was leaving Chicago. He suggested I enroll in Suddha’s teacher training and take over some of his classes.
I was appalled, and said "No way."
But Eric wouldn't relent, and soon Suddha was also encouraging me to do it. So I followed their advice.
By the end of 1998 I was teaching. Unlike, say, journalism, it was one of the easiest and most natural things I have ever done (well, until recently anyway).
And I have my mother to thank for it.