Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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.


  1. Curious George8:07 AM

    Your "well, until recently anyway," comment... Does this mean journalism is now easy and natural or that teaching yoga is not?

  2. You have a very good eye.

    Journalism is pretty much dead (writing is free nowadays), so no, it's not easy/natural. It is.... practically nonexistent.

    The yoga scene has changed a lot over the past four years as well. Hundreds of new teachers are being churned out every day, and there seem to be more teachers than students nowadays. Studios seem to prefer to hire people who have completed their training program. At studios, those with experience do not get paid more (and other teachers at the studio can take the experienced teacher's class for free). Health clubs tend to be a bit better about paying more for longevity and experience.

  3. Curious George8:52 PM

    Thanks for the clarification.

    And sorry to hear that. :( I wonder what DM would say about such a predicament. Will it all pan out in the end because of karma? Meaning, your students will go to you whether there is just you or whether there are 1000 yoga teachers offering class at the same time and at the same gym.

  4. The student always finds the teacher that is appropriate for where they are on their journey.

  5. Anonymous12:24 PM

    I think many yoga studio owners realized that charging 40 students $3000 a year for teaching training could make them a nice income.

    If they have winter and summer training they make double that.

    Sometimes I feel like the classes exist to funnel people into the teacher training programs.