Sunday, December 20, 2009


On Friday I showed the documentary Ashtanga, NY to a friend. I had not seen it in years, but I wanted to get him interested in yoga. (I think it worked - and not just because I am in the vid for exactly .33 seconds. I think he was more impressed by Willen and Gwynneth and the woman who'd been in two car accidents).

The throat got tight and tears came when Guruji appeared in the video. He was 86 years-old at the time. Even though I was there, I'd forgotten how strong and vibrant he was. How commanding. That was my second workshop with him (read my articles about his 2000 workshop here, and 2001 here. Better yet, read my New York Diary, about Guruji and 9/11, here).

I was also taken by how incredibly sweet Sharath was. I'd forgotten that, too.

I was also struck by how cohesive the ashtanga scene was, even though it had already begun to splinter (and even though some of the NYC people could seem like aloof seniors to us ignorant underclassmen). Guruji was the glue holding it all together... the shining example for us to follow.

It was at that workshop, on 9/11 itself, that Guruji asked me when I was coming to Mysore.

Just a few months later, India and Pakistan were amassing troops on the border, and I was there in the old shala in Mysore, practicing next to Mike D and a couple of other people from the video.

It seems like a hundred years ago.

But instead of nostalgia, I feel an intense gratitude. How lucky I was to be a part of it, no matter how small!


  1. Dreyfus in the burbs3:28 PM

    You ever catch Gwyneth Paltrow & Mario Batali's Spanish Road Trip show?

    Xlnt stuff. Ch 20 WYCC in Chicago.

    She takes soy milk in her coffee. He thinks pork fat is a perfect pizza topping. Meet TV's new culinary odd couple: Gwyneth Paltrow and Mario Batali.

    Longtime friends, the actress and the star chef recently completed filming a documentary series, "Spain . . . On the Road Again," in which they travel through Iberia (in a convertible – everyone shares the driving), eating, cooking and taking in the sights, along with food writer Mark Bittman and Spanish star Claudia Bassols.

    It also marks Paltrow's series television debut. "She's doing this first and foremost because she loves Mario and she loves Spain," executive producer Charlie Pinsky tells PEOPLE. But did the formerly macrobiotic Oscar-winner love the food? Says Bittman, "She's a good cook. And a really good eater."

  2. Anonymous8:53 PM

    Gwyneth does ashtanga?! One more reason for me to *heart* G. P. :)

    I added Asthanga, NY to my movies by mail queue. According to the website, my interest in Ashtanga, NY may lead me to like movies such as "The Good Night", "Thomas Jefferson", and "Running with Scissors". Hum.

    Your main topic for this particular blog was Gwyneth Paltrow, right?

  3. The "woman who was in two car accidents" is a good friend of mine by the name of Regina. She lives in Mysore part time and rents one of Saraswathis homes...
    she is one of the "Originals" of Ashtanga "whos who".
    Nice, genuine, amazing soul also known as Sista Shree~ peace