Living Satya: To be a True Seer and a Truth Seeker.

For all the years that I have been writing these essays, I have assiduously avoided any sort of partisan political commentary. I want no part of the us versus them bog that leads only to ignorance, division, conflict, and stagnation. For the truth is that, as yoga teaches, we are all in this together. Yoga is inclusive, wholistic, and ecumenical. At the heart of yoga lies the realization that, beneath our various costumes, disguises, and identities, I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. We are connected. We are One. Until now, the closest I have come to an outright political statement was the newsletter I wrote during the run up to the Iraq War, where it was apparent to me that the country was being manipulated to support attacking Iraq. Even then I wrote primarily about the importance of paying attention to what we are being told and to develop and practice discerning awareness. More about that later.

Now, however, I feel compelled to comment on the current political mess. And it is a mess on so many levels. Since I write a yoga newsletter, not a political one, my intention is to view the situation from a classical yoga point of view. To do that I want to set the stage by pointing out some basic yoga facts.

What is yoga?

There are many definitions, but in defining yoga, I think it is useful to make a distinction between the state of yoga and the practice of yoga. 

The Bhagavad Gita says yoga is “skill in action”. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali defines yoga as “the cessation of movements in the consciousness.” (B.K.S. Iyengar’s translation). These refer to the state of yoga, a state in which the mind stuff becomes so tranquil and clear that our true divine nature is revealed. 

According to Patanjali and most yoga sages, the practice of yoga is the action we take to bring about the state of yoga. Patanjali describes a path with eight limbs (ashtanga yoga) as the practical means to attain the state of yoga. 

Most people think of asanas (postures) as the foundation of yoga. It’s true that in modern times, asana has been the gateway to the practice for most people. In fact, asana is their yoga practice.

Classically, however, the cornerstones of yoga as prescribed by Patanjali are the yamas and the niyamas, the first two limbs of ashtanga yoga. The yamas are sometimes described as moral injunctions, ethical disciplines, or self-restraints; the niyamas as fixed or personal observances. There are five of each.

The first two yamas, the very first two steps on the path of classical yoga, are ahimsa (non-harming) and satya (truthfulness). B.K.S. Iyengar says that ahimsa “is more than a negative comment not to kill, for it has a wider positive meaning, love.” 

Of satya, Iyengar says, “Satya or truth is the highest rule of conduct or morality. Mahatma Gandhi said: ‘Truth is God and God is Truth.’…..ifthe whole of life is based upon truth, then one becomes fit for union with the Infinite. Reality in its fundamental nature is love and truth and expresses itself through these two aspects.” 

There are many notable quotes and definitions with respect to truth, but I chose Mr.Iyengar’s words because they speak to the essential importance of truth as it relates to reality. Without getting into what Reality as a philosophical or religious postulate is, reality as defined in The Oxford online dictionary is “the world or the state of things as they actually exist as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.”  

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines fact as “something that truly exists or happens: something that has actual existence.”

In other words, facts are reality and what is real is factual. Anything that isn’t real, that is “an idealistic or notional idea”, simply isn’t fact. You can’t have a wrong fact. And you can’t have an “alternative fact”.  And this brings me to the current political mess.  

As was pointed out when the term “alternative fact” was first publicly used by Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, political commentator Chuck Todd said that the information posited as alternative facts were actually “falsehoods”. His criticism was correct as shown by subsequent fact checking. The idea that you can say something that doesn’t comport with reality and call it a fact of any kind is simply wrong by definition.  

Even more outrageous is the syntactically challenged statement made by Trump spokesperson, Scottie Nell Hughes, in a Diane Rehm Show interview in which she says that, “There’s no such things, anymore, unfortunately, of facts.” This is absurd on its face since it would mean that there is no reality, only my “facts” versus your “facts”, the sort of thing that George Orwell describes in 1984 where Big Brother says that War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength. Nonsensical, down the rabbit hole, through the looking glass stuff. Not a misspeak. Not out of context.

The danger in our current political situation isn’t simply that people who are part of and represent vital institutions in our society are not telling the truth. This has been going on forever. Just in my lifetime I’ve been lied to by government officials of all parties from the president on down, by the media, big business, big religion, and on and on. Even by friends and relatives. Nearly every agency, nearly every special interest at times spins, misleads, diverts, distracts, and yes, lies.

The real danger here as I see it and the reason I think it’s important to write this is that there appears to be a concerted, intentional effort by this president, his spokespersons, and his supporters to cast doubt on everything that doesn’t fit in with their version of things (not a new tactic) by denying the existence of objective reality (new and alarming tactic). This is a brazen departure from anything I have seen in this country. Spin the facts, make things up, change the subject, but to say that facts don’t exist, that there is no objective reality is stunning in its audacity and its peril.

Peril because once the existence of reality, of an agreed upon set of facts is done away with, every conversation, every discussion, every proposal, every action becomes susceptible to unconstrained manipulation through denial or misinformation. Every uncomfortable fact can be dismissed as “fake news”, and misinformation becomes a tool for creating fear, distrust, and division. The seeds of doubt and confusion are sown. Whom can you trust? Why, the one who is telling you what you want to hear or who is bolstering your own fears and prejudices, of course. As Groucho Marx said, “Who do you believe, me or your own eyes?” 

There are numerous possible antidotes for this dire situation, but beneath it all, for our own survival and well-being, we must be willing to open our own eyes fearlessly and see what is real and what is not. With so many from every corner, including ourselves, trying to color our view and sway our thoughts, it is our duty as citizens and as yoga practitioners to dig below the surface, to be open and skeptical, to be bold and cautious, to keep our eyes wide open all the time and be a true seer and a truth seeker.

For those who advise patience, acceptance, cooperation, I suggest considering the counsel of Mahatma Gandhi in his satyagraha (insistence on truth) movement during his quest for independence from the British: "Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good." - Mahatma Gandhi



Reflections on Iyengar Convention 2016

After catching up from being away for the 2016 Iyengar Yoga Convention, I finally have a moment to reflect on that amazing weekend gathering. Even before time for reflection came, though, I brought home with me a warm glow created by the joyfulness of 1200 Iyengar Yoga practitioners coming together to do yoga and celebrate the genius of B.K.S. Iyengar and the teachings he left us.

Those teachings were transmitted so beautifully by his granddaughter, Abhijata Sridhar, whom he personally taught daily for the last fourteen years of his life. A woman of remarkable maturity and presence, especially considering she is in her early 30’s, she has absorbed much of his knowledge and his unique method of bringing a profound and deep level of awareness to every aspect of yoga practice: asana, pranayama, and philosophy. She taught all 1200 participants in six mega classes with an openness and sweet sense of humor that made the intensity and depth of her teaching accessible to all.

For me, the essence of her teaching was that practice is the avenue that carries us from the periphery to the core and back (which was the theme of the convention), and for that practice to be effective, we must bring constant awareness and tremendous energy to our actions. She emphasized repeatedly the need to overcome mechanical, habitual practice, to leave yesterday’s practice for yesterday, and to be present for today’s practice. Now. In this moment.

All could feel the power of this teaching, which brought a warmth and spirit of maitri (friendliness) that shed the light of yoga, of unity, on the entire event. Old friends and new friends smiled and shared the delight of being in such a beautiful place with such a wonderful teacher.

Kudos must go to the organizers, led by Colleen Gallagher, Carol Fridolph, Suzie Muchnick, and Nancy Watson, whose tireless efforts produced a smoothly run and immensely enjoyable experience for everyone.

And I have to add my heartfelt appreciation for all the Unity Woods teachers and students, a large contingent of perhaps 30 or so, who attended and who took the time and trouble to place a full page ad in the convention magazine expressing love and gratitude to me. It is I who am grateful for having such dedicated and enthusiastic pupils. Your devotion toyour practice and Guruji’s teachings inspire me and touch my heart.

Yours in Yoga,



Is Your Practice Interrupted?

The degree to which we can be completely present, moment to moment, is the degree to which we will rid ourselves of ignorance and be in touch with the truth.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali II.26

In I. K. Taimni’s book, The Science of Yoga, he translates Sutra II.26, which reads “Viveka khyatir aviplava hanopayah”, as “The uninterrupted practice of the awareness of the Real is the means of dispersion of Avidya”.  Viveka, meaning awareness of the Real.  Avidya, meaning ignorance.

A few years ago, while I was studying with BKS Iyengar, he referenced Sutra II.26.  He pointed out how there were interruptions in my body, interruptions in the flow of my breath, interruptions in the flow of my awareness.  And so I began to observe the interruptions and work with that in my yoga practice.

Having been drawn to the word “uninterrupted” from Taimni’s translation and from Guruji’s teaching, I find that it is applicable on all the different levels of our yoga and our practice.  When we weave a particular sutra into our practice, it gives us a different perspective on the nature and direction of our practice. It takes us to a more subtle, internal awareness.

In asana, I look at the geometric lines of the body to see where they are interrupted.  I observe the breath and see where it is interrupted.  I look at the flow of energy in the body and see where it is interrupted. Where the energy flows, or doesn’t, is a way to see where the awareness is, or is not.

My classes are structured so that students sit before and after class.  At those times, I try to direct the students’ attention to various physical points in the body so that they can develop the ability to first concentrate (Dharana), then concentrate in an uninterrupted fashion (Dhyana).

In asana, I also see whether the student can maintain awareness of one action while beginning another.  Can they apply it in their practice? Is the lift of their kneecaps maintained in straight-legged Standing Poses?  This will require them to focus, and direct them toward uninterrupted awareness in their practiceAlso, by repeating a point or two throughout the performance of an asana, I try to help the student to maintain an uninterrupted state of awareness with regard to that point. For instance, can a student maintain the pressure of pushing the outer back heel into the floor in Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) while coming into and out of the pose?

The benefit that you receive by practicing without interruption in your practice, is that you learn to direct your attention so that it is not scattered.  This helps you to direct your energy so that you accomplish things much more effectively, whether it is in your yoga practice or in any other part of life.

As the beginner student matures and grows into a more experienced student, s/he learns to directattention to various aspects of practice and develops the ability to maintain an uninterrupted flow of attention.

An experienced student can maintain a state of receptive awareness rather than directed attention.  Receptive awareness is a quieter, more expansive state that is developed through uninterrupted, consistent practice.  The body and mind have to be prepared through directed attention first, (which occurs at the beginner phase), then comes cultivation of the receptive state (which comes into focus for the more experienced practitioner).

When we are more receptive, we come closer to being completely present to each moment as Sutra II.26 states.  Having said that, at the most basic level we still have to learn to pay attention before we can reach a state of receptivity.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are an important part of my practice.  I think studying the sutras will enhance anyone’s practice.  The Sutras encourageus to contemplate our practice on a number of different levels and in a manner that we might not contemplate without encountering the Sutras.

Ultimately, uninterruptedness goes to the issue of consistency.  Sutra I.14 states that the practice itself should be uninterrupted.   To know Yoga, one needs to practice consistently without interruption for a long time. Whatever aspect of your practice you want to consider, consistency and uninterruptedness are core elements.

If you found this article worthwhile and would like to receive similar content in the future, please subscribe to my newsletter.  I look forward to sharing more tools, tips, and thoughts accumulated over my 45 + years of practice and hope that they deepen and expand your yoga practice.

Yours in Yoga,


Union of a Different Variety

This may sound odd.  But I was not always a yoga teacher, although I have identified with that role for over 40 years.  Students often express interest when they hear that I was previously a professional musician. After years of playing in a variety of bands and venues, I helped form a band, Grow Your Own, for whom I wrote songs and played flute and percussion.  With enough interest and coaxing from students, the songs and sentiments from Grow Your Own's album Inside Your Dreams are being shared here.  Embedded in these songs are glimpses of the deep sense of the interconnectedness and synergy that allowed a collection of individual musicians to become a band.  I hope that resonates within you, the listener. 

There were moments that made the journey timeless.  We were fond of terms like "cosmic" and "celestial."  The trick for any pop band, now and then, was how to market a musical ticket to "the soft folds of oblivion" or the "brim of a cup of gladness."  Over half a decade, GYO punched that ticket around Washington, DC in dozens of clubs, concert halls, and parks.  There was a packed Kennedy Center Concert Hall and a jammed Georgetown University Campus (you could here GYO ten blocks away).  There were devoted fans, some sad and strange, and the owner of the Psychedelly Club who asked one rousing night, "why aren't you guys famous?"

The best moments were in the music itself.  Always original and challenging to listeners, we often contradicted ourselves.  There was the soaring, driving, unbridled talent of Bob Bradley that often kissed the sky and got the blood pumping.  At the same time, there were voyages to cozy places and lyrical hymns to love that conjured up warm afternoons lying in the grass under rustling trees. 

This was a journey that had "miles to go."  There are glimpse of potential paths to be taken in these recordings.  The memorable WGTB live broadcast, just months before we went our separate ways in 1976, still produces goosebumps.  By then we all had busy lives and other priorities.  The journey remained unfinished. 

Thanks to M.R. Duvall for so lovingly saving and improving these moments, and to the rest of GYO for the years of friendship that consistently stirred creative juices.  We hope that listeners will here some of that energy and appreciate our collective efforts offered to friends and family with love and affection.  ~ Burt Kummerow

"Thoughts about BKS"

One year has passed since B.K.S. Iyengar died.  The year slipped by quickly for me, as they all do at this stage of life. Actually, it has been twenty months since I last saw him at his 95th birthday celebration.  Yet even though his body has returned to the earth and sky, his presence remains, vital and persistent.  Of course, he lives on in his writings and videos; we can tune him in that way whenever we want.  But he is always here for us who were fortunate enough to have been his direct pupils. We are blessed to have Guruji’s teachings in our hearts and cells. 

I am most aware of him when I practice, often struggling to live up to his impossibly high standard. What would Guruji say, do, think, I wonder. Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I do my own practice. That is what he taught us:  Have presence of mind.  Explore.  Question.  Don’t get stuck in what you already know; go to the Unknown.  So I try to use his words, his example as a springboard to help me propel my practice in new directions. Something similar happens when I teach, too.

Beyond that, he lives not only in my memory, but on another level altogether.  I dream of Mr. Iyengar, or rather he visits me in my dreams, not often, just every now and then.  He always has since I met him nearly thirty-five years ago.  I don’t mean in some spooky otherworldly way, visions and the like.  Just dream visits, like you might have with a dear friend or relative.  And it has always been a little surprising and very heartwarming to me how sweet and kind he is in these dreams. As we all know, Mr. I could be a little fierce at times. He doesn’t show me that side in the dreams. Instead, I see the soft, compassionate, benevolent man who was always there, just a little tucked away.

I suspect that’s the way it will continue to be until I, too, blow away in a breeze one day. I don’t think this relationship will fade with the passing years. I think it will stay vital and persistent. I’m grateful for that.

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“Drop In, Tune In, Turn On”

Back in the Sixties, infamous LSD guru Timothy Leary coined the phrase, “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out”, his point being that, at least in his opinion and to the extent that I understood it, one should take some LSD (Turn On), which would open up an entirely new way of experiencing the world (Tune In), and after this illuminating revision of one’s perception and perspective, leave behind the crass, materialistic, rat race existence that to many characterized the conformist Fifties mentality (Drop Out) and be free to taste life in its unfiltered (or less filtered), unrestricted beauty and mystery.

While all this was and is quite interesting to me, being a child of the Sixties, my intention here is not to write about Timothy Leary, LSD, or that turbulent, transformative decade. Instead, in the spirit of yoga, I’d like to stand Dr. Leary’s adage on its head and suggest that we “Drop In, Tune In, Turn On”. 

As I have often mentioned, lamented, and celebrated in these pages, yoga is everywhere these days. The streets in most urban areas are peppered with folks with yoga mats slung over their shoulders; characters on TV shows regularly announce that they are on their way from or are headed to yoga class; ads have people (almost always lithe, attractive, and female, advertising being what it is) posed cross-legged or in some exotic position, apparently enjoying the ecstatic spiritual experience of sitting in a Jeep Cherokee or eating Greek yogurt (which, alas, doesn’t seem to be saving the Greek economy).

“Drop In.” In terms of “dropping in” to yoga, there are few obstacles. Availability, affordability (bargain basement offers abound), social acceptance, social media, mainstream media – the entire culture seems to being swinging the doors open wide and inviting everyone to  “drop in” to a yoga class or download or video. (Of course, “dropping in” need not refer only to yoga, but being a yoga teacher, that’s where I’m coming from.)

So let’s say you drop in on a yoga class or a social media site, and start putting a little yoga in your life. Once you’ve done that, you’ve begun to drop in to a new world. Different clothes, people, information, activities, sensations. As with everything, some folks just skim the surface like a pelican at feeding time, catch what they can, digest what they’re able to, and move on to new waters. Others begin to absorb the practices and teachings into their lives to varying degrees. They begin to “Tune In”.

“Tune In.” In a way, tuning in is what yoga is all about. “Tune In” means different things at different stages along the way. In the beginning of your “yoga life”, tuning in can revolve around finding a style of yoga that suits you, finding a teacher or studio that resonates with you, a community that feels comfortable.

Once you’ve begun to attend class and/or start practice (They’re not the same thing.), you start to tune in to your body. Even if you’re not doing much in the way of postures (asanas) and are focused mostly on sitting meditation, you are still going to become aware of your body in a deeper, more intimate way. 

Tuning in at this point has a lot to do with attention and what you do with it. At the start of a new session, one of the things I say to my Level I beginning students on their first day of class is that I’m not that interested in whether they can touch their toes or bend over backwards. As a yoga teacher, not an exercise teacher, I’m more concerned with what they do with their attention, the quality of presence they bring to the class. I tell them that while doing the postures will help them become more flexible, stronger, and have more stamina, from a yogic point of view, they are using their bodies to tune in, to be present.

In Iyengar Yoga we work on physical alignment and precise, subtle adjustments in the poses. Adjusting the body in this way, tunes your attention to be more refined, more discriminating and greatly increases your sensitivity to what is going on with your body. As you learn to pay attention to the subtle clues your body is always sending, you can nip problems in the bud and emphasize positive developments. 

Attention is energy. When we pay attention to our body, to the people around us, to our environment, we give energy to those things; and if it’s positive energy, we nourish them. Which child does better: the one on whom is lavished lots of loving attention or the one is ignored? 

In yoga, tuning in also means becoming aware of energy, prana as the yogis call it, and learning how to access and direct the boundless energy in and around us. Tuning in allows us to feel the ebb and flow of energy and do our best to adapt our life style to being healthier and having more energy at our disposal. This is alignment of a different order.

As we tune in to our body and the movement of energy, we begin to perceive and experience the two way street that connects body and mind. The work to focus on the asanas requires a sharper focus of the mind, which affects the nature of the mind itself. The asanas and breath also affect the mind, and by tuning in, we can perceive these effects. We become conscious of the mind’s unstable nature and the power that comes when we learn to channel and concentrate the mind. 

Tuning in to our bodies changes how we feel and move. Tuning in to the ocean of energy in which we live changes how we perceive. Tuning in to the movements of the mind changes how we think. Tuning in through our practice, our studies, our teachers changes how we experience ourselves and our lives. In a very real sense, we’ve become more finely tuned beings.

“Turn On.” We sometimes speak of something or someone being a turn on, that is, enchanting, enjoyable, absorbing, amazing, delightful, delicious. The yogic process of tuning in to deeper and more subtle levels of who we are is a major turn on, a real rush, if you will. As you practice and tune in, you gradually and eventually turn on to the miracle of your body, the power of your mind, the interconnectedness of all things, the ephemeral nature of all things, the incredible beauty of all things, the astonishing dance that is Being. You begin to turn on to the clear light of your inner Self. Without a doubt, yoga is definitely a turn on.

So while I get Timothy into a headstand, I’ll say, “Drop In.  Tune In. Turn On.”

If you were inspired by this post and want more content in the future please subscribe to my newsletter.  I look forward to sharing more tools, tips, and thoughts to help deepen and expand your yoga practice. 



"A Peek Inside John Schumacher's Yoga Practice"

At times, the most elusive aspect of yoga is our practice.  Read this interview to get a peek inside John Schumacher's yoga practice and discover what inspires him and what his daily practice is like. 

John, why do you have a yoga practice?

There are a lot of reasons to practice.  One is, I feel really good when I practice.  A second reason is that I have a responsibility to my students to refine my own practice and my understanding to better convey the value and benefits of yoga to them.  Many days, I practice for my students.  I practice problems that arise in my class that I would not think of on my own, that students present to me.  I practice for questions that they raise.  I practice because the yoga sutras say that practice is one of the essential aspects of doing yoga and reaching the state of yoga.  Practice is really the cornerstone of my teaching,  provides guidance in my life, and is what I  love to do.  It’s  pretty much all encompassing.

Why do you emphasize the importance of having a consistent personal practice? 

The first thing that the yoga sutras says about practice is “sa tu dirghakala nairantarya satkara asevitah drdhabhumih” [Sutra I.14].  For practice to work, it  must be done for a long time, with reverent devotion, and without interruption.  Consistent practice is at the heart of learning about and understanding yoga.  Like anything, you get out of it what you put into it.  Therefore, consistency in one’s practice develops and deepens the benefits and skills that come with practice.  Without that, people mostly stay on the surface.  They certainly get some benefits, but they are just skimming the surface of what can be a deep and important understanding of themselves.     

Describe a typical practice for you within a day / week? 

Within a week, it is varied.  I practice on average about 3 hours a day. 

Almost every day my practice is as follows:

  1. I get up.
  2. Practice Pranayama for 45 minutes to an hour.
  3. Reading, reciting, or studying the sutras for 10-15 minutes. 
  4. Sitting practice for half an hour.
  5. Then I take a 45 min or so break, pull weeds, get the newspaper, or putter around the house.  
  6. Asana practice for 1 1/2 or 2 hour. 

In the course of week, I will cover most of the asanas I am practicing: arm balances on a day, back bends on a day, fwd bends on a particular day,  inversions almost every day.  In the course of a week I cover a wide range of asanas.  

What are your guiding principles for practicing yoga, teaching yoga, and life? And what is the difference between all of them? 

Well, there aren’t many differences between them actually.  The guiding principles of practice, teaching, and life are to wake up.  To be present.  To be in this moment fully alive, fully conscious.  I don’t do all that well with that frankly, but I try, and I work at it.  I have my moments.   It’s true for my practice, true for my teaching, and it’s true for the rest of my life as well. 

*If you have comments or additional questions and want to learn more about my practice, please  contact me.  To hear more about practice, tune in to my yoga download where I open up the conversation of practice with students. 

If you were inspired by this post and want more content in the future please subscribe to my newsletter.  I look forward to sharing more tools, tips, and thoughts to help deepen and expand your yoga practice.  Namaste.

"Get to Know John"

Meet John Schumacher, a yoga teacher for the last 42 years. 

Whether you have been studying yoga with John for decades or just getting your feet wet in your exploration of yoga, read on to learn something new that may help you connect more deeply with yoga and yourself.  Discover what inspires him to teach and what he has learned through four decades of daily practice.   Find out how all of this can assist you on your journey in yoga and in life. 

When and how did yoga come into you life? 

It was 1970 and I was contemplating what was important in life when I experienced a minor epiphany, which turned into a major epiphany.  “You can have a Ferrari in the parking lot,” I thought, “and a beautiful mansion to live in, but if you don’t feel good and you are not healthy, it doesn’t mean much.”  So I decided to focus on my health to which I had paid no attention whatsoever until then.  

Exercise seemed like a good place to begin, so I started calisthenics, which, aside from sports, was the only kind of exercise I knew.  Somebody in the group home I lived in said to me, “I see you are doing exercises, maybe you would be interested in this.” She gave me a yoga book. I looked through the book which had interesting philosophical concepts, discussions about diet, meditation and all sorts of stuff. There was a practice schedule in the back of the book, and I decided to devote an hour a day  to practicing the yoga postures. .


Why did you become a yoga teacher?

Circumstance led me to teach yoga.  At that time, I was a musician, a drummer.  Being a musician is a little like being an artist of any kind or yoga teacher, for that matter.  There are people who just scratch by and barely stay alive, and then there are people who do very well.  I was in the scratch by, barely alive category, so I supplemented my musician’s income with art modeling.  I made $4/hour modeling at American University, the University of MD, and various private studios.  The singer of the band I was in said, “I know someone in my apartment building who is looking for yoga teachers.  He runs a yoga business.  He will pay $8/hour.”  This was twice what I was making modeling.  I had been practicing on my own for 3 years at that point, but had never had a yoga class in my life. 

“He said he would look at your poses and show you what to do,” she told me.  During that Summer he came out to the house, and we visited 2-3 times.  In those three years, I had practiced hard and could do snazzy stuff like put my foot behind my head.  He was impressed and gave me an outline of the yoga method his group taught. I began teaching that Fall; my first class had 34 people. 

This is horrifying to me now, to begin teaching with absolutely no training at all.  A couple of sessions to describe a program is nothing.  But I survived, and most important, the students survived.  I was on my way. 


What has been the most rewarding part about teaching?

On one level,  just sharing something that is so valuable to me and I am so passionate about is extremely rewarding.  But more important than that is the feeling that I am doing something valuable in making the world a better place.  I think that the more people do yoga, the better place the world will be. 


When did you know you had found your teacher? 

Well, that’s kind of a tricky question. It certainly wasn’t the first time I studied with Mr. Iyengar at a three week intensive in Pune.  I was overwhelmed in so many ways, and when the intensive was over, I was so glad to leave India, that I couldn’t get away fast enough.  I had no intention of going back.   I had been to India and studied with B.K.S. Iyengar.  I could put that on my resume.  I was done with that.

Six months later, I found myself writing a letter to go back to study with him again.  My teaching and practice had transformed in such powerful ways that I wanted to return to understand the teaching better and deepen my practice further.  That was probably the first clue that I had found my teacher.  The next indication that cemented that realization for me came when I went back to India the second time.  My interaction with Mr. Iyengar was very different.  He related to  me in a way that was much more supportive, still giving me the occasional swat and strong words to move me on.  After that second visit I knew BKS Iyengar was my teacher. 


What are your guiding principles for practicing yoga, teaching yoga and life? And what is the difference between all of them? 

Well there aren’t many difference between them actually.  The guiding principles of practice, teaching, and life are to wake up.  To be present.  To be in this moment fully alive, fully conscious.  I don’t do all that well with that frankly, but I try and I work at it.  I have my moments.  It’s true for my practice, true for my teaching, and it’s true for the rest of my life as well. 


What is your vision for

My vision for is for it to be a vehicle to communicate with students, potential students, and anybody who is at all interested in yoga.  As I said earlier, one of the real rewards and pleasures for me is sharing the joy of yoga and all the aspects of its practice.  People can come get in touch with me, and I am happy to communicate with them.   

Tune In next month for more tips, tools and thoughts to support your practice.