Knowing “who’s who” among yoga teachers

When I took my first yoga class in 1997, I had no idea who the “major” teachers were. I didn’t know what “Iyengar” meant and had to ask my first teacher, Sandy Blaine, to spell it. I met Sandy fortuitously since she then taught at UC Berkeley’s rec center (free classes for members!). But I got lucky. Sandy was an excellent teacher. Despite my total ignorance about yoga, that much was clear. Now, 15 years in, I recognize many names in the Iyengar world and beyond. Most teachers/studios have attractive websites with detailed bios elaborating training, mentors, level of certification, … Continue reading Knowing “who’s who” among yoga teachers

Eco hypocrisy

In mid May, I arrived to teach yoga and was surprised to find the room so toasty. It was a cold, rainy morning in Vancouver (hey, summer, where are you?), but inside it was downright sweltering: the thermostat read 25 degrees Celsius. Huh? I immediately bumped it down to 20 and told the staff that 25 is crazy, regardless of season. I was reminded of this interview with Mark Wigley, dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. A New Zealand native, he criticizes the American model of controlling indoor temperature (and of over-icing drinks) just because … Continue reading Eco hypocrisy

Milonga del Angel, noise, and pratyahara

Every morning I practice yoga at a community center a block from home. My “yoga space” is simply an untrafficked upstairs lobby, but at 7am it’s quiet and deserted, with ample space for any asana. Since early summer, I’d occasionally hear piano playing from one of the adjacent meeting rooms. The pianists were the 10-year-old identical twin sons of a friendly staffer, an immigrant from mainland China. I’d seen the twins around the neighborhood before. Off the scale in dorkiness, they were fascinating to watch (as perhaps all twins are). They just seemed particularly klutzy, wrecking their bike chains and … Continue reading Milonga del Angel, noise, and pratyahara