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In Memoriam: B.K.S. Iyengar 1918-2014

Guruji_nov2012Word has just come via a Facebook post from Judith Lasater that Bellur Krishnamachar Sundaraj Iyengar has passed away at the age of 96.

So much could be said about his immeasurable contribution to Yoga that I prefer to let you all comment with your remembrances.

For myself, I can say that my teacher Desikachar always spoke of him with great respect, and seemed proud to call him uncle.

With Iyengar’s passing today,  Pattabhi Joiis’s in 2009, and Desikachar’s incapacity, that leaves precious few direct inheritors of T. Krishnamacharya’s lineage still teaching today.

Fortunately, there are literally thousands of us who are lucky enough to be the next generation of teachers tasked with carrying on the vital work of spreading the precious teachings that flow from this deep, rich wellspring.

Please feel free to post your thoughts below.

Spanish love affair

Leslie is resting up while I write this note following a wonderful day workshopping for Dhara Yoga in Madrid. The owners, Blanca and Pablo, found a beautiful loft operated by a woman who grew up in Lenox, MA (virtually around the corner from where Leslie raised his kids and keeps his horse!) and brought in a terrific group of yoga professionals, eager to learn more about the Krishnamacharya/Desikachar tradition. We’ve posted some snapshots from our time in this beautiful, vibrant city.

The Krishnamacharya and Desikachar lineage, projected large above Leslie's head

 

barcelona-poster-thumb Next week we’ll be returning to the Barcelona Yoga Conference.
There’s still time to sign up for Leslie’s two-day intensive on Yoga and Healing, Tuesday July 8-Wednesday July 9 and meet up with Leslie at a book-signing at the YogaYe table on Saturday July 5 at 2:00 p.m. (Learn more on their Facebook page.)
posted by Lydia: June 29, 2014

2014 Touring Schedule

I’ve had some exciting trips this spring and we’re still traveling! I hope to meet you if I’m heading your way. To keep up-to-date, please check my calendar and my Tweet stream, but here are some of the highlights:

Ann Green teaching

Ann Green teaching at her Bliss Yoga studio in Barrie, ON

Toronto trade show

Leslie teaching an open session at the Toronto Yoga Conference's show

Toronto workshop

Toronto Yoga Conference workshop

sunset in Tulum

Tulum stormy sunset

Tulum, Mexico

Leslie teaching at the open-air yoga palapa in Maya Tulum

Yoga Journal LIVE! workshop

Yoga Journal LIVE! exploration on yoga mat "labs"

Gesticulating

Leslie explaining a finer point (or something!)

Carrboro students

Carrboro class in rapt attention

Amy and Leslie co-teaching

Amy Matthews and Leslie Kaminoff co-teaching in Carrboro, NC.

A return to being an anatomy student

What a privilege it’s been to spend this week back in the anatomy lab with the singular Gil Hedley and 35 outstanding, talented, accomplished fellow Somanauts.

Lydia and I came in on the third and final week of Gil’s unprecedented marathon teaching event during which he is recording on video and photographing never-before seen dissective technique and perspective for his upcoming “Atlas of Integral Anatomy.”

I always learn an enormous amount while spending time with Gil and the amazing people who show up in his lab.  This is my sixth time since 1997, but several participants and assistants have done far more than I.

Yesterday I had to leave early to teach my Yoga Anatomy course at The Breathing Project. Switching from student to teacher mode proved to be very energizing for me and I was jazzed to teach my own material in a way I haven’t been for quite a while.

Thank you, Gil.  And thank you especially to the essential generosity of the 8 donors whose forms grace our tables in the lab.  Please consider donating your body to science. I can tell you from personal experience as a student honored with access to such generosity, it’s a profound gift to your fellow man.

NJ Somanauts

Haven’t you always wanted to go to Barcelona? Join us this July!

Lydia here. We are so excited to be returning to Europe this summer for the Barcelona Yoga Conference where Leslie is offering a two-day intensive, and hope you’ll help us spread the word. Leslie loves the opportunity to meet his online students in person, so if you’re one of them please come on down!

We put together a little interview including questions he’s been asked repeatedly about his adventures in Spain, as well as some fave articles and videos of his. Feel free to forward to anyone you know who may want to join us in beautiful Barcelona this July.

During your 2013 visit to Spain:

  1. Did you have a favorite experience?
    We stayed in El Gòtic and loved the easy access it provided. The Picasso Museum stands out as one of my favorite museums anywhere and walking to the beach for lunch and mojitos was also great!
  2. How about favorite food?
    I so appreciated many restaurants’ pleasure in offering wonderful, fresh-baked gluten-free bread, without additional cost. That just doesn’t happen here – when you can find it, there’s always a surcharge, and it’s not freshly baked.
  3. Did you experience any notable cultural differences?
    For sure: sense of time! Lydia and I think we’re late when we’re five minutes early. In Spain, half an hour late is a sampling error.…
  4. Anything else to share?
    You can take a look at this set of photos on Flickr. It gives a pretty good sense of some of the things we saw, found beautiful, different from home and memorable.

barcelona-snaps

Some of our favorite You Tube videos:

How to help spread the word!

Thank you! we really appreciate your support.

Tokyo in June!

Lydia here to let you know about some upcoming travel we’re really excited about. We’re returning to Asia this June and hoping to meet a bunch of you this time! Leslie loves to meet his online students in person and overseas travel is a great opportunity for that.

He regularly gets asked questions about the 2013 visit, so we put together a little interview about his adventures and some fave articles and videos of his. We hope you’ll share them with anyone you know who might be able to join us in Tokyo this June.  We’re really grateful for your support and hope to see you soon.

japan-snaps

During your 2013 visit to Asia:

  1. Did you have a favorite experience?
    We fell in love with Hakone while staying at the Tenseien ryokan. We’ll be returning there between the Hong Kong Asia Yoga Conference and my workshop in Tokyo.
  2. How about favorite food?
    The absolutely freshest sushi of my life at Tsukiji fish market early one morning.
  3. Did you experience any notable cultural differences?
    Yes! the absolute horror exrpressed whenever we tried to tip anybody. To us it demonstrated that good service is considered obligatory, not something surprising or deserving of reward. Definitely different from the United States.
  4. Anything else to share?
    You can take a look at this set of photos on Flickr. It gives a pretty good sense of some of the things we saw, found beautiful, different from home and memorable.

Some of our favorite You Tube videos:

How to help spread the word!

  • Post on your blog or Facebook (you’re welcome to use the interview questions and image above)
  • Tell a friend – here’s a link to a poster you can share
  • Join us – here’s the link to register
  • Bring some friends – contact us if you’re interested in coming with a group.

…and now, “you were here* : the video!”

My last post about honesty in yoga credentialing has gone a bit viral. It was natural then, to discuss it in last Wednesday’s post-Yoga Anatomy, on camera Q&A.

What emerged was a rather interesting exploration of my views on how we train people, and what it takes to really absorb the kinds of things we teach in yoga trainings.

Enjoy!  If you’d like to join the discussion, please leave a comment.

You were here*

I’m often asked whether my workshops or trainings qualify for continuing education credit with Yoga Alliance, International Association of Yoga Therapists or other registries and/or accrediting bodies. I always tell event attendees that they can put whatever they like in front of me and I’ll happily sign it, notwithstanding the fact that my less-than-favorable views on certification and licensing are well-documented.

To simplify this process in the future, I’ve decided to provide free to the public as a downloadable PDF an official-looking certificate of attendance. Please feel free to print one and bring it with you to your next event with me, and I’ll autograph it.

Please note the fine print referenced by the prominent asterisk:

“This certifies that the person named above showed up for [some/most/all] of the indicated session and appeared to be awake, though there’s no way for me to know whether they were listening or whether they [absorbed/understood] what I said – let alone how effectively they will choose to communicate it. Additionally, there is no way for me determine the teaching ability or qualities of the person named above, regardless of how much I may have [liked/tolerated] [him/her].

The recipient of this document bears full responsibility for demonstrating to the public the quality and efficacy of their skills, and communicating honestly the true extent of their training.”Sample of Leslie's version of a certificate of attendance.

 

I love Austin. Y’all.

Leslie loves teaching Yoga Yoga students!

This is the fourth year I’ve taught for Yoga Yoga in Austin as part of the great teacher training program run by Lori Johnson. She and director of special events, Laura Forsyth, have made sure I’ve been getting socialized around town each year and now I realize I just love this place. It helps that it’s 70 degrees when it’s below freezing in NYC, and it helps that there is great barbeque all over town, every meal has been delicious and reasonably priced and tequila is a beverage of choice.

I also love the studio. Yoga Yoga has a bunch of locations and I get to teach in this big, beautiful room at their Westgate venue (high ceilings mean I can throw my teaching toys all the way to the back of the room) and light from two walls of windows reminds me of my home studio, The Breathing Project. The room is full of experienced teachers and those in training asking pointed questions.

Teaching teachers is so satisfying. Here’s a taste of what we’re covering today: Bandhas and ujjayi is over-taught. From the first moment you ask someone to coordinate their breath with a long, slow movement, they’ve already started to use ujjayi. Bandha is just not that complicated.

Next…

I hope to meet more of you on the road. Next up, Sadie Nardini and me at Maya Tulum.

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Mukunda Stiles Feb. 24, 1949 – Feb. 18, 2014

Mukunda Stiles

I just received this notice from Chinnamasta about the passing of her beloved, Mukunda Stiles.

Mukunda and I worked together on the board of Unity in Yoga, and kept in touch over the years.  I knew he had been quite ill recently, but had thought he made a recovery when I saw he was teaching again.

He will be missed.

If you have any remembrances of Mukunda you would like to share, please post them as comments below.