A Space for Memories

This photo was taken on July 15th as I sat alone in the empty studio following the Breathing Project’s closing party. In the nearly two years leading up to this moment, I was asked innumerable times what I was feeling.  My stock reply was “everything,” and that’s pretty much sums up what you can see in this picture.

I didn’t get too visibly emotional about the closing when other people were around, but at times like this, when I sat alone in that room, memories and feelings would often flood through me.  As it happens, I remember quite clearly what I was on my mind at the moment my partner Lydia Mann snapped the photo.  I was thinking of my boys, and how this room was such a special place for most of their childhood.

I was remembering how, in the summer of 2003, my teacher Desikachar’s family joined my family, friends and colleagues for a small ceremony to help inaugurate our new studio.  Taken on that day,  this photo shows me and my teacher and my middle and youngest sons, Jai (8) and Sasha (3).  Afterwards at Vatan, our favorite Indian restaurant, Desikachar mischievously offered $20.00 to Jai if he would eat one of the hot chili peppers on the table.  Jai was game to try it, but I intervened.

At that time I was splitting my time between New York City and Great Barrington, MA, and the boys would always enjoy their occasional weekend visits to NY, when they would camp out on the floor of the big room and watch movies I would project – cinema-sized – on the wall.  There were many times when our basket of Gertie Balls would cause a spontaneous game of dodgeball to break out.
I also recalled how my oldest son Shaun would eventually become a work-study student in the 2014-2015 version of my Yoga Anatomy course – the class that was recorded for my online Principles course.

Today, Desikachar is no longer with us, Shaun is 27, Jai is 22, Sasha (who wishes to be called Alex) just turned 18, I will be 60 in March and Amy Matthews’ Babies Project is creating a whole new generation of memories in that space.

Happy New Year.  I hope 2018 creates memories that are as precious to you as the ones I’ve shared.

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4 comments on “A Space for Memories

  1. Leslie.. I have recent wonderful memories of experiencing your last anatomy course taught in your studio..in 2017!!
    I frequently reread my notes from your class for inspiration and guidance ! Wishing you a blessed magical 2018… warmly . Ora🙏

  2. Leslieji,
    Congratulations on another chapter of American Yoga history you have pioneered and now continue to share in other forms.
    You are truly an American Yoga Pioneer now spreading your light across the globe.

  3. Relieved to learn you were having so many emotions as you seemed so positive! I’m still having so many emotions and I’m just a student. Thanks for sharing your family with us. Lydia: that portrait captures the man, the space familiar to thousands and the transition ♥️

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