I was born in Caracas, Venezuela, to Colombian parents (from the city of Medellin). Spanish was my first language. I lived in a dozen or so countries before settling in the United States — one of those speaking the Queen’s English (which provides some perspective on the colonies). Since then, I’ve enjoyed the good fortune of traveling to and residing in various European countries; and I recently returned to Latin America (and expect to live there with my wife Michèle for a part of each year). As for yoga’s journey to find me, it is a curious path peppered with catastrophic failures, bad judgments, and a host of other mishaps that turned out to be my saving Grace. After twenty years teaching contemplative philosophy to undergraduates, I left my cushy tenured professorship (at a so-called “elite” college), threw a few belongings in a car, some cash in my pocket, and drove to Asheville, North Carolina. I ditched diagnoses and medications that were killing me. And took my chances. I drove directly into a hot yoga studio (I left the car in the parking lot), and without planning to do so, completed some 108 days of yoga. One, two, sometimes three sessions a day; on the 40th day I smelled my body purging death. So bad the stench, I had to throw my gym clothes away (and bought new ones because I don’t look good naked). I continued this process of self-healing and signed up for other yoga marathons, twice doing over 40 hot yoga (Bikram-style) classes in 30 days. I joined a second studio. Soon thereafter my regimen was up to four classes a day and a home practice. That is a madness I had to work through and leave behind. Anyway. Before finding a modicum of sanity, I decided to join the legions of misinformed and misguided by completing a RYT 200hr yoga teaching certification. Unlike the newly initiated seeking a job at a studio, I went to hang out at the local jail, among the unhoused, and women in recovery. That is, I practiced yoga among the infirm, mentally ill, dispossessed, and forgotten. I realized that they and I had a great deal in common. Undeterred by prior, questionable yoga training, I started a RYT 300hr certification (which may offer marginal improvement at best, but don’t hold your breath). I began volunteering at Asheville Community Yoga where I found a home and friends. Still knowing so little, I thought it best to condense all amalgamated “stuff” into one simple ethic: do no harm; or maybe just a little when there is no other alternative. It seems that has for the most part worked: no human, to my knowledge, has been injured. No use of animal testing either, save for imitations of downward dog, camel, locust, cobra, frog, cat, cow, turtle, pigeon, crow, eagle, scorpion, crocodile, turtle, and finally a lion’s breath.
Gentle Flow, Beginners Welcome
Thursdays from 8:00 to 9:00 pm
Is less about taking a particular yoga class as it is a way of conducting oneself through life. And that, he would suggest, is a combination of grace, equanimity, mindfulness and above all above all fun. Especially in an epoch when yoga seems to be getting bigger, badder, faster, and hotter, gentle yoga serves as an introduction to essential spirit of yoga, which is closer to dance than it is to mechanics. Sharing some pretty awesome and unexpected playlists will allow us to see for ourselves whether this is true on not.