I was extremely fortunate to be able to spend a week at Rancho La Puerta a couple of weeks ago, taking in the constant magic of the place, and participating in a week of classes taught by Leslie Kaminoff. Leslie has been a revolutionary and iconoclastic yoga teacher for many years, extremely well-versed in the history of yoga and integrally involved with its development over the last thirty years. A student of Krishnamacharya’s son, T.K.V. Desikachar, Leslie teaches an “individualized, breath-centered” yoga deeply rooted in the wisdom of our own bodies. He is a co-author of the authoritative book, Yoga Anatomy, now in its second edition, and brings a life-long passion for anatomy, and real experience in the dissection of the human body, to the traditional practice of asanas, pranayama and kriyas. He now usually teaches just experienced yoga teachers, so I was extremely lucky to have this kind of personal contact with him. I am also pleased to report that he plays a mean game of basketball, and enjoys a glass of tequila when available. Here’s a picture after he and I had consumed such a glass, maybe two.
I should add that a highlight of the week was spending New Year’s Eve with Leslie, his partner Lydia, and respected Raja yogis, Michele Hebert and Mehrad Nazari. During the evening, we were also joined by the remarkable Phyllis Pilgrim. She’s too young for me, but I love me some Phyllis Pilgrim. She’s taught yoga, meditation, writing and many other skills at the Ranch since 1981, and I always enjoy her “basic” yoga classes. Anyway, it turns out that both she and Leslie knew Indra Devi quite well. Devi was a famous student of Krishnamacharya and basically brought yoga to California, particularly Hollywood, in the late 1940s. She later established an arshram in Tecate, which can still be seen on the morning walk to RLP’s organic gardens. Anyway, it was just a pleasure to see these two together, sharing anecdotes and other contacts.
We are going to our best to host Leslie at Inside/Out for a three-day seminar some time in 2015 (he’s booked until then). Will keep you posted.