Why I heart The Yoga Workshop, Richard Freeman’s yoga studio in Boulder, Colorado.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Feb 24, 2010
get elephant's newsletter

"yoga workshop" boulder, colorado, richard freeman, mary taylor, yoga studio

Yesterday I went with my friend Kate and my dear friend/columnist Peggy Markel and my longtime advisor buddy John Cargile, from Denver, to the Yoga Workshop’s noon class.

About five minutes in, I couldn’t remember how my shoulders should be turning, and since alignment is vital to safety and to getting the benefits of any said pose, I started asking a question.

The teacher cut me off about three words in and, not entirely gently, said: “all proper alignment flows from the breath, so just relax and focus on the breath.” It was rather shocking, in an all levels noon class (not at all advanced) to see a question smothered…but luckily my Buddhist training kicked in, and I bothered to listen, and take in what she said, instead of getting offended. Instead of getting wrapped up in my thoughts, I managed to listen and obey: to focus on my breath.

Simultaneously, she came over and gently rolled my shoulders outward. Boom: the pose felt right.

And what I learned from that class is that we Americans tend to think of yoga as a service provided for us. My ego was peeved that she didn’t regard my question as a prioity, but rather she regarded my practice as the priority.

A second lesson: without breath, yoga loses its in-the-moment quality of moving meditation, and becomes just another great form of exercise. Her point–breathe and all will follow—is a profound one. Even if, for folks with bad alignment, that may not be totally true, it’s a lesson worth coming back to, again and again.

It was a little moment, but I thought I’d share it.

Photo at top: The Yoga Workshop. Click for great blog.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


11 Responses to “Why I heart The Yoga Workshop, Richard Freeman’s yoga studio in Boulder, Colorado.”

  1. LOL from http://www.facebook.com/elephantjournal :
    Darrin commented on your link:

    "I remember once, when I attended a Richard Freeman yoga class, the heater was turned up and blowing on me. I told him, I thought I might pass out. He told me "when you pass out, then we will talk". At the time, I projected all over him. In retrospect, I appreciated his seeing through my spiritual/physical materialism and ego-hold.
    Right on."

  2. Tyler_Dewar says:

    Great story, Waylon! Re: your tweet about this post, I also like the popular-on-Daily-Kos acronym SYFPH because of its single-syllable ease. 🙂 Returning to seriousness, though, I appreciated you sharing this. As students we can often miss the opportunity to take advantage of _skillful_ ferocity on the part of a teacher. As you pointed out clearly in this post, it's all about sinking in to a more spacious perspective in the early moments of one's reaction. Then some magic can happen. Congrats and thanks again!

  3. Elize says:

    very awesome moment. thanks for sharing.

  4. Osman says:

    My favorite yoga place in Boulder as well. Awesome!

  5. Kelly says:

    I miss this place so much, thanks for reminding me what a great studio it is!

  6. From http://www.facebook.com/elephantjournal :

    I heart that place, those teachers, too, big time. Thanks for sharing this.

    Waylon Lewis
    You bet! Honored to get back in there and practice. I missed it.

  7. kathryn b says:

    great to hear your experience. . .

    'when in doubt — breathe'

  8. Sounds like that woman can't relax around an autonomous male body.

  9. Richard! Wait…you're not Richard?!

  10. Farnoosh says:

    Nice articulation of your feelings.

  11. […] by some of Colorado’s most amazing yoga instructors, including Richard Freeman, Trista Hollerbach, Matt Kapinus, Jeanie Manchester and Tina Aisner Porter—adults and teens will […]