I once considered myself the last woman on the island of Manhattan in my socio-economic class to have never practiced yoga. For years people told me that I (a seriously Type-A personality) should do yoga. Keep in mind, I’m so Type-A that the only written comment on my kindergarten report card was “Sharon can sometimes be bossy with her peers.”
The flip side of this is that I don’t like to be bossed. So the more people told me I should do yoga, the more I didn’t want to do it. This went on for YEARS. A LOT of people told me I should do yoga, which over time translated into me REALLY not wanting to do yoga. It got so bad that I began to hate yoga in absentia.
Eventually this amorphous hatred ate at me badly enough that I decided I needed to actually do yoga. That way I’d have plenty of ammo to shower on the next person who told me I should try it.
So I asked my friend Dawn:
to take me here: http://www.dharmayogacenter.com/
The funny thing about living in Manhattan is you decide one day you’re in the mood to hear some great classical music and POOF! There’s Itzhak Perlman. Lunch from a street cart? POOF! There’s David Chang driving around the city, parking on random blocks, delivering three-star cuisine. Feel like a trying yoga? POOF! There’s a living master just down on 23rd street doing stuff like this:
In August 2012 I stepped into the Dharma Center for the first time. I’d hardly call it a studio. Most days Joann welcomes you at the desk, but it’s nothing like checking in at a gym. There’s a lovely sitting area with a warm leaf-motif rug, a forest-green couch and the walls and shelves are covered in a collection of ephemera Dharma himself has likely collected over his 75 years of global travel. His dog Baxter is usually in attendance.
And in the large, saffron-painted sanctuary with its wall of arched windows facing south, a petite gray-haired man takes his place on an elevated wooden platform with a keyboard sort of instrument vaguely resembling an accordion. He strikes a cord and the class ignites simultaneously in a long, loud “Om…..” It vibrates the insides.
Class always finishes with deep relaxation. Dharma leads a sort of guided meditation. When it finished the first time, I wept.
This last week the great guru Sri Dharma Mittra, turned 75. This is what 75 looks like:
This fall I’m headed to France for a week-long retreat run by rock star yogis Dharma has taught. They come from all over the world to meet the man I just take the subway to practice with. I’ve never really known another teacher, and maybe I never need to.