We asked fellow Ashtangi and blogger Peter Alejandro (of MahaMondo fame) to give us a sense of Eddie Stern as a teacher. He kindly agreed to appear here as a guest star! Here are his reflections from a recent trip to New York:
AYNY’s online opening page now has this ‘Welcome‘ sign from India on it. And it captures how I feel when I walk up the steps to the shala AKA The Broome St. Temple. I was feeling nostalgic as I walked on Crosby Street in SoHo towards the shala as I remembered how at 6:00 in the morning in my younger days, I would be looking for a cab to take me back to where I was staying in New York after a major night of partying. These days , I am walking to attend puja then do Mysore practice at AYNY.
People have asked me what it is like to practice under Eddie Stern. I can’t distill the experience in several sentences. He has always made me feel welcome. There is nothing like practicing in a temple-like atmosphere with shrines dedicated to Sri Radha Krishna, Ganesha and Shiva. His students who come in for morning Mysore line up their mats in an orderly fashion; there is a sense of order in this universe. The tone and intention have all been set by the early morning puja, with Eddie as pujari and perfoming the opening Ashtanga chants.
My spiritual master Maharaja has always reminded me that the physical practice of yoga should lead to bhakti yoga, the desire to be united with God. And I can always feel this when I practice at Eddie’s shala. There is an atmosphere of dedication in the manner in which he conducts class.
Among all the American students of Guruji, he is probably the most traditional and scholarly, keeping the legacy of Guruji alive. I had mentioned to him after class this morning that the shala / temple always feels wonderful. His response to me was, “I like it here.”
I had also said that I enjoyed following his posts on the AYNY blog. And just when I thought he was going to reply that his latest entry was on Guruji or BKS Iyengar, Eddie said, “I just did one on Iggy Pop,” which made me think, “So that’s where you got the design for the Broome St. Temple t-shirt, from the Ramones, hehe.”
So for those looking forward to meeting and practicing with Eddie at the upcoming Ashtanga Yoga Confluence in San Diego, that’s a little taste of his rasa. Thanks so much Eddie. See you again next trip to NYC.
Posted by Bobbie