If it hasn’t been made clear from our posts following the Confluence, we discovered that the reputation that precedes Eddie Stern isn’t entirely deserved.
I’m sure there are times when he’s a stern teacher. There has to be from every teacher. But the whole “New York” severity and strictness absolutely did not come through during the weekend of the Confluence.
Here’s more evidence. I’ve been meaning to post about it for a while, and kept failing to get to. It’s part of the latest update to Eddie’s Asthanga Yoga New York webpage:
We have heard from some of the people who stop by our school that they can find it intimidating to commit to a month of Ashtanga Yoga without knowing what it is, or how they will be taught. Learning Ashtanga Yoga is actually much easier than it looks, and for that reason, we are now offering to new students an introductory, five-day week of classes for $50. In one week, you will learn the basics of this practice, one-on-one from one of our teachers, and you will get a feel for whether or not this practice is for you.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions, or just stop by the studio during any of our class times to take a look at what we are teaching.
“Learning Ashtanga Yoga is actually much easier than it looks.” I can’t help feeling like that’s akin to the sign above the Gates of Hell in Dante. (That’s a joke, people!)
I’m sure the attitude being addressed here also is related to the myth about Ashtanga’s development as a practice for adolescent boys. I think sometimes with Ashtanga, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I didn’t really know what I was getting into when Bobbie introduced me to the practice via a few different teachers.
In other words, it’s one I’ve heard — and felt. At the Confluence, Tim Miller talked about how he had conversations with Guruji about the lack of students. Guruji’s answer: Keep teaching and they will come. (Having a Hanuman image in the shala helps, too.)
What strikes me as the key part of Eddie’s welcome above isn’t the gates of hell sign, though. It’s this: “you will get a feel for whether or not this practice is for you.” That’s truth in advertising. You do know pretty quickly, right?
It also seems like smart business. You do have to give people a way in… and a way out, if it turns out not to be for you.
Any teachers out there — or students, for that matter — know of other creative ways to introduce people the practice?
Posted by Steve