Renowned yoga instructor brigns expertise to Princeton
By Susan Van Dongen, Special Writer
CentralNewJersey.com posted Thursday, February 7, 2013 2:05 PM EST
How things have changed since some 40 years ago, when it was a challenge to find a yoga class outside of a major city. Now opportunities to practice and experience yoga abound, and there are so many disciplines and sub-categories.
Participants may question whether yoga has become too much of a fad and its practitioners have lost sight of the sacred wisdom at its core.
Internationally renowned yoga educator Leslie Kaminoff says, “No,” and even if some think there is a faddish quality to yoga today, that’s a good thing, he says.
”I’m in favor of the extreme popularity of yoga in this country,” Mr. Kaminoff says. “I’m the ‘big tent guy,’ who says ‘anything that anyone does in the name of yoga is a good thing, no matter how commercialized.’ The more the merrier is my bottom line. People have all sorts of experiences and they’re mostly positive. This way, they’ll be more motivated to explore and examine the depth that is available.”
Mr. Kaminoff will come to the Princeton Center for Yoga and Health in Skillman, Feb. 16, to lead three workshops: “An Introduction to Breath Centered Yoga,” “Demystifying the Bhandas,” and “The Warrior Series.” Participants can sign up for all three programs or any one or two.
Inspired by the tradition of T.K.V. Desikachar, one of the world’s foremost teachers of yoga and an authority on the therapeutic uses of yoga, Mr. Kaminoff is a respected teacher of teachers with a style that is welcoming and accessible to all. These classes are relevant to teachers and students of yoga, other movement disciplines, massage therapists, physical therapists and more. In addition, the programs are suitable for all levels of practice and ample time will be devoted to individual concerns and questions. Yoga teachers can earn continuing education credits for these programs.
There are so many different kinds of yoga and yoga teaching, but Mr. Kaminoff says his workshops are singular in that they are grounded in anatomy, especially the process of breathing, which is at the functional core of any mind-body practice.
”There is wisdom in the (yogic) scriptures, but for me the more powerful (spiritual) connection is to our anatomy,” he says. “I want to ground all my teaching in the anatomy. It’s a beautiful tradition and realm, a gem that shines brightly.”
A Brooklyn native, Mr. Kaminoff was only 20 when he took his first yoga class, and 21 when he got involved in teacher’s training.
”I took my first class and progressively got more immersed,” he says. “I didn’t have a health issue, I was just a young kid who needed to get in touch with his own body, and it evolved from there to be the only job I’ve ever had. I’m basically a New Yorker, although I have also spent some time in California, and the work I did out there was very influential.”
”I took a workshop with Leslie years ago in my early days as a yoga teacher, and I’ve wanted to study with him again ever since,” says PCYH director Deborah Metzger. “Having a basic understanding of human anatomy can greatly influence anyone’s yoga practice. People travel across oceans to study with Leslie. We hope both teachers and curious students will take advantage of learning from this master — and right in our own backyard.”
Currently practicing in New York City and Great Barrington, Mass., Mr. Kaminoff is an internationally recognized specialist with more than 31 years experience in the fields of yoga and breath anatomy, and has led workshops for many of the leading yoga associations, schools and training programs in America. He also has helped to organize international yoga conferences while serving as vice president of Unity in Yoga, and has actively participated in the ongoing national debate regarding certification standards for yoga teachers.
The founder of The Breathing Project, Mr. Kaminoff leads this non-profit educational corporation dedicated to the teaching of individualized, breath-centered yoga practice and education. The Breathing Project currently offers classes and advanced training programs out of its studio in New York City.
Mr. Kaminoff also is the founder of the highly respected International Yoga list “e-Sutra” and the co-author (with Amy Matthews) of the bestselling book, Yoga Anatomy (Human Kinetics, 2007). A newly revised second edition of Yoga Anatomy was released in October 2011. In addition, he has been a featured yoga expert in Yoga Journal and The New York Times, as well as online at WebMD. His multi-media projects include Breath-Centered Yoga with Leslie Kaminoff, a DVD released by Human Kinetics, and the Sounds True Audio CD Freeing the Breath: Health, Relaxation and Clarity through Better Breathing.
Although he has traveled the world to teach, this will be Mr. Kaminoff’s first time in the Princeton area.
”I look forward to coming to PCYH and sharing,” he says. “Princeton is revered as a center for learning, so I suspect the students will have a strong interest and will ask good questions. That’s what I rely on to make the workshops really relevant, lots of good questions.”
Leslie Kaminoff will lead three workshops at the Princeton Center for Yoga and Health, 88 Orchard Road, Skillman, Feb. 16: ‘An Introduction to Breath Centered Yoga,’ noon-2 p.m.; ‘Demystifying the Bhandas,’ 2:30-4:30 p.m.; and ‘The Warrior Series,’ 5-7 p.m. Participants can sign up for all three programs or any one or two. Fee for one session: $45; two sessions: $85; three sessions: $120. 609-924-7294. www.princetonyoga.com. For more information about Leslie Kaminoff, go to www.thebreathingproject.org.