Ali’s All-American Yoga Fantasy Camp

In which I fantasize about the teachers I would bring together for two weeks of yoga, brewskis, camaraderie, tossing around the ol’ pigskin, wisdom, grilling-out, and hopefully a tawdry Kundalini-serpent joke or two.

Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa

If for no other reason, Gurmukh seems like one badass woman.  Midwestern wife —> vagabond hippy —> Buddhist renunciant —> yogi —> late-in-life mother —> birthing expert??

Yes please.

She took a scary, painful experience with the birth of her first child and grew it into this amazing life of helping others feel good about their delivery.

Also, Gurmukh was hand-picked by Yogi Bhahan, the founder of the Sikh-yoga blend we know as today’s Kundalini Yoga. That’s some cred.

She will sit on a lounge chair in the shade and the rest of us will bring her lemonade.

Beryl Bender Birch

My first reason for choosing Ms. Birch is the same as that of Gurmukh: badass. BBB was deemed “A Bad Lady” by Patabhi Jois in Yoga Journal (of all places), and I like that. Especially since I took a Sutra Study with her, and she is about the nicest, most sincere, goofy lady I can imagine. AND wore a skeleton t-shirt.

Not a bad lady.

Also pretty cool is that she has studied biofeedback and with Jain teachers, giving her a scientific AND Buddhist perspective on the whole yoga thing.

She keeps sled-dogs and races them!

Meet her in the pasture for a game of ultimate frisbee.

David Life

Look at that coy, demure look, David Life. I just want you to teach me yoga!

You probably know David Life as the co-creator of Jivamukti, but DID you know that he has studied with Brahmananda Saraswati (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s teacher and the guy credited with teaching what would become TM) AND Nirmalananda (a Ramakrishna disciple)?? There are lots of American yogis who have studied in Krishnamacharya’s lineage, but not so many from this corner of yoga.

Oh yeah, he also studied with Patabhi Jois. BOOM.

Two of my friends took a weekend workshop with him and said he was pretty lovely as a person, too, so bonus.

David will meet you at the door with a hug and an ice-cold PBR!

Mark Whitwell

Mark Whitwell was an editor and contributor to  TKV Desikachar’s “The Heart of Yoga,” and studied with Krishnamacharya.

Well…that’s enough, I’m sold.

Mark shall be grilling the veggie-burgers. You’ll eat what he gives you and you’ll like it.

Baron Baptiste

I love his book Journey Into Power. He tells a brief story of his path, how his dad made him teach yoga, how he studied with all these different smart yoga guys and tried to find enlightenment and was doing all the “right” yogic things…and was miserable.

He doesn’t like the Guru system, which I have some big ‘ol issues with, and (huge plus!) he speaks plainly and clearly.

And speaking about his Dear Old Dad, well, B-dawg is basically the equivalent of Prince Yoga of America. Mom and Dad opened the first yoga studio in San Fran. Dad studied with Sivananda. Uncle Joe was Yogananda’s sponsor when he came to visit the USA…Dag.

Baron’s the guy roaring like a fake monster and roughhouseing with six giggling children hanging off his biceps.

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