NY Mag wrote an article 3 days ago that is exactly wrong. A student remembered me talking about the teacher in question, and promptly posted the article on my wall yesterday.
I read it and shook my head. They painted a dark picture of a teacher I really respect, David Regelin.The one thing they got right were the photos of his strong practice (which I share here) but to portray him as angry, frustrated or a jerk told me clearly that the author is confused. I’ve learned many things from David and from other students of his who are now established teachers in NY. He is thoughtful, talented and brilliant. Oh, and he can teach, really well.
I posted the article on my FB page, saying
Fascinating. Another great teacher, David Regelin, changes his focus and style. What is amazing about the age we live in, is that NY Mag wrote it up!
Everyone took something different from the piece and the comments on my wall struck me. I was disappointed that some yogis felt comfortable concluding that David – who they never met – was, in fact, a jerk. There had to be another side to this story? How was David going to respond?
I woke up today to see David’s response. It is good. Read it. If you finish the article and say to yourself “I wanna meet this guy, I need to take his class.” You’re on the right track.
You can check out here and read his response, but if you’re still with me, two more points…
First, compared to a master teacher like David, I’m a rank amateur. One line, however, did resonate: “It does not make me look like a nice guy, and I am a nice guy, but when I teach, I teach.” I have a challenge when I teach yoga, time is short, people are tied up, and sweat is pouring so I prioritize getting the point across fast over prefacing my thoughts with all the appropriate pleasantries and caveats so feelings aren’t hurt. I’m just assuming people are coming to class to learn.
Second, and here is the punchline… If this NY Mag mess teaches me anything it reminds me Yogis inhabit a special world and we need to take care of the visitors. We practice a sacred ancient set of techniques and move our bodies (gross, emotional, energetic, subtle, subtler…) around to explore the universe inside. It is powerful stuff. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised when someone wanders into a room–charged with high vibration, full of strong practitioners where invisible energy and audible instruction are flying around in equal parts–and doesn’t quite get it.
I’m just thinking out loud here, but maybe reporters and new students dropping into advanced classes aren’t that different. We need to keep an eye of them, we need to check their understanding and sometimes, maybe we need to assess if they should be in the room or consider what happens in the room since they are there. We owe it to Yoga, to them and, to ourselves. Otherwise they might go back outside and start spreading their confusion; that would be a shame.
Taking David's class at Wanderlust, VT in 2011