[click "Play" to listen to Beryl's interview with Susan]
Beryl Bender Birch is among the presenters at Aubrey Hackman's 4th annual Telluride Yoga Festival, July 14 – July 17.
Beryl's history is the history of Yoga in America, a story of assimilation and diversification and recently, big business. This spiritual teacher, yoga therapist, and author ("Power Yoga,""Boomer Yoga,""Beyond Power Yoga") was an early adaptor and pioneer: in the early 70s, the tie-dyed days of drugs, sex and rock 'n roll, Beryl, a former student of philosophy and comparative religion, became an avid student of yoga and the study of consciousness.
In 1974, Beryl began to teach yoga and meditation to skiers in Winter Park. Six years later, she returned to New York, the place of her birth, to practice Ashtanga Yoga under the guidance of Norman Allen. (Allen was Sri K. Pattabhi Jois' first American student and the first Westerner to master the Ashtanga series and bring it to the U.S.) Still ahead of the pack, Beryl introduced yoga to a group of elite athletes, teaching Ashtanga Yoga at the prestigious New York Road Runners Club. Throughout the 1980s, one whole decade, Beryl and husband Thom Birch remained the only teachers in the Ashtanga tradition on the East Coast, teaching Ashtanga yoga method of asana, pranayama, and dharana (concentration) to tens of thousands of students.
In the late 80's, Beryl coined the term "Power Yoga" – along with Bryan Kest on the West Coast – as a way for the Western mind to relate to the then obscure ancient practice of Astanga yoga, a workout for the mind and body.
Beryl is the founder and director of The Hard & the Soft Yoga Institute (since l980) in East Hampton. She now teaches classical yoga all over the world, guiding and inspiring students of all levels with her down-to-earth style.
To learn more, click the "play" button and listen to Beryl's interview.