Unlike most of my other podcast guests, I didn’t meet J. Brown through Instagram. He’s someone I met in real life, about eight (!) years ago when I was a whippersnapper journalism student at NYU with a keen interest in community and wellness. I had just started my first blog as a class assignment, and stepped inside his then-brand-new studio, Abhyasa Yoga. I remember it well, he was the first person I interviewed on assignment that felt more like a conversation than a rigid question and answer format. After an extensive career in teaching yoga and suffering a knee injury, J. started the studio to practice what he calls “slow yoga,” the anti-power vinyasa and a true yin sensibility.
Can you believe that J. is the first dude on the show? Only took me twenty five episodes. After having a great experience interviewing J., I practiced at his studio some, but couldn’t afford to keep coming on a student budget. But I subscribed to his newsletter, which is released monthly, and is one that I’ve kept for all 8 years, I never unsubscribed once. And for someone who has a habit of unsubscribing from at least 3 newsletters a week, that means something. J. has his finger on the pulse of the yoga world. His writing is often controversial, as he’s not afraid to speak his mind on topics many would rather leave alone or brush under the rug. More recently, he’s started a podcast called Yoga Talks, which is very insider baseball and pulls back the curtain on the sometimes clandestine New York yoga scene.
J. and I cover a lot of ground. Among other things, we talk about:
- the role of loss in depression
- the merits (or… demerits) of yoga teacher training
- the lessons he learned in India that immediately informed his personal practice and later on, the foundation of his studio
- the new yoga teacher’s dilemma
- the new model for making a sustainable living on yoga
- the simple way to teach from your soul
- finding “your yoga”
This episode is excellent for anyone who is contemplating a yoga teacher training. Beyond that, it’s for anyone who’s ever dealt with loss of a parent or parental figure. It’s for anyone who wants to know more about the slow yoga movement, and the history and inspiration behind it. It’s for teachers who are seeking new inspiration, and the causal yoga goer or yoga-curious.
Amy Matthews on Yoga Anatomy – from J.’s Yoga Talks podcast
Lilia Mead – from J.’s Yoga Talks podcast
David and Sharon / Jivamukti
Alison West / Yoga Union
Pros and Cons of Yoga Teacher Training – from J.’s blog
Mark Whitwell – one of J.’s mentors
Yoga Center Expiry – from J.’s blog
Elena Brower – J.’s podcast interview with Elena
Riddle me Some Reality – from J.’s blog
Chase Bossart “a knowing”
Much love once again, J., for being a part of one of my projects, and thank you for sharing your story.