Alert “06880” reader — and local author — Dalma Heyn writes:
I love yoga. But I don’t love practicing it in gyms—after Zumba classes in meat-market cold rooms with sweat-soaked floors; rooms with no yoga props, but with the sound of heavy metal pumping in tune with those pumping iron.
But then not long ago, into the New York Sports Club in Westport walked a 22-year-old yoga teacher named Julian Arias. Twenty-two! Julian calmly turned off the air-conditioner, and proceeded to show us how to forget we were in a gym not by telling us to forget it, as though it were easy and morally correct to do so by just meditating on warmth, but by spending an hour with him and witnessing his gentle, knowledgeable, experimental teaching of this ancient practice.
Soon his classes grew: Older men with no experience; young women with lots of it; teens, athletes, all came to experience this gifted teacher transform a gym into a studio. “In the 30years I’ve been doing yoga, I’ve never found someone so in tune,” says Morgaine Pauker. “He’s the best.”
He was trained, as many fine yoga teachers have been, at Kripalu, in Lenox, Massachusetts. But his knowledge of anatomy is extraordinary, so he expertly departs from the familiar so that we feel what the movements were designed to do many thousands of years ago—and to do for us, right now. “I’ve never been in his class when he hasn’t done something new: He taps into places in my body and mind that I was unaware were so tense,” says Eileen Winnick.
His gentle riffs on traditional postures are like those of a jazz musician who knows the melody in his bones but whose soul impels him to explore other ways of expressing it. We leave, this motley crew of Silver Sneakers and our grandkids, the inflexible and the balletic, athletes and klutzes, feeling wonderful. And also feeling united–which is, after all, what “yoga” means.
“He absolutely has changed my perspective,” says Laurie Vogel. “I live every day in the day—and I’m much more productive.”
Cindy Gates calls him “our therapist.”
It’s clear that our town is losing 2 gems at once: a lovely little gym that was free for many of us of a certain age, and a gifted young man born, as he puts it, to teach yoga.