In the 1980s, Beryl Bender Birch famously coined the term “power yoga,” and in doing so brought the practice of ashtanga yoga to the high-energy masses in Manhattan at the New York Road Runners Club, where she was the wellness director. The influential and best-selling book “Power Yoga” soon followed and, today many teachers credit it as being the first yoga book they ever bought.
Three more books followed, each progressing deeper into the many practices of yoga including philosophy and meditation. She broadened out her student base from the athletic at first, to the aging as well as those in active military service. She is also a pioneer for yoga and social justice having co-founded the inspiring non-profit organisation Give Back Yoga Foundation.
In this episode of triyoga talks, Beryl discusses everything from the origin of “power yoga” to practising under the fierce ashtanga teacher Norman Allen to supporting first-responders and veterans through trauma-sensitive yoga.
When speaking about the evolution of one’s practice, Beryl sums up the journey quite poetically, stating:
“I think all our practices in yoga, whether it’s asana, pranayama or meditation, are progressively requiring us to pay attention in a more subtle way. We start out paying attention to the physical body and once we get that straightened out, we start to become more aware, more conscious, our circle of compassion expands.”
To access this inspiring conversation about power, presence and accessibility, listen to the full podcast online or subscribe using the buttons above.