Yoga Alliance Leadership Conference:Transformation Through Yoga

October 25-28, 2012 in Indian Wells, CA

Getting to Know…
Larry Payne, E-RYT 500

In a recent interview with YA, conference speaker Larry Payne, E-RYT 500, shared his responses on transformation through Yoga and the wisdom from his journey around the world studying Yoga.

YA: What does the word “transformation” mean to you?

LP: Transformation means change. In the context of Yoga, it means trading in old bad habits for new good habits. It is a form of replacement therapy.

YA: How has Yoga been transformational in your life?

LP: Where do I begin? I was a burned-out high-level advertising executive with serious back issues. I discovered Yoga on my way to finding a cure for my own back pain. Little did I know that it would lead me to changing professions in midlife, and to taking a trip around the world to study Yoga and healing. Three years after discovering Yoga, I opened my Yoga center Samata International. It has now been open for 32 years in Los Angeles.

YA: How has your view of Yoga changed since you first started practicing and teaching?

LP: When I first started I thought Yoga was all about asana and exercise.  Several years later I began to realize that Yoga was much more comprehensive than I had ever imagined. It would take many lifetimes to even scratch the surface of the infinite wisdom that lies in the sacred texts of Yoga and its roots in the Vedas.

YA: What does being a “Yoga leader” mean to you?

LP: First thing that comes to my mind is I am getting old!  The next thing is I never thought that I would be one of the elders in the Yoga community. But I have to say that it's an honor to have many Yoga friends of thirty years and share the stage with the likes of Richard Miller, Lilias Folan and Rama Vernon, among so many others that I admire and respect.

YA: What was the best teaching advice you ever received?

LP: When I took my sojourn around the world, I met the man who authored the first book I ever read about Yoga called Yoga and Health by Selvarajan Yesudian. He said, “Be an example.”  I have always tried to live by that great advice in and out of the Yoga studio.

YA: Why are you inspired to speak at the Yoga Alliance Leadership Conference?

LP: I feel I really have something to say about the most underserved and largest segment of our population -- especially men. That segment is midlife and beyond, what I refer to as Prime of Life Yoga™.

YA: Can you share a story about your favorite article or chapter from Yoga for Dummies? Why was this book project important to you?

LP: My favorite chapter in Yoga for Dummies is on sequencing because it empowers the reader to create his or her own unique personal Yoga practice, which is the heart of Yoga. In the new edition it is refined even more. The book was my entry into the world of media that allowed the message of Yoga to reach an international audience. It was also an incredible honor to be a co-author and friends with the great Georg Feuerstein, who sadly, recently, left his body.

YA: After writing The Business of Teaching Yoga, what did you discover as an area of business that the average Yoga teaching professional could use significant help in? Or what do they excel in typically?

LP: There are some exceptions, but the average Yoga teacher has very little if any sense of business. I have found that most of topics in that book are critical and right now I am updating the manual to include aspects of business in the digital age.

Larry will be speaking at the upcoming Leadership Conference:

Transformation of Yoga throughout Life Stages

In India, Yoga is commonly taught differently for each of the three segments of life, according to Vedic tradition. Yoga for those in their early years of life differs greatly from Yoga for those in their middle and later years. In the US, our Yoga population is undergoing a transformation as more practitioners enter later life stages. This marks an important opportunity to serve a growing market segment of Yoga practitioners. It also requires us to better understand how to teach to different life stages. Krishnamacharya, who greatly influenced Yoga in America, taught differently throughout the stages of his life and his “contemporary teachings” were distinct from his early teachings. In his session, Larry will explore the transformation of the Yoga population in the US and teach a class that enables us to better serve yogis of mid-life and beyond.

About Dr. Larry Payne, E-RYT 500 from Los Angeles, CA

Larry Payne, PhD, is the founding president of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) and co-author of international bestseller Yoga for Dummies, Yoga Rx and The Business of Teaching Yoga. In 1979, he was an advertising executive plagued with chronic back pain and stress. His quest for relief led him to study Yoga and health in 11 countries and inspired his career change to become a leading Yoga teacher and therapist. Over the course of his 30-year career he was selected as a Yoga expert by The World Economic Forum, Web MD, Reader’s Digest, Rodale Press, Yoga Journal and named “one of America’s most respected Yoga teachers” by The Los Angeles Times. He is also co-founder of the Yoga curriculum at The UCLA School of Medicine and Founding Director of the Yoga Therapy Rx and Prime of Life Yoga certification programs at Loyola Marymount University. Most recently he is featured in the DVD series Prime of Life Yoga™ and Yoga Therapy Rx.