The real (yoga) world

Eric Paskel - Founder of Yoga Shelter
Eric Paskel - Founder of Yoga Shelter

Eric Paskel sees life as "one hell of an adventure" and believes that "if we have the right attitude, we can have fun with everything – even a yoga class." And you'll no doubt have fun with Eric. He's refreshingly real in his asana-kicking flow class, complete with a killer soundtrack.

Warning: This interview contains content that may not be suitable for those under 18 years old, those with a Victorian sensibility or those lacking a sense of humor:

What makes your style unique and fun?

Strip away dogma, rigidity, control, hierarchy, Sanskrit and “posing,” then add amazing music, play, poking fun at ourselves, a bit of 12 stepping, psychotherapy, camp and Vedanta, and you have an Eric Paskel/Yoga Shelter class.

What’s the most FAQ you get being a yoga teacher? 

Honestly, I don’t get a ton of questions; however people like to “report” random and very intimate information to me. The other day I went to a student's party. Instead of getting hellos I got, “Hey man look I am eating vegan;” “Hey EP, I am having wine, but only a little and I haven’t had a drink in months;” “Eric, I feel like a need to tell you this – I slept with my husbands BFF;” and my favorite, “I am getting breast implants, do you think that is OK?” No, I am not telling you my answer…

What’s the strangest thing a student of yours did, said or wore in class? 

I could share about how a woman challenged me to a fight in front of 60 people; I could share about a “bubby” (Jewish grandmother) whom tried to help me teach class; or tell you about the student who came to class many times with an all white leotard with no underwear or bra only to get hot and sweaty with in minutes and expose to me and the class every part of her; or maybe a should tell you about the woman who would masturbate in Savasana whom I finally had to ask to refrain from “adjusting herself while in corpse.” You tell me, which one is the strangest?

What is the yogically incorrect or stereotypical thing you do as a yoga teacher? 

I am a full disclosure guy so here it goes… I have been known to cut lines (won't tell you where and when) and crash sporting events and movies. Go ahead judge me…

Which profession would my alter ego choose?

Which alter ego? I know that one of them would like to pimp.

Who or what inspires your practice of yoga?

What inspires my yoga practice is how sick my head is. For me it's life or death. I simply must use my body as a vehicle of service. My emotions have to be all directed towards loving one and all, and my intellect must chew on the universal principles of living – if not, I am dead!

Swami Parthasarathy inspires me. He is in the world, but not really here. I know that sounds like some real edifying BS, but the man is a living saint – check him out.

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