Yogis Anonymous

Peter Barnett

I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, an unofficial wonder of the world that holds Mother Nature captive with its beauty. This is the place where I was lucky enough to be raised and trained, not in yoga, but in humanity. Humanity in the form of opposing what is wrong within a society and taking a stand by leaving the comfort of home in 1980 to a new opportunity in the U.S. My first port of call was New York where I made a living driving limousines. Then it was a hop over the river to the New Jersey Shore where I drummed in bands.

Having tired of the Jersey winters I moved to Florida in the mid 80's with my two young children where we were told the grass grows greener. Actually the grass grows up to five inches a week during the summer over there. Not being aware that was the case when I rented a house, I agreed to take care of its one-acre lawn. The walk-behind mower was soon replaced by the riding one. And I was out there every third or fourth day. At that rate I figured I might as well do it full time. And so 'Barnett Lawn Maintenance' was started.

The same thing happened with yoga. In 1996 a friend dragged me to a yoga class in Los Angeles. Up till then I assumed yoga was for wimps. It didn't take long to find out how wrong I was. I had never put my body into those shapes before and I liked the way it felt after class. (During class was another matter). Soon I was going three times a week, then four, then five, then six. I felt more alive, more tolerant, and more aware of the pulse of life and how I was part of it. A major shift had occurred on many levels. People seemed friendlier. Or if they didn't I kind of felt sorry for them. (My boss at the time could have used some yoga - he wasn't the most friendly of guys). In searching for a way to be more fulfilled I knew I had found something I wanted to share with others.

When I teach I combine fun and lightheartedness with thoughtful consideration of the body, mind and spirit. I am inspired by the wisdom of a variety of teachers and their styles: Power, Kundalini, Iyengar, and Anusara. Using this knowledge I create a unique and exciting environment in my classes. My experience has lead me to a place where I am constantly reminded that there is always more to learn.

A thousand thank-you's to my amazing teachers: Bryan Kest, for lighting the flame and reminding me why we do yoga; Steven Earth, for encouraging me to teach and making sure I did; Shiva Rea, for inspiring me through her strength and teaching me about The Dance; and John Friend, for showing me how it all goes together. Thanks to my dad, Harold, whose early morning fitness regimen of deep breathing, stretching and swimming always amazed me.

Our greatest teacher is the life we lead and the little things in it that could go unnoticed if we weren't paying attention.



Peter's latest classes