George Purvis Workshop Recap

George Purvis was in town at Taj Yoga last weekend, and I hung out with him for most of it, except for skipping out one afternoon session to go to my friends Kristel and Mikhail’s wedding.

George is a long time Iyengar teacher and is my teacher Theresa Elliott’s mentor. Though he’s been coming to the Pacific Northwest regularly every year. I only got to meet him last year, and ever since then, I had made sure that I come to at least one of his workshops once a year.

How do I describe George? I can’t. He’s completely offbeat and laugh-out-loud funny, which is a cover for his crazy and precise instruction on asana techniques. If you have ever had a “bad” experience with an Iyengar teacher, or if you have a preconceived notion that Iyengar yoga is some sort of deranged beat down of your yoga ego, you are in for the surprise of your life. George is more down to earth than Australia.

Humor obviously makes people relax and makes them more open to listening to what yoga has to offer them. It promotes a certain level of open-mindedness and relaxation. I think of humor as sort of like shaking out the muscles of the brain. – George Purvis, Yoga Journal interview

As one of the senior Iyengar teachers in the United States, George has played his part in the upbringing of many prominent yoga teachers. “But, I’ve never heard of him,” you say.¬†Well, it’s possible that he, from my understanding at least, seems to lay low and away from the lime light. It’s also possible that it’s partly due to his health. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1999 and has had surgery and extensive treatments since then.

Anyway, during the workshop, we got to hear stories about his two mentors, Ramanand Patel and Mary Dunn, and of course Mr. Iyengar. We got to work on our peroneus. Oh boy, did we get to work on our peroneus.

The one thing that’s most striking to me about George is his dedication to teaching. I can’t quite explain it to you in a way that reflects how I experienced it, but I was so moved by how he just wanted to… well, teach. He gave all of himself to making sure he answered our question, and, as he was running late to catch his flight home, he was still explaining things and adjusting people with one foot out the door.

Hey George, thanks. See ya and your cowboy boots next year.

George Purvis, courtesy of

George Purvis, courtesy of