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James Afshar in Bryce Canyon, Utah

"Keep close to Nature's heart and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."

~ John Muir


In the late 90s, fate led me to the world of Yoga, a serendipitous encounter that ignited an enduring fascination. I vividly recall attending a class taught by the esteemed Steve Ilg at the Power House gym in Chatsworth, California. Despite considering myself reasonably "athletic" due to my engagement in soccer, basketball, and weightlifting, I was just another slight young soul yearning to add some muscle to my frame. In the presence of Steve, a master of Yoga, I found myself captivated by the fluidity of his movements, awe-struck by his unwavering strength and poise in holding intricate poses. Thus began my journey; I became a dedicated attendee of his classes, eagerly embracing his guidance.

In the subsequent chapters of my life, both during and after college, my quest for physical and spiritual growth led me through the realms of martial arts, primarily Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and the practice of Hatha Yoga at various studios across Los Angeles and Orange County. I delved into styles like Power Yoga, the intensity of Hot Yoga's Bikram sequence, and the disciplined grace of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. My personal practice was enriched through the teachings of Rodney Yee, an eminent American mentor who had imbibed wisdom from the venerable Indian guru, B.K.S. Iyengar.

Amidst this journey, I found myself drawn to Eastern philosophies such as Zen Buddhism and Taoism, forging connections between Ashtanga Yoga's eight-limbed path, as elucidated by the ancient sage Maharishi Patañjali, and these profound spiritual traditions. The threads of parallelism intrigued me, leading me to revisit these musings during my Yoga teacher training. Raised in the tranquil corners of northern Los Angeles, my affinity for mathematics and analytical thinking guided me towards a degree in Physics from the University of California, Los Angeles.


James Afshar, Yoga teacher at Equinox, Inc.


James Afshar, Yoga teacher, registered with Yoga Alliance of America (E-RYT)

Following my graduation, the unfolding of life's tapestry wasn't aligned with my initial visions, leaving an ever-expanding void within me. A deep-seated desire for greater purpose urged me to venture into clinical medicine after several years of engineering work. A fortuitous layoff in the aftermath of the 2008 economic downturn provided the ideal timing. Embracing this juncture, I embarked on transformative travels to Hawaii, Canada, NYC, and Argentina – a diverse itinerary that ignited new experiences, boundless joy, and liberating adventures. Amidst these explorations, the journey of self-discovery took center stage. Introspection rewound the tape, allowing me to scrutinize my past and chart a new course. The notion of becoming a physician, a childhood aspiration, resurfaced. The yearning for a meaningful life purpose lingered. Upon returning home, I rekindled my education at a local junior college, laying the groundwork for medical school. Two years of unwavering dedication brought me to Dominica, where I commenced my studies at Ross University School of Medicine. Yet, even as I excelled academically, the path of clinical medicine unveiled itself as less harmonious with my authentic calling. A search for an alternate route, one that could channel my positive impact on others while fulfilling my inner purpose, spurred me forward. Following my return from Dominica, and a heartwarming detour through Germany, I found myself in an engineering role in Southern California. Despite stability, I yearned for more than the confines of a desk job. Rekindling my passion for Yoga, I immersed myself in a 200-hour teacher training under the guidance of exceptional mentors in Orange County. Liberating myself from the corporate cocoon, I embraced the mantle of a Yoga Teacher. During my training, I had the privilege of absorbing wisdom from "The Heart of Yoga" by T.K.V. Desikachar, "Yoga Sequencing," and "Yoga Adjustments" by Mark Stephens. These profound works, including "The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali," continue to unveil the essence of Yoga beyond its physical façade. I stand humbly as a perpetual student of these luminaries, grateful for the wisdom they bestowed upon our world. For me, Yoga encapsulates the profound union of body, mind, and breath—an alignment attainable through dedicated practice and unwavering commitment. Yet, the essence of Yoga transcends the mat, as Patañjali's Sūtras illuminate its relevance to all aspects of life. Thus, I embrace Yoga as a guiding philosophy, a way of life that nurtures my pursuit of equilibrium in my daily endeavors—physical, mental, and spiritual. With an eager heart, I anticipate the journey ahead as a teacher, keen to impart the invaluable teachings that have kindled within me an unwavering adoration for Yoga.

May the essence of your being illuminate your path,  

and may the inner Guru be your guiding star.

Aum Varunam Namah

"My life is in harmony with Cosmic Law"

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