J. Brown Yoga
135 Ainslie St. #1
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Pursuing a quiet yoga revolution, based in healing, J. Brown seeks to change the dialog, and direction, of yoga practice in the west.
Imagine yoga before it was transformed in its journey to the West. Imagine a personalized, breath-centered practice, passed down from individual teacher to student. Yoga for the well being of the whole person. Something that would provide a vehicle for slowing down and learning to truly take care of ourselves. Something to ease the pains of life.
That something is the breath. The breath moving in and through the opening and closing body. Full, deep breathing into all corners of the body makes people feel better. Feel stronger. Feel more energetic. And it has been doing so for thousands of years.
Yoga changed when it came to the West. New styles and brands of yoga have developed which meet the desires and expectations of much of the American audience. Focusing on the outer, physical achievements, and perhaps losing something in the creation of a standardized, scaled and franchised approach to yoga. But the older traditions have also continued, and AYC is at the forefront of a wonderful resurgence of this ‘old-school’ yoga. The gentle, therapeutic, breath-centered yoga.
In order to put the breath at the heart of this particular practice, we employ a specific technique of breathing called oo-jai pranayama or “ocean-sounding breath.” All of the moving and working of the body organizes around this breathing. The regulation of breath soothes the central nervous system, relaxes the muscles, and focuses the mind. The body and mind are safer, happier, healthier.
What makes this yoga practice different from working out at the gym or going to a physical therapist is that the exercises are intended to encompass more than physicality. We are making the body strong and flexible — but we go about it in a way that also encourages useful patterns of thought and behavior. No struggling. No straining. No striving. Just strong and calm, even and measured work.
For more than fifteen years, J. Brown has been developing techniques to teach people how to practice yoga in a deeper and more fulfilling way. He is also a well known writer, having been featured in Yoga Therapy Today, the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, Elephant Journal, and Yogadork.
J. Brown came to yoga by way of his mother's death (see How I Came to Yoga below.) Reconciling that loss, and wanting to be free from the crippling grief and disillusionment that came with it, fueled his passion for learning to make himself well.
First, he gravitated towards an Ashtanga, power vinyasa style. The intensity suited his struggling temperament. After sustaining several injuries, he explored an Iyengar based approach to learn better alignment. But he soon discovered that better alignment alone was not the answer. Despite having achieved proficiency in both the Ashtanga and Iyengar styles, studying with renowned teachers such as Alison West and Richard Freeman, J admits: 'I still had chronic pain and was horribly disillusioned and unhappy.' The next phase of his search would be in India.
In Rishikesh, J. found a rare and special teacher in Swami P. Saraswati. He taught J that yoga practice was not a linear progression towards some unknown thing, but rather a process of learning how to take care of yourself. Back in NY, J. stopped going to regular group classes and devoted himself to a self-practice, ultimately finding his way to an entirely therapeutic orientation in the tradition of TKV Desikachar and T Krishnamacharya, the "teacher of teachers".
In 2007, After more than a decade as a popular teacher at various schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn, J. founded Abhyasa Yoga Center in Brooklyn, NY. AYC was created to provide a home for yoga practice that adapts to individual needs.