Testimonials - Yoga Chanting and Mantras Class
Nancy Anderson - Yoga Teacher, California
Nancy Anderson – 500 Hour Trainee, Yoga Teacher, California
It has been an honour and a privilege to learn from Neel Kulkarni. I had been teaching yoga for several years before I met Neel. Over the last year, with Neel’s guidance, I have developed a deeper understanding of yoga philosophy, Patanjali’s Sutras, as well as the subtleties of the asana practice.
Neel’s approach to yoga asana practice offered me a new perspective on what an asana practice could be. It opened up a whole different realm of exploring mind, body, and spirit, one pose at a time. Through the breath come exercise, focus, and mindfulness.
I learned the importance of chanting Pantanjali’s Sutras and other mantras. The sounds permeate the body and resonate into the cells of the body. A different kind of learning occurs.
Neel Kulkarni’s knowledge of philosophy, asana practice, and applying the practice of yoga to everyday life is genuine. If you want to expand your perspective of what yoga is you will benefit from Neel’s knowledge.
Nicole Capell - California
Melinda Moraes Latanowski - Yoga Teacher, UK
Especialmente para usted que esta leyendo este testimonio, (English at the bottom)
Si estas en la búsqueda de un Yoga Autentico, Neel Kulkarni es un increíble maestro para emprender este viaje Yoguico.
Neel es Yoga por sí mismo, su vida esta dedicada al Yoga y la Filosofía Yoguica, por ello mi marido Stef y yo sinceramente apreciamos muchísimo su trabajo.
Ya formada en Yoga y como maestra de Yoga y otras artes, emprendí el viaje de entrenar con Neel, todo comenzó cuando empecé a traducir el libro AdhiYoga al español. Fue un placer traducirlo, ya que mas allá de la traducción, todo lo que fui aprendiendo y recalcando en mi vida día a día fue muy valioso, hay cosas que ya sabemos pero necesitamos que nos recuerden, por ello pienso que siempre todos debemos continuar nutriéndonos con conocimiento, y Neel realmente tiene mucho conocimiento.
Es increíble escucharlo cantar los Yoga Sutras de Patanjali, Mantras a Ganesha, etc, todos allí, en la punta de lengua, eso de por sí ya habla de su conocimiento sobre Yoga y la Filosofía de Yoga. Profundizando sobre el Baghavad Gita fue una experiencia muy enriquecedora, conocimiento que mas allá de escucharlo lo vas a ir incluyendo en tus clases.
Me encanto dedicar parte de mi entrenamiento al Canto Yogico, “Chanting”, es mágico conectar con la esencia del OM y del idioma Sanscrito, esa conexión divina ancestral, y Neel es un excelente maestro para ello. Estoy enamorada de los mantras que he aprendido, son una conexión divina con mi esencia.
Es difícil encontrar personas que dedican cada día de sus vidas al Yoga, y Neel es una de esas personas.
Fue interesante porque viniendo de una cultura sudamericana, ciertos puntos de vista son diferentes, pero Neel se tomó el tiempo para escuchar lo que tenía a decir al respecto, y ahora llegando al fin de mi entrenamiento puedo decir que he aprendido mucho. No hay nada que sea blanco o negro en la vida, y siempre hay algo que aprender e incorporar a nuestras vidas.
Gracias Neel de corazón por tu dedicación a mi entrenamiento.
Gracias por bendecir nuestro espacio de Yoga www.integralharmony.co.uk
Gracias por bendecir nuestro matrimonio con Stef.
Gracias por AdhiYoga y toda tu dedicación al Yoga.
Om Paz, Paz, Paz…
Maestra de Yoga Dance & Terapeuta Holistica, Melinda Moraes de Latanowski.
Especially for you who are reading this testimony,
If you are looking for the Authentic Yoga, Neel Kulkarni is an incredible teacher to undertake this Yogic journey.
Neel is Yoga himself as his life is dedicated to Yoga and Yoga Philosophy. Therefore, my husband Stef and myself sincerely appreciate his work very much.
Already trained in Yoga and teacher of Yoga and several arts, I undertook the journey of training with Neel. It started when I began to translate the book AdhiYoga into Spanish. It was a pleasure to translate it, since beyond the translation, everything I was learning and emphasizing in my life, day by day, was very valuable. There are things that we already know, but we need to be reminded, so I think that we should always continue to nourish ourselves with knowledge, and Neel really has a lot of knowledge.
It is incredible to hear him sing the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Mantras to Ganesha, etc., all these at the tip of the tongue, that in itself already speaks of his knowledge about Yoga and Yoga Philosophy. Going deep into the Baghavad Gita was a very enriching experience, knowledge that, beyond listening, you will include in your classes.
I loved to dedicate part of my training to the Chanting, it is magical to connect with the essence of the OM and the Sanskrit language, that ancestral divine connection, and Neel is an excellent teacher for it. I am in love with the mantras I have learned, they are a divine connection with my essence.
It's hard to find people who dedicate their daily lives to Yoga, and Neel is one of those people.
It was interesting because coming from South American culture, certain points of view are different, but Neel took the time to listen to what I had to say about itj. Now coming to the end of my training, I can say that I learned a lot. There is nothing that is black or white in life, and there is always something to learn and incorporate into our lives.
Thank you Neel from the heart for your dedication to my training.
Thank you for blessing our Yoga space www.integralharmony.co.uk
Thank you for blessing my marriage to Stef.
Thank you for AdhiYoga and all your dedication to Yoga.
Melinda Moraes of Latanowski
Yoga Teacher Dance & Holistic Therapist
Clayton Yoga Shala - California
May 25, 2017
Thank you Neel for our 2nd year of teacher training in the Shala! You’ve been a great asset to our community in teaching Authentic Yoga - something not too easily found these days. It has been my great pleasure to attend your workshops, read your books, listen to your lectures and chanting, and to learn the AdhiYoga system. Mostly I am happy to have such a bright and pure soul like yours to call my friend and teacher! I am so impressed with your knowledge and experience, and the way you present the ancient and esoteric information in such concise and clear manner. Your understanding of the philosophy and tradition of Yoga is astounding. I look forward to many years of work and friendship and learning together.
Thank you, thank you for all you do - for all of us serious students of Yoga!
Love & Peace,
Owner, Clayton Yoga Shala
Melinda Moraes, Yoga Teacher, Brazil / Paraguay
Kulkarni, don't mind the negative comments. I am a very picky shakta, but I admire your VERY clear pronunciation, and distinct KRAMAPATHA style. Your enunciation of consonants is far more pure and distinct than most versions, including the great Dikshitar's. So, it is a great learning tool. Please carry on. Let Kedar and Adarsh argue with me. Carry on with the Holy Mother's love and blessings. Mahishasuramardini
Date: Oct 28, 2013
Renée Tillston, Still and Moving Center, Honolulu, Hawai, U.S.A.
We gained a lot from your visit. I particularly loved your insistence about clarity regarding WHY people are doing yoga: if we are trying for enlightenment, we are not going to get it by just doing asana practice. I also personally loved hearing you chant.
Thank you again for your visit. I hope that you met and enjoyed Joss Jaffe.
Reverend John Peter Giunta, Vienna, Virginia
Last night, my friend and yoga teacher colleague, Neel Kulkarni, chanted and recited the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, a most prodigious task. I accompanied him on the flute and santoor (hammered dulcimer). It was an honor and a privilege to be able to hear such an authentic recitation. Thank you, Neel!
Dr. Miron Kucinar, Norway
I have been practicing meditation and chanting mantras for over 20 years but have never heard such good teaching materials as your Shree Gayatri Mantram - Instructional and Meditational.
I am VERY interested in buying:
Shree Gayatri Mantram - Instructional and Meditational Shree Mahamrityunjaya Mantram - Instructional and Meditational
Shree Ganesha and Vishnu Sahasranama
Shree Vishnu Sahasranaama Chanting for Yoga Practitioners
Can I buy this, please?
I am a doctor and live in Norway. I think that there may be many people in Norway who are interested in your teaching.
Thanks in advance!
Dr. Miron Kucinar
Chanting during India Yoga Tours
If you would like an insider's trip to India, Neel is your guide. He was very accommodating and flexible in designing the trip around what places or types of experiences you would like to have. Also his wonderful family were instrumental in making arrangements and hosting us with a genuine, heartfelt welcome.
Neel seems to have boundless energy and joy; many morings he was up at dawn and had 2 cups of tea by the time we crawled out of bed at 8:30. Thus, for your preparatory discussions with him, I recommend that you discuss what you know about your endurance, especially for long un-airconditioned road trips, overall energy/health and ability to handle heat with lots of clothes.
We enjoyed and learned alot from his private yoga classes designed to meet what he so correctly saw as our needs. They kept our minds and bodies engaged, gave energy for the day and helped us unwind in the evening. I also greatly appreciated the sometimes mobile chanting lessons in the Yoga Sutras. It was one of the most intense and unique practices in concentration and listening, I have ever had.
We saw a lot of temples, which allowed us to see first hand the Vedas in action. This was mind blowing for a long time yoga student and reader of scriptures and commentaries to see the attitudes and beliefs in daily life all over the country. They aren't just nice ideas. They live and breathe! I also appreciated being able to witness many unusual (at least to us) events at temples, from exotic musical performances to pampered live animal idols to statues so real, so old and so incredibly crafted from gigantic pieces of rock, it feels like a sophisticated Stone Henge.
It was also great to tour organic ayervedic farms and see that this art is alive and well and its products are cheap and available everywhere. I highly reccommend getting an ayervedic massage along the way-you will be in bliss for a few days after!
Finally, we really appreciated not staying at posh and isolated places, which would drain our bank accounts, but having a chance to stay in cheap, clean places where everyday folk stay. Pulling into local restaurants to have lunch off of banana leaves or staying at an ashram were very memorable and unpretentious. We felt like we experienced real culture everywhere we went. Shopping also was a fun adventure. Customer service was incredibly helpful everywhere and goods were very cheap. Traveling on the cheap was not without some challenges and mild discomfort, but kept us on our toes and felt like an adventure. Everywhere we went people were kind, open, generous, funny and helpful. We even excahnged impromtu performances with a group of 13 year old girls who became our new fans!
Overall if you want to see the real India, not some sterile resort, and have an extremely memorable, challenging, suprising and fun time, go with Neel!
Allegra Gulino - Senior Yoga Teacher, American University, Washington DC
Maripaz Briones, South America
"Walking around Gokulam, Mysore,where I found a poster inviting to Yoga Sutras´s classes.I did not know the teacher, but my intuition was not wrong. Neel is a very dedicated teacher, concerned about the learning of the alumn and with ability to adapt to their pedagogical needs. He gave me tools to further deepen the chanting and the meaning of the sutras as a large interconnected poem.Also, I was fortunate enough to share with two classmates (Neel's students) which proved a great company and learning support. Neel, Thanks for Everything
Om Namah Shivaya
Vasantee Shrinivasan, Yoga Teacher and Child Psychologist, Virginia, U.S.A.
"Walking around Gokulam, Mysore,where I found a poster inviting to Yoga Sutras´s classes.I did not know the teacher, but my intuition was not wrong. Neel is a very dedicated teacher, concerned about the learning of the alumn and with ability to adapt to their pedagogical needs. He gave me tools to further deepen the chanting and the meaning of the sutras as a large interconnected poem.Also, I was fortunate enough to share with two classmates (Neel's students) which proved a great company and learning support. Neel, Thanks for Everything
Om Namah Shivaya
A private student - names removed
I am sorry we missed you this past weekend. We were celebrating Easter and my mother's birthday with family. It was a very sweet gathering. I hope your new job in DC is going well. You have been in my thoughts lately as I have been feeling much gratitude for our talk together earlier this year. This semester at school has been very special for me. As I come to the last two weeks of classes and finishing assignments I realize how much peace I have had through all the events of the semester. My stress disappeared and instead I have been able to focus and get my work done without worry. When I have noticed stress start to rise in me, I have been able to quickly shift to peace and move forward with focus. I am deeply grateful for the time we spent together that morning and for your wisdom shared with me. You assisted me in making this conscious shift so effortlessly and beautifully. Thank you, Neel. You are a very special gift in my life and I know my husband feels likewise. We look forward to spending more time with you and Nancy when I finish school (May 4 is my last day!).
George Mason University, Fall 2002, Virginia
Excellent instruction, accommodations for Student levels. Very responsive to student concerns and desires. Would like to know the names of poses and their purpose. Achievement - the permanent 'knot' in my shoulder is gone, also less tense overall. Thanks for not trying to make me turn into pretzel. LyndaV. firstname.lastname@example.org
Appreciate very much the individualized instruction. The class has been great experience. You have challenged us all, but paying attention to the capabilities of each student, you have been able to get all of us to extend to our limits. Your sense of humor, knowledge, and insight have made the class interesting and informative. I look forward to the next one. Thanks Neel. John VK. johnand email@example.com
This Yoga class introduced me to a number of challenging, and actually strengthening poses. I can actually do a headstand! Flexibility is a work in progress. Website graphics are good for practice. And always wear a smiley face: teacher's voice is inspiring, and amusing too. Lots of fun. FRAN. firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been enjoying this class and hope we might do something that can use more strength in our next session. Jan email@example.com
Goal is Scorpion Pose. Achieved Full Lotus Position. Instruction is Excellent and Instructor is Excellent. Rana
I have achieved my goal of more flexibility and loosening my lower back. I hope to continue. Stefan Roth
I enjoyed this session very much. The teacher has been, as always, very kind and focused on the class and the needs of the students. In addition, the other students have been much more responsible and regular than in the previous sessions, so this has contributed a lot to the success of each class. The new elements added to this class, such as the music during yoga practice, have made the class much more enjoyable. Also, the recorded explanations have been very benefitial and focused on topics demanded by the students. The teacher was always on time and he stayed even longer than the class schedule. Thus, we had a lot of opportunites for yoga practice, relaxation, and personal improvement. I am very glad I took this class! See you next semester, Esperanza
A good course. I am more flexible now than when I started. Neel makes Yoga easy to understand for the novice. John
Best of the three semesters I have been attending. SG.
Yoga Voices Magazine, Maryland
Review of Soorya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) Video: This video provides very explicit instructions for doing the sun salutation poses. It might be good for the beginning student or anyone who wants to perfect their postures in these poses. Before actually seeing the demonstrations of the poses, the viewer listens to Neel Kulkarni the teacher and is given a visual printout of the text. This would be beneficial for hearing impaired students. This reviewer found the tape to be very slow-moving and tedious. It was difficult to stay focused because of the slow pace of the presentation. Perhaps that is part of the message - to be very mindful of each movement. New students might be put off by this approach. The video could be enhanced by presenting the instruction in a different setting. It is obvious that this video was an amateur production,especially when the instructor was signaling the camera person at certain points. In its effort to be precise and clear, the video loses appeal because of its lack of aesthetics.
Yoga Voices Magazine
George Mason University, Spring 2005, Fairfax, Virginia
I was in your GMU Friday night Yoga class. I enjoyed the class very much. I feel privileged to have learned from such an experienced and knowledgable teacher. The yoga classes helped me in many ways. My friends and family noticed a change in my stressful life as I became a happier and more relaxed person. Also, I feel healthier and stronger. I would like to continue taking your classes. Where will you be teaching this summer?
Here is my feedback regarding the Yoga class:
(1) After each class I felt quite energized and relaxed. It has been great for both my mind and body. It helped improve my flexibility and control over my mind and body.
(2) I would like to have this class twice a week, to get more practice and more workout.
(3) It would be nice to have a quiter room assigned to this Yoga class, which does not face the swimming-pool (if at all possible).
(4) I (finally) managed to listen to the CD with the relaxing techniques..Relaxation For Meditation using Authentic Yoga System. Very effective!
Here is the feedback for the GMU class.
"I have been taking Neel's yoga classes for almost 3 years and continue to enjoy individualized exercises; the classes are tailored according to students' needs and goals. Neel got me hooked on yoga. I would prefer GMU yoga classes meeting twice a week. Just once
a week is not sufficient."
George Mason University
Authentic Yoga Teacher Training Evaluation
Authentic Yoga Teacher Training Evaluation
May 22, 2007
I am a recent graduate of the Authentic Yoga Teacher Training Program with Neel Kulkarni. I am a licensed Special Education & Early Childhood Teacher. I have taken various trainings on teaching yoga to children. Over the years, I felt I felt that something was lacking in my training. I wasn’t quite sure what that was until I took the Authentic Yoga Teacher Training. There is a plethora of teacher training programs available for yogis & yoginis to obtain a teaching certificate. After careful thought and consideration, I had decided I wanted to learn from a teacher that grew up practicing from childhood and studied yoga as an ancient science from the eastern perspective. When I found Neel Kulkarni and the Authentic Yoga, I knew this program would be the most suited for my needs. Neel’s training is composed of standards that must be covered in any yoga teaching program; however, he tailors the program to meet the goals and needs of his students. A teacher considering this program can request topics of interest in addition to the key concepts that are required to further personalize the training. I was initially apprehensive because of his non-traditional approach. Many higher education curriculums and yoga curriculums are predetermined by the instructor. In the Authentic Yoga School, the Teacher Training program deviates from the standard way of learning when Neel takes the students’ background and experiences into consideration and includes them in developing the syllabus for the training. The training will still have standards that must be met to be a qualified yoga instructor but you have the option of personalizing it to your own teaching and practice by being given the opportunity to make decisions about what you would like to learn. If you like to have input into your learning, this approach will meet your needs.
In the Authentic Yoga Teacher Training, Neel teaches yoga from a classical perspective. Based on his experience and years of study, Neel has developed a program to teach yoga to people of all abilities and backgrounds. Authentic Yoga’s teaching concepts emphasize the importance of setting goals and matching the goals to your yoga practice. Neel’s book, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Proper Chanting and Translation and Yoga Philosophy DVDs were key components of my teacher training. As a teacher in training, I learned yoga from a historical and classical perspective. Neel’s knowledge of Yoga Philosophy enabled me to develop an in depth understanding of the purpose of yoga and how I could apply it to my life and daily practice. In addition to yoga philosophy, Neel instructs students in chanting to help a humble student of yoga contemplate the meaning of the Yoga Sutras.
Another key component of the teacher training was meditation from a classical perspective and how to incorporate meditation into our yoga practice. Yoga is not simply defined as doing asanas. Its greater purpose is to unite ourselves with our highest nature. Through Authentic Yoga’s teaching concepts, an individual is able to begin a path to find their deepest potential through experiential self-study. Having taken Neel’s training, workshops, and yoga classes both as a participant and observer, I strongly believe his approach will help all individuals find a path of yoga towards peace and self-awareness.
Asanas as done from the Authentic Yoga style is approached very differently than what is presented in most studios and gyms. Asanas are taught from daily student practice and experience. A script to instruct a student in a pose is not provided to teachers nor are anatomy and physiology taught in detail. What is emphasized is how to break the pose step by step to prepare students for a pose. In addition to seeing the poses in parts, Neel teaches how the pose feels from within both with the mind and as a skeleton. His method of demonstrating step by step procedure and giving options for students of all levels allows students to find perfection of a pose from within not as it appears on the outside. Many individuals are apprehensive of doing yoga because they believe they can’t look like the individual on the cover of yoga magazine or book. I have personally observed students of all ages, abilities, and health backgrounds in Neel’s class are able to participate actively and benefit from this approach. Authentic Yoga emphasizes teaching the teacher in training how to teach a pose by demonstrating and becoming aware of key points thereby allowing the students to learn through experience not verbal directions of where the knees or hands should be in a given pose.
As a student, I have more confidence and am able to notice differences in my yoga practice. As a children’s yoga teacher, I have incorporated the Authentic Yoga concepts of teaching yoga into my class. As a result of integrating Authentic Yoga’s approach with other children’s yoga programs, I have notice my students are able to find center and maintain stillness in a pose by watching from within. Integrating specific concepts of Authentic Yoga allowed young children and preteens learn how to develop focus and concentration. I plan to continue incorporating the Authentic Yoga Program into my children’s yoga curriculum to find a balance of keeping yoga fun and teaching self-care & self- awareness.
I highly recommend Authentic Yoga’s Teacher Training Program. Although this certification program is not registered with Yoga Alliance, the Authentic Yoga program meets the 200 hours RYS standards in the following categories: Teaching Trainings & Practice, Teaching Methodology, Yoga Philosophy & Lifestyle and Practicum. I was proud to earn an Authentic Yoga Certification and am confident as teacher and individual knowing that I learned yoga and how to teach it from a classical context.
I feel fortunate for having met Neel Kulkarni and having the opportunity to be trained by him. Both his knowledge and experience have enabled him to systematize classical yoga for today’s world. I not only benefited from as a teacher and individual but my family has reaped the benefits of my decision to train with Neel. Now, my husband uses yoga to compliment his stressful management job as well as improve his flexibility to enhance his weight training program. I have two boys, 12 & 8 who have admire Neel’s strength in performing challenging yoga poses. Although they only see the physical aspect of yoga, Neel is teaching them to watch from inside and to find moments of stillness and focus with the mind during their yoga practice. My 3 year old daughter has imitated me doing yoga and is now chanting as a result of my practice. Our Sundays have now become Family Yoga time. It is wonderful that through my training, I was able to obtain more than a certificate. Neel Kulkarni & Authentic Yoga will now be a part of not only my life and teaching but my family’s as well.
Bridge to Learning –
Children’s Yoga & Fitness Programs
M.Ed. Special Education/ Curriculum & Instruction
Having just completed the most recent teacher training for certification, Fall 2006, in your Authentic Yoga School program, I would like to tell you that this has been one of the most educational and enlightening experiences I have had while taking a training program and studying. As the training went by, I discovered how much of my past study and learning can be applied to this teaching and I learned things that I could not have anticipated at the outset. As I read from a previous participant's comments, it teaches you how to teach. My experience has borne this out. By providing the concepts, both yoga practice concepts and teaching concepts, you learn how to teach yourself and thus to teach others. The individualized attention that you give during the program is much appreciated and met my needs and interests while opening up new areas for me. Your patience, flexibility and willingness to help is also very much appreciated.
Developing a home practice is an integral and extremely important part of this course over the 14 weeks. This is where the concepts are taken from the classroom and put into action and where you discover for yourself how to answer your own questions. Neel, as he does in his other work, books and workshops, challenges you to think for yourself and to develop your own style and interpretation through the concepts he teaches. He is an extraordinary instructor and finding someone so steeped in yogic philosophy and culture, not to mention Sanscrit and chanting, here in the Washington DC area is a untapped treasure.
I highly recommend Neel's Authentic Yoga teacher training to anyone interested in developing their yoga practice, whether they are planning to teach or not. I can't wait to take another one. Thank you. Warmest wishes,
"Neel is an outstanding yoga teacher and Sanskrit scholar. He takes his work very seriously and can address the huge spectrum of student needs in Yoga classes. Also, he can discuss and explain classic Yoga scriptures and philosophies, as well as share how to chant them properly. Neel is nothing but integrity, inside and out and I'm proud to have studied with him and count him as my friend."
Allegra Gulino, AYS200, RYT200, North Carlolinas, U.S.A.
Neel is a wonderful, gifted teacher with an unbelievable wealth of knowledge of classical yoga scripture and a familial lineage to back him up. I just ate up every moment of the training. He solidly demonstrated how and why his methodology and philosophy is superior. He has taken me out of my comfort zone and opened new doors for my thinking, praciticing and teaching yoga. At the same time he has made me feel absolutely safe to ask whatever questions I have and has an organic approach to addressing topics which I appreciated. All this and his lovely personality and welcoming attitude too. Neel is tip top!
Allegra Gulino, RYT, Arlington, Virginia and Yoga Teacher at American University, Washtington, DC
Authentic Yoga Teacher Training Feedback - Excellent overall understanding of the philosophy and focus of Authentic Yoga. This course is a basic must for serious yoga students in order to comprehend the foundation of authentic "Indian" yogic lifestyle. It will benefit me throughout my life and in all my endeavors.
Julie Shaffer 02/06/2004
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.A.
Dear Mr. Neel Kulkarni:
On behalf of all the members of OLLI, I want to express our appreciation of your generosity in teaching "Authentic Yoga" during our 2006 Winter Term session.
The sole reason that OLLI has prospered and grown over its fifteen-year history is the success of our program. Yes, our members enjoy the congenial setting and the opportunity to make new friends, but they would not be here if it were not for the broad range of high quality courses offered.
It always amazes me that we are able to put on a superior program when every single course is taught by a volunteer. Thank you for donating your time, energy and expertise.
Charles Duggan, President
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, Fall 2005
I would first like to say that I cannot make it to class tonight. Once again my academic deadlines are getting in the way of fitness and peace of mind. However: Your classes are exactly the kind of yoga I am looking for. I really appreciate the long periods of time that are spent on each pose. There is no rushing anything and that is the best way to really feel your body and let it tell you where you need work. I like that you are a wealth of knowledge about what real yoga is. It is important to me to know what the details of breathing are and if I am really doing something wrong or whether there is a median way of doing things. These next couple of weeks are really going to be tough but I would love to get a few private session before the end of the year.
Dear Neel, I thoroughly enjoyed your classes once again this Fall 2005 semester. I regret that I was unable to attend a few of them due to conflicts. Fridays would be a better day for me. I appreciated your incorporation of chanting into the class. I think I learn the most during the talks on healthy living or yoga at the beginning. I would like to continue studying yoga, do you offer any other classes on night or weekends? Thank you very much for you help.
John Kocur, firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Eileen, I am one of the students for yoga class in GMU. I think I made right decision for taking yoga class and am lucky to be one of a students of you. You had given me first image of yoga, the philosophy, and spirit. I really enjoy doing it and wish to continue my yoga experience.
This class has been very interesting and enjoyable. I would prefer a little more structure and repetition of same poses, and formations that are overall beneficial (all rounded). Thank you!
I enjoyed the class; Yoga even helped my neck treatment combined with my chiropractor adjustments.
I enjoyed the course and how relaxed Yoga makes me feel.It helped me reduce the stress.
I enjoyed ending my Thursdays with a challenging yoga class. To begin each class, Neel asked each student if s/he had any questions or concerns, and tailored the class to meet special needs of individual students. I especially liked the fact that we spend several minutes with each pose, working at our own pace to achieve maximum personal benefits.
I would like you to know that I enjoy the class very much. We cover a variety of exercises and topics, and I feel like I have learned a great deal. I have only one request. When we learn a new exercise, can you please tell us its name and objective? I enjoy learning about yoga theory, as well. Thank you.
Hi Neel! I liked the class at GMU on Thursdays. At first I only went because it's the most convenient time for me. But, even though it's not an advanced class, I always found that the class was challenging. I appreciate learning different approaches to poses that I had learned before. Since starting the teacher training I really like being able to see methods of teaching an all levels class. Will the class be the same time next semester?
Dr. Sue Ann, Yoga Teacher Trainee
George Mason University
Frank Woolridge, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Fairfax, Virginia
The Yoga Sutra classes you taught were truly wonderful! It's the first time I have had the opportunity to study from someone who thoroughly understands the Sutras. Although, your class has generated many topics in the Sutras that I want to study, there is one topic that I want to pursue first. You asked me if I knew about the mistakes in Buddhist philosophy --- which I did not. Can you suggest a reference or web site where I could learn more about this topic?
Nilesh Jade, Yoga Teacher & Computer Engineer, Falls Church, Virginia - Teacher Trainee
Authentic Yoga Teacher Training Feedback - The teacher training was conducted in a true spirit of Yoga.The structure of the training course was good, with a emphasis on a student maintaining the Log for the Home practice.There was also peer to peer review of the yoga classes as well as students conducting the same. The only requirement for teacher training is a strict discipline.
Authentic Yoga sessions are not only good for Asanas(poses), but also have deep rooted philosophy in it. Anybody who wants to learn Yoga from Philosophical Indian perspective should definitely try Authentic Yoga. Since practising for a year, it helped me a lot, in knowing limitations and setting up expectations, thus helping to reduce mental stress. It definitely improved the health, reducing weight and keeing it under control without any major effort.
- Nilesh Jade.
Stephanie Shaefer, Yoga Teacher and Educationist, Alexandria, Virginia
Namaste and Aloha to you Neel!
Thank you for keeping me on your mailing list. Even though I have been asked to teach a class for adults in a private home I haven't done so yet but continue to offer Yoga on Monday afternoons from 3:06-4:00 P.M. for students at my Elementary School! Right now we have 28 mostly primary Yoga students (mostly Kindergarten to 3rd grade and two 5th grade students!) It is becoming more and more relaxing and we are very proud of them. Their favorite greeting to show respect to each other is "Nameste" with prayer position which means to us "The light and goodness and forgiveness in me respects and honors the light and goodness and forgiveness in you". Thank you for your wonderful class which has given me the tools to be able to share Yoga with these little ones! I hope to be able to take an advanced teaching class with you again sometime next year to improve my practice!
Thank you again for all your work. With sincere aloha (it means "I wish you the breath of life") and Nameste, Stephanie
Dear Neel - Thank you for thinking of me. I hope all is going well. I just wanted to let you know that I am honored to still be able to teach and Yoga class for primary aged children at the elementary school where I work as a school counselor. This semester we have 24 preschool (age 4) through 3rd graders in the class. At the beginning and end of the class we always greet each person with "Nameste" which to us means "the goodness and light and forgiveness in me respects and honors the goodness and light and forgiveness in you." We also remind each other that "each person is very special because they are the only one of them in the entire universe!," and that "we are all teachers and learners." One class I had to come late so one of our 3rd graders taught the class and did a great job! Thanks to the great training I received from you Neel I know that I have a lot to share with them! I still plan to take your advanced teachers class sometime in the future! Please keep me on your mailing list - God Bless You! Sincerely, Stephanie Shaefer
Dear Neel - Congratulations on all the new class, center, etc. I hope to be able to attend in the near future. Just wanted to let you know that last year I was able to facilitate a yoga class at our school for elementary school children - we had 3 Kindergarteners, one 1st grader, one 2nd grader, two 3rd graders, and two 5th graders - we started out with many moments of relaxation and by the end of the semester the entire class was relaxing - their favorite thing to do was to offer "Nameste" at beginning and end of class to each person - we translated it as "the goodness and light of God in me, salutes and honors the goodness and light of God in you!" Oftentimes their teachers would ask these students to demonstrate and teach others in their classes about yoga - I hear that they oftentimes demonstrated the tree pose and told about Nameste and what it means! This yoga class will also be offered again as part of my counseling program at Barrett Elementary School in Arlington Virginia. Thank you Neel for helping me to have the courage to share what I have learned! Nameste to you! Sincerely, Stephanie
As a graduate of Neel's Basic Authentic Yoga Teacher Training, I highly recommend any of Neel's classes on Yoga. He is an excellent teacher, concerned and supportive of each of his students. With his guidance, he helped me improve in so many ways. He also provides an important holistic approach supporting physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth in his students as well as the opportunity to learn about and participate in the Indian cultural events at his Yoga Studio. Thank you Neel!
Rajiv Sarin, IT Manager, Springfied, Virginia, USA
"Saturday mornings with Neel ji this year have brought forth a singular aspect namely, do your part in life. Coming to terms with this dimension in one's day to day life has unfolded incalculable 'mahatva' for my career, my family interaction and my life compass. Also, this year, I have been remiss in not setting aside regular 'niyam' time for Patanjali Yogasutra chanting."
Neelji's Class: I continue to participate in Yoga Sutras of Patanjali class, and benefit from the wonderful gift of chanting in Sanskrit as well as Neelji's hospitality of garam chai. I encourage anyone interested in the subject area of stilling the mind to enroll in Neelji's class. As a student you may even be the beneficiary of his uncanny brand of humor! AUM.
I am a student of Neel Kulkarni and started Patanjali Yogasutra study in the Fall of 2005. I consider myself fortunate to be learning the text from someone who has a solid grasp of Sanskrit and makes it appear as if it is his native language. Neel is deeply committed to chanting the sutrams and I am therefore the beneficiary of the oral tradition of learning as well. I must confess the clarity of the philosophy contained in the yogasutra text has not been entirely approachable in portions of the first pada; however, Neel has been both flexible and patient to go over the tenets as often required. The initiation to the philosophy of Patanjali Yogasutra has made me curious on the practitioner aspects of ‘chitta vritti nirodh.’ I feel fortunate to have been recommended to this class by my yoga teacher, Nanda Bondade.
Vijay, Manager, Cybage Software (SEI-CMMI L 5), India
Thanks for calling me and enquiring about my health. I am doing great and no problem after August hospitalization. Things are looking under control so far. Needless to say, I am following all of your instructions with regards Yoga and diet. Will talk more when we meet in January.
Dr. Shantanu & Drs. Vasantee Deshpande, Software Engineers, Baltimore, Maryland
Dear Neel - We meant to thank you for the useful Health Related suggestions you gave us for our Son. Our son had suffered cold and related symptoms from very early childhood. Your suggestions related to stopping the dairy products and then only allowing organic milk have resulted in recovery from his cold related problems. Additionally, his appetite which was very poor in the past, has improved resulting in better strength and overall wellbeing. We are thankful to you and wish you best in your work on health and yoga.
EC, Alexandria, Virginia
Thanks so much for taking the time to speak to me about my heart condition. I enjoyed the class and am looking forward to really getting into Yoga. My chest did not feel tight after the class. Please send me the information promised. I look forward to receiving the information.
Cécile Poyet, Virginia and California, USA
"Neel has been my yoga instructor since 2007. He has taught me the most fundamental yoga concepts and practices. This has deeply changed my life – changes that will stay with me forever. Besides the most visible benefits related to better quality of sleep and healthier eating habits, I have seen myself becoming a calmer, more balanced, peaceful and satisfied person. Every day, I enjoy exploring my spirituality and divine nature further. These evolutions would not have been possible without Neel’s dedication, patience and teachings. I am very grateful to him for being my yoga instructor and to life for having made our paths cross. May every person on a spiritual path find such a helpful source of inspiration and universal love."
24 December 2011
Hi Neel, Thank you so much for offering me a special last yoga class. I am sorry I had to miss your class today and had not been able to say goodbye properly. However, I would like you to know that it does not change anything to the wonderful teaching you have been giving to me over the past months. Many things have been changing in my life in a very positive way since I started yoga classes with you. And I know I still have many things to learn, which is great. I feel very lucky I met you and Nancy. You are both very special people and you really became my "yoga family", as Nancy once said. I have been enjoying every time I have been sharing with you. Thank you very much again for offering me a yoga class tonight or tomorrow. I will not be able to make it, not only because I have to finish packing my stuff and have no car anymore, but also because I do not like goodbyes much :-) Take great care of you both of you. I will certainly give you news from California.
June 21, 2008
Before starting yoga courses with Neel, I had been thinking for more than one year about doing yoga. I probably did not dare to try because I was aware that it could open things in me that would be over my control, like when I studied philosophy in college.
Finally, after moving to Northern Virginia, and knowing that I would stay in the area for a little while, I though that I should really give a try. I had a look on Internet and found Neel’s website. I sent him an e-mail and, ten days later, had my first course of yoga. I liked it right away. At that time in my life, I was looking for a new approach about food, exercise, and mental balance. I read Neel’s book and understood right away that yoga could help me significantly. I also understood that everyone has to find his/her own approach. Yoga is something really personal and individual.
This is the reason why Neel is doing a fantastic job. He is able to share with his students his own knowledge of yoga, to provide them guidelines and, ultimately, to help them find their own way. He is always willing to answer their questions: questions directly linked to practice, but also questions about the more global discipline that yoga is – life, death, sleep, emotions...while having a realistic and wide enough approach so everyone can find his/her own way. Philosophy lessons are, in that regard, a privileged time to exchange ideas and develop a wider understanding of yoga. I personally found many answers and formulated many questions while reading Neel’s book, Health and Yoga Aphorisms, of Saee Tech, The Authentic Yoga School with Commentary.
I am currently traveling extensively for my job. I miss Neel’s courses but I was lucky enough to meet him at a calmer time in my life during which I built the ability to practice on my own. I am also very lucky I read his book. I come from France and, after more than one year in the US, I was still not satisfied with the way I was feeding myself. Speaking with Neel and reading his book opened my eyes. I understood that the purpose for me should not be to fight calories and pounds but, instead, to make sure that I feed my body properly. The same thing was true about my mind. I understood that activity, although everywhere in our society, was not necessarily what I should be looking for all the time. I learnt how to relax, close my eyes, pay attention to my body, ear how I feel inside. For me, it has been the first step to a more balanced life.
The exciting thing is that I know I still have many things to learn from Neel. Yoga can be an entire life. I want to explore the very wide possibilities it offers for a more satisfying and meaningful life. I know Neel will help me in this project.
Ellen H, School Teacher, Vienna, Virginia, USA
Tuesday evening Yoga at Evolution: Yoga not only helps strengthen the body but nurtures the spirit. It is a wonderful discipline for young and old alike.
Many thanks for your kind note. Yes, I must ascribe some of the credit to your Yoga class! There is an authenticity to your class which makes it a meaningful experience. It has, indeed, helped me to improve my mental and physical well being. There is much to learn...
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.A. - Summer 2007
I decided to join this Yoga class hoping that it would help release my stress, stretch my body and probably fix the bone problems that I have had. It turns out that I have learnt a lot more than I expected. I learnt an original context of how Yoga was practiced and that Meditation plays a significant role in our class. After long hours of work, I sometimes got lazy to come to the class. But, I pushed myself to come, which I did not regret. The class is really awesome. I definitely will join the class again in the Fall.
This class has surprised me in a very positive way. Yoga is what the instructor makes of it, and Neel makes it a deep and enrichment experience that goes into the roots of Yoga. This class is more than a fitness series of postures. It is as he calls it, "Authentic Yoga".
Gloria, Post Doctoral Researcher in Psychology
This is my first Yoga class and it has been great. Some of the exercises were difficult for me, but i suppose in time, I shall get better. Great class!
Jessica, Ph.D. Computer Science
This was a good class. i liked the chanting and exercises both. I would like to do more activities on the feet. The class was well organized.
Al Rao, Software Engineer
George Mason University
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.A. - Spring 2007
I am still new to yoga but have always been passionate about it. I have had some great teachers in the past but working with Neel was a wondrous pleasure. His class really felt personal and the student teacher relationship was very strong. This class has become the highlight of my week! I spend days looking forward to the next time. No matter what I will never forget the time spent doing yoga with Neel.
Miguet Schwab, GMU Student.
I took the Authentic Yoga Teacher Training program this year. If you are interested in yoga, this is a class worth taking because it goes really in depth. The class helps to focus on the areas you’re most interested in improving and the results can be seen after few months. Overall it was an enjoyable experience. I always left class feeling energized and content.
Liza D, 04/00/2007
Hi Mr. Kulkarni,
I have enjoyed taking the Authentic Yoga class with you this semester. I have been able to achieve my short-term goal of learning something new, since I had never been exposed to yoga exercise before your class. I hope I will be able to learn and use more yoga after this semester. I gained several benefits for physical and mental health. Every time I finish each session I feel better mentally and physically. The benefits I have learned and gained from your Authentic Yoga class are increased flexibility, stronger muscles, and a calmer mind. The meditation at the end of each class has helped me feel more relaxed and calm about life. Thank you!
George Mason University
Jagadish, IT Professional, Michigan, U.S.A.
I have strictly followed your suggestions for the last three months and I observed significant changes. My sleep quality has improved, and I am more relaxed and balanced now. I thank you very much for your guidance. There is still one issue that is generating stress and anxiety. That is my job. xxxxxxIn the past, I would crumble under stress, but now I am still ok but I can clearly see that it is balancing the benefits I am getting from my practice. What should I do? Could you please suggest anything?
George Mason University - Fall 2006, Fairax, Virginia, USA
This semester I acheived both stress relief and weight loss while taking yoga. The classes helped me keep my anxiety and stress level low, helped me clear my mind and also helped my body by aiding me in loosing 7 pounds over the last few months. If you want a class that will challenge you both mentally and physically, I recomend Neel's yoga class. -
Katherine A. Banfield, Registered Yoga Teacher, Virginia
My name is Katie Banfield and I have been studying yoga from Neel for over a year now. I had the good luck of meeting Neel at a point in my practice when I was looking for a teacher who could really offer personal attention and guidance. As a yoga teacher myself and a fairly advanced practitioner of asana, I felt the need for a teacher who understood the science very deeply and could meet me at my level of experience. Neel is not only a great teacher, he is a master practitioner of all aspects of yoga. Just when I think there cant be anymore to uncover, he opens up an immense body of knowledge for me to explore. I have particularly enjoyed the time we have spent together discussing philosophy, chanting, and the culture of India. I feel that I have been blessed to have met such a jewel here in the West. After four trips to India, I was skeptical about finding a competent and authentic teacher outside of Asia, but I have found one here in Virginia. It would take me more than one lifetime to learn the techniques that Neel considers familiar, but I am excited to have begun that process with someone I consider a brother, teacher, spiritual guide and friend.
Katherine A. Banfield
John Kokur, Music Major, GMU, Fairfax, Virginia
"The "Authentic Yoga" class taught on the George Mason campus is a great introduction into the world of Yoga. Neel Kulkarni structures his class around his students and is willing to go out of his way to help you. He has an extensive knowledge of all aspects of Yoga. In one class, you will learn exercises and poses, meditation, philosophy, and advice for a healthy lifestyle. In my experience in just the last few months, I have found that daily practice of the exercises taught in this class promotes a definite sense of well-being and physical health. Contemplation of the philosophical ideas (seeking their truth in your life) and meditation practice leads to mental peace. Thank you Neel for sharing your experience and knowledge."
April 15, 2005
Carla Vercoe, Pilates Instructor, Oakton, Virginia
I originally starting taking classes from you at Authentic Yoga School once a week with the intention of “undoing” all the damage I do to my body during the week. With running and spinning my body truly needs the extra attention that yoga gives me in addition to my pilates training. After just a couple of months, I realized that my once a week yoga class was the one thing I do that I truly looked forward to. In addition to a great workout, I get a feeling of inner peace and contentment and I try to keep that feeling throughout the day.
Your teaching method is personable and your students are always pleasant and make the experience complete. After my two personal training sessions at the end of last year, I have begun my own home practice which I try to do 3 to 5 times a week. After just a couple of weeks of your personalized training, my husband and associates noticed improvement in my back and posture. I am having less back pain and am able to sit and stand much straighter than I have in the past. My scoliosis is on it’s way to being corrected. In addition to my new posture, I have made new friends at Authentic Yoga School.
Pamela McDonald, Alexandria, Virginia
About your Yoga school-- I see that what you offer is much more than what the "marketed" American yoga schools offer. You provide a complete teaching--an awakened way of being that includes Raja, Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, and Hatha yoga. I experience you as a spiritual teacher who uses yoga as the means or path to an awakened life. I immediately experienced a transmission upon meeting you--that which cannot be put into words--but is what I translated into an "inner knowing" that I had found the right teacher for me. I feel that transmission every time I am in your presence. The beauty of being a student of Authentic Yoga is that I feel completely accepted and known from a very deep place in you. I realize that I trust you completely without hesitation from a place of inner knowing in me (and that sense of deep trust is rare for me). Your knowledge of yoga and the spirit is not book knowledge, it comes from within you and that is very special and rare. I believe the "right" students will find you and that your job may be to find a way to let them know you are here.
19 October 2004
George Mason University, Fall 2004, Fairfax, Virginia
Pruneh (email@example.com) - My objective was to be able to relax and this class helped me in relaxing. Also, the Relaxation for Meditation CD was very helpful and helped me in practing at home.
Hardeep Grover (firstname.lastname@example.org) - Have loved everything so far.
SG - Some improvement in flexibility. Need longer class with more exercise. Can not live without Yoga.
Joan Pollaci (JoanPollaci@netzero.com) - Your Yoga class has helped me in the following ways: a) gained more flexibility b)improved my postures c)gained strength d)felt more relaxed e)learnt new postures.
Christine San (email@example.com) - I find Yoga is so hard. I was discouraged in the first three classes, especially during the Headstand. But then, it got a little easier. So, I hope to stay for the next session if I begin to get used to the strenuous strength exercises.
George Mason University
Drs. Menetta Myers, Clinical Psychologist, Virginia
Feedback: I have thoroughly enjoyed being a student of yoga under the direction of Neel Kulkarni. His dedication to a yoga lifestyle comes across in his knowledge of philosophy, meditation, Hatha yoga, and a variety of other subjects. Yoga has helped me to feel more centered and better able to manage stress. I also feel physically stronger and healthier. I would recommend Authentic Yoga to anybody interested in learning yoga from a true Yogi. Neel can adjust his teachings to any experience level and any special need-even in a classroom with several students.
I have been practicing yoga (including meditation and philosophy) under the guidance of Neel for almost 3 years now. Initially, I forced myself to go because I needed an outlet for work related stress and a friend suggested that yoga might be beneficial. Currently, I am much more motivated to attend class, partly because of the benefits I have noticed and partly because of Neel's enthusiasm and dedication to the teaching of yoga. Neel has taken me under his wing and provided me with encouragement and support while gently nudging me to push my limits and work toward my goal. He is extremely attentive to the needs of each of his students and he develops the overall goal of the class based on the personal goals of each student. He caters his lectures and practice to the class goal and he is flexible when new topics are suggested by his students. He is knowledgeable on a variety of subjects and he is able communicate complex philosophical concepts in an easily understandable manner. From my observations, he is willing and able to answer any questions from his students and address any concerns that are presented to him. In between classes or for private concerns, he is accessible by email and will respond promptly. Neel is genuinely invested in yoga as a lifestyle and it shows in his style of teaching and his interactions with his students. I feel fortunate that my introduction to yoga was with Neel and I plan to continue this journey with him as my guide.
I have been practicing Yoga under Neel's supervision for approximately two years. I appreciate the individual attention I receive from Neel, even in group classes. He helps each student to identify and attain their goals. My personal goal is stress reduction and I have been able to reach and maintain that goal by practicing with Neel regularly and listening to the information he offers on Nutrition, Yoga Practice, Meditation, and Philosophy. He has a vast knowledge base and he has a way of pushing me to stay motivated without making me feel overwhelmed. I am very pleased with the progress I have made and surprised by what I have been able to get my body to do!
Kelly McFarland, Nurse, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
My goal at the onset of the class was to increase concentration of mind. Build more mind control over body. I have achieved more flexibility and concentration. Though I do not practice very regularly, after grauduation, I hope to incorporate the practice into my daily routine. Great Instruction!!!! Thank you.
George Mason University
Basketball Team, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
As a college basketball coach for the last thirty-two years, I have spent a great deal of time trying to learn more and more about strength development, conditioning, and flexibility. We have had an outstanding basketball program with players who have been in great shape. However, this year we made the decision to include yoga in our pre-season workouts and are extremely pleased that we did. The yoga classes were a tremendous help to my team. Neel Kulkarni did an outstanding job of explaining, teaching, and demonstrating what yoga is all about. We saw excellent improvement with all our players in the areas of flexibility, relaxation, breathing, focus, and strength during the ten-week ten session program. Neel’s simple explanations and demonstrations were very impressive. Flexibility is so important and our players learned so much about how to relax, visualize, and stay focused. I was so impressed I also shared this information with my wife and the two of us have now begun yoga exercises at home daily. I would recommend Neel to anyone interested in learning about yoga. His enthusiasm and obvious yoga talent makes it very enjoyable to work with him.
Head Basketball Coach
George Mason University
Cathy Andrews, Government Admin, Alexandria, Virginia
For the past year, I have attended Neel's Hatha Yoga/Meditation/Philosophy/Chanting class. The class is very challenging, informative, and interesting. It is a multi-level class and Neel manages to tax us all to our full capacity! The meal Neel provides at the end of class is always tasty, nutritious, and welcome. When I began studying with Neel, my goals were to decrease asthmatic symptoms, lose weight, increase strength and flexibility, and to heal a knee injury. I no longer take any asthma medications, have lost 30 lbs, and have increased my strength and flexibility.
My knee has been slow to heal but, with the progress I've made thus far, I am still hopeful. While I attend classes faithfully, I must admit my actual practice outside the classroom has been sporadic. Thus, one of my new goals is discipline. I enjoy Neel's classes immensely. Neel is knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects and has a gentle, peaceful, patient spirit about him. I continue to recommend his classes and instructional aids to my friends, family, and co-workers. Really, I would recommend his classes to everyone. I wish you peace.
I met Neel Kulkarni in the summer of 2002 on the heels of an unsuccessful attempt to train for a marathon. It has been an auspicious meeting for me. At the time I was experiencing knee pain and asthma symptoms exacerbated by the training. In response to Neel's question about my goals for the class, I said I wanted more strength, flexibility, and to alleviate the asthmatic symptoms. Regarding the knee pain, Neel said, "Don't worry about it." Regarding the asthma he said, "The asthma can be eradicated in six months. Are you ready to make some changes in your diet?" Thus began my journey into yoga. I stand about 30 pounds lighter and no longer take any asthma medications. (I was taking pills and using an inhaler.) The knee pain is off and on, but lessening. Neel's personalized approach to teaching is most impressive. The exercise classes are challenging. The meditation/philosophy classes are stimulating. A different way of looking at the world than what I am accustomed to. What I enjoy as much as anything about the classes is the interesting people I meet. I would heartily recommend Auhtentic Yoga Classes to anyone.
John Kovac, Harpist and Harpmaker, Front Royal, Virginia
I have been taking Yoga Instruction with Neel for two years. Prior to this, I have taken Yoga Instruction at health clubs for about 3 years, and I was benefitted by them as well. However, I felt intimidated by keeping with instructors and students who were better at the Yoga Exercises than myself. I went to Neel specifically because I had a severe case of Sciatica and the Acupuncture failed to remedy it. Chiropractics was of some benefit. I derived the maximum and full benefit and recovery due to Neel's individualized Yoga Routine. He was giving me fewer exercises to do but telling me to concentrate and do them well. The exercises were much less stressful, but involved relaxed stretching which was challenging and which I feel, took me to the very basics of Yoga.
I also like his approach where he asked me what particularly I wanted out of Yoga. Obviously, I wanted to improve my Musical Skills as I am a professional Harpmaker and Harp Player, in addition to recovery from Sciatica. It is difficult to say what Yoga is doing exactly since it benefits us in so many ways, but I am sure that Neel's measured instruction has been of immense benefit to me at many levels, healthwise, mentally, and musically. Neel is very knowledgeable about human body and Yoga, and has obviously devoted his life to the practice of this discipline. This is NOT just a part time thing with Neel. I would highly and unadvisedly recommend Neel to any one who is either beginning Yoga, or someone who wants to take it to higher levels. Neel really knows what he is doing.
I am a professional Musician. Thanks to Neel's Authentic Yoga! My teaching and overall Musicianship have benefited immensely. Thanks to Neel's instruction. Also, I suffered from Sciatica pain which the Accupuncture failed to remedy. A few Yoga exercises instructed by Neel helped immensely. John Kovac
Yoanna I. Ganeva-Khanzada , Actress, Chantilly, Virginia
My goal was to achieve peace of mind and return my body comfort and flexibility. I achieved both with Neel's help and instruction. My work environment is very static-sit all day in front of a computer and I needed to rejuvenate myself to start feeling my body again. Yoga is all about you (the practitioner) and how you feel inside, observe from inside and make changes you want from inside. I felt in touch with myself again especially through meditation. Through Yoga, I felt the comfort of being in my own skin. I started loving myself again.
Bill Sachaw, Nurse Scientist, Alexandria, Virginia
I have been studying for a year now with Neel. He is a very good teacher and is extremely knowledgeable about the benefits of Yoga. I feel that I have made gradual progress in doing the poses so that I get the maximum benefit from them, both physically and spiritually. My ability to focus and my endurance for aerobic exercise have been enhanced by the practice of Yoga. In addition, one of my goals was weight loss, and Yoga has helped me in that respect as well. Yoga has definitely been a welcome addition to my life and has enhanced my overall feeling of well-being.
Anandi (Sandra) May, Yoga Teacher, Alexandria, Virginia
I have known Neel for a number of years, meeting him at a satsang at Yogaville. I am a Yoga Teacher since 1992, certified in Integral Yoga and Sampoorna Yoga (Yogi Hari). I must admit that I am totally impressed with the method taught by Mr. Kulkarni.
I teach from my home and invited Neel to teach on a few occassions. I attended the class myself, and I and my students were very inspired by his style of teaching. He began by talking about Yoga - why we do it and the many benefits derived from the practice of Yoga and the impact on the entire system - body, mind and spirit. The hatha portion was different from what I normally practice, but I felt energized and uplifted. Neel ended the class with a deep relaxation as he played a recording of himself chanting OM shantih. His knowledge of Sanskrit and Vedas is very inspiring.
Neel's profound dedication to teaching Yoga and its philosophy are something very special, and I feel that Yoga community will greatly benefit by having such an outstanding, unique, and authentic yoga teacher.
September 18, 2001
Linda Lasley, Northern VA Community College, Virginia
a)Was the objective of the class met? My goal was stress reduction. I achieved this through learning new yoga positions. b) Level of Instructor Knowledge. Superior. c) Ability of Instructor communication. Excellent. Always answered questions and provided additional information. d) Instructor's willingness to communicate. Excellent. Before, after and during class the instructor made himself available to answer questions. e) Would you like to recommend this class to another? Definitely. f) Would you take another class from this instructor. Definitely and have made plans to do so. g) Any other comments. Wonderful class. h) How did you learn about this class. College sent "flyer" to my home regarding available courses.
Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology, Virginia
Dear Neel, Alongwith students, I would like to voice my appreciation for your efforts this past year to teach Yoga to students at Jefferson. I know it was difficult at times because of the poor setting and short time for the classes, but you always got the students to "make a happy face" and enjoy whatever time they had with you. Thank you again for your generosity of spirit and time. Program Sponsor, TJ.
Mr. Kulkarni, Thank you very much for taking the time to teach us Yoga. I really enjoyed it. I wish you could teach us next year. I am thinking about taking a class. Thanks again for teaching our Yoga class. Sincerely, A Student, TJ.
Dear Mr. Kulkarni, You are the coolest Yoga teacher ever. It was a very gracious thing for you to volunteer to teach Yoga and not expect anything in return. I learnt a lot this year and I have better physical and mental health because of the Yoga. Keep on relaxin' brotha' Peace out, A Student, TJ.
Dear Mr. Kulkarni, Thank you so much for your gracious service throughout the year. It was very nice of you to volunteer your services w/o expecting anything in return. I have learnt a lot this year about Yoga and I am grateful to you for this. My concentration and mental health have also improved, thanks to you. I am very grateful, and I hope to see you again. keep having a happy face. From, A Student, TJ.
Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology
Borders Bookstore Book Opening, Springfield, Virginia
Very well done. Interesting, knowledgeable. Good audience participation. Very able to answer questions. Great topic for the area. An Attendant, Borders.
Women's Fitness Company, Springfield, Virginia
A surprise! A man in the Women's Fitness Company! But, he is gentle and non-threatening. I am glad his shorts were not see up-able, too much embarassing for him otherwise. Thanks, A student.
I really enjoy Neel's class. It feels good. Stretching, Twisting, and learning! I hope that he continues. Thanks Neel. A Student.
Some students may say he talks too much. However, I felt he is taking the time to instruct slowly on each move, make sure that it is understood and progressed with each additional class. I get the sense that this is not really a class for others to just "drop-in". A Student.
Neel Yoga - Very much enjoyed the class. Would like some advanced moves.
The Yoga class on Wednesday was wonderful. Lot of opportunity for practice. Good instruction. A Student.
This instructor was very encouraging. He was able to clearly explain the hows and whys of the moves. A Student.
Women's Fitness Company
Whole Foods Market, Springfield, Virginia
This was a fun and thorough introductory Yoga class. The principles were taught and I enjoyed it very much. Please have more! An Attendee
I found the class very informative. An Attendee
I particulary found the demo part of the lesson to be useful. Thank you. An Attendee
This was a very informative class for a beginner like myself. A great introduction to Yoga. An Attendee
Health and Yoga System by Neel Kulkarni - Good class. I enjoyed this introduction to Yoga and am anxious to start beginning a class. An Attendee
Very informative for the beginning Yoga person. Instructor was extremely knowledgeable. Very good! An Attendee
Thank you for the demonstration. I like the idea of learning more than the poses. An Attendee
Very nice session. Lots of information. Very interesting. Good instruction and good explanations. An Attendee
This class was very informative. The presentation was well organized! An Attendee
Whole Foods Market
Bonnie Kendrick, Yoga Teacher, Alexandria, Virginia
OM Shanti Dear Neel, Thank you so much for teaching the Sports and Health Club Yoga class last Thursday. Already two of the students told me how good the class with you was. Thanks.
Marilyn, Unitarian Church, Virginia
As for feedback on the yoga class: 1. Benefits received: learned very useful exercises to build towards flexibility with my body 2. Goal and Goal Achievement. Strengthen my back. I learned a number of good exercises to increase flexibility with the back muscles and, with practice, eventually strengthen them. 3. Positive points. The class provided me with good, detailed instructions and supervised learning sessions. 4. Improvement - with constant practice, my back does not bother me as much as it did prior to yoga classes. 5. Addition/modification suggested for future. - It would be a good idea to explain the importance of sequencing different exercise poses and also to highlight which part of the body the exercise is designed to strengthen (unless I misunderstood and all the exercises were for the back since many of us needed the same thing). Thank you very much for the classes and your understanding and patience with the class and each individual's needs. Good luck in your other classes. Cheers.
Brian, Unitarian Church, Virginia
1. Benefits. Renewed interest in yoga. Upper body and back strengthening. Increased confidence in more difficult poses. 2. Goal. My goal was to find an appropriate teacher, one who would challenge me and discover my weaknesses. Have accomplished both. 3. Very light and friendly atmosphere. Attentive instruction. Well-rounded introduction to yoga and all its facets. 4. I would only improve the location. I am used to hardwood floors. As far as other classes go, I still need to work out my hectic schedule, but Sunday and Friday look like good options. Namaste.
Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria, Virginia
Mr. Kulkarni is very skilled and knowledgeable in the Yoga principles. I enjoyed the class very much.
Northern Virginia Community College
Susan Groger, Fairfax, Virginia
Thank you for your personal instruction. My goals of flexibility and relaxation were being accomplished in the 4 sessions. The class gave me a solid practice that I can utilize to continue in their achievement. It also gave me quite a challenge, especially with the strength and endurance issues of the Plank pose (wrists) and the Headstand (confidence). 4 weeks is not long enough to comment on the therapeutic value that the class/practice achieved in my right side scoliosis. However, just being able to move into most of the poses without pain or anticipation of pain was of value. Again, thank you.
Linda Henry, Counsellor, George Mason Univ, Fairfax, Virginia
I am sorry that I have not been able to return to your yoga sessions at George Mason. My schedule developed a conflict:) Are you planning to hold other sessions in the near future? I thoroughly enjoyed the classes I did attend and continue to practice what I have learned. Thank you!.
Judy, Yoga Teacher, Fairfax County Govt Center, Virginia
Sorry it has taken me so long to resopond. I do want to let you know that my students enjoyed your classs very much. They said if I ever need a sub again to please get you because you are very interesting. They felt very challanged!
George Mason University, Summer 2003, Virginia
Neel is a very good instructor. He knows your limits before you do. His experience and insights are well worth the drive. Goal was to loose weight, which was achieved by the loss of 10 pounds, with the practice only once a week in the class.
My goal was knowing Yoga and weight loss. I practiced only once a week in the class. The class was very interesting and helpful.
My goal was to become more flexible and to tone my whole body, and to use these yoga exercises as a daily routine. I practiced at least 40 minutes on a daily basis. My goal was achieved. I would like to review all the exercises learned in class, so far, only to make sure i am doing them all correctly and to remember them so they can be useful for me in the future.
Honestly, I basically took this class for supporting my mother, who was interested in it. But, I was hoping to increase my flexibility and breathing techniques. I started regular practice only later in the course, about twice a week, only with selected yoga exercises. I would say that my gola was achieved, and, yes I am very happy with my yoga ability. I feel the instruction overall was satisfactory, but would have liked more instructions on a person to person basis. I feel the tapes for the relaxation practice were a bit redundant.
Verna Samson, International Monitory Fund, Washington D.C.
I really appreciate the instructions I received from you and the opportunity to experience Authentic Yoga. Glad to know you had a good trip home and found a new project out of your travel. Best of luck to you. Regarding yoga classes, I've decided to stop. I realize the practice would have given me long-term benefits, but I decided it isn't for me after all. I honestly just can't find enough time to put in every day, which is practically needed to do it right. At least I can say I tried it. Thanks for the experience, though.
Dr. SG, Mathematics Scientist, Fairfax, Virginia
Neel, Yesterday's class was great! Even though I have been doing these simple poses for the last 2 years with you, now I am appreciating the finer points that I didn't get before. (Stretch coming from navel, lower back going down, ....)
Goals for this semester: (continue from before) flexibility of neck and shoulders (new) flexibility of legs: quads and hamstrings I'll be in India next month. So, unfortunately, I'll sign up for the punch-card at GMU this semester.
As usual, the class has been good. This semester I practiced only 20 min a day regularly. My goal is neck flexibility which is not fully achieved yet.
When I started yoga one year back, I wasn't able to even put my head on the ground for too long. One year later I can do headstand in the middle of the room without needing the support of the wall. This speaks volumes about Neel's methodical teaching approach. I also used to have lot of problems with allergies .... sneezing, wheezing, and colds that used to last a long time. Neel suggested that I stop taking any milk and milk products for 2 months. I am on a almost vegan diet for 4 months now. All my allergies and colds are completely cured.
Years of intense running, including 8 marathons, had left me very inflexible, creating stiff neck and back problems. Within a few weeks of doing Yoga, my problems started going away. Now that I have been taking Neel's class for a few months, I feel like a new person. I also tried other Yoga styles such as Anusara, Phonex Rising, Fit Yoga, and Kundalini Yoga. However, the personalized attention given to students in Neel's class is unmatched.
Girl Scout Club, Oakton, Virginia
Thank you so much for the class. The girls really enjoyed it. They were all talking after you left about how much they loved it. Thank you again. See you on Friday.
Whitney, The Girl Scout Leader, Oakton, VA
Elsie Neely, Yoga Teacher and Educationist, Washington D.C
I am Elsie T. Neely, a yoga student and teacher trained by Neel Koulkarni, the following is my testimonial about Neel Kulkarni as a yoga instructor:
Classes with Neel were an honor because of his superior knowledge of yoga. He possesses the skill of knowing where to start a student when they first enter his class. This is an important step, because many new yoga students are freightened or turned-off when they initially start a class because the teacher doesn't differentiate instruction for each student. When I was a new student, my goal was to learn the yoga headstand, which I had never attempted, and thought was impossible for me. Neel began to train me giving me suggestions to concentrate on as I was attempting the pose. He would add another major suggestion, at each class. I was a diligent student with my home practice, so I eventually learned to do the yoga headstand. Teaching the headstand is difficult, because their is a potential for serious injury. However, Neel was able to teach me in such a way that I never experienced any difficulty in my efforts to conquer the pose.
Neel uses props with precision. Students are able to assume a variation of a particular pose with the use of props: this allows the student to develop confidence and strength before removing the props. His instructions are sequential, and direct. His students know they are to constantly seek perfection of the pose with his gentle and patient prodding.
Yoga philosophy is basic to the student who aspires to make yoga a part of their life. Neel is the consumate yoga philosophy instructor. He uses Pantanjali, Ayangar, and many other ancient and current thinkers interpretation of yoga philosophy. However, his knowledge is so very astute, that he creates yoga aphorisms, and philosophy. As a philosophy teacher, he methodically introduces concepts and ideas in such a way that understanding is facilitated. After each of his presentations of yoga theory, students are encouraged to seek clarification, or futher interpretation. During my classes with him, he has been able to answer all of my questions to my satisfaction.
I am a yoga teacher trained by Neel, and I can say that I feel that he trained me to be a good teacher, because he informed me that I will never know all their is to know about yoga in my lifetime. Consequently, I constantly read material by the ancients and current yoga philosophers. As I read, I learn many new techniques and ideas that help my students and strengthen my teaching skills. If ever I need help with an issue related to yoga, Neel willingly provides the help for as long as it takes for me to grasp the concept (at no charge of course).
The most valuable trait that I observed in Neel is that yoga should not have money as basis. He always has students in his class who will never pay him. As anyone who studies yoga knows, the ancient yogis were never paid, they were provided with food, clothing and other basic needs by their students. My students pay what they can afford, and if they can't pay, they are still allowed to take my classes.
I am very thankful that I have had the opportunity to work with Neel, and I look forward to working with him in the future.
Reflections on your teaching of the advanced teacher training and yoga classes for 2002-2003:
1. I liked the idea of designing a program to meet each student's needs. It allowed me to clarify issues that were confusing.
2. The size of the class was ideal. I received one on one attention, which allowed me to refine some of my asanas. Your manner of teaching allows a student to know what they need to work on to approach perfection of a pose. Additionally, following your advice about doing the asana first, as close to perfection as possible, the teachers are capable of before teaching it. When you concentrate on the poses you can better tell your students points to work on so that they can do the poses with ease.
3. I liked the detailed explanations you gave about yoga theory, the asanas and what they mean and how they benefit parts of the body. You also supplied valuable books that provided in depth knowledge about many aspects of yoga.
4. I disliked the idea that you formed the written exams while we were in the midst of class. I felt it implied that you did not plan well, the exam should have been prepared and handed to us. I feel that professionally such behavior appears that it was a last minute process. If a college professor did such behavior his job would be in jeopardy.
Overall I feel that I am better prepared than most yoga teachers in the USA because of your superior knowledge and understanding of yoga. You trained me to notice and listen to my body, to practice to get perfection, and that you usually never reach perfection yet you still try. I must say that in your class I have done things that I thought were impossible for me, as a result my confidence increased. Physically I am much stronger because of your training, more willing to try what seems to be the most difficult of poses, and more aware of my posture at all times. Additionally, I feel that there is much more I need to learn from you.
Critique of advance yoga training: The major goals I sought as I entered the advanced yoga training class were, to learn how to use yoga for specific therapy, and to improve my ability to perfect certain asanas. I did improve my backbends tremendously, and learned about some theraputic applications, but I would like to learn more. I find Neel Kulkarni to be one of the most highly qualified yoga instructors in the area. He is trained in the classical style of yoga, to which he has made personal adaptations to form his personal style of yoga, known as Authentic Yoga. He skillfully uses props, encouragement, and gently applied discipline with his students to make them do things they never thought they could do. My first class with Neel was marked with incredulity at the idea that I could ever succeed in doing certain Asanas. In due course, and with expert guidance, I was able to perform the asanas that I once thought were impossible. The advanced teacher training involved in depth lectures on health, yoga theory and philosophy. The health and nutritrion classes were very informative and enabled me to improve on my vegan diet. I feel that the health and nutritrion information is as vital as completing the asanas. The healthier the body the more prepared it is to do hard work. Yoga theory and philosophy helped to make sense of the entire concept of yoga. Many people take yoga for the physical aspects only; they miss the essence of yoga. Knowing the theory and philosophy has enabled me to concentrate more, to focus on my breathing, and to begin to explore meditation. I am about to take additional yoga teacher training and I expect to compound my knowledge as an instructor. I look forward to my next class and I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn from a master.
This is my feedback of the teacher training class: The class was quite comprehensive. I am certain after listening to some of the tapes you could have used more time. That will probably be for advanced or further teacher training. I enjoyed the class and learned so much. It stimulated my brain and activated my body and mind. The lectures were most valuable for me as a teacher and for my personal life. They affirmed much of what I do for well being, and I learned more that I can do. The spiritual goal and mind and body training concepts helped me to improve my poses and meditation. I am reading the book you gave me to gain more insight, since I want to teach yoga. I will seek more training in different forms of yoga so that I will be more informed. On a rating of 1-10 I give the class a 10. You have great command of the material you presented, and you explain concepts in practical terms. I feel that I have had my initial training from a true master. I am very thankful. The only Improvement I have is that it would have good if we stuck to time schedules. Sincerely, Elsie T. Neely
I will be taking the class on Wednesday. By the way, it is my observation that you are a good teacher. As a trained educator I see you using practices that I teach to school staffs. You are following some practices that are considered vital to the success of students. For each class the students know what material is to be covered. You allow questioning which provides for clarity. You are very patient. The main thing is there is no applied stress. I look forward to the next class. Elsie T. Neely
Ed McDonald, Engineer, Alexandria, Virginia
Good morning Neel, I would like to thank you for a fantastic chanting workshop and your
guidance to incorporate an additional mantra in my daily life. Sunday morning, I extended my regular morning meditating by silently repeating many of the chants you introduced to us and experienced very positive effects. My back feels better and I only have slightly more than a memory of the discomfort. Also my back is feeling very straight and strong. Thank you again.
31st Jan 2005
Hello Neel: Thank you for the terrific classes this weekend. Your style of teaching is having a very positive affect on me. Also I would like to thank you most particularly of for the time and attention you put into answering my questions. Some things take a while to sink in; your patience and sincerity shorten that time for me considerably. I began reading the book you
gave me, Autobiography of Sivananda and find it hard to put down because it seems to
have been written with my questions in mind.
Green Hedges School, Vienna, Virginia
To Whom It May Concern:
Mr. Neel Kulkarni directed and taught Yoga Classes at Green Hedges School during the winter trimester of 2005. Mr. Kulkarni's classes consisted of seven students who chose to participate in Yoga as an After School Activity Offering. The course lasted ten weeks during the winter trimester. The students in the class ranged in age from 5 years old through grade 5. During the 10 week course the students were taught various Yoga moves, as well as the essentials of mind and body focus. All of the children greatly enjoyed the program, and we would love to have Mr. Kulkarni to teach another After School Activity at our school.
Director of After School and Summer Programs
Green Hedges School
March 16, 2005
Green Hedges School
Studio 11, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.
I really enjoyed Neel's presentation on fri. I especially liked how he explained to practice head stand and progress to it. Believe it or not I was considering exploring that for a fitness goal (along with a couple of other things). I just wanted to let you know that I thought the session was very valuable. Unfortunately, I had to leave early because I had made plans not knowing the session would be extended. Have a good day! See you soon!
Om Neel: It's wonderful to hear from you & am glad to hear you had a good experience in your first visit to Cleveland. We've had a lot of positive feedback (verbal) about your workshop & the students have a new sense of enthusiasm regarding their headstands & their attempts at headstand. Kate & I are planning an inversion clinic for the new year to build on your workshop. We appreciate you taking the time to share your expertise & your spirit.
Tiiu Gennert and Kate Murch, Directors, Studio 11
Carolyn Flitcroft, Leesburg, Virginia, U.S.A.
It's a privilege to receive Neel's Authentic Yoga instruction. He joyfully communicates his deep knowledge through his unique style of Hatha Yoga instruction, Meditation and Chanting.
Carolyn (1+ year student of Neel, currently student of Acupuncture, and previously a Marshall Arts Student)
Merritt Academy Elementary School, Fairfax, Virginia, USA
Neel, I did talk with the students who took your yoga class in the Spring Semester. They loved it! They enjoyed feeling as though they could do something special, and they think you are very cool. You received praise from the parents who saw you "in action" too, including my husband. Mrs. Al-Qatou, Sarah's mom, was quite impressed.
Merritt Academy Elementary School
Eileen K, Vienna, Virginia, USA
One of the reasons I am enjoying your teaching so much is the emphasis on listening from within and the quiet that prevails while we are holding postures. It is different from many of the types of instructions we, what, as Westerners, are used to. As you know, I am very interested in learning about yoga in all respects, which means I am also very interested in knowing what the different postures do for the body and how they benefit the various systems. Any plans for a book outlining your poses, how to do them and and their benefits?
I think that as a very new yoga student, more cues and explanation can be helpful but I am finding that too much detracts from my experience. This comment of course does not apply to you but rather other instructors I have taken classes with. I suppose the interested student will seek out books or discussion with the teacher to expand their knowledge. Thank you for inviting me to the teacher training class. I will be very interested in seeing how both Carolyn and Nancy develop a style natural to them.
I plan to watch your CD's shortly so I will give you feedback on them if it would be helpful to you. I watched part of Sun Salutation I yesterday and look forward to seeing the second level one. I better get my niece over here to watch them as they are leaving on the 5th.
Please express to Carolyn again, how much I enjoyed her class. I think she did a great job and she should feel good about how her class went. Also, please thank Nancy for her music. I'm sorry for her bike accident but very happy that I was able to hear her play. And of course than her for the delicious food afterward.
I have read your Health and Yoga Aphorisms book twice now and have found it to be very concise, clear, informative and helpful. It summarizes, in one place, some of the topics I had been reading about and provided clear explanations. I love your story about the five friends in the garden (Aphorism 16) and how they came about to eat what they do.
I know that with each subsequent reading I will find new understanding of your aphorisms. I can already tell, after reading Vivekananda's Raja Yoga, that my understanding is deepening. I plan on sharing this with my niece. I think it will serve her well if she finds it interesting at this point in her life.
As you already know, I LOVE the CD you made that accompanies your book. Perhaps one day I will read along while I listen to it. Now I just enjoy the melodic flow of your voice and the background instrument playing. I find it VERY relaxing and soothing.
I am going to start reading your book again now, as I have been flipping through the pages as I think and type. Your book has me thinking about what I am feeding my body.
Anne Jablonski, Arlington, Virginia, U.S.A.
I haven't been able to take as many classes this past fall with Neel as in the past because my schedule is pretty full, but it's nonetheless been another great year of spending many happy Saturday mornings, especially in the summer, in wonderful classes at his home. I'm blessed in my life to have many terrific teachers who have influenced my practice in so many positive ways, and Neel's approach has been especially helpful in cleaning up my alignment in yoga asanas as well as with learning even more about the gift we can give ourselves with a steady meditation practice. I am intensely grateful Neel's warm-hearted approach to classes and attentiveness to individual students' needs, and count myself very lucky that I was introduced to him in 2005. When my schedule clears up a bit more, I'm hoping to return to more of his classes.
I just HAVE to tell you that the last couple of classes with you have done MORE for me than I ever imagined possible. As with any learning, I think sometimes that the mastery of something--or the glimpse of the possibility of mastery--like a given pose, comes in small increments and a person often doesn't realize how much the little increments have added up over time. But your ability to focus in on what SEEMS like a small single element of a pose and NOT confuse things too much with a lot of explanation of everything else that may or may not be following FROM that element? It's opened up all kinds of new doors for me in my practice. Yesterday was the first time I'd ever been able to lift into sirsasana with straight legs--and I'm sure it was because your instruction finally got me focused on the right SINGLE thing I'd been ignoring. You're a great teacher, Neel!
I've absolutely loved my classes with Neel. I was introduced to him this past fall by a yoga teacher I very much respected, and have incorporated weekly classes with him when I can into my already packed schedule of yoga classes at a local studio and my home practice. It's been well worth the time and effort, since Neel's classes are unlike any other I've taken in my two years of intensely studying yoga. His approach has been a huge 'force multiplier' for me in terms of taking my practice deeper. He very carefully dissects asanas down to their individual elements and has his students spend a considerable time focusing on each component of the pose. For me, it's been a surprisingly powerful means to turn my attention inwardly. Moreover, the small class size means that he is able to devote intense attention to each student's unique needs and where they are in their practice and in their poses. Best of all, when Neel is asked a question, he really LISTENS closely and his answers are always thoughtful and detailed. He really listens very closely to and observes his students with great attention, and I always leave Neel's class with a great deal of fresh insight into my practice. My home practice has benefited greatly, and I find myself being much more attentive and mindful to the individual elements of every pose--even the ones that I haven't worked on in classes with Neel. The seemingly simple act of spending time, mindfully, in a small handful of poses has done more to teach me about the power of breath and the concept of relaxing into, rather than forcefully jamming myself into, asanas. Many of the openings I've experienced--not just in asanas but in my meditation practice--are due in no small part to the lessons I learn from seemingly 'little elements' of the poses in classes with Neel. Finally, the lighthearted and warm spirit of the classes makes them one of the most lovely parts of my week!
Lidsay Elder, Advanced Yoga Student, Maryland, USA
I very much enjoyed my time on Tuesday evening. Now, I understand what Denny meant when he said yours is a class very different from, and in fact better than the run of the mill yoga experience. Your style of teaching is indeed more unique than any I have experienced. I do look forward to learning a great deal more from you. Unfortunately, because I live in Crofton Maryland, I cannot commit to regular attendance of your classes, but I do look forward to learning through your DVDs and audios.
Dr. SG, Mathematics Scientist, Jacksonville, Florida, USA
How Yoga helped me
I used to run marathons. However, I never bothered to stretch properly. I just liked running so much that I never
thought about how it hurt my body. After eight marathons and numerous other races, each preceded by literally hundreds of miles of training, all done without proper stretching, my muscles became so taut and stiff that they started hurting seriously: from neck to back to hamstrings. On top of that, I had a car accident where I had a neck whiplash, the last straw. At that time, I, suddenly and fortunately, learned about how yoga helped a friend of mine with his ski injuries. He told me that he tried everything, from physical therapy to cortisone injections. In the end, yoga helped him. So, I decided to try yoga, typed in yoga and fairfax in google, and discovered Neel Kulkarni's class. Within six months of classes, with back and neck stretching exercises, my neck and back pain was mostly gone, and completely gone within two years. I am still trying to get my hamstrings back to the original level of
flexibility. The improvements are slow but steady.
Neel Kulkarni helped me in another way. During one of his classes on the carpet, I started sneezing repeatedly. I suspected that my allergies were triggered by dust or cat hair on the carpet. Neel disagreed and asked me if I drank milk. I told him that I drank a lot of milk. He told me that my lungs' mucous lining were inflamed because of milk and were particularly sensitive to dust. At his suggestion, I stopped drinking milk for two months. Lo and
behold, after getting worse for one month, my dust allergies were completely gone. I have stopped drinking milk for several years now though I eat yoghurt and cheese without any problems. I use soymilk wherever milk is used.
Iliana Quander, Dancer and Artist, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
I think of you every day and prayed for you all during your difficult time. things you have taught continue to serve as a roadmap for my life. i'm not always good at keeping in touch through other means. hope all is well with you and nancy.
14 December 2011
Neel Kulkarni is a gift to those people who are interested in the history, philosophy and practice of Classical Yoga. His 'Health and Yoga System' has an unbelieveably sound foundation based on years of study and personal experience. It is both unique and innovative. His knowledge of both classical and contemporary texts and methods is extensive and he shows true scholarship in the sense that he remains well-informed about the different styles, methods and approaches to yoga. No matter the level of experience, Neel is able to help his students put their yoga learning experience into the correct context based on goals they set for themselves. Goals may be as simple as losing 5 pounds or more involved such as the study of Sanskrit and Chanting as it relates to Hatha Yoga. In an environment where there is an increasing amount of interest and talk of Yoga and equally, vast misunderstandings and/or misconceptions about it based on either lack of information or inability to put it into context, Neel remains firm in teaching Yoga based on it's original intentions but as they apply to our present-day lives. Neel's strength as a teacher is his practicality. Although he is aware of and very much rooted in theory, he is able (sometimes incredibly humorously) to show us how we can, most effectively, apply these theories to our lives. I've studied a little bit of everything with Neel in the past year and a half or so. I began with Sanskrit and Chanting and, later, added the Hatha Yoga classes as well as his Teacher Training, several Philosophy classes and two Meditation classes. Accomplishments that I can speak of are: I am able to chant an entire prayer in Sanskrit as well as recognize many words, my understanding of the history and purpose of Yoga has increased, my understanding of my own body and all of it's finer points has sharpened and, as a result, my poses, especially my Headstand, have improved. I dance as well and I have found that the combination of Yoga and Dance is a good one that has allowed for better ease of movement and, indirectly, clarity of thought. 'Authentic yoga' is truly a good name for Neel's style. It is unique in it's approach but also, graspable, practical and truly, truly 'wholistic'. Iliana Quander, Washington, DC
Hemant Gore, IT Professional, Pune, India
I have been a student of Neel Kulkarni for the past 4 years. I first came to him for a private lesson for solving my back problems. On following the given instruction, the back problem was solved, with no recurrence to-date. Later, i joined his regular classes as he returned to Indian starting his operation in Pune around one year ago. Since then, I have lost unwanted weight, gotten fitness, good understanding of Yoga topics including Philsophy, Chanting, variety of advanced asanas, and company of great Yoga students. Additionally, I have become a close friend of Neel outside of the classroom. It has definitely enriched my life.
One good point about Neel is that he understands the difference of individual nature and treats him/her accordingly to overcome their difficulties.
18 December 2011