“I was blessed because that evening, some friends who were visiting me in the
hospital recommended Iyengar Yoga,” recalls Garth. “The Iyengar tradition uses
props to access proper alignment so the body is given the opportunity to realize
its potential,” he explains. The following week, he headed to the Iyengar Yoga
Institute of Los Angeles (IYILA).
Within two weeks of practicing under the guidance of the late Iyengar teacher
Karin O’Bannon, Garth remembers the numbness in his body slowly giving way
to a buzzing feeling. “It felt like my pager was going off in my calf and in my
back,” he says. “It was a pinching and then a buzzing sensation… like something
was reawakening there.” Excited, he courageously decided to test how his body
would stand up to his old routine of spinning. A sweaty class at the gym left him
feeling good, but by the end of the day, he couldn’t feel his body again and ended
up back in the hospital. It was a lesson waiting in the wings – he understood he
needed to cultivate patience and respect for his body in order to heal. He returned
to IYILA, began a daily practice, and progressively welcomed the feeling back
into his body. Since that day, he’s kept at it.
A couple of years into his practice, relieved for the transformative effects yoga
was having on his body, Garth began to feel inspired by his journey with MS. He
wanted to give back to the yoga community and share his experience with others.
Though he never gave up acting, he desired to become a yoga teacher. “I wanted
to help others deal with the nightmare of MS,” says Garth. He enrolled in a three-year teacher training program through the Iyengar Yoga Association of Southern
California (IYASC) and became certified in 2001.
Garth’s biggest joy of teaching lies in his students. “What I love seeing is when
it lands,” he says. “They get it. They get how yoga can actually transform their
lives in a positive way. I love seeing when that happens…” By way of analogy,
he explains, “I sometimes use the image of the metal silver. It is already a perfect,
wonderful element. But if we don’t polish the silver, it tarnishes. If we continue
“THEY GET IT. THEY
GET HOW YOGA CAN
THEIR LIVES IN A
POSITIVE WAY. I LOVE
SEEING WHEN THAT
TEACHER PROFILE [ garth mclean]