to polish our practice, whether we are faced with a challenge
or not, we continue to uncover that light within. We sparkle
One of the highlights of his yoga journey was the first trip he
took to India where he met with BKS Iyengar. “I was excited,
hopeful, and a bit apprehensive to meet this legendary icon
of yoga,” Garth recalls. “I told him what I'd been dealing
with, and how the yoga practice had been having such a
profoundly positive effect on my course of MS under the
guidance of the teachers I'd studied with in LA.” Iyengar
looked him straight in the eye and said, "Every day you must
walk that fine line between courage and caution."
“I let those words guide me to this day,” says Garth.
Allowing his wound to be his message, Garth shares the
gift of Iyengar Yoga around the world. He offers regular
workshops and therapeutic workshops for people living
with MS and their teachers; he works with individuals facing
such conditions as Parkinson’s, Epilepsy, and Muscular
Dystrophy. The work can also be embraced by those who
may be recovering from an accident or who have difficulty
moving. As well as working with people with diagnoses, he
teaches workshops including intermediate level practices.
Additionally, he teaches regular classes at YogaWorks
Westwood and Tarzana, and at the Iyengar Yoga Institute
of Los Angeles. In 2011, Garth and some fellow Iyengar
teachers established Iyengar Yoga Therapeutics, a nonprofit
organization dedicated to helping people manage diseases
and conditions through the practice of Iyengar yoga.
Additionally, they take part in research dedicated to the
therapeutic benefits of yoga.
Thanks to his practice and a relentless drive, Garth has
managed his MS and has been in remission since 2001 (he
still has residual loss of feeling in his right leg and foot from
an episode in 2001). He has even been medication-free since
2003 on the proviso given by his doctor that the lesions on
his brain are monitored annually through an MRI (Magnetic
Resonance Imaging) scan. His most recent scan showed that
the lesions on the left side of his brain have reduced in both
number and size. Now a Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher, Garth
commented on his own practice, "Out of necessity, I initially
learned asana and got back on my feet through yoga by using
props. To this day, I am constantly inspired to practice in
the environment around me and encourage others to do the
same, whether it’s on the mat, on the street, or in the heart
These days, Garth can not only balance on his bike, but he’s
back to cycling. He travels the world, maintains a strong
yoga practice, and is currently working on his one-man play,
Looking for Lightning, about his journey with MS. His life
and teaching demonstrates what it really means to live the
balance between courage and caution.
For information on upcoming workshop dates,
check Garth McLean’s website at Yogarth.com,
or follow him on Twitter @yogarth.
Amy Gartenberg is an elementary school teacher and a recent graduate of the
200-hour teacher training program at Yogis Anonymous in Santa Monica. She is
also the founder of the blog, CestCaliforniaVie.com where you can find healthy
recipes, workouts, and daily musings.