It is always a pleasure to introduce members of our community to the public and this month I am delighted to present a beloved “regular” at IYCWM. This month’s spotlight shines on Jordi Herold. Behind the gentle demeanor and smile one always knows there is mischief nearby. Jordi is a skilled practical joker and quite expressive in his practice. These qualities endear him to his fellow students. The “Kitchen” is the prime real estate in the studio. The place everyone wants to be, thus it was dubbed the “Kitchen.” Jordi is the leader of the “Kitchen Pack.” This was evident when he left for 6 months to live in Japan with his family. Whenever a new student ventured in to the “Kitchen,” they were politely told they could have Jordi’s space just for the day. Currently, Jordi has moved from the “Kitchen” on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to his home yoga space on LiveStream. We all look forward to being back in the studio to see what Jordi has up his sleeve next.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in NYC, came to the Valley for college, and never left. I spent 25 years in the music business beginning with co-founding the Iron Horse Music Hall in 1979. I programmed 10,000 performances — in the Valley at the Horse , Calvin, Academy, Fine Arts Center, and Pines Theater; and around the Northeast from Symphony Space on Broadway to the Flynn Center in Burlington. After retiring in 2004, I focused on renovating historic buildings winning several statewide historic preservation honors. I like “place making” and retain a portfolio of commercial and residential rentals. They require more attention than my Dads pension checks, but allow me to lead an interesting life. I am proud to have a diverse mix of commercial tenants eschewing national chains in favor of Tart Baking Company, The Green Bean, Kestrel, and (in Greenfield) Magpie, Seymour, and Greenfield Coffee to name a few. I have helped provide housing to refugees. I am married to Elizabeth Dunaway and am the 65 year old “Geezer Dad” to Zelda 11 and Simone 13 –both of whom have taken guest classes at IYCWM!!
What is a little known or surprising fact about you or your work?
I cry at movies
What led you to Iyengar yoga?
I have had a bad back since I was 21. I sport three malformed vertebrae. Years of recurring incidents put me on my back for days at a time from the 70’s – 90’s. Although I got a lot of help from Richard Kowalski at Columbia Chiropractic, since 2004 I have practiced Yoga in one way or another. When Suzie Goldstein of River Valley Yoga began teaching at the YMCA it was a light bulb moment. The nuances of alignment were stunning and immediately transformative. I became a regular at RVYC where course descriptions and available time slots introduced me to Susan Elena. While I will ever thank Suzie for my “conversion experience”, Susan Elena has been the best fit for me including private sessions that have twice allowed me to dodge surgical interventions.
How long have you been practicing yoga?
What keeps you on the mat?
So many things. It keeps me mobile for all the many reasons that that is important. It gives me a focus to my week. It is a quiet “still point”. And, although I don’t see people outside of the studio, there is a palpable sense of community. When I was in Kyoto for six months I found a studio where the owner had some Iyengar training and felt at home … and there I also met people who opened up the local culture for me.
What keeps you off the mat?
Not much, especially now that I have a wonderful full charge woman named Jill Fortier running my business! I only home practice in the summer, tho.
How are you dealing with the COVID-19 crisis? Does your yoga practice help you in any way?
One of the things about Shelter in Place is that all the days run together. Yoga continues to provide touch points and an architecture for the week.
What poses do you love?
Any one that surprises me at “the opening” I get
What poses do you find challenging?
Seated forward bends. Not much play there!
What do you like to do when you are not doing yoga?
Travel, music, ikebana, baking, conversation, time by the sea, fires in the fireplace, and all the many “pleasures” that flesh is heir to whether cognac, chocolate, or concupiscent
How has practicing yoga impacted your life?
I think it has at least contributed to a gentler aspect
How does yoga show up in your everyday life?
Among other things standing at the sink I daily remind myself to be on the four points of my feet; it has made sleep more comfortable.
How does our yoga community contribute to your practice?
The friendliness and caring make me look forward to time in the studio and to be at ease with in-class corrections. I actually “miss” (OK with a small “m” ) people who are not there. Where is Anne Marie Z????
Any advice for beginners?
Listen very carefully as every word of instruction has purpose
Any advice for the studio?
So glad you asked! The more detailed the instruction the more exponentially successful the pose is. Every time you remind us to bring weight to the inside of our foot, or to the base of a thumb, any time you remind us to pull in our hips or let some thing settle, or point with a heel and not toe… little explosions of delight happen. And it is soooo helpful when you are among us making (genius) corrections and adjustments… more so than demonstrating/ practicing along with us.