Alaric Newcombe is somewhat of a household name on the Iyengar scene in London; he is a senior teacher whom generally people either love or hate. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t have a strong opinion about him either way, and over the years I have stood equally on both sides of the fence. Luckily, I have more recently grown rather neutral, and have a great deal of respect for him as a teacher even if I don’t always agree with the way he treats students. One thing is for certain, he is an excellent technical teacher for asana alignment from an anatomical perspective, and throws in other gems of wisdom throughout the class for those who are open to listen.

The other thing is that actually, he really does care, both about people he knows and about the yoga he teaches. I’ve only seen Alaric a couple of times since my transplant, but over the years he has been gracious in understanding my medical condition and limiting how long I am in certain poses or which to avoid, and I have somehow managed to remain off his hit list of students to pick on. Hallelujah.

Today’s class at Triyoga Primrose Hill was a well balanced twist class. The first half of the class matched supine twists with inversions followed by standing twists and a shoulderstand sequence, and as usual, there were many demonstrations by both Alaric and students either showing the right, or wrong way to do the asana. Alaric has a wicked sense of humour even if not always PC (when one woman was turning her face rather than her chest when he had specifically asked us to turn the chest he shouted “Do you wear your bra on your face?!?”), which makes the class fun, albeit often at another students’ expense. The bottom line is that one can learn a tremendous amount about the actions the body needs to take to practice asana, and capitalize on all of the positive aspects of his intelligent and very funny personality. As with anyone, the aspects that don’t mesh we can usually learn to leave behind. After a class with Alaric, I almost always feel fabulous, and even more importantly, I always learn something.