About

Listening is exercise for the mind.
It is not easy. Learn to listen.

—Barbara

barbara-benagh-headshot-yogadownunder

Links

Here are links to Down Under Yoga where I teach when in Boston, a few local Boston area studios and teachers who are long timers in my community, as well as the websites of fellow yogis of my generation who I have most admired, taught, and studied with through the years. Stellar elders.

  1. Down Under Yoga
  2. Bow Street Yoga
  3. Asana Charlestown
  4. Samara Yoga Studio
  5. Gail Keeley
  6. Victoria Garcia Drago
  7. Angela Farmer and Victor van Kooten
  8. John Schumacher Yoga
  9. Mary Paffard Yoga
  10. Sarah and Ty Powers
  11. Richard Freeman — FREEMAN+TAYLOR
  12. Doug Keller
  13. Roxanne Ochadlik Martin
  14. Cathleen O'Connell

About

Born in Texas and raised in Tennessee, I immigrated to England a week after graduating college. I began studying yoga in London in 1972 and began teaching in 1974, moved to Boston in 1978, sought out the tiny yoga community there and slowly built a teaching practice, opening my own school on Beacon Hill in 1982. After nearly 40 years in Boston, my heart’s hometown, I chose to largely retire from teaching yoga and return to my southern roots. Trust me, it was a surprising decision! This time, to Durham, NC to be with my daughter and her family which includes 2 amazing grandsons. Durham is so great, laid back, a little bit urban and finally, a garden! And a longer growing season! It has been a balm during these COVID times.

As to yoga - My first exposure to yoga was the Iyengar Method which I practiced devotedly for 15 years. I learned a lot and its stellar attention to alignment continues to inform my practice. However, a teacher I met in London awoke another aspect of the practice, a more internal, less linear experience. It called to me. Though she threw me out of the nest years ago, telling me to trust my voice and spread my wings, I will forever thank Angela Farmer for giving me the courage to be. I still visit her and her inspiring yoga teacher husband, Victor Van Kooten, from time to time. I also appreciate my peers Richard Freeman, Sarah Powers, and Doug Keller for the wisdom they share. Though quite different than me, they resonate and keep me learning!

So, I’m a patchwork quilt. My style is a bit quirky, no fealty to any method, informed by my teachers and a largely solo practice and, time. It is, simply put, my sharing with you my experience of 48 years on the mat.

Golden Quotes

Accolades from Students

Your way of explanation makes the actions so accessible. I love how you bring so much of yourself to your teaching. It somehow gives us permission to be ourselves too! —S.T., Boston

Your classes are so vibrant because of your incredible skill as a teacher and your vividly bright narrative stories. I can't wait until the next time. —K.S, Boston

I’m writing because yesterday's class reminded me of how much I look forward to your classes and though I wasn’t excited about the online idea I set aside my judgment and received a powerful experience just as an in-person class. —A.R.

Thank you so much for the absolutely exemplary practices that I was able to participate in with you over the past few days. Your practices are the perfect balance of grace and strength. I always learn so much from you. —K.S.

I'm just writing to let you know that I think of you often since I had been practicing yoga for years before coming to your studio but never on the technical level you teach. I learned so much from you and am forever grateful." —P.L.

Barbara has an extraordinary way of breaking down challenging postures step by step, and using each progression as conscious preparation and warm-up for the next step; therefore, each step or modification becomes an asana within itself. Honestly, it is this “foreplay” that is interesting, not the final pose. —M.M.

I find your sequencing and pace can bring me to places like no other. —K.F.

I truly believe that the same amount of body work could not have given me as much as the 10 hours of your guided yoga did. I felt and still feel opened and reconnected in a very deep, healed way. Thank You!

I tried to put into words what I appreciate about you...it’s some combo of discipline and originality/inspiration/experience...whatever it is, it is unique, gifted, and the pearls are appreciated by the swine. —S.E.

In my thoughts, often during meditation time, I must have written 50 letters a year, each one filled with gratitude at my good fortune to have had you as my first and primary yoga teacher; to continue to benefit from your stellar teaching and example; to have been inspired into and encouraged to grow and blossom with work I can’t imagine loving more. —J.S.

… Your class is always a high point of my week. You are the best (of many wonderful) yoga teachers I have ever had-- wondrous really. Thank you for everything you've given me. —J.B.

You're the best and studying, practicing, listening, to you rings true and always leaves me full and in touch w myself and breathing in my heart. —A.B

Really, I think you are a genius. —M.Mc.

Just wanted to thank you for the fabulous journey taken with your guidance, wisdom, patience and kindness during class I really did feel like I went somewhere and came back refreshed and renewed. —N.C.

Thank you for bringing inspiration and hope back into a practice that was feeling a little bland for me before I started working with you. I'm back at that place where I feel like I still have so much to learn. It's all kind of a mystery and a little bit unfolds every time I come to your class. Backbends don't hurt anymore, I'm learning how to stand properly, I can see and feel the poses much more clearly. The list goes on. —S.B

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