A fresh coastal breeze danced through the open door. The floor-to-ceiling windows revealed the California sun, which warmed my tired, overworked body, fresh in from Washington, DC. A soft voice guided me to bow my head and look into my heart.
I was more in my body than I had been in a long time. That voice had guided me home, to a physical location where I longed to be, to a deeper posture practice than I had ever known, and, most importantly, to myself.
I was in my first yoga certification, getting in-depth training on the Great Yoga Wall, an amazing prop that inspired me to start teaching. In less than a year, I began commuting from Washington, DC to Ventura, CA to start my 200-hour yoga teacher training with that same voice, which resonated so deeply with my own inner voice.
A year after that first trip, I packed up my place in DC, left my hectic yet stable career with the federal government, and moved to study with that voice more deeply. It became an adventure that took me places I never imagined possible, from India to the depths of my soul.
That voice belonged to my dear yoga teacher, Bryan Legere, who unexpectedly, yet peacefully, left his body on Wednesday, July 10, at 12:15 a.m. in Eastern Oregon.
Bryan was a spiritual warrior, and made it his mission to empower as many people as possible through yoga, nutrition, and personal development. During his life, he cast ripples of life force and healing well beyond his immediate world through his yoga students, nutrition clients, friends, and those they have touched as a result of what Bryan shared with them.
Over the years he taught 1000s of hours and shared yoga with countless students around the world, in teacher trainings, workshops, and regular classes. For years he was active in the Iyengar National Association of the United States, participating in and chairing assessment committees, helping to organize national conventions, and studying in Pune.
Bryan’s immersion in the Iyengar tradition led him to a rich and rewarding relationship with the Palkhivala brothers, first Aadil and then Jehangir. Through his studies with Jehangir Palkhivala, Bryan came to deepen his practice and embodiment of the teachings of the ancient texts, the Mother of Pondicherry, and Sri Aurobindo.
Bryan was a devout vegetarian, and saw nutrition as an integral component of yogic living. He was committed to helping people eat cleanly and turn their health around with Sunrider nutrition products. To this day, when I drink peach Fortune Delight tea without any sweetener, the taste reminds me of Bryan and the first time I tried it during that inaugural weekend in Ventura, way back in 2006.
Perhaps the biggest impact Bryan had was in how he lived and imparted yoga beyond the postures, off the mat. As a graduate of the Landmark Forum, he was never afraid to say what needed to be said. He engaged that fearlessness to help those he cared for become warriors in their own personal battles, from guiding them to follow their purpose in life to letting them know when they were off course (which he did for me more than once in his signature, no nonsense, tough love kind of way).
Bryan is the dedicated husband to Stacy Legere, who he cherished. As ardent nature lovers, he and Stacy would camp for months at a time, hiking and soaking in the healing power of nature.
In 2014, they left southern California for Redmond, Oregon, bought a ranch and built an amazing yoga studio. Together, they hand carried rocks on to the property to create a labyrinth and dotted the property paths with Buddha statues. I’ve never seen Bryan more joyful than when he hosted us for retreats with our teacher Jehangir at his ranch, with the Oregon mountains watching over us in the distance.
I have Bryan to thank for so much goodness in my life, and I couldn’t even begin to recount it all. It was through Bryan that I first learned how to use therapeutic yoga for injuries and illnesses. Bryan offered me my first teaching job in California and was a reference for others. He gave me the opportunity to substitute for him, assist him in his classes and workshops, and to model for the Great Yoga Wall training manual. I still meet people who know me from that book. We even shot a Great Yoga Wall video.
Beyond the mat, Bryan encouraged me to live my yoga. As a result, I had a deeply healing conversation with a family member that would never have happened otherwise. He taught me to take responsibility for my own feelings and reactions to others at a new level.
Because of Bryan, I traveled to India to study with Jehangir Palkhivala. During that trip, Jehangir’s wife, Rashmi, let me wear a red sari of hers to a wedding. The picture of me in this red sari is what caught my husband’s eye when he saw my online dating profile, and the rest is history.
The friendships that I have developed as a result of studying with Bryan are amongst the closest I have. Together we’ve done postures, breathing, and meditation. We’ve bumbled through Sanskrit pronunciation. We’ve chanted, laughed, and cried. We’ve “traveled” to different places without leaving our physical location. And so. Much. More. When you move through transformational and transcendental experiences together, it creates a bond like no other.
There are many reasons why I say yoga is about way more than the postures, and I have Bryan to thank for many of them. If anything I’ve ever said about yoga, meditation, breathing, and yoga philosophy has touched you, Bryan probably has been a part of the journey that led me to say it.
So if it feels right to you, the next time you bring your palms together at the beginning or end of your practice, please give him a nod, send him a little thank you, or smile towards the heavens or your heart for the gifts of his ripples of teaching, kindness, and love.
In wellness, light, and inspiration,
Speak Your Truth
Who has inspired you? What mentors have helped you in your life? Who believed in you, perhaps even when you didn't believe in yourself? How can I continue to help you in your journey? How can your own kindnesses be ripples through those you help and beyond? Let me know in a quick comment or email!
P.S. My meditation practice is a lifesaver in times like these. Want to find more energy, calm and strength in your life in just a few minutes? Click here for my free mediation guide!