Doug Slack

For the first 61 years of my life, I took part in many different kinds of athletic activities. However, due to severe knee issues, I was limited to bicycling on the weekend for the last 20 years leading up to my introduction to yoga.  I always had a series of athletic and spiritual  interests, but yoga wasn’t destined to enter my life until exactly the right time.  In 2009, my knee had deteriorated to the point of requiring a knee replacement, and I decided yoga would help with my rehabilitation.

When I first started, my first teacher announced the postures in Sanskrit and I was completely lost. I watched the teacher and other students model the poses with awe and disbelief that my body would ever be able to move in these ways. To my joy and surprise, it all began to feel comfortable in my body and made sense.  Utilizing breath and synchronized movement with cycling had prepared me for enhancing the breath and focus that would become an integral part of my yoga discipline.  One of my teachers, Sarah Will, gave me a copy of Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar and The Practice Manual by David Swenson. She also introduced me to Yin Yoga Master Paulie Zink, Ashtanga greats Manju Jois, David Swenson, David Williams, Nancy Gilgoff, and Kino MacGregor.  Sarah also introduced me to Kathryn Budig, who taught me a more playful style of yoga.

In January, 2012, I tried an Intro to AcroYoga workshop led by Wendy Dahl and I was instantly hooked. Shortly after, I took up AcroYoga and slacklining with Kendra Charts. Kendra introduced me to the Chicago Acro community.  Since then, I have attended six 30 hour “Acro Immersions” and am now a “Jambassador” with AcroYoga. In the fall of 2016, I began practicing with the iconic Gabriel Halpern at the Yoga Circle where he teaches Iyengar-style therapeutic yoga. I’ve also apprenticed in his therapeutic yoga classes.  

It was never my intention to teach when I signed up for a teacher training with Paulie Zink in 2011.  My desire was simply to learn more and deepen my personal practice. A year later my yoga teacher called to tell me her son was ill and that she would not be able to teach class that day. In order to be helpful, I went to the studio and led the class. Something similar happened months later. The manager of the studio called to tell me thanks and wanted me to be a permanent part of the teaching staff. A few weeks later I was an employee at this studio and have been teaching ever since.  Sharing what has been shared with me is my life’s joy and part of my dharma. The regular practice of yoga has had a profound impact on my life. It has given me new perspectives, new friends and renewed mind and body.

The organic way through which I began my own yoga journey is something I wish to pass on to others.  The joy I feel when practicing and sharing the magic of this ancient discipline is woven into my teaching and something I hope to help people find within themselves any time they walk into my class.