Yoga teacher Donna Farhi recalls studying with Farmer at a time when she herself was pondering leaping away from an established yoga system into her own uncharted waters. "I saw that she was willing to follow her heart regardless of the consequences, and I knew that that must have taken immense courage," Farhi says. "Many soothsayers warned me that to do what she had done would be disastrous. But listening to and following one's own truth is really the path to freedom, and I am thankful that she provided such a clear role model for me and for so many others in the yoga community."
A Lifelong Practice
Along with Victor van Kooten, her partner in yoga and in life, Farmer offers a personal, modern interpretation of classical hatha yoga. "You can learn from all the traditions and teachers, but the most important teacher of all is the one within," she says. "I believe it is time to listen inside again—to feel, to question, to explore, and trust our inner voices, rather than jump into alignment on command."
Entranced by this ancient practice's spiritual power and promise, she's devoted her life to unearthing its profound mysteries and sharing them with others. Farmer, now 61, travels the world on a demanding teaching circuit, living out of several large suitcases. Her long, silver-streaked hair and free-flowing clothes inevitably turn heads when she walks down the street, whether it's in the funky village of Yellow Springs, Ohio, or the Greek island of Lesbos, where she and van Kooten teach each summer.
This creative woman may not be the person you'd want balancing your checkbook or tinkering around beneath the hood of your car, but she is someone you can easily linger over dinner with, listening to stories about her adventurous life.
Searching for her own authentic expression of the spirit of hatha yoga, Farmer has laid the groundwork for a wealth of innovative forms of yoga to bloom in the West.
Claudia Cummins teaches yoga in Mansfield, Ohio. To order Angela Farmer's video The Feminine Unfolding, call (303) 778-9321.