Award-winning Philadelphia chef and founder of the Vetri family of restaurants and Vetri Foundation for Children
WORDS TO LIVE BY
“Make what’s important a priority. If it takes a back seat, it’s obviously not a priority. Yoga has never taken a back seat in my life.”
1. He wishes he’d found yoga earlier.
I do Ashtanga; I started about 12 years ago. It just worked for me. Mysore was all about feeling that connection with the movement and the breath, and I thought, ‘This is the way it’s supposed to be.’ Had I started earlier, I would have a better understanding of it, and maybe I would have been able to travel to Mysore and study with some of the founders.
See also In Memoriam of Sri K. Patabhi Jois
2. He was a working chef when he started practicing yoga.
I found myself a lot more centered, I felt better, I had more energy. Yoga helps me with stress. It certainly helps me with focus. I’m on my feet a lot, so doing yoga, and doing lifts and folds, helps with lengthening your spine and loosening things up so they don’t hurt as much.
3. He met his wife at a yoga studio.
I actually practiced next to her for a year without saying a word to her. One day it happened that we were in the hallway at the same time and just started talking, and that was it. Now I think she prefers doing yoga without me because I lose focus whenever I’m practicing with her.
See also The Yoga of Relationships
4. He doesn’t meditate.
They always put sign-ups for after Sunday practice, to chant and have a discussion, and everyone’s always asking if I’m going to go, and I’m like, ‘No way, are you kidding me?’ That’s what yoga is for them, and that’s great. I’m not dissing it; it just doesn’t work for me.
See also A Beginner's Guide to Meditation
5. He focuses on the breath.
For me, yoga is not a workout. It’s a way to be better in touch with my inner self. I could practice for the next 30 years and I may never be able to get into Lotus, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not practicing yoga. In the end, when we’re old and frail and still practicing, all we have is our breath.
FAVORITE YOGA FLOW
Sun Salutations. I could just do 20 of them for my entire practice. They open up everything and make it easy to follow the lead of your breath.