A founding editor of Yoga Journal
Lives in: San Francisco
Forty years ago, a group of friends from the California Yoga Teachers Association gathered at Judith Hanson Lasater’s Berkeley, California, house to talk about their shared dream: to launch a yoga magazine. “We sat around on a green Oriental rug, and it was like one of those old Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland movies where the kids would say, ‘Let’s put on a show!’” recalls Lasater, PhD, PT, who had been teaching yoga since 1971. “None of us had any experience in publishing. We had no market research. But no one told us we couldn’t do it, so we thought we could.”
In May 1975, using $5oo from a MasterCard as seed money, the five founders published the first issue of Yoga Journal. What the magazine lacked in glitz and high production values, it made up for in sincerity. “It was a labor of love,” Lasater says. “We did it because our hearts told us to.” Lasater has been the magazine’s guiding spirit ever since, writing many pieces, including the Asana columns for 13 years. A onetime student of B.K.S. Iyengar in both India and the United States and a founder of the Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Francisco, Lasater is a trained physical therapist who specializes in restorative yoga, using props to support the body to facilitate relaxation and health. She has written eight books on yoga, including 1995’s Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times and Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life, recently updated. Lasater also trains teachers in kinesiology, yoga therapeutics, and the Yoga Sutra across the country (so far, in 47 out of 5o states) and gives workshops around the world.
“Teachers help people find themselves. To be able to do that as a yoga teacher is a great honor,” she says. “I want to give yoga away. It’s like love: Giving it away is what keeps it alive. It has power because we pass it on.” (judithhansonlasater.com)
As a member of our prestigious advisory council that selected the Good Karma Award winners, Lasater did not choose herself, though the YJ editors had her at the top of our list. Thank you, Judith!
See alsoMeet the Innovators: Judith Hanson Lasater