Meet Master Teacher: James Murphy

This week Kathleen Kraft interviews James Murphy, Director of the Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York. Murphy has been practicing yoga in 1988 and teaching since 1990. He has made ten extended trips to India to study with the Iyengar family. He began his study of Iyengar with Mary Dunn and Kevin Gardiner after a ten-year career with the Alwin Nikolais Dance Theater.

Continuing in his leadership role in working to create evolving programs and an active interchange of teachers and practitioners in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, he teaches a full range of classes, including a class for those living with HIV/AIDS. He also does mentoring and training in the Institute’s teacher training program.

A yoga practitioner of unusual integration and ability, James is featured in the Yoga Journal book, Yoga, and has been interviewed for numerous articles in national magazines.

Devoted and long-time student Meg Walsh-Sinkel said, "James Murphy is an inspiration and a force! His mastery of yoga and his art of teaching Iyengar yoga are dynamically expressed and deeply felt in every class. His sequences are intelligently threaded and fluid, challenging and ultimately transformative. And he teaches consistently, without ego, and with a sense of humor."

Kathleen Kraft: What does your yoga practice look like every day?

James Murphy: First I want to say that I don’t consider myself a master teacher. I feel like I’m still a beginner student even though I’ve been practicing for a long time and have certifications that are higher than other people’s. My teachers, the Iyengars, and others, like Mary Dunn, are masters.

My practice changes over time and depends on what the situation is week to week, but the main things I practice regularly are pranayam