If you are on this page you may have known Barry Koski, a devoted and beloved student at Samamkaya Yoga Back Care & Scoliosis Collective . With enormous sorrow and indescribable sense of loss, we, the faculty and members of Samamkaya Yoga have learned that Barry died on December 11, 2020 at the age of 71 due to cardiac arrest he suffered on November 28. He was in a medically induced coma soon after the cardiac arrest and as far as we know, his death was peaceful.
Barry was a cherished student at Samamkaya. He was featured in our welcome video for new students on our website and was interviewed for both of the New York Times articles about Yoga Union Center for Backcare & Scoliosis and Samamkaya Yoga written by Natalie Shutler . He started his yoga lessons in 2013 with a pronounced right thoraco-lumbar curve, extreme disorientation, and body dysmorphia. Early on, he often experienced dizziness and terrible frustration when moving toward better alignment—but he persevered. Unless he was travelling, Barry never missed his Tuesday afternoon private yoga lesson with Deborah Wolk, and he built up to taking class at least twice a week with Deborah or with some of his other favorite teachers: Rachel Jesien, Patricia Videgain, Elizabeth Reiback, and Jon Musgrave. He will always be remembered by teachers and students by his kind and gentle manner, friendliness, and attachment to the window in the southwest corner of the studio!
Few other students had so many obstacles to success, but Barry’s quality of life, outlook, coordination, pain patterns, and outward appearance was transformed in a positive way that we have rarely seen in other students. This was due solely to his hard work and devotion.
Barry and Mr. Peabody, Deborah's little Maltese, adored one another. Mr. Peabody would wait expectantly for Barry to arrive for his lesson and even knew where his scoliotic patterns were—he would sometimes gently deliver a delicate little “nosey” into the apex of the scoliotic concavity during Adho Mukha Virasana. Very often they ended the lesson as in the photo above: Mr. Peabody sitting or lying on Barry’s abdomen in sling Viparita Karani.
Barry is survived by his beautiful wife Naná, daughter Annette, son-in-law Josh, one year old granddaughter, Zoe and his adorable Norfolk Terrier, Roger.
It is Barry's family's understanding that he would have wanted his friends and family to donate to help keep Samamkaya Yoga Back Care & Scoliosis Collective afloat and to thrive. You can read more about this 6 year old Worker's Cooperative here. Samamkāya Yoga Back Care & Scoliosis Collective is a therapeutic, worker-owned yoga studio. We are mission-driven. Our aim is to make yoga accessible and healing to students of all ages and abilities who are living with back injuries, chronic/acute pain, differently shaped spines/bodies, scoliosis and spinal fusions.
Due to COVID we are struggling to make ends meet with classes online and keep our amazing space which is fully equipped with props and other resources needed for a therapeutic center. We also offer scholarships and sliding scale classes to our students. $10 will pay the balance of a sliding scale class. $25 will pay for a free class for a student affected by COVID or a BiPOC who can not pay for class at all. $60 will help pay a teacher to teach a class and anything at all will help us pay our expenses and rent!! We are one of few yoga centers left in Manhattan with a physical space. Barry would have been first in line for his regular Thursday morning class once we re-open.
We also offer an Adaptive Yoga Class for the disabled which runs entirely on donations. If you would rather give to a 501-C3 our program accepts tax deductible donations through a fiscal sponsorship with Democracy at Work . Please contact us attn: Ashley Taylor for donation information.
Also, we will be offering a Barry Koski Memorial donation-based benefit Yoga Back Care Class taught by Deborah Wolk in the near future. It's another way to donate in Barry's memory and experience the life-changing practice he was so devoted to. We will be sending updates about the class through this GoFundMe, the Samamkaya weekly bulletin and social media. Thank you so much for helping us out.
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