image from the Nathaniel's east village group's T-shirt.
The original image of Nathaniel making The Scorpio
pose is was taken by Robert Mapplethorpe.
My first class ever!
By Mia Goldstein
16 years back, I was living in NYC, happily studying
art and Photography at the School of Visual Arts.
My Israeli friend Zemach tried to convince me to join
this very special
yoga class, that was taught for free. Being the Israeli
that I was, I thought to try it out - what's to lose?
It's for free.
Surprisingly enough, or not surprisingly, most of
the students sitting on mats at the small cozy east
village space were Israeli's. All I could remember
from my first Yoga experience was a well built, soft
skinned beautiful man, with a gentle appearance and
even gentler voice, explaining the benefits of the
"breath of fire".
The exercises and postures made no sense to me back
then, but Nathaniel's loving presence and kindness
was enough to keep me coming back weekly, until I
had the courage to jump into the "scary"
claws of the intensive yoga of the Jivamukti Yoga
Center everyone moved on to.
I have been practicing Yoga since then, and have been
teaching for 12 years Vijnana Yoga.
I am not sure I would have entered my Yogic life without
the loving, encompassing grace and care of this wonderful
man names Nathaniel Berry.
The Gift of
By Zohar Zemach Wilson
In 1993 I was working in an advertising
agency in New York City. A demanding job in a stressful
city. A friend told me that I should try yoga. I asked
my friend "What is yoga?" She smiled and
replied, "There's a guy who teaches a free yoga
class once a week in the East Village. Check it out
and you'll find what it is."
So I went. Took me time to understand what's the relationship
between sitting in the dark while making a strange
omming sound and some unfamiliar body postures. But
I kept coming and started to like it. Nathaniel Berry,
the mysterious teacher who wouldn't
charge his students was a very handsome and fit man.
He had a deep voice, yet would also be very playful
with his voice, connected also to his femenine side.
I began feeling more relaxed, less stressed. I started
relating to my body in a way I never experienced before.
I wanted more of this yoga thing; once a week wasn't
enough anymore. So in addition to Nathaniel's weekly
class, I started taking yoga classes in other yoga
studios that I found. It's been over ten years since
Nathaniel left his body. I still practice yoga, just
like many others who were introduced to yoga by Nathaniel
and who continue living yoga as well as teaching yoga
Personally for me it didn't stop there. The world
of physical yoga invited me into a deeper exploration
of body, mind, and spirit. As my diet has changed,
so did my thoughts and perspectives. This led into
a big shift that ended (or began) with my decision
to leave my advertising career and go back to school
to become a holistic health counselor.
Thank you Nathaniel for the gift of sharing your love
to yoga with me and others. The inspiration you gave
us will never cease to create waves.
Zohar Zemach Wilson is the founder
and director of Alok
By Jenny Seymore Montgomery
Nathaniel was a beautiful and athletic
yogi who always seemed to have a delightful secret
in his heart. He arrived at class carrying his
bicycle, buoyant, relaxed, joking with his students.
His humor often touched on the absurdities of our
crazy lives in NY - the rushing, straining, surviving.
Nathaniel's inner strength and goodness just shone
out from him. He gave so generously of his time
and energy in his yoga classes, which were always
unpredictable, challenging, and filled with a warm
community spirit. The class was his karma yoga,
his community action, and he inspired others to ask,
"What can I give, right here and right now?"
Asanas, pranayama, chanting, and meditation were practiced
to the accompaniment of powerful music, anything from
Indian ragas to disco! It was a difficult time
in my life, and a tough time downtown generally, especially
for those OF OUR FRIENDS fighting HIV and AIDS.
Nathaniel's classes were a clean, bright oasis for
me and many others. Once he had us over
to his beautiful home and we sat on the terrace in
the sun while he served us healthy snacks. I
saw his picture in a book of photographs by Robert
Mapplethorpe there. Nathaniel seemed to have
found immense peace in his life when I knew him.
The example of his giving spirit was rare and inspiring.
He seemed to be fully in tune with his purpose.
Nathaniel never promoted a particular school of yoga,
he simply taught and practiced "yoga" -
union with the divine - in a playful, loving, and
rather miraculous way. His talks about yoga
and life helped us face fears and discover new realms
of balance, strength, and movement, not only in our
I recall the artist Luca Pizzorno
balanced for a glorious moment in Scorpion pose, and
then collapsing with joyful breathless laughter as
we applauded his courage and beauty. Both Luca
and Nathaniel have passed on now. Thanks Nathaniel
for sharing yourself so generously! The rippling
outward of your loving teachings continues.....