About James Brown

James Brown created the AYS curriculum. The primary focus in James’s classes is the application of asana practice as a context for personal growth toward a happier life. He supports that endeavor by complementing skilled technique on the mat with practical information about human anatomy and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, both of which are useful tools for navigating the unique experience of each practitioner. James has been teaching yoga since 1996 and, since 2004, has led over 6,000 hours of teacher training.

James' Yoga Bio Timeline

  • 1965Born
    Just outside of Washington, DC, where his family has lived for 7 generations.
  • 1987Graduates from the US Navy's Instructor Training School
    Before his first teaching position, attends the school that all Navy teachers attend, no matter what they teach. Fascination with teaching skill starts here.
  • 1994Takes first yoga class
    Takes a 10-week introduction to Iyengar yoga course in Washington, DC..
  • 1996Begins teaching yoga
    First to a group of friends in Washington, Virginia, where he worked at The Inn at Little Washington.
    Then, in 1997, In Washington, DC at The Washington Ballet and at Results Gym.
  • 1998Teaches the Vice President's family
    Becomes the private instructor for the family of Vice President Al Gore, working especially closely with Mrs. Gore.
  • 1998Becomes the first Adjunct Professor of Yoga at American University
    In Washington, DC. Creates yoga course comprised of practice, philosophy and anatomy. Teaches the course through 2000 Fall Semester.
  • 2000Teaches on tour with The Red Hot Chili Peppers
    On their Californication world tour. Teaches the band daily before showtime and while on breaks in Los Angeles.
  • 2000Teaches the Presidential nominee's family
    On August 17, wakes Al and Tipper Gore on the morning of his nomination for US President. Teaches AM yoga to family, then a guided meditation that night before walking Mrs. Gore onstage, where she introduces her husband as the Democratic nominee.
    Then, in November and December, teaches the family in the Vice President's Residence with loud "Get Out of Cheney's House" demonstrators outside, then teaches Mrs. Gore in a private location during all three Supreme Court hearings surrounding Bush v. Gore.
  • 2001Meets his teacher, Maty Ezraty
    Begins practicing under the mentorship of YogaWorks founder Maty Ezraty in February of 2001. She remains his primary teacher.
  • 2001Begins teaching at YogaWorks
    Starts teaching in April at the original YogaWorks location on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. Continues to teach there for ten more years.
  • 2003Teaches first teacher training
    At YogaWorks in Costa Mesa. The first of many co-taught with the indefatigable Catherine Munro.
  • 2004Helps design and compile YogaWorks Teacher Training
    Works on a tiny team, with Julie Kleinman, Natasha Rizopolous, and Lisa Walford, to organize 17 years worth of various teachers' notes into the body of content that is now the YogaWorks teacher training, which has since grown to be the brand leader worldwide.
  • 2005Teaches actors on location in Kenya
    Teaches Rachel Weisz and Ralph Fiennes daily on location in Nairobi during filming of The Constant Gardener. Weisz goes on to win an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress; Fiennes is nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actor.
  • 2006Teaches Red Hot Chili Peppers at recording studio
    While recording Stadium Arcadium in the Hollywood Hills with producer Rick Rubin, another longtime private student of James. The album goes on to be nominated for six Grammy awards, winning four, including Best Rock Album.
  • 2006Teaches the first-ever YogaWorks Teacher Trainings outside of LA
    First at Yoga Tree in Seattle Washington. Goes on, over the next several years to introduce the YogaWorks training in San Francisco, Washington, DC, Australia, and all over Asia.
  • 2007Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize
    Somewhat surprisingly, this is the first time that one of James' students wins the honor. That year, Mr. Gore also receives an Oscar and an Emmy.
  • 2008Starts YogaPoser
    YogaPoser starts with the original mission to develop set-sequence yoga programming for fitness centers. After a pilot program with Equinox Fitness in Chicago, mission changes to focusing on teacher training content.
  • 2009Writes the YogaWorks Anatomy Course
    For the 200-Hour Training. The anatomy course is still in use in all of the 100+ trainings that YogaWorks presents around the world each year.
  • 2010Opens YogaPoser's Venice Beach Yoga House
    Creates an experimental teaching space centered around teacher training content featured in public classes steps from the Venice Beach Boardwalk in an elegant, modern architectural gem. Finds out quickly that difficult parking is a big barrier to expansion in LA.
  • 2011Rolling Stone calls him "A 2011 guru."
    Anne Philippi writes a piece that focuses on James' work with recovered drug addicts.
  • 2011W magazine calls him a "Miracle Worker"
    W calls YogaPoser "a welcome antidote to the Brentwood mom-style places that seem to dominate Los Angeles".
  • 2011Moves YogaPoser to Santa Monica's iconic Fred Segal retail complex
    YogaPoser adds 1,800 new students to the roster within two weeks of opening. What a difference parking makes.
  • 2012Begins writing for Huffington Post
    Begins regular contributions to The Huffington Post, writing about the everyday application of yoga philosophy as an accessible system for self-improvement.
  • 2012Becomes first Director of Yoga Content at YogaWorks
    Responsible for creation, management, and presentation of all YogaWorks teacher training content.
  • 2013Starts American Yoga School
    Closes YogaPoser's studio at Fred Segal in Santa Monica so he can focus on creating and distributing a higher level of teacher training content, based on fluency in the philosophy, anatomy, technique, and pedagogy of asana as authentic and complete yoga practice for the modern practitioner.
  • 2014Writes "How Yoga Alliance is Ruining Yoga"
    Two days after taking the new AYS website live, posts a blog piece about Yoga Alliance's role in the degradation of the quality of modern yoga instruction. It gets over 50,000 hits in a week and garners two long written responses from Yoga Alliance. Still considering how to use this momentum to choose the next steps toward greater integrity for teacher training curriculum worldwide.

    Stay tuned.