Sandra Krafsur

Sandra Krafsur smiling in front of a fountain

Hometown: I was born in Malden, MA, not far from Boston.  After graduating from Boston University, I came to MI as a newlywed in 1959, 

What attracted you to yoga: I threw my back out after the birth of our 3rd son.   Once the doctors ruled that this was not ‘too serious’, I knew I wanted to approach this as ‘natural’ as possible.   In those days, there were TONS of exercise classes… but fate was on my side, because ONLY a yoga class was offered on my ONE day per week with a babysitter ! (otherwise I would have signed up for an exercise class – lol )

…with much trepidation, I began with Kathleen Lund, who had been trained in Self Realization Fellowship (the organization founded by Paramahansa Yogananda).   There was an immediate attraction !  At the end of her 1st class, I realized I had “found something Special” !!   Eventually, I began taking 2 classes/week, and shortly, became ‘hungrier’ for even more !  

It wasn’t long before I began taking classes from, and would occasionally substitute for Betsy Bertolino & Ruth Gill .. all at the Jewish Community Center (JCC)   (These were the days long before Yoga Studios, so most classes were in gymnasiums)   Eventually I began teaching classes wherever there was an interest: The Jewish Center… people’s homes… etc   

The Beginning of our Beloved YAGD: Kathleeen asked me to sub for her summer classes at the Farmington YMCA in the early 1970’s.  This is where I met Karen Farkas… and over lunch one day, I mentioned that I would like to meet more yoga teachers… and the two of us began contacting other instructors that we’d heard of, with the help of Kathleen & her MANY contacts, which included Sallee Rosen.  Sallee offered her house for this “first meeting”.  T

here were probably 15 people at this ‘historical meeting’, and many of us did not know each other.  Most who came knew Kathleen Lund, who had actually TRAINED many of these women.  

EVERYONE was soooo excited to ‘meet other like-minded yoginis’ !!  And it was HERE that we decided to form a Group, and decided to meet once a month, so we could continue exchanging ideas & information…     

One of Kathleen’s students had a husband who was an artist, & he came up with our Logo… which is STILL so well admired.    

YAGD might even be the FIRST, which means the oldest Yoga Teacher’s Organizations in the country !    Lillias Folan, the popular Yogini of PBS in the 60’s & 70’s was the guest of YAGD a few times in the 1980’s & ‘90’s & said “ours was the ONLY yoga association she knew that included the whole spectrum of styles… where most yoga organizations were focused only on one style.”    (And at one point, someone in YAGD  DID want the Group to focus on one style… but all the others said NO ! )  

Here’s an interesting tidbit: In the early days, Kathleen used to purchase carpet padding, and cut it into 6 x 2 ft. ‘mats’ for her students… versus the thick, smelly gym mats, which was all that was available in those early years, along with camping pads, etc.   At some point in time, BKS Iyengar began making available what we now call ‘sticky mats’… and THEY became what we currently use.  (he didn’t ‘invent’ them, but he made them widely available)

My Teaching Style: I’m very eclectic:  I blend ‘the good aspects’ of many styles into what I teach.  Joel Kramer was a huge influence, as well as Kathleen & Betsy… along with Lilias Folan, Erich Schiffmann & Judith Lasater !

In the mid 90’s, I started teaching at the Birmingham Community House. I began with 2 evening classes per week… then THEY wanted to me to teach more, so I expanded & taught 4 classes per week.  Over the next 10 – 12 years, I began adding more classes.  And eventually found myself teaching 14 classes per week !  At that point, I was able to leave my part time job with the Troy Historical Museum, where I coordinated & taught programs, especially (but not exclusively) to children.  I also gave tours, & did many other interesting things for the Museum. 

Now here I am:  still teaching after almost 50 years !!     Up until COVID, I was still teaching those 14 classes a week !!    I currently teach (2) Zoom classes per week !  …and will go back to teaching at the Birmingham Unitarian church (once COVID is not a health issue any longer. 

So with all the restrictions of Covid currently in our societies, I still practice yoga EVERY day for 45 minutes -1 hour.  It helps me stay calm, rational & peaceful… as well as all the other healthy benefits it Gifts us.

About 6 years ago, I began a new hobby: I’ve been taking art classes using water colors !  I discovered you don’t have to be talented or great in order to have FUN, and, be Creative !!   
As my Gift to YAGD,  I’d like to offer one free Zoom class to any YAGD member, and after that, if you would like to become a regular student, classes are only $10 /1 hour 15 min.   I offer classes on Wed at 10:30 am & Sat 9:30 am.  Each class winds down with 5 minutes of meditation, before Savasana.   I’d love to see you !