Great American Yogi
Joel used to say, I am an acquired taste. And indeed, he was a rare human. We loved that about him. Joel had a depth of compassion and insight coupled with a cultivated mind with a laser intensity. He was known, along with his life partner, Diana Alstad, for helping so many people untangle the knots in their lives and relationships. To those who were close with Joel, he was the best of friends. To those who had the good fortune of studying with him, he was a generous and wise teacher. Joel and Diana were relationship gurus long before it was chic, having mined the depths of love and human behavior in their own relationship as an ongoing priority of conscious awareness.
Joel's Yoga Journal article entitled, Yoga As Self-Transformation, is still a primary teaching on Yoga, as relevant today as when he wrote it in 1980, with, among other principals, its concept of "playing the edges". His book, The Passionate Mind is also a yoga classic. And, The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power written by Joel and Diana is an influential book that will live on as a work of the most pertinent teachings, helping us understand the nature of authoritarianism from the family unit to organizations--spiritual, secular, and political. A book needed now more than ever.
The passing of Joel, who profoundly influenced Yoga, and our lives personally, is a very felt loss. We have all lost a wise man, a teacher, a friend, and a good man who wanted the world to be a better, more intelligent, humane place.
We will be forever grateful to Joel for his friendship, his service, his teachings, and his contributions to our lives, to the White Lotus Foundation where he once served as a board member, and to Yoga.