[GOOD] Kofi Busia Wears Sweaters

regular people clothes

First, let’s talk about Kofi Busia and the fact that he not only wears regular people clothes, including chunky cable-knit sweaters, but that he also wears them while teaching yoga.

regular people clothes assisting

regular people clothes correcting

Not to be confused with the late Prime Minister of Ghana, Kofi Abrefa Busia, who also wore regular people clothes, Kofi has been teaching yoga for almost forty years, most of which from within the Iyengar method. Most of which while wearing regular people clothes.

regular people clothes praying

As far as we’re concerned, wearing regular people clothes, and especially chunky cable-knit sweaters, while teaching yoga is awesome and can only lead to a more integrated experience for all.

regular people clothes smiling

regular people clothes looking askance at someone probably not wearing regular people clothes

In fact, I’ll come straight out and say it: I think more yoga instructors wearing regular people clothes is more likely to create long-lasting sustainable progressive change in the yoga “community” faster than any ballot initiative, any PhD dissertation turned book (Stop doing that! We can tell!), any Occupy Yoga march, any potluck with an unsavory amount of quinoa salad, and certainly any endorsement of a presidential candidate.

regular people clothes wearing socks

I’m also of the opinion that the acceptance of the chunky sweater thing, and even more so the we-all-do-it-at-some-point willingness to participate in bicycle spandex shorts thing is a testament to the integrity of both the Iyengar and Jois traditions. See how easy it is for Ashtanga yogi David Swenson to pull it off…



Compare that to, say, John Friend, an Iyengar drop-out (or, so I have been told) wearing bicycle shorts….


Every time I see him wearing these jams I have to stop myself from yelling at the computer screen, “Dad! Put on some clothes! My friends are coming over!” as I swing my head toward the front door in fear that it may be true. Then I remember John Friend is not my father, thank the Holy Mother, and start to long-deep-breathe just to settle my nerves.

I think we could all take a non-fashion cue from Kofi Busia.


  1. Kofi! My dearest teacher. What a joy to see his face on this fine soggy morning. He also only demos one pose ever no matter what pose he is discussing. This can be a comments section “test”: If you know the only pose kofi demos in his cable knit, you get a free class with me. I also do quite the good impression of him–and that’s not just me saying so. I’ll also do my impression if you know the pose and you come to class. Xx

  2. Oh, also: Extra Credit (my Sharon Gannon impression) if you identify the white man in Natarajasana that Kofi is assisting. I’ll supply hints if you need a hand. May the best ____ win!

      • Now, Babs, you might not be able to join this competition since if you answer correctly and you would like to retrieve your reward you will have to reveal your self to me…well, I guess if you can see through your burka sufficiently I can still do my impressions for you. Okay, so, no. Not McEnroe. But good guess!

        Here is the first hint:
        He does body work and may have Aspergers (for the record that’s MY diagnosis and mine only)

  3. I don’t care about the name-dropping. Except, this kind of teaching image reminds me of Mr. Rogers.
    If yoga HAS to be a business, Mr. Rogers would have done business on a handshake!

    It also points up to the fact that yoga is not about fitness per se. That it is also philosophical and spiritual.
    Alignment is not for looks, but for the result of feeling in the alignment.

    The noetic aftereffects of my practice are far better if my practice were done in alignment. Yoga is about how you feel, and not how you look.

  4. Dyspeptic Skeptic

    Alex: Glenn Black likely. Triangle possibly.

    • Woo hoo! You got it! Trikonasana (and you’ll have to come find me to see and hear me do it and say it like Kofi) AND Glenn Black. And for your extra credit I will throw in my Sharon GAnnon which is unbeatable, I’ve been told. I guess you will have to reveal yourself to me. OR, at some point during each of my classes this week, I could do Kofi and Sharon and maybe you will be in one of those classes and you can remain anon but still get your reward? Tho you won’t be able to claim your free class… Thanks for taking the test! I’m impressed. X

      • Awww, where’s that Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood handshake?

        I actually once had a yoga teacher who taught yoga in shirt and business slacks. (Not Iyengar or Anusara style, but very, very similar—and alignment oriented, as those two styles are … Though not every session.

        The only one from whom I’d had countertransference. He was from India (not IN India) …

      • Dyspeptic Skeptic

        The satisfaction of the answer is the reward. Actually we have met, no great mystery.

        • Hmmm…..well if we meet again can you give me a sign of some sort….when we are next in the same room what if you said “cable knit sweaters” ? It drives me crazy not knowing who some of you are! Yesterday there were only 3 of my regulars in the class I taught at my place and I did my Kofi AND Sharon just in case….

  5. Itstrue

    AAAAhhhhh you beat me to it, although I was cheating and decided to google image him and found nothing! By reasonable deduction, It couldn’t have been headstand cause that sweater would get all up in his mouth!

    • Oh hi, Itstrue–I wrote you yesterday but somehow I didn’t post it right. I would have loved to do my impressions for you. Let’s see what Babs comes up with for the next post and perhaps I can invent another test. x

  6. Chai Fan

    What a delightful post! Right up until…AAAH! The horrifying John Friend image ! (despite the photo-shopping attempt). Thanks for the hilarious jolt! I guess the lesson is great style is wearing what you wear (whatever it is) and making it look effortless and right- like Kobi in sweaters, David Swenson in spandex shorts.

  7. Thanks Babs, I didn’t even know who Kofi was, I think it’s awesome that a Mr. Rogers dressalike can teach just as well (and probably better) as any lulu-clad yogilebrity
    (And no, John Friend is not “dad”, he’s your best friend’s creepy dad who is always uncomfortably close, patting your shoulder…)

  8. Earth Energy Reader, Kofi Busia is not even in the same universe as lulu-clad yogilebrities.

  9. Kofi Busia is most awesome and even worth staying at Kripalu Center for 5 days every January to study with him. Sorry someone else beat me to “Trikonasana” but Kofi is like no one else and he really wears those sweaters beautifully!

    • Joanna, I love love love him. And what about his delicious scent…he uses some kinda special something that makes me feel cozy and and relaxes the old nervous system when we walks by, let alone adjusts.

  10. amphibi1yogini

    Amphibians rule: Something tells me this Kofi loves to swim … maybe not as much as Mr. Rogers did … but he doesn’t shy away from bodies of water …

    Love the cozy scents that come either from Aveda or the corner incense dealer …!

  11. Greenpoint

    dude is dope…

  12. I’ve always thought it would be pretty funny for a whole class to show up in Kofi-sweaters. If anyone out there is planning to go to Kripalu this January, call to register with the group “Erin” and you’ll get 20% off your accommodations. Kofi is worth the expense of a trip to Kripalu, but this might make it easier for some.

  13. Pingback: 5 Trailblazing Black Yoga Teachers - Anacostia Yogi

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