Jim Bernaert and Ruth Schlank

Marriage: 22 May 1993 on the Big Island of Hawaii

Note: have been together since 1976


Pictures of Jim and Ruthie teaching Yoga on Ruthie's Page

From the Yoga Mandali site:

JIM BERNAERT - is Yoga Mandali's most senior Anusara certified teacher trainer. His expertise in yoga, knowledge of the human body and the Anusara principles is profound. Jim began the study of yoga in 1985 and studied mostly with Iyengar teachers, including John Friend until Anusara was developed in 1997. Jim's ability to communicate simply - make his classes a real learning experience.

From http://www.mygeneration.org/departments/2002/health/0505_c.html [now offline]

In an intermediate yoga class, I watch our teacher, Jim Bernaert, demonstrate the next pose. Balancing on perfectly parallel forearms, he lightly kicks his legs up into the air and, hovering just shy of the wall, poises his slender 6-foot-3-inch, 59-year-old body upside down, with the barest ripple of effort. I meet the eyes of a fellow striving student, and we shake our heads in admiration.

Knee and back pain drove Bernaert to begin practicing yoga when he was 42. He suspects that playing basketball on asphalt from ages 7 to 17 contributed to his knee problem in adulthood. As Dr. Nisonson says, "If people had problems or injuries when they were younger, they will show up later on."

As an athlete, Bernaert had nary a thought about strength or flexibility. But new limitations turned his attention from the exhilaration of competition to how his body works. He began teaching himself yoga and with his wife, Ruthie, soon began instructing others. This carpenter-turned-yoga-teacher says that practicing yoga's challenging stretches increased his hip flexibility, and standing poses strengthened the muscles around his knees, eliminating the chronic pain.

Just as neurologists learn about the brain by observing those with some function missing, a chronic problem can deepen our understanding of the body's design. Pain is what led Bernaert to yoga. "I could write a long paper on the body parts I've injured," he says, "but now I can do things I thought I never could do before. I remember the thrill the first time I was able to do a handstand or a back bend. Now I believe that, with the exception of my knees, there's nothing I can't do, if I keep at it."