Get It While You Can

abdouThe African dance class in my town hosts a different teacher every week. Last week, our teacher was the famous Guinean dancer Abdoulaye Sylla. A few days later, while teaching in Sebastopol, California, he suffered a heart attack in class and died. During one of many memorials, a drummer said, “For any artist, that is the best way to go out- during class, while bringing the joy.”

Some people didn’t make it to Abdoulaye’s class last week. Maybe they had a work conflict or there was too much traffic. They figured they’d catch him the next time he comes though town. The finality of death never factored in. Now we know that “Carpe Diem” is not only based on our own health and schedule. We need to recognize the people and sources around us.

One of the main reasons I still live in this town is to study Asthanga yoga with Tim Miller. Sometimes I feel lazy and don’t want to go to class; I would prefer to binge watch TV with my cats. But I get myself to class by reasoning, “Today you’re healthy and you have an opportunity to practice with people who are better than you. Take advantage of that.” Before living here I was a traveler, or I lived in the bush, or I couldn’t afford class. Now I have access to people practicing 4th series and others who have been practicing for 35 years. Now is my opportunity to learn. Everyday.

Below is a video from an Abdoulaye class. For more African dance videos, visit


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