About Peter Ferko

Peter Ferko is an author who draws on lifelong pursuits in yoga, art, and music. His novel Wally and Kali is a poignant, funny, sexy tale of love and family all set in the realm of New York City's vibrant yoga scene. 

Peter is a yoga master who teaches classes and teacher training at ISHTA Yoga, a well-known yoga studio in Manhattan and is co-director of The Table, a yoga and arts space in Brooklyn.

Peter lives and works with fellow yogiraj, Wendy Newton, their ever-amusing dog, Mica, and the cat formerly known as Prince. Their son Chris makes delicious food for the folks in Maine.

What’s going on…

JOIN ME On the yoga front:

  • Come to class at ISHTA Yoga.
  • Keep up to date by joining the mailing list at The Table.
  • Come for a private lesson or tune-up. Email me at peter at peterferko.com. 
  • Peter is teaching in the 300-hr teacher ISHTA Yoga Training in Manhattan this fall! Training is a transformative way to deepen your understanding of yoga, whether or not you want to teach.

On the writing front:

  • Wally and Kali is for sale at Amazon.com.
  • Peter's next novel, Incarnation is underway.
  • Peter's short story collection, Black Hole of the Heart is underway.

About Wally and Kali:

Available at Amazon.com in paperback and for Kindle readers and smartphones.

When Wally looks for the path to love, he finds a naked yogini, a smiling guru, and a ruthless goddess lighting the way. Wally can't figure out how to transcend his life-long string of not quite right relationships. His latest mismatch introduces him to yoga, and while she's soon gone, Wally is hooked and books a vacation at an ashram. There Molly, naked and 20 years old, befriends him, then confounds his fatherly inclination toward her with a profession of love. But it’s Molly’s mom, Jane who ends up taking Wally to the altar. Life is bliss for Jane and Wally; for Jane's teenage son Dink; and even for Molly, who is surprised by her attraction to another girl. Havoc ensues when Dink's girlfriend leaves him, and he falls under the torturous spell of unrequited desire, a torment reflected in an intertwined tale in the language of his job at the comic book store. Walt finds the challenge around this new kind of relationship — that with a son — the darkest he’s ever faced, and the whole family is pulled in. Enter Kali, goddess of transformation. A joyful guru gets Dink to yoga class, and a tantric yogini-- or is she a goddess?-- takes the entire family on an unexpected journey.

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This book was one of the most enjoyable reads ever, for me. I lean toward the classics when it comes to fiction. Wally and Kali is really brilliantly written. There is a beautiful rhythm and flow to Peter Ferko's writing. His characters are so fully constructed; the world he creates in this book completely enveloped me and I didn't want to leave it. I couldn't wait to return to it. I can't wait to read his future books.

—Commenter on Amazon.com

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My niece, Haley, was about six when Wendy and I sat with her to have tea one vacation day in Dewey Beach. We all had cups of tea and we each added sugar. Haley stirred her tea for a long time after Wendy and I had laid down our spoons. When I asked her what she was doing, she proudly explained her logic, “My mom said, the more you stir it, the sweeter it gets.”

I think a lot of people who practice yoga, including many teachers, suffer from this same limited kind of logic.

We see the physical result but are confused about the cause.

Then we mistakenly think that the result is what we are going for. In yoga, this leads to two faulty sets of actions:

  1. Asana done for the wrong reason; and
  2. Asana done incorrectly, because someone else did it that way.

1. Asana done for the wrong reason

Let’s take number 1. If you presume asana is like stirring the tea, then you just do a sequence because it moves you. It’s obvious, it’s what you see when a yoga master practices. But like my sweet niece, who didn’t understand that the sugar completely dissolved during the first few stirs of the tea, the yoga practitioner who has not grasped the nature of what we’re doing thinks the yoga master is simply doing a sequence of postures.

At ISHTA Yoga, we study to experience the whole nature of things, as they have been described by yogis for millennia and are being similarly described by physicists today: we are energy, combining and manifesting in ways that our senses perceive and our minds describe. Asana is a movement of energy in the body to create a shift in energy. It may provide health, ease of sitting, or balance to allow a meditation where the mind goes still enough to experience personally what the yoga writings (and physicists) say, which is that the universe goes back and forth from multiplicity to singularity.

To say, ‘I don’t care about those esoteric things; I just do yoga for my body,’ is like Haley continuing to insist, now at age 19 that the tea gets sweeter the more you stir it (she laughed when I told her the story last month). It’s ignoring what’s going on in fact.

2. Asana done incorrectly

Looking from both a purely physical and an energetic place, an asana can have one affect on one practitioner and a different effect on another. The difference can be subtle, as in making one person more grounded and another more obsessively striving (which reads on devices like blood pressure gauges); or it can be overt, as when it helps one person stretch the piraformus while causing another to tear the anterior cruciate ligament (potential results of pigeon pose).

tea-photo-67We need to move beyond thinking of asana as only having its own value. We say things like it’s a meditation in motion, or it reverses the aging process or it overcomes fear, or it builds discipline. But every time we do asana, it moves prana in our system, it affects the headquarters of that prana in the chakras, it influences the physical, emotional, nervous, and other subtle systems that make us up — and it moves the body.

And that’s why it’s sweeter.

Find out about workshops on yoga philosophy and other topics for yogis by signing up for Peter & Wendy’s newsletter at www.thetable-brooklyn.org

Andrew W.K., Village Voice journalist, self-proclaimed party man, and advice columnist, has knocked one out of the cosmic park with his response to a son frustrated with his father’s politics.

The commenters dive right back into the fray nearly ignoring the article, but I know from experience that if you give a little in a personal conversation with someone, you can move beyond the us vs. them anger that dominates the media.

Andrew states in his article the opinion that I’ve been carrying since this Congressional term began, that there is no triumph of one side available here, only the hope for a new way to engage in a dialog of joint solution-making that makes all sides feel heard (or feel human, to use Andrew’s word). Read his advice column post here: Ask Andrew W.K.: My Dad Is a Right-Wing Asshole.

The idea of visualizing peaceful coexistence is a mainstay of Yoko Ono’s work; a tweet this week proposed a practice to help make it so:

Go from one room to another opening and closing each door. Do it very slowly. Imagine opening and closing people’s minds when you do this.

-@yokoono on twitter

And there’s a group that came out of Occupy Wall Street called Occupy Love, who are advocating a “third way” to avoid one side just becoming the other in a ping pong  of misunderstanding and, well, un-love. One slogan in the blog is “We are the 100%.” Here’s the trailer to their movie, directed by Velcrow Ripper.


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