In Memoriam: Barry Koski

In Memoriam: Barry Koski
71 yo August ? 1949-December 11, 2020

Many of you will remember Barry Koski, one of Samamkaya’s most devoted and beloved students. With enormous sorrow and regret, we, the faculty and members of Samamkaya Yoga must inform you that Barry died on December 11, 2020 at the age of 71 due to cardiac arrest he suffered on November 28. He was in a medically induced coma soon after the cardiac arrest and as far as we know, his death was peaceful. 

Barry was a cherished student at Samamkaya. He was featured in our welcome video for beginners on our website and was interviewed for both of the New York Times articles about Yoga Union Center for Backcare & Scoliosis and Samamkaya Yoga written by Natalie Shutler. He started his yoga lessons in 2013 with a pronounced right thoraco-lumbar curve, extreme disorientation, and body dysmorphia. Early on, he often experienced dizziness and terrible frustration when moving toward better alignment—but he persevered. Unless he was travelling, Barry never missed his Tuesday afternoon private yoga lesson with Deborah Wolk, and he built up to taking class at least twice a week with Deborah or with some of his other favorite teachers: Rachel Jesien, Patricia Videgain, Elizabeth Reiback, and Jon Musgrave. He will always be remembered by teachers and students by his kind and gentle manner, friendliness, and attachment to the window in the southwest corner of the studio!

Few other students had so many obstacles to success, but Barry’s quality of life, outlook, coordination, pain patterns, and outward appearance was transformed in a positive way that we have rarely seen in other students. This was due solely to his hard work and devotion.

Barry and Mr. Peabody adored each other. Mr. Peabody would wait expectantly for Barry to arrive for his lesson and even knew where his scoliotic patterns were—he would sometimes gently deliver a delicate little “nosey” into the apex of the scoliotic concavity during Adho Mukha Virasana. Very often they ended the lesson this way: Mr. Peabody sitting or lying on Barry’s abdomen in sling Viparita Karani.

Barry is survived by his beautiful wife Naná, daughter Annette, Son-in-Law Josh, 1 year old granddaughter Zoe and his adorable Norfolk Terrier Roger. 

We already miss him so much.

It is Barry’s family’s belief that he would have wanted, more than anything, for Samamkaya to continue to grow and thrive.  They have asked that donations be sent to Samamkaya in his memory.  You can find the GoFundMe here.

As a way to bring Barry’s friends and family together along with our own students and to share with you the life-changing practice that meant so much to Barry we are happy to offer a donation-based therapeutic yoga class taught as a benefit by Deborah Wolk on Jan 3 1-2pm EST in Barry’s memory.  Donations can start as low as $5, and the suggested donation is $25.  For anyone who can not pay, please write to and we will accommodate you as well.  

The class will be geared for any level even if you have never practiced yoga  before (and you’ll be at home!  you can shut your camera off if you’d like). Deborah will teach some of Barry’s favorite poses and will explain how they helped him.  After class she’ll keep the Zoom meeting on so we can all meet and chat and have a little memorial gathering. We are looking forward to meeting you and thanking you all in person.

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