Depictions of the Dalai Lama early in his life help demonstrate that great wisdom and skill can be found in a young body. Yet when I picture great masters of yogic and spiritual disciplines, I can’t help but visualize mature teachers such as B.K.S. Iyengar, Patthabi Jois, and my teacher, Yogi Bhajan.

With those images in mind, my brain always does a double take when I attend dharma talks led by Tantric Buddhist teacher Pema Khandro. While her appearance and playfulness reveal a 30-something body, the presence of a Buddha is unmistakable when she speaks. While perhaps a more common occurrence in Tibet or India, young and realized teachers in the West—and in my own backyard—still surprise me.
Andrea Kowalski