In Memoriam: Rachel Greene 1963-2006


Rachel “Preeti” Greene was a yoga teacher who specialized in teaching to heart and cancer patients. She passed away May 26 of complications from open heart surgery. I met her briefly at a Yoga conference, and had heard glowing reports of her work. If anyone has memories of Rachel they’d like to share, please feel free to post them as comments.

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3 comments on “In Memoriam: Rachel Greene 1963-2006

  1. When I first met Rachael (Preeti) her smiling face and impish ways captured my heart. She truly embodied the compassionate heart of a true Yogi. The limitations of her physical heart seemed only to enhance both her emotional and spiritual hearts.

    Having known her for many years, it was in 1998 that our common joy burgeoned. During the Yoga of the Heart Certification Course we became teacher and student but more importantly two yogis seeking to serve those with Heart Disease.

    When shortly thereafter, Rachel was chosen to be “The Yoga Teacher” at Walter Reed Army hospital for their research on heart disease, we both were overjoyed and delighted. Such a sweet soul was now leading generals, colonels, soldiers, sailors, pilots and yes, even senators in the great teachings of Yoga. On my many speaking engagements at Walter Reed, my heart always rejoiced when experiencing Rachel’s gentle triumph.

    One of her greatest gifts to herself and to all of us was her ability to react to situations with a childlike abandonment.

    Joining me on an “offical” visit to India, to research Yoga Therapy at a conference where I was presenting, we had the blessing to visit many Temples. Always enthralled by the mystical as well as the physical, she showed the same loving respect to the deities as well as the beggars outside.

    During that same trip, we had cabins next door to each other. One afternoon, I suddenly heard a blood-curdling scream. Running out the door Preeti and I collided. Eyes big as chapattis, she yelled “I JUST STEPPED ON A HUUUUGGGGE COCKROACH!!!!! (Her hand showing a three-foot span). People were coming round to see what had happened. At the same moment she and I burst out in peels of laughter, as the three foot span began to grow. We were holding onto our sides and bending over in complete hilarity.
    With her fun and laughter we also shared tenderness. In an email just a few weeks before she left her body she wrote, “You came to me in a dream the other night as the Mother-Goddess and I could not speak because all I could do was weep. It was really beautiful.”
    She also came to me in a dream the night after her surgery. When she appeared she bestowed on me one of her most generous smiles and let me know that no matter what happened she is radiating joy. Her capacity to fully embrace the gamut of emotions with abandonment is one of her greatest gift and is a true inspiration to many.
    With her departure from this earth my heart mourns, yet, it filled with her laughter, her kindness and compassion and unrestricted joy. All her family, friends and the students she has touched will continue to recall her qualities for many years and repose, “It was a blessing to have known her.” And among the most adoring will be me. Nischala Joy Devi

  2. Rachel and myself crossed paths when I was working on a study of an altenative program that used yoga for stress reduction for people over the age of 65. While I never met her in the years I worked on this study, I had the chance to speak with her and ask her about what yoga could do for people who were seeking a better way to live with heart disease. I knew she believed that yoga was more than just a practice, it was a doorway to living more fully in this world. While her time on earth was brief, the work she did was meaningful and will go on through the many yoga teachers who believe that this ancient practice is the pathway to living more fully.

  3. I’m saddened to learn that Rachel has died at such a young age. I met her in 1983 when she was waiting on tables at her mother’s Park Place Cafe in Washington, DC. I remember that she was in art school at the time but I’ve never seen her work and wonder whether any of it is online.

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