Why I study and teach yoga
I've practiced yoga with varying degrees of intensity and consistency for many years, starting in college. Especially when I was going through some tough times, my active practice helped me emotionally and mentally. Physically it did the same--I now view all these levels as fundamentally the same--so of course yoga made my body stronger and more flexible as it conditioned my less tangible aspects. I began to get into yin yoga in my 30s, following a vague but persistent idea that I needed to grow and embody a more feminine set of values. I had the sense that the pace of my life was not natural to who I deeply am, that I was unbalanced, that my attention was blown apart in many directions all at once (the phrase "continuous partial attention" which I had read in some article, nagged at me). I was also becoming more and more aware of, and disturbed by, the ways in which I was distracting myself from feeling. I was sad that some deep and valuable parts of me were being buried under layers of distraction and activity that lacked meaning. I wasn't really sure what all this added up to, or what really needed to change, but I see that the yin practice helped me dig into these areas of being and feeling, which started getting me in touch with my true nature, feelings, beliefs, assumptions, stories, and values. I started to engage with deeper questions more routinely and consciously (like what am I actually FEELING now?). All of this started to unravel my understanding of who I was (including sometimes my feeling of being a separate unitary self at all), what was going on with my life, what my values were... I wanted all that existential opening, and yin helped (and still helps). So, for awhile I engaged with yoga at that level--it was supportive of my day-to-day life and my internal journeys. I generally liked the people I met in yoga classes, and I was exceptionally lucky because the first yoga teachers I practiced regularly with (Danika Hendrickson and Julian Paik) are very special, wonderful teachers, and continue to be some of my favorite people.
When I decided to pursue a 200-hour yoga teacher training and also study yin yoga more deeply (also in the form of teacher training), I did not really intend to teach yoga. I figured I was already a teacher and I wanted to do something for myself for a change. Yet, during training and through a couple of substitute teaching experiences, I was surprised by the extent to which I wanted to help create a healing/change-of-consciousness experience for people, using all the tools at my disposal. It felt like a very natural thing to do. In retrospect I see I have been trying to give other people the same experience I have been having--I want to help people who are going through what I am going through. So, that is how I view yoga. It has become a vehicle to help people get more in touch with their immediate sensory experience (especially body experience), attention, emotion, stories and all--clearly, with as much acceptance and as little judgment as possible--I believe this is a powerful basis for healing. I have also experienced, through group classes I've taken and taught, as well as many bodywork seminars, the power of the group environment in generating a strong, transformative energy. People really do entrain to each other, and amplify each other. So, I consider yoga a means to help people change consciousness in a way that is supportive of undoing patterns that do not serve them--underneath the patterns is peace; real, trustworthy inner wisdom--your own set of completely personal, tailored-just-for-you answers. And of course on a physical level yoga can feel good and relaxing, or good and tiring, or it can just be nice to feel even the uncomfortable feelings, or the subtle feelings--it feels like you are alive, here and now, with your worthy, lovable self. I am excited and honored to be able to help create an environment that is conducive to people's internal connection, in this way.
It feels necessary to add: this process is not over, not at all! Nor is it linear, nor is it mess-free. But what a curious, colorful, and magical journey it is.
For a description of the classes I teach, click here.
For a current class schedule, click here.