My first aspiration as a teacher is to help you gain more awareness of your physical body so that you can move well and feel well.
You may do yoga to relieve stress and ache, become stronger and more flexible, (or maybe purely out of peer pressure). You may be an active athlete, recovering from an injury, or maybe you’re taking a vacation from your couch. Who you are and why you come to yoga matter to me, so that I can work with your body safely to achieve your goal.
My teacher Kathryn Payne once said , “Don’t give your students the crumbs, give them the whole cookie.” My intention is to explain concepts clearly, speak with no “yoga lingo”, and to make yoga accessible to everyone.
Approach & Style
Our bodies are never the same, depending on the time of day and time of life, and no one single yoga sequence is appropriate for all times. Our own physical makeup is also unique, and it’s rare that one single hard and fast “yoga cue” applies to everybody. For this reason, I focus on what my teacher Judith Lasater calls “Teach people, not poses”.
There are different types of poses such as backbends, forward bends, standing poses, inversions, or seated and restorative poses. What we work on may vary depending on the time of day, your yoga experience, and your energy level.
For techniques, I break down the mechanics of a posture so that you can learn how it feels, the changes in your body, and how do it on your own.
For Vinyasa flow, I focus on a deliberate and slow transition, which is as much a part of the pose as the pose itself.
For days when even the thought of standing is exhausting, we do Restorative yoga.
Above all, I know of no better learning aid than laughter, and I strongly believe that a sense of humor is an essential companion to our journey.
If I could compare my teaching style and philosophy with one thing, it would be how we might learn to play music.
There are many musical styles, which further vary depending on the musician. Similarly, there are many yoga styles that have been adapted and evolved according to the practitioner.
In music, there are fundamentals that remain true through time and across culture. In yoga, there are essential anatomical concepts that govern our instrument – the human body.
My intent is to help you understand your body and the poses so that you can safely practice at home or elsewhere, regardless of style. Just as with music, once you know how to read the notes and play the scales, you’ll have the skills and confidence to play the Blues or Beethoven.
I study Iyengar yoga, and am in a lineage of Iyengar and Iyengar-trained teachers. My Asana teacher, Theresa Elliott, became a certified Iyengar teacher in 1990. (Her mentor, George Purvis, was the first certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor in Texas in 1984.) I study frequently with Judith Lasater, who studied with B.K.S Iyengar and founded the Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Francisco in the 70s.
My Pranayama teacher Kathryn Payne has studied with the Iyengar family in India. Her teacher, Dona Holleman, studied with Mr. Iyengar in the 60s, and started the B.K.S.Iyengar School in Florence, Italy in the 70s, where she taught for 25 years.
Theresa and Judith–who’s also a Physical Therapist, however, continue to study the way the human body works, and have modified their teaching to fit with current knowledge of the how the human body is constructed and moves.
Dona Holleman, for all her Iyengar studies, maintains no allegiance to any teacher, and doesn’t want to be regarded as a teacher herself. She encourages students to find their own inner Teacher, which she believes lies within the body.