Who are you? What kind of yoga do you teach? Is it just something you do for fun? Why would I want to do yoga? Why would I want to do yoga with you? Will yoga help me lose weight?
If these are the questions you’re asking, then they are the very same question I ask myself. I have attempted to answer some of the questions, and one has been slowly revealing itself to me, as Rainier Maria Rilke would say, that I am “living along some distant day into the answer.”
In one such self-inquiry, why I do yoga, I lazily said that “so I can sit”. This is a true statement. Lazy, yes. But true. While pondering why I teach yoga, I mentioned that I am responding to the urges that motivate me. This, too, is true. Vague? For sure. But also true.
Another less vague reason for why I teach yoga is to promote and facilitate learning the poses in a safe and efficient way.
A Tool for Concentration
I trained like an animal, but the thing is focus and concentration. When the bell rings it’s like when the little red light goes on over the camera. And I can usually nail my lines on the first or second take because I’m right there. – Mickey Rourke
You probably don’t need to be convinced that having strong concentration and focus not a terrible thing. In fact, it is a much coveted thing. The yoga practice provides a tool to cultivate that ability.
As interested as I am in all the yogic philosophy and history, as committed as I am to the anatomy and alignment of the body, my yoga practice and teaching is geared towards one thing: the ability to focus and concentrate, the ability to stay in the present moment.
In other words, I’m doing this practice so that I can sit still for a couple minutes, an hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, 8 hours. In the words of meditation teacher Shinzen Young, I do this so that I can learn how to have complete experiences, sitting or not, where my mind can stick around without reactively responding to any urges to bolt.
A Tool for Maximizing The Human Potential
Still, to say that I teach or practice yoga so that I can sit and meditate is not entirely accurate. “What could be more boring than sitting?”, meditation teacher Jack Kornfield once said.
It’s true, the act of meditation, when compared to other things, like dancing, having dinner with an old friend, watching a great movie, making love, etc. is just quite frankly not nearly as entertaining.
I teach this practice in the hope that we, you and I, can learn to make, as Ernest Wood said in his book Concentration, “… ordinary life to be saner than it is–thought clearer, love cleaner, will calmer.”
It is all about optimizing our life through a dedicated practice, over a long period of time, observing and working with our physical bodies, mind, breath, thoughts, feelings, taking what we learn in a more contained environment into every day life so that it be sweeter, saner.
The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing. – German Proverb
Having said that, I strongly believe in teaching what I know and teaching from my experience. You can read more about my teaching philosophy and style here. My current specialties are:
- Yoga for Newbies/Intro to Yoga/Greenie Yoga – No matter what you call it, if you know nothing or next to nothing about yoga, I’ll be honored to take you through the beginning learning curve.
- Alignment-Based Techniques – My training is deeply rooted in the Iyengar tradition of focusing on alignment. “I’m an Iyengar knock-off”, my teacher Theresa Elliott would say. I’m also influenced by different schools of thoughts concerning human movement, including research in the Physical Therapy and Yoga Therapy fields. I love exploring the details of what needs to happen to do a yoga pose in a comfortable, sustainable, and enjoyable way.
- Yoga for Climbing – I’ve been climbing for 9 years, and I highly enjoy weaving the physical and mental aspects of yoga and climbing and sharing them with fellow climbers.
- Yoga for Running – I ran Cross Country and Track through high school, and have continued to run 5ks, 8ks, relays, and marathons. I also started playing co-ed soccer after college, and my ankles, shins and knees have benefited much from a consistent yoga practice. Given that injuries often plague anyone who’s ever put on a pair of running shoes, I hope to help lessen some of that through yoga with you.
- Restorative Yoga – I believe deeply in the tremendous benefits of restorative yoga, as I experienced it first hand. As a society, we are overworked and tired. To rest is essential, and I enjoy teaching it almost as much as I enjoy laying on a hammock between two tall palm trees on a sandy beach on a sunny day. Almost. 🙂