I was led to yoga practice completely from within, 24 years ago. I remember distinctly being in my small studio apartment in Boston and getting this feeling that I needed to come into my body, feel it, move it, and be alone in stillness with myself. I practiced like this for a long time without ever knowing that what I was doing was yoga. One day I found myself in a bookstore where I came across a large pictorial book with the large letters YOGA written across the top and an image of Rodney Yee in Lotus Seat. I felt a strong urge to open the book and when I did I saw 100s of images of yoga postures…. With each turn of page, I saw that I had already been doing this thing called yoga. This is why I always instruct from the place that your true teacher lies within you. The discipline of yoga lies within every heart, and arises naturally as the soul awakens to the desire to know itself. Anyway you feel like moving is a yoga posture. I also believe that group practice should lead one to solo practice.
How do I practice on the mat?
Hatha and Yin practice dominated 23 years of my life until I was exposed to Kundalini practice last summer. Since then, I am a devoted Kundalini Yogi and will be for the rest of this life. I arise during the ambrosia hours of the early morning (4:00-8:00 a.m.) before the sun has risen and practice again in the late afternoon or early evening (between 4:00-8:00 p.m.) The early morning hours are the most potent for clearing out the subconscious and awakening to The Self. I use the weekend for longer kriya and meditation practices. My morning and afternoon practices incorporate both physical and pranayamic Kriyas as well as a minimum of :31minutes of meditation practice.
How do I practice off the mat?
Good Question!!! And probably the most significant question any yogi can and should ask themselves. My Wahe Guru within once told me that every moment is meant to be meditation practice and that truly, it doesn’t matter what you are “doing” but rather what are you thinking/and more importantly your intention behind every action… this is what alters your destiny. All the mat practice in the world cannot replace the choices that you make off your mat. The Mat is only there to strengthen us for the active meditation and practice we do in the world. For the tests will come!! I practice prayer, chanting (Wahe Guru/Wahe Jio), singing and meditation on God off the mat. I also play almost exclusively powerful mantra music that feeds the subconscious and creates a positive energetic environment in my home or car.
Why a Yoga Teacher?
I had no desire to become a certified teacher until I was led to work with a group of adults with special needs in 2010. It was then that I really felt a calling to serve. I had prior to this already begun leading some adult classes in downtown Lenoir before there was ever a formal yoga studio in Lenoir. From there I was led to work with more and more individuals with special abilities/special challenges and then children. I still do not like using the term “teacher” but rather see myself as the lifelong student practicing with others and allowing my guru within to teach us all. That attitude and prayer is certainly what produces the best yoga classes! I have however been repeatedly told from within that in this life I am here to “heal and serve” and that my inner nature is that of a teacher. I was told recently that “you must teach others how to experience their own inner identity.” I practice as much for all those I encounter daily on or off the mat and frankly for the world as I do for myself.
What is my teaching style?
With Hatha practice, highly intuitive. With Kundalini from my heart. The best Hatha classes were those where I had some idea of the context that I felt inspired to share on a given day but allowing things to naturally arise during the class. This is when a truly beautiful practice arose. Because Kundalini has a sacred structure that must be followed, I cannot be random with what is offered. I do nonetheless pray and mediate for guidance on the theme for a given practice. I aim to lead a class from the heart not the mind and aim to create an atmosphere that encourages self awakening within a context where practitioners can feel at ease and encouraged in a group setting.
In Kundalini Yoga we harness the mental, physical, and nervous energies of the body and put them under the domain of the will, which is the instrument of the soul. This technology precisely and consciously combines breath, mudra, eye-focus, mantra, body locks, and postures to balance the glandular system, strengthen the nervous system, expand lung capacity, and purifiy the blood. It brings balance to the body, mind, and soul.
"In Kundalini Yoga the most important thing is your experience. It goes right to your heart. No words can replace your experience. Your mind may accept the words or it may not, but your consciousness will not accept just words." - Yogi Bhajan