I have received so much from my own personal practice over the past two decades. Mostly, I have been able to see myself more clearly. I've been able to embrace my strengths and experience my innate goodness, and hold my idiosyncrasies more lightly. I've developed more patience, kindness and compassion with myself and consequently, I feel, with others. I've come to realize that we are all doing the best we can; trying to be good people, to serve others, and to make a decent life for ourselves and those we care about. I've watched as my capacity for love has expanded, not only for those close to me, but for people I hardly know, or don't even particularly like. And, finally, my practice has been here for me through difficult, challenging times; a place of deep comfort, solace, and even friendship. All of this inspires me to share the teachings of yoga and meditation.
Tell us about your yoga journey and how it has influenced your teaching:
I attended my first yoga class at the Cambridge Adult Education Center in Harvard Square in the Spring of 1992. I clearly remember coming out of the class, the bright spring light shining through the trees just coming into their buds, feeling not only relaxed but filled with a great sense of aliveness. It was the beginning of a journey that took me to Bikram Yoga in West Roxbury MA and then to Norwalk CT. I practiced Bikram religiously, almost every day for seven years. In late 2005 I started to go through big changes in both my personal and professional life. I felt my yoga was really helping me with these transitions, but I wasn't sure exactly how. In 2006 I quit my job running a non-profit, and enrolled at Kripalu in the Berkshires for a month long teacher training. I have been teaching yoga ever since. I continue to attend several trainings a year, and incorporate the teachings into my classes and private sessions. The past few years I've been studying and practicing Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. This is a powerful practice based on awakening energy in the body and clearing the blocks within the meridians and chakras that keep us from enlightenment. I am truly inspired by all there is to learn and share in yoga. I know that it is my lifetime's work.
What is your favorite activity outside of yoga and how does yoga affect it?
My favorite activity is nurturing relationships. I find relationships endlessly fascinating and always changing. I have learned more about life and myself, experienced more joy and pain, in relationship than anywhere else! Relationships are incredible for bringing me up against reality, up against truth, and experiencing both the beauty and terror of this lifetime. My practice of yoga is really just prep and support work for the experience of relationship. I'm talking about all relationships; with my family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, people I like and love, people I don't like. They're all opportunities for growth and for me to see the divine beauty behind our personalities and egos. We are these fragile beings, running around like chickens with our heads cut off, most of the time, trying to get our perceived needs met. What an amazing relief to just be for a while; to breathe deeply in the presence of another or God (the same thing). Yoga and meditation have guided me and supported me in being present with myself and with others. For this, I am eternally grateful.
What makes teaching at Kaia Yoga a unique experience?
The people: From the front desk staff, to the people behind the scenes making everything work, to Gina and Stan, to the other teachers, everyone at Kaia is really great. And most of all, of course, the students; I am so deeply touched and grateful for all the Kaia students, especially those who come regularly to my class. I know my yoga is a bit out there. I am often experimenting with teachings and techniques that have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and putting them together in new and hopefully effective ways. My intention is to accelerate our process of awakening and free us from our suffering, leaving us with a deep sense of aliveness, well-being and peace. It is truly amazing to discover like-minded souls who want to take this journey alongside me and are willing to embark upon the magic carpet ride.
What are your classes at Kaia like?
My classes at Kaia are a dynamic combination of Hatha practices from the Kripalu Yoga lineage with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, and a few other spiritual traditions thrown in for good measure. Each class begins with a Darshan, a short talk about yoga and life, and how the physical and spiritual practices may help us relieve suffering. We then explore yogic breathing and movement to calm and center the mind and subsequently raise energy, increasing our awareness. From here we usually move into a flow of postures and exercises designed to strengthen the muscular, nervous, circulatory and glandular systems of the body. Our movements often explore various areas of the spine, shoulders, neck and hips; opening, awakening and balancing different chakras (energy centers). Class ends in a more meditative place; shivasana, relaxation, meditation, and gratitude. My intention for each class is to take each student on a journey into themselves, to their own place of peace, equanimity and well-being. Namaste