In March of 2000, I began practicing yoga in the studio of Bryan Kest, a pioneer of Power Yoga. Learning his dynamic style and mix of disciplines allowed me to understand that there was a lot more to yoga then just the physical poses we practice in an asana class.
In 2004 I began to look at the underlying principles of my daily practice. I studied different forms of yoga and researched their lineages. I moved to Costa Rica for 3 years and lived near a popular week long yoga retreat center; their revolving weekly workshops and trainings became my daily practice and provided an in depth exposure to several styles of yoga..
In 2007 Bryan Kest became my mentor toward becoming a yoga instructor. He provided me with the knowledge I was seeking to deepen my practice and begin my path toward offering Yoga to others. Simply put, he taught me how to find the teacher in myself. He introduced me to S.N. Goenka’s Vipassana Meditation, an introduction that made everything clear to me and instilled a discipline that set me on my path of dhamma. I started to understand the bigger picture behind the meaning of yoga.
In 2009 I completed Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga Teacher Training and began teaching what I believe to be a style influenced by several different forms of yoga.
In 2010 I completed the Ashtanga Primary Series teacher training with Tim Miller
In 2010 I relocated to Encinitas, CA for the summer to study at the Ashtanga Yoga Center where I completed the Ashtanga Primary Series teacher training with Tim Miller. When I arrived for the training, I felt like I was ready. I had the whole searies down, I could float around from pose to pose in my mysore practice, and I could count the vinyasas in Sanskrit. I was ready, and I was wrong.
Before we even got to the asana, Tim Miller introduced the meanings of yoga from a traditional perspective. From the eight limbs of yoga, as defined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The daily satsang was an exploration of the Yamas and Niyamas and how they affect your daily life, how they affect your yoga practice. Funny, I always thought we would be sitting around a room of people adjusting each other into poses… The asana as it turns out, is simply a daily physical interfacing with the practice. The Pranayama, Singing the songs of devotion, reading the stories and scriptures, these were all new ideas to me. As mentors do, along the way, Tim Miller handed me one of the biggest components to my Yoga practice, a daily Sadhana. I can remember the idea just hitting me like a brick. It seems like a regular question that comes up in any teacher training course "How often should I practice yoga myself? If I'm teaching every day, am I expected to practice every day?"
"Only with a full daily practice, you're 'Sadhana', will yoga be realized." or something like that... He went on to explain that teaching yoga is not important, your daily practice is. Teaching is the other activity you do during the day.
In fact, for those of you who know Tim Miller, his outright advice on teaching yoga as a way to make a living is to “Find any other way to make a living, any…, at all…, and then if all else fails, teach yoga for a living.” A yogi doesn't get up in the morning and wonder "Should I do yoga today?" The yogi gets up in the morning and begins their practice, consideration was never part of the process. Ashtanga Vinyassa, Ashtanga Pranayama and meditation became my morning.
In 2012 I completed Paul Grilley’s Yin Yoga Teacher Training. Developing a sense of the Yin aspects of yoga as well as a whole new understanding of anatomy, kinesiology and skeletal variation. How the body works, how it moves, and how to read and understand its limitations.
In 2012 I completed the Street Yoga Teacher Training in order to offer the benefits of yoga to disadvantaged youth, reaffirming by belief in making yoga accessible to anyoneone who would like to participate in the benefits yoga has to offer.
In 2012 I completed Seane Corn's Vinyasa Flow Teacher Training. Her sequencing experience and application of the energy channels (Nadis and Chakras) to asana was missing from my practice. It’s about taking the practice to a whole new level. Working with the ever changing energy and emotional levels in the room can be aligned together to compliment the experience. Effectively working with a room full of people requires moving the energy around; Seane really knows how to do this well. Her teaching format is based on solid alignment, using a flowing alignment process, where verbal adjustments are often made “on the fly”. It’s definitely an art to be able to talk a room of moving people into proper alignment.
In 2013 I completed the Sarah Powers Insight Yoga Teacher Training. In my own mind I started to realize a few things that I thought were unique to my style of yoga, but didn’t know how to put it together. I practice meditation when I begin my asana practice; I am always trying to maintain the meditative state of mind during my flow. Over time I became hyper aware of all of my control over the body, where my limits were, finding the boundaries in stretching, balancing, endurance, patience… Sarah Powers teaches this in a format called Insight Yoga, where you actually learn the formal meditations of Shamatha and Vipasana and apply them during the poses, the specific meridians and chakras the poses effect, and the corresponding organs in the body being effected. Through a process of investigating, activating, releasing, and allowing the prana to flow.
In 2011 I opened Yoga on Yamhill, a donation based yoga studio, providing access to yoga for everyone that’s truly interested. Honoring the path my mentor made available to me, keeping true to his beliefs and adopting his principles. Part time teaching evolved into my full time job. My yoga comes from the philosophy of practice. You must “practice” yoga to understand what it is I’m trying to share. The depth of most understandings in yoga can’t be narrowed down to words, at some point there is no other way to understand other then to experience. In yoga, there is a belief that our intellect can’t understand everything. At some point, we must accept that all real knowledge comes from experience, everything else is just information. Because yoga should be practiced on a regular basis, and daily for those who are finding that level of dedication, I teach a class that is both challenging and approachable, a class for everyone. It’s a style of teaching that has taken me years to acquire. At some point in your yoga practice, when you’ve “accomplished” everything your ego needs you to, you must find a practice that you can enjoy on a regular basis and not find it so daunting, yet for those who prefer, it must be challenging. It must be complete and well rounded while allowing for different levels of energy and ability. There are so many different beliefs in yoga philosophy, because every style believes they are correct and the other style is not, I’ve incorporated all of my experiences into my classes. You may find that one day we explore a new routine with modern Asanas and the next we practice a traditional routine with traditional transitions. I guess it’s all up to the energy in the room at the time. Most classes will incorporate some form of meditation, pranayama, asana, and satsang.