In the contemporary world, we often think of the yogic journey as being largely physical – as being about the practice of asana (postures). Conversely, in many of the ancient traditions, the physical was viewed, to a great extent, as a “means to an end” – it was a route to Enlightenment or Transcendence in some elusive quest.
Most of the stories I hear today echo a similar refrain: Someone was ushered into his or her spiritual work through the practice of asana. But that was not my experience.
I came to asana from the other side. After spending many prior years exploring myriad psycho-spiritual processes (that were wonderfully illuminating but much less embodied), I was finally looking for a way to bring Consciousness down into the physical body in a more acute way.
Among certain schools there is a good bit of talk about transcending the “baser” territory of the flesh (and certainly many classical yoga traditions imply that Enlightenment is an experience of pure Consciousness rather than one that can exist, in some form, on the material plane). The way I see it, though, at least for the time being (in THIS life!), we have physical bodies. And it makes very little sense to seek to escape them! To my way of thinking, the whole notion of “transcendence” in that regard hugely discounts the divinity of the human experience.
Yoga, as a spiritual practice in the larger sense, was nothing new to me. When I found asana eight years ago, I did open to the physical realm in a much fuller way, as a direct result of what came before (including many years of avoiding bodily awareness!). To a great extent, I consider my personal yogic journey to be about “waking down” (bringing Consciousness down into the body) rather than about “waking up” (Transcendence or Enlightenment with a big E!).
In the Buddhist tradition, Quan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion, is said to have two faces – one that looks serenely toward Heaven, and one looks, tearfully, toward Earth. Even though she eventually became eligible for Buddhahood and was therefore granted the opportunity to leave the earthly plane, she chose a different fate. Hearing the cries of suffering from the world below and being so moved, she vowed to stay near the Earth so as to never lose touch with the plight of Sentient Beings.
In many respects, the legend of Quan Yin is emblematic of my personal quest – to access the expansiveness of Heaven while remaining deeply connected to the rootedness of Earth. All of my work – whether the vehicle is yoga, writing, vibrational healing, or psycho-spiritual exploration – seeks to honor and integrate these two “faces.”
I trained in the Vinyasa style of yoga (with roots in the Ashtanga tradition) at Dhyana Yoga
in Philadelphia. Over the years I have dabbled in other systems of yoga (Hatha, Iyengar and, most recently, Anusara) but I continually find myself coming back to a style that celebrates fluidity of movement. Vinyasa appeals to both my athletic nature (it is dynamic and moving) and my artistic sensibility (it is creatively-sequenced and aesthetically-inspired).
Of course, such a practice is very Yang in nature. Although I am more organically drawn to movement, I also appreciate the virtues of stillness and patience. Therefore, as a counter to my active flow, I also have a Yin practice. Yin yoga focuses on the connective tissue and joints rather than on muscular effort. It provides a nice antidote to striving and serves as a gentle reminder that sometimes the greatest power lies in surrender.
In addition to teaching several yoga classes a week locally, I also offer private and semi-private instruction. These sessions are tailored to meet the needs of the individual client or small group.
Yoga instruction can also be fused with psychotherapeutic work, energy healing work, and even writing work. Often the amalgam of these various modalities can be quite rich. As always, sessions are designed to meet the needs of the individual.
If you are interested in exploring the possibility of working together, I invite you to contact me