My delightful and committed students are my greatest inspiration. I am humbled to be teaching people who are so strong, open to learning, dedicated to the mat and compassionate. It is through my Buddhist training at OM yoga in New York, and San Francisco teacher, Eugene Cash, that the Buddhist ideas of kindness and compassion come into my teaching – and my students understand that being open-hearted and kind to your neighbor is much more important than perfecting a mean arm balance.
My first Iyengar yoga teacher in NYC, Genny Kapuler, also comes to mind when I think of my influences. I was always awestruck by her ability to transform the teachings into poetry, while offering intelligent and clear instruction. Any moment that I had doubt about the importance and validity of teaching yoga, I would attend her class and be reminded that this profession has potential to be a high art. I am now living in San Francisco, but during my practice I hear her voice: Float your head up and flower-open your eyes. Or, let the birds fly out of your chest.
I invite my students to explore their ever-changing physical bodies and minds through precise vinyasa yoga, while understanding that this practice has ancient and deep roots. At OM, we finish class with a dedication that includes, May all beings dwell in equanimity. It is my intent to guide my students in a way that they feel relaxed, clear and balanced when they leave class. So, whether they come in sluggish or hyper, elated or depressed, silly or somber, they can use their practice to move into a more sattvic or balanced state. Patanjali, in the Yoga Sutras, requests that yogis cultivate santosha, which means that on this path, we have to choose contentment.
I recognize my students as human beings, with names, life experiences, and X amount of time living in their bodies. I respect that and do everything I can to meet them on their path, and invite them, perhaps, to take another way home. And on that journey we can pontificate about the genius of the Buddha.
I can't wait to see y'all in NYC soon. In the meantime, roll out your mat, sit quietly, move vigorously, work, relax, refine, exhale, root the mound of your big toe, let go, repeat, repeat again, and again, and you will understand how yoga illuminates the path.