Power walking prowess

Wellington's Stunning Oriental Bay
Wellington's Stunning Oriental Bay

I think I have reached a new level of yoga geekdom. This morning while I was out on my “power” walk around Wellington’s stunning Oriental Bay, I had a breakthrough due in no small part to the loops of Anusara yoga.

In recent years, my tendency to be a speed demon has abated somewhat. As much as there are times when blasting around town is tempting and necessary, by and large I find myself much slower than I used to be. I’ve turned into more of a plodder than a power walker, truth be told. This is not great when you want to get your blood zooming around and bring a rosy flush of life to your face.

This morning within seconds of deciding to pick up the pace a bit, I realised why I’m reluctant to walk too fast these days. It’s not laziness, old age, the shoes that I’m wearing or the type of walking surface I happen to be on. It’s because when I try to achieve greater speed, I automatically go into hyper-extension mode. A-HA! Continue reading “Power walking prowess”

Hiding? Yes…but from what?

Someone asked me a provocative question this week. We’d been having a discussion about the fact that the path of tantra (the perspective from which I’m teaching) considers everything from the mundane to the sublime to be a means of waking up, to living fully, to remembering our own best and brightest nature. I had told this person that I used to be a successful IT executive but that I had hated, hated, hated it but that I am struggling to make ends meet as a yoga teacher. So he asked me, “If you’re really living a tantric lifestyle, why aren’t you working in an office instead of hiding in a yoga studio?” Continue reading “Hiding? Yes…but from what?”

Anusara Teacher Interview: Elena Brower

Elena Brower
Elena Brower

It is truly an honour and a privilege to offer you my interview with Elena Brower. Although I have never met Elena in person, my teaching has been influenced to an absolutely huge extent by her classes on YogaGlo and the class on loops that I took with her at Wanderlust Festival last year. I love Elena’s grounded, practical approach to explaining how the practice of yoga translates into the real world and how each alignment cue offers a deep teaching that surpasses the physical.

Elena is the founder and director of Vira Yoga in New York. She also travels to teach and it is my dear hope that she will one day make it Down Under to spend some time with us!

How did you get into yoga?

A friend’s sister took me to a class and I was cooked from the first moment. Loved it. Had been taking proper ballet classes and my body was definitely longing for something a bit more comprehensive as a movement practice.

Why Anusara?

The following words describe the community as well as the philopsphy and technology of Anusara: open, engaging, smart, nurturing, loving. This tradition helped me tap into my heart’s voice as a teacher, and opened my listening for the first time, which was like moving a mountain…

Elena Brower

What was your certification journey like?

At the risk of redundancy, like moving a mountain. 4 videos. I was a brat. It takes a supremely high level of attention to be Certified as an Anusara teacher, and it took me a while to really give it. At so many turns in the road I had to take constructive criticism and help, and every time I went past my little resistance and took in the feedback, I got better, and was more attentive, and more present to what needed to happen. The crit-receiving practice has helped me so much since.

Which Universal Principle of Alignment and/or Loop challenges you most? How have you worked with that challenge?

Organic Energy. I have to WORK to remember to articulate that Principle when I’m teaching, so I’ve been watching that for a while and it’s getting better.

I have a love affair with the loops that includes them all, equally. I favor ankle and kidney loops in particular, both feel so delicious at all times.

What has your Yoga Inventure revealed about who you are and what you want to do with the rest of your life?

In the past year I’ve been working closely with the founders of the Handel Group to arrive at the core of the core of my fears, limitations and beliefs – so I can truly begin to do my service in the world.

Elena’s website: www.artofattention.com
Elena’s NY studio: www.virayoga.com

Katie Lane: Anusara Teacher Profile

Katie Lane
Katie Lane

Have you ever met a person who put you immediately at ease? Someone who made you feel better just by their presence? For me, Katie Lane is one of those people. I met Katie in 2007 when she hosted Desiree Rumbaugh and over 50 students in Christchurch, New Zealand. Katie was incredibly warm and gracious. She managed to have everything flow seamlessly while making each one of us feel as important as the guest of honour.

In the years since that first meeting my respect for Katie has just continued to grow. In addition to being one heck of a hostess, Katie is also an amazingly gifted teacher. She is the only Anusara certified teacher in New Zealand and we are so lucky to have her close! 

Katie came to Wellington in May 2010 with Clare Raffety for Wellington’s first ever Anusara experience. Her teaching is inspring, uplifting and impeccable.

I’m thrilled that Katie is coming back to Wellington for the weekend of October 30/31 to offer another Anusara workshop: Thresholds of Possibility. Please get in touch with me if you would like to book in.

How did you get into yoga?

My first exposure to yoga wasn’t on a mat, it was in a classroom! I studied theology and philosophy at university. I wasn’t a religious person but I was fascinated by the idea that each of us, despite our different ages, sexes, occupations, and cultures, seem to be searching for a connection outside of our individual selves to something bigger. My degree focused on “Religion & Culture” and I was exposed to a wide variety of Eastern religions and spiritual thought. Buddhism and Hinduism particularly drew me and the concept of yoga, a total union and oneness that could be realized and known NOW, was something that I wanted to explore. Yet while books, articles, and conversations stirred my mind, the experience I had of yoga in the “classroom” felt flat. There was something missing…It was still a few years before I stepped onto a yoga mat but the seed was planted here. Continue reading “Katie Lane: Anusara Teacher Profile”

Olga Rodriguez Rasmussen: Anusara Teacher Profile

Olga Rasmussen
Olga Rasmussen

Although I’ve never met Dr. Olga Rodriguez Rasmussen in person, I’ve been following her on Twitter for a wee while and have been happily corresponding via email. She is warm and generous in her communications as well as heartfelt and thought provoking.

Olga’s perspective is equally enriched by her extensive training in Anusara and her deep love of spirituality – a life long passion. In addition to being an Anusara Certified teacher, Olga holds a doctorate in spirituality and education and is also a Reiki Master Teacher and practitioner of Reconnective Healing®.

Olga is based in Northern Virginia, and also teaches in Maryland and the Washington, DC metro area. Her website is called Aligning with Grace.

Thank you Olga, for supporting me in my journey!

How did you get into yoga?

I meandered into my first yoga class more or less by accident, just shy of my 40th birthday. I saw an ad for yoga one summer, with a picture of Betsey Downing in it, who eventually became – not only one of my first teachers, but a mentor and friend as well. It has been an honor to share this journey into Anusara with her!

My coming to yoga is particularly interesting, because I am “kapha to the core” – and had really eschewed physical activity of any sort, save for walking. In my twenties, I was an avid cyclist – but abandoned that as I focused on raising my son. I ran briefly as well. Though it was great for keeping weight off, I hated every moment of it. Continue reading “Olga Rodriguez Rasmussen: Anusara Teacher Profile”

Clare Raffety: Anusara Teacher Profile

Clare Raffety is a beautiful, gentle teacher whose generous heart and grace-filled presence make a student feel truly cared for and edified. It was my honour to host Clare in May 2010 for Wellington’s first ever Anusara workshop (co-taught with Katie Lane).

Clare is UK born, kiwi bred from the age of 8, has lived in the US and currently makes her home in Hobart, Australia. If you’re in the area, get along to Yoga from the Heart for a sweet Anusara experience.

How did you get into yoga?

Clare RaffetyMy mother started meditating when I was in my early teens and something about the mystery of what she did expanded my view and ignited my curiosity.  When I was 18 and student in Wellington studying to be a Science Technician a friend and I decided to go to yoga.  Not knowing that there was more than one yoga we signed up for a Yoga Nidra course.  It was not at all what I had expected and I was shocked that the places we were guided to bring awareness to I could not access.  I knew then that yoga would offer me a way to know my Self.  After moving to Auckland to do a science degree in 1984 I began practicing Iyengar Yoga with Nicky Knoff who was then teaching at the university.  As an incredibly inflexible long distance runner yoga challenged me and revealed my edges in every pose.  1987 -1989 and 1993 – 2002 I lived in the United States and had the privilage of studying with some amazing teachers, mainly from the Iyengar tradition.  In 1998 I did my first workshop with John Friend and have been studying with him ever since. Continue reading “Clare Raffety: Anusara Teacher Profile”

Why I’m studying Anusara Yoga

As someone who got her e-RYT on the basis of an Iyengar styled teacher training and whose classes are heavily influenced by extensive study of dance and Shiva Rea’s Prana Flow yoga, I now find myself magnetised to the study of Anusara Yoga. Although I’ve dabbled with many styles of yoga, each one adding valuable skills to my toolkit, over the past three years Anusara is an approach that has been able to consistently broaden my horizons, deepen my knowledge and intensify my passion for yoga the way that no other tradition has.

Many people have asked me why I’m choosing to intensify my study of this tradition when I’ve long held (and voiced) the opinion that drawing on many yoga styles has strengthened me as a teacher and allowed me greater insight and wisdom than focusing on just one path could have.

There are three very simple reasons:

1 – Even with my as-yet limited understanding of Anusara yoga, I have never experienced a more reliable, effective and simple way to keep my body injury free Continue reading “Why I’m studying Anusara Yoga”

BJ Galvan: Anusara Teacher Interview

BJ GalvanI am so excited to offer you my interview with a woman I call my fairy godmother, BJ Galvan. BJ is a beautiful bright light, full of love and always willing to share.
I had the good fortune of meeting BJ in Christchurch, New Zealand during one of the darkest periods in my personal life. Over the course of the workshop that she was leading, we played together, laughed together and had great fun in a time when I didn’t think fun was possible for me.
Several months later, still in that same challenging phase of my life, we ran into one another when we were both participants at an Anusara workshop in LA. I was alone and sad. Without indulging my state, BJ took me under her wing and cared for me like one of her own even though she barely knew me. I am forever indebted to her for that kindness, love and strength. She seemed to expect I was going to be ok and so didn’t feel the need to go on about it – she just mirrored my strength back to me when I wasn’t able to see it.
This year, we are so lucky that BJ is coming back to teach Immersion 3 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Get in touch with Katie Lane and come join the fun!
How did you get into yoga?
I had been a fitness instructor and personal trainer for years. Everyone always said I should try yoga because I had a deeply spiritual outlook on life. I thought yoga was ‘stretching’ and until there was yoga at my fitness center never sought it out. I tried several classes and none of them resonated with me.

Earthquake Integration

Split in the earthThank you all so much for your care and concern about me in the days following the Christchurch earthquake. As many of you know, I was in Christchurch for a workshop with Noah Maze when the earthquake struck.

In the week since I’ve been home, I’ve received such an outpouring of love and support that I feel truly humbled and abundantly grateful for my yoga community. Although I wasn’t adversely affected by the earthquake, I have been very simply, yet profoundly impacted by it. The experience helped me to experience an even greater authentic and embodied integration of the lessons yoga has been teaching me for years.

When the earth shook me awake in the early hours of the morning, my instant fear reaction was followed almost immediately by a rush of relaxation and ease. Continue reading “Earthquake Integration”

Top Five Things I learned from Noah and the Earthquake

Noah maze workshopThis past weekend, I was fortunate enough to have been part of an Anusara workshop led by the incomparable Noah Maze. Noah’s gift for recounting the stories that make up yogic lore brings those ancient tales alive and makes them so relevant to our modern lives.

After the first night’s session, overnight there was a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in the city of Christchurch, where the workshop was being held. Luckily, because the quake happened in the middle of the night, no lives were lost and there were only two serious injuries reported. It certainly did give us all a moment to pause. In the pause I felt immense awe for the power of nature and abundant gratitude to have been witness but not adversely affected.

So many stories will be coming out the weekend for ages to come, but I’ thought I’d offer my initial impressions of the things I took away from that weekend here Continue reading “Top Five Things I learned from Noah and the Earthquake”