Awareness Practice is the fundamental practice of Yoga. Awareness is not just being perceptive or cognizant about something, but engaging in an active relationship with our experiences through the synergy of focused attention held in a state of open receptivity.
The Yoga practice is an ever-evolving adaptive process through which we can learn to exist in more and more consciously skillful relationship with ourselves, our local and global communities, and the planet itself, along with all of the myriad creatures that we share it with.
My Hatha Yoga methodology places emphasis on cultivating awareness by supporting and enhancing the flow of the breath, and thus the vital life force, or prana. Prana is the highly intelligent and deeply nurturing subtle body energy that supports the entire structure of our body, from the cells that form our physical presence to the consciousness that resides in and as that presence. Prana gives our entire body-mind liveliness. It is usually most easy accessed via our breath. This is one of the reasons why in Yoga the breath has always been seen as a very important aspect of our being to cultivate awareness of.
My way of teaching Hatha Yoga integrates two decades of study and practice and 17 years of teaching into an organically ordered system of yogasana[physical postures], pranayama [vital life breath energy expansion and invigoration], mudra [gestures to direct and enhance the flow of prana], bandha [physio-energetic “locks” through which to stabilize the body-mind energy], mantra [recitation of sacred sequences of vibration], and meditation practices.
Organically ordered, for me, expresses basic principles of practice that keep us safe from injury, without a one-size-fits-all idea of how to support the overall wellbeing of our physical, mental and emotional aspects.
I do not feel there is one particular dogma or sequence of Hatha Yoga practice that will be “perfect” for everyone. Any system that claims to provide a tidy little package of practice that does not allow for organic, spontaneous and natural changes to take place in the system will eventually cease to be of true value to the practitioner of that system.
I believe the role of a teacher of Yoga is to help each student access the natural wisdom that is an intrinsic part of each of us, what is often termed the Self, or essential nature. This essential nature is the foundation of the entire body-mind consciousness. At the same time, it intimately connects us at our deepest root to the entire matrix of life. This essential Self is the source of our untapped potential to manifest our creative power. It is the intuitive part of us that knows the most appropriate way to perform the most appropriate action that will generate the most skillful and beneficial effect in any given moment.
My classes are a full body-mind consciousness exploration. Students are encouraged to maximize their moment-to-moment physical and mental capacity without agitating the mind or causing the emotional body to contract. The sequences I teach engender mental focus, and deep strengthening and settling of the core of the body. Precision anatomical alignment, breath energetics, and philosophical inquiry are woven into a playfully serious adaptive exploration of the moment-to-moment experiences of the physical, intellectual, and emotional bodies.
Through these experiences, we can create a true moment-to-moment conscious relationship with ourselves, through which we can bit by bit begin to free up the parts of us that have gotten stuck in repetitive patterns of unconscious action. When we do this, we enter into a dynamically settled state of honestly and openly receiving and responding to what is truly happening within and around us. As we become more capable of receiving and skillfully responding to our experiences, both on and off the mat, we can begin to build a matrix of consciousness within which we are able to move into profound relationship with our deepest extraordinary Self.