I’m starting a yoga teacher training program this Saturday in Pine, Arizona. It’s been five years since I first walked into a yoga room in Hawaii, and during that time, I’ve learned from many teachers practicing at 12 studios in four states.
I’ve also been fortunate to attend three yoga workshops outside of regular classes, and while these were only a few hours or a half-day, I caught a glimpse of what a lifelong practice can look like. I was moved by what I learned and experienced with Kim Tang, Esak Garcia, and Lucas Miles. I’d like to borrow something from them and from all the teachers and yogis I’ve met. I hope to use it in my teaching and practice.
All these teachers are good at communicating and leading classes through basic asana. All of them speak of connection to breath and self and they all say breathe and stay present, everyone invites relaxation, and gives encouragement to do the work, and in this intentional engagement everyone discovers what they need to know.
Some use oils and music, some heated room, some chimes, bells and singing bowls, but not everyone. In some cases, they go beyond, as in the practice of Bhakti (devotional) and Naad Yoga -sound and healing – which opens self to greater Self (Cassandra Bright, Gilbert Yoga, Gilbert, AZ); speaking of how yoga restores hope and saves lives after horrible accidents, healing physical body which leads to spiritual restoration (Sheila Nelson, Motto Yoga, Queen Creek, AZ); energy healing and the way of chakras, sound, and the singing bowl (Suzette Johnston, Motto Yoga, Queen Creek, AZ); yoga after running and the pursuit of kundalini and continual learning to make intellectual connections (Leslie Pelke, Motto Yoga, Queen Creek, AZ); how to take joy and happiness from a disciplined practice (Kirsten Holmson and her team at Community Soul, Wausau, Wis); yoga as gift for all ages and peoples – especially kids – (Robyn Bretyl, Lightbody Yoga, Wausau, Wis); the willingness to take risks and reach beyond the normal (Lori Jokinen, Jennifer Taylor, and her team from Tulivesi Yoga in Marquette, Mi); the courageous heart – Croix Croga – of yoga (Katie Ziemann, Croix Croga, Wausau, Wis); yoga as the moving, transforming connection between heart and soul (Andrea Hutchens Tika Anandisari, Aaron, Melissa Katherine Lotus Heart, Brooke Meyers, Sarah Bloom, Jenna Rae, Dana Strang and Sai Fon Woozley from Yoga Hale in Hawaii); the affirmations and benefits of yoga, asana, and pranayama leading to a heightened breathcentric awarenss (a special shout out to Mark Hough, Shannon Matson, and Yolanda Bottomley from Bikram Yoga on the big island of Hawaii); the willingness to take yoga anywhere (Lorrie Blockhus, OM Sweet OM Yoga in the serene but tick infested northwoods of Wisconsin.
I look forward to attending workshops and teaching yoga, along with meeting and learning from new teachers and students. Over the years, I’ve kept a log with the names of teachers and the places I’ve practiced. I’ve missed writing down a few names, and some I didn’t know the last name, but I think it’s important to affirm and to offer thanks to each of you. To do so, I witness to your presence, to your practice, to your teaching, to your encounter with yoga with your name, here:
Lelani Yoga, Veronica Clark, Michele Hegwood, Heather Spanganberg, N’Zinza Washington, Roy, Frances, Crista, Marjorie Goode, Vanessa Siren, Dawn Cox, Ginny Doucette, Heather Spanganberg, Lanita Ugstad, Beth Sutton, Lisa Hecke, Hannah Parry, Mary Connor, Meagan Hennekens, Angela, Jeremy Marcott, Adonna Rometo, Blake Opal-Wahoske, Stephanie Fandrey, Ashlie Zeidler, Nathan Taylor, Skylar, Celine Cline, Monica Preisig, Jennifer Ehlers-Hinker.
Lastly, if anyone is thinking of starting yoga and would like my thoughts about any of these studios, I’ll be happy to speak to you: Motto Yoga, Queen Creek, AZ; Gilbert Yoga, Gilbert, AZ; Yoga Hale, Kona, Hawaii; Bikram Yoga, Kona, Hawaii; Hot Yoga Hilo, Hilo, Hawaii; Marquette Yoga Center, Marquette, MI; Tulavesi Yoga, Marquette, MI; Community Soul Yoga, Wausau, WI; Croix Croga, Wausau, WI; Summit Yoga, Tucson, AZ; Barefoot Yoga, Tucson, AZ; Om Sweet Om Yoga, Shell Lake, Wis; and no longer operating but with a great name, Humble Warrior Yoga, Stevens Point, Wis.
Original artwork prepared for me by Kira Kamamalu, Kona, Hawaii.