I began practicing asana in 1993, found the Ashtanga yoga modality in 1997 at Heartsong Yoga, and within a few years began studying to teach, primarily with first generation teachers of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. I look to Beryl Bender Birch, Christine Hoar, Nancy Gilgoff, Manju Jois and Tim Miller as some of my most formative yoga teachers.
I was one of the few Mysore-style Ashtanga yoga teachers in Western Massachusetts throughout the past decade, serving students from all over the world who lived and studied in the Five College area. During that time, I logged tens of thousands of hours of practical, hands-on experience through the two yoga communities I founded: Florence Yoga (2009-2014) and Ashtanga Yoga Northampton (2014-April 2020.) After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Ashtanga Yoga Northampton closed permanently, but I continue to teach through my virtual home studio providing both group and private sessions online, and Outdoor Classes in the Grove at my home in the warmer months.
I've made three pilgrimages to India to honor the indigenous sources of yoga, most recently in 2018 at a yoga retreat focused on the Krishnamarcharya Mysore Yoga Tradition, featuring a variety of Indian teachers and Sanskrit scholars, some of whom were his direct students. I began studying Sanskrit in 2011 through the American Sanskrit Institute's self-study program, and train in Mindful Yoga Therapy in 2015 to better serve students with PTSD.
After the pandemic shutdown, I began studying with yoga teacher and therapist Kaya Mindlin, founder of ŚRY or Supreme/Spinal Release Yoga, in June of 2020. A deep but highly accessible approach to yoga, this system combines asana, pranayama, mantra and Vedic teachings. I have completed two teacher trainings (in ŚRY and in Yoga Nidra) with Kaya, and in the past year, and during this time also completed Dr. Claudia Welch's and Dr. Robert Svoboda's Foundations of Ayurveda I & II. I continue to study Ayurveda and Vedic knowledge with Dr. Svoboda and Dr. Welch to this day.
REGARDING THE YOGA ALLIANCE (YA) - or "Why I Don't Have Initials After My Name."
I have spent hundreds of hours over the past twenty years learning how to effectively and wisely teach yoga with senior teachers in the Ashtanga Yoga and SRY yoga systems. All of them have shown a dedication to teaching traditional yoga through decades of their own experience and scholarship within Indian lineages of yoga. These Indian lineages of yoga pre-date the YA and it's less rigorous and questionable "teacher certification" methods.
The YA has a history of ignoring and even actively denying the legitimacy of both living and deceased Indian yoga teachers. It is an organization created ostensibly to legitimize and make the teaching of yoga "safer" here in the US - but the teaching standards the YA have set are not rigorous, but rather, simplified, diluted and even appropriative of Indian yoga traditions. Lowering the standard for proficiency in teaching yoga has created an unchecked proliferation of YTTs that seduce earnest yet unsuspecting students with little yoga experience into a premature pathway towards "teaching". There are some excellent yoga schools and yoga teachers offering YTTs here in the US. But, because of the YA, there are too many that are not.
In short, the YA is not a legitimate authority on a person's ability to effectively and safely teach traditional yoga: it is simply a teacher registry - and one that extracts annual dues from thousands of yoga teachers each year. Thus, I boycott the YA; I ended my affiliation with the organization in 2012. You will not see a series of letters after my name (i.e."E-RYT 500") as these initials are not an indication of the ability to effectively and safely teach traditional yoga.
More information can be found here in the WSJ, here in The NY Times, and here on Ideafit.