Birthplace: Lewiston, NY
When & how did you start practicing yoga: I began practicing yoga in early 2000, to help with chronic muscles tightness and soreness related to years of weight lifting and injuries from my days as a college football player. My focus shifted when I learned about the other limbs and benefits of yoga. It was the combination of spiritual, mental, emotional, philosophical and physical that ultimately made yoga a life-long practice and journey for me (and I can even touch my toes now).
How has it helped you off the mat: First and foremost, yoga reminds me to stay mindful in everything aspect of my life. It also helps keep me present (as much as one can stay present – ‘what was I just talking about…oh, yeah’), allows me to be patient, brings me contentment, creates more awareness in regard to my life’s experiences and has allowed me to adopt a lifestyle of mindful simplicity.
When did you decide you wanted to teach yoga and where/with whom did you do teacher training? I remember the exact moment I decided to teach – it was during the fall of 2006. I was in a forward fold (my mat was purple) at a Tuesday, 5:30 a.m., vinyasa class at the Ballentyne Village YMCA in Charlotte, NC. The instructor was Dolly Stavros. I was at a crossroads during that time and remembered thinking in that forward fold, “This is the only place I feel good these days. I’m going to teach this.” That week I signed up for Dolly’s teacher training program and graduated in June of 2007.
Styles most influenced by: Dolly Stavros. Whenever I teach, whatever style (vinyasa, slow-flow, basics) I remember what Dolly shared so passionately during my training – “Be authentic and teach from that place.”
Favorite yoga related books: The Heart of Yoga – Desikachar; The Simple Living Guide – Janet Luhrs; The Laws of Spirit – Dan Millman; and some fiction with ‘yoga-like’ messages and journeys: The Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula LeGuin; Face of the Waters – Robert Silverberg; Kingdoms of the Wall – Robert Silverberg.
What do you like to do when you’re not doing yoga? Spend time with my wife, Jackie, and my dogs, Kibo and Shira. I also love music and play guitar, a variety of bamboo flutes and the steel handpan.
Wednesdays at Carmel at 9:30, exercise physiologist Greg sequences in mandala style-and there’s sometimes a bonus handpan or flute savasana!Michelle E.