What’s your favorite part of your work?
The joy of my work is expanding minds and touching souls. Part one is all about revealing the richness and vastness of the yoga tradition is––that the experiences that students and teachers of all levels have accessed through asana are just the beginning, part of a seamless whole. I love revealing the blueprint for how asana can be expanded to affect even more of one’s life. Part two is providing a direct experience of that knowledge. When our soul is touched by the light of this great wisdom it provides so much: peace, inspiration, capacity, and an effervescence, that is the very joy of living and giving. I love sharing both––knowledge and experience. I consider it a great privilege to be able to share these twin treasures of yoga––knowledge and experience.
What’s your least favorite part of your work?
Traveling. Over the years, I’ve had to leave home too many times to do what I do. This means too much planning, packing, time zones, logistics and hotel rooms. But my least favorite part of all of it has been time away from my family.
What still excites you and keeps you engaged with teaching yoga?
In short: the gifts I receive from my practice are what keep me excited and engaged. I’m in my forth decade of teaching. Throughout that time my priority has always been on maintaining and deepening my personal practice. Thus, my soul’s fire is lit, my heart renewed on a daily basis. With that as my foundation, there is a natural desire to share something of the gifts I have received. I assume that I will always have a desire to share yoga as long as I deeply embody it.
If you didn’t teach yoga, what else would you do?
This seems like an impossible question to answer; I have been a teacher so completely and for so long, it’s hard to imagine an alternative life. Earlier, when I was much younger, when I was asking what I wanted to be when I grew up, I think my fantasy career would have been lead singer in a rock band. Thankfully, I never pursued it, if for no other reason, I can’t really sing––chant yes, but not sing. The good news is, from what I have seen, Yogis have a much greater likelihood of aging gracefully, than rock stars. I might have chosen other careers, but clearly there was only one career that chose me––teaching.
What are you excited about learning next?
There really is nothing “new” that I am interested in. I am inspired to deepen into what I already know. Having spent so many years studying tantra, I’ve found that it culminates in the unique tradition of Sri Vidya—perhaps the most transcendent branch of tantra. Its scope is both the height of sublimity and limitlessly vast, yet it is also awe-inspiringly practical in its complete embrace of life. I want to keep deepening my study of it, and most importantly embodying it completely and to the very end.
What’s your finest advice for a newer teacher?
The gist of it is: Never stop being a student; study with the best; most notably, those who truly embody what they teach. You will become a teacher of distinction, only when you grow to understand and feel a legitimate link to the tradition and the great wisdom that existed long before you took your first breath.
Avoid the mistake of exhausting your yogic ambitions on being a professional teacher. Humble yourself. Connect deeply to what you understand yoga to be and then make a point of expanding what you know about yoga and, most importantly yourself. Finally, be certain that your yoga is touching your life, in other words that your life is an example to yourself and others what this great and profound tradition can be and must become so that future generations can truly be uplifted by it.
Evolutionary biology or God(s)?
I reject the proposition that it is an “either/or” proposition. Instead, I’ll suggest that since God is love and loves everything, He/She loves biology, and has chosen to permeate and animate what we call biology to craft our physical universe. There is an elegant and seamless symmetry between God and biology, thus both exist and both breathe life into us, and everything in the material universe.