What’s your yoga story?
I started practicing in 2006. I was getting bored and didn’t feel motivated with traditional cardio exercise and weight lifting. The gym I was at had yoga classes, so I decided to give it a shot. Holy sh*t! I’ll never forget the first time I was in downward facing dog and the instructor said, “this is a resting posture” — no way that this is a resting pose. But, twelve years later, I laugh when I say that same thing to my students. When it comes to this practice, I’m all in. The breath to the physical movement and the breath to quieting and calming of the mind has been so important and beneficial to me throughout my life. And, it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve made this connection. I lost my breath when I was younger. I was about eight when I drowned but thankfully someone was present in that moment to literally breathe the breath back into me. In 2013, yoga saved my life. My wife and I lost our son Jude, our first born. The first moments of realization, of coming out of shock hurt. My fortitude was gone and my will to live was nil. In 2018, I was in a car wreck. It was pretty bad but I am here. What I learned from these experiences and others is how truly important our breath is. Without it… what are we? For me, in my practice and journey through yoga, has been my focus on breath. I tend to over cue it but it has helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life and I hope that my students can focus on and use their breath to help them through whatever it is that they may be going through. We’re all at different places along this beautiful existence in these vessels and the commonality that brings us together is yoga. And for that, I have so much gratitude that yoga was able to find me.
What’s your favorite way to slow down?
Closing my eyes, putting on my headphones and listening to ambient music. I find that place between consciousness and unconsciousness, in between the veil. And, chocolate cookies with orange juice, yum! I have a complex palate.
Describe your most peaceful day.
I would say my most peaceful day is being outdoors with my two loves: my wife and daughter — adventuring in the rain, snow or sunshine.
Why do you love teaching Supportive Yoga formats?
I love teaching these types of formats to help students slow down. I feel that there is so much of the yang and not enough of the yin. We get up and start moving, getting ready for work or even a workout. We’re running around constantly being bombarded by ads, social media, texts and phone calls. Our way to “slow down” is to hit it hard at the gym, find a rigorous yoga class that kicks our ass, hop on the bike and compete against others through a cycling app. But, is that really slowing down? The body needs to rest and rejuvenate. The mind needs to find stillness. These supportive yoga formats allow us to slow our heart rate, slow the thoughts racing through the mind and focus on what’s really important: the present moment.
What is mindfulness?
Wow, books are written about this. For me, mindfulness is being present in each moment that is created. It’s slowing down and being fully aware of where we are, what we are doing, how we are doing it without feeling the stress or anxiety of the other “stuff” we have going on in our heads. It’s squinting your eyes in the sun’s light, it’s feeling the breeze blowing against the body, it’s listening to the sounds of all creatures singing their songs. That is mindfulness.