With Gratitude – An Homage to My Yoga Teachers

Life is a continual Yoga journey.  I work daily to advance and deepen my own practice.

M.A. in Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University,  Los Angeles.

Studying under scholar Dr. Chrisopher Key Chapple helped me uncover textual understandings that invite a feminine perspective and allows for a modern interpretation of ancient texts. Indian philsopher, Dr. Ana Funes-Maderey ensured our translations of the Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita and the medievel Hatha-Yoga texts included critical commentary that is often missing from modern yoga philosophy discussions. Buddhism scholar and Sanskrit teacher, Dr. John Casey taught and enlightened us about the mystical, sacred language of ancient India. Dr. Lori Fazzio, another student within Krishnamacharya’s lineage, examined the links between Ayurveda, pranayama, meditation and modern science. It is a wonderful program that covers India’s spiritual history from the beginning of recorded history and includes the contributions made to yoga by the Jains, Buddhists and Vedic traditions. Through the program, I became a Sanskrit scholar and began translating texts.

I have been blessed to study with a variety of master teachers.

ASANA AND PRANAYAMA 

Vinyasa Krama Teacher Training at Loyola Marymount University (RYT-200)

Known as the Father of Modern Yoga, Sri T. Krishnamacharya was a Vedic scholar and Ayurvedic doctor who integrated and reinterpreted classic Hatha yoga, pranayama and mantra for the 20th century family.  While his first string of students, BKS Iyengar, Indra Devi, and Pattabi Jois spread his teachings to the world, in India, Krishnamacharya continued to deepen his yogic practice. It was during his sixties that he began teaching his son, TKV Desikachar and long-time student, Srivatsa Ramaswami.

Nearly the same age, Ramaswami and Desikachar both became engineers and continued studying with Krishnamacharya for over thirty years. While Desikachar learned how to apply yoga in a therapeutic manner often referred to as Viniyoga, Ramaswami studied asana, sacred texts and chanting under Krishnamacharya’s tutelage.

With his guru’s approval, Ramaswami recorded many chanting albums for the public. As Seva (devoted service) Ramaswami taught groups the yoga he had learned during his first fifteen years of study.  When he exhausted his asana repertoire, Krishnamacharya taught him new asanas with different movements called vinyasas.  In this way, Ramaswami became one of the few people Krishnamacharya taught multiple vinyasa sequences for a class setting. Ever loyal and with great respect to the only guru he studied with, Ramaswami shared exactly what he was taught while insisting,

“I do not know what my guru taught other people.  I only know that every lesson included pranayama (breathing).”

Shambhava Yoga Teacher Training (RYT-200)

Shambhava Yoga is a heart-centered yoga dedicated to seva (selfless service).  Using a creative Hatha and Vinyasa, Shambhava teaches moving the body into awareness and alignment, allowing the practitioner to deepen their personal yoga through inner focus and surrender.  Asana is taught at room-temperature.

My beloved teacher, Kamala Viecelli, ERYT-500, is a senior instructor from the Shambhava Yoga Shoshoni Center in Boulder, Colorado.   Begun in 1975 under the guidance of Sri Shambhavananda, a group of yogis moved to Boulder and opened a vegetarian restaurant named in honor of Swami Rudrananda, their teacher. Living, meditating and working together, the group flourished demonstrating that hard work with heart work in conjunction with meditation can help us to rise and grow from the challenges of everyday life.

Shambhava meditation is rooted in the 9th century tradition of Kashmir Shaivism, which sees the entire Universe as a manifestation of divine consciousness, or Shiva.  It is a practice for householders, people who are not ascetics.

Advanced Pranayama – White Lotus Foundation

Yogiraj Ganga White and partner, Yoga Acharya, Tracey Rich co-founded White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, California in 1983.  Yoga Journal referred to Ganga White as one of the “architects of American yoga”.

Together, Ganga and Tracey developed the first, yoga workout video, The Flow Series in 1990.  Their 1994 Total Yoga is the number one yoga video series in the USA and worldwide. More recently, Ganga White published Yoga Beyond Belief where he wrote about his non-dogmatic yoga.

Ganga’s yoga biography reads like the who’s who of modern yoga. Ganga founded the Center for Yoga in Los Angeles in 1967 and was the principle teacher for twenty-five years.  He led the US’s first, yoga teacher training in 1969. After serving as the vice-president of the International Sivananda Yoga Vendata Centers, he was Swami Vishnu’s designated successor.  Instead, in 1973, he left the organization to develop a contemporary vision of yoga. Ganga has received the designation of Yoga Acharya (highly learned scholar) from three yoga schools – Sivananda Ashram, the Yoga Vedanta Forest University, Rishikesh, Himalayas, and the Yoga Niketan in India.

MEDITATION

Curious about all world religions and mystic practices, I have practiced meditation within several different disciplines.

Meditation Secrets for Women (RYT-200) is facilitated by Camille Maurine and Dr. Lorin Roche.  The training follows and expands on the juicy, life-affirming practices outlined in their books, Meditation Secrets for Women: Discovering Your Passion, Pleasure and Inner Peace and  Meditation 24/7.

Camille Maurine‘s  work is informed by many traditions including Transcendental Meditation, Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, and Carl Jung’s psychology and dream work.  Her experience includes four decades of yoga and as a practitioner of Essential Integration body therapy and Continuum movement.   Lorin Roche Ph.D.’s book The Radiance Sutras:  112 Gateways to the Yoga of Wonder & Delight is a contemporary interpretation of the Vijnana Bhairvana Tantra.  “The friendliest meditation teacher in America” his teachings are based on his research into all meditation practices.

Science of Mind – Levels I and II – Agape Church of Religious Science, Los Angeles

Buddhist Mindfulness – Dr. Alta Brown

Quaker Meeting – Santa Monica, California

Self-Identity Through Ho’oponopono – taught by Hawaiian kahuna, lapa’au, Morrnah Simeona’s senior teachers, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len and Dr. Momilani Ramstrum

Reiki – Jikiden Reiki Shoden and Okuden with Frank Arjava Petter.  Reiki Jin Ki Do (Tibetan) Levels I and II

Sufi Dhikr

Korean Shamanic Chanting

Other Training

Over the years, I have participated in many short, inspirational programs.

Valerie Jermijenko, ERYT-500 – Yoga Principles and Alignment.  Author of How We Live Our Yoga and Founder of the Yama Yoga Studio and Teacher Training School in Doha, Qatar.

Max Strom, ERYT-500, – Pranayama, Forgiveness and Healing.  Author of A Life Worth Breathing and DVD Max Strom – Yoga Strength and Healing.

Lucy Roberts Yoga Arts, Senior Teacher– asana, bhakti yoga and meditation.

Dr. O Fred Donaldson teaches Original Play, his method of ahimsa (non-violent) play with children.  His technique is based upon forty years of experience and learning directly from wolves and lions.  Author of Pulitzer Prize nominated book, “Playing by Heart: The Vision and Practice of Belonging”.

Dr. Laura Cornell, ERYT-500 – Divine Feminine Yoga Seminar – Fifteen, leading yoginis (women who practice yoga) taught yogic philosophy and meditation from a female perspective.

YogaWorks – Anatomy Class

Jivamukti Immersion – Yogeswari

 

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