When did you start practicing?
December 2005, I started at the Reston studio in Northern VA.
When did you go to Teacher Training?
Spring 2010 in Las Vegas.
What brought you to yoga?
A toxic work environment. For 33 years I worked as a professional Air Traffic Controller at some of the worlds busiest airports and air traffic facilities including Los Angeles, Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. The Air Traffic profession is considered to be one of the most demanding and stressful occupations in the world. Air traffic controllers are known to have high divorce rates and to suffer from alcohol abuse, depression and other stress related illnesses. I was introduced to Bikram yoga by a friend when I was almost 58 years old. By that time I too had dealt with divorce, alcohol abuse, depression, had been diagnosed and treated for cervical spondylosis, throat cancer and had suffered from a mini stroke. Additionally, I was on medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acid reflux disease, blood clots and depression.
Why did you decide to become a yoga teacher and teach this series?
After I retired, I wanted to contribute something worthwhile. I feel like the main thing I have to offer people in these stressful times is a calm and peaceful presence. I look at this practice as a moving meditation. When teaching, I try not to over-think things. Just as when I’m practicing, I try to be fully present in the moment while teaching and to focus on my breathing. My hope in each class is that, together, the students and I will experience 90 minutes of harmony and flow.
What keeps you coming back?
My health. Yoga becomes a lifestyle. By 2014 I was declared completely cancer free, off of all medications and was told by my Doctor that I had less than a 3% chance of having any type of negative heart episode in my lifetime. Additionally the Doctor told me unequivocally that there could be no other explanation but that, “This Yoga Saved Your Life”. I practice 4 times a week and am at the gym 3 days a week. It keeps me busy, out of trouble, and off the streets!
What advice would you give?
Don’t try to achieve anything. Just come in and take class. Be consistent. With consistency your practice will get stronger. The yoga will show you, convince you. Your body will convince you that yoga works! Our bodies need sleep and yoga will help you sleep. Our bodies need good food and yoga will require you to eat well and take care of yourself.
A calm body and quiet mind helps us to appropriately deal with life’s ups and downs. Yoga offers us a way to practice calming the body and quieting the mind. As I remind students near the conclusion of each class, “Try to experience a few moments of peace and tranquility by simply lying still and listening to your breathing and then, take that peace with you out into the world. Try not to let anyone or anything steal your peace.”