"We could say that meditation doesn't have a reason or doesn't have a purpose. In this respect it's unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment." – Alan Watts
The Miracle of Mindfulness
In “The Miracle of Mindfulness” Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn teaches mindfulness meditation as a way of being. His conceptualization of mindfulness is the one I’ve found to be the most resonant. He says the true intention of spending time in meditation is not simply to practice within a confined time, hoping that this will automatically confer benefits on the rest of your life. While it may have these effects, he views meditation as practice for how we can be all the time. When we sit in meditation, we practice cultivating a mind-state of open, nonjudgmental, compassionate equanimity with our inner lives. In formal meditation practice, the simplicity of sitting and the removal of all external disturbances and distractions makes this more readily available. There is nothing calling our attention away, nothing to respond to, and nothing to do but simply learn how to be. And in these simplified surroundings, we can more readily practice cultivating a state of underlying peace with our inner thoughts, emotions, and sensations. And the more we practice, the more this state becomes available to us outside of our practice, in our moment-to-moment experience each day. The true intention is to become so comfortable with this way of being that it becomes our resting state throughout our day, and our refuge amidst the turbulent and tumultuous waters of everyday life.
Change your thoughts and you change your world
Mindfulness lets you observe your thoughts. This act creates an inherent duality: an observer and your thoughts. And in order to do this, there is an underlying assumption that you are not your thoughts. We begin here.
HATHA ~ Slow Vinyasa ~ Restorative/Regenerative ~ Strength & Flexibility
I begin each class with a centering meditation. Seated and still, this is where we take a few moments to become grounded and check in with our thoughts, emotions, and physical state. We work on cultivating a sense of ease and comfort in body and mind, and we start to shift our mental state. From this place, we begin to ease into mindful movement. Throughout practice, I emphasize connection to the breath, what I see as the most important part of yoga. We practice maintaining the stillness of a meditative state throughout every movement, even the most challenging, with easy breath and softness in the body. I help my students build strength and flexibility through mindful awareness, with the ultimate goal of bringing these qualities off the mat and into their daily lives.
Yoga creates space for inquiry and reflection. The practice brings awareness to mental and physical habits and sheds light on the origins of imbalance in the body – guiding you in where you need to strengthen and where to ease up.
My favorite description of Yoga defines the practice as “a movement from one point to another higher one that was previously beyond our reach." It’s the experience of transformation that happens when body, mind, and spirit are consciously connected, even if only for a moment. Moving mindfully with the breath deepens our connection to our bodies and our gratitude for our abilities to move, whilst nurturing a non-judgmental attitude to our physical and mental states. I see yoga asanas as a mirror to life and a way to practice bringing mindful awareness, gratitude, and transcendence into each moment of daily life.
A regular yoga practice has been shown to enhance concentration, lower blood pressure, and improve sleep. Through consistent practice, we can start to develop valuable insights into our personality, behaviors, and patterns of thought, making it easier to recognize and change past conditioning and counterproductive views that hold us back. Mindful awareness is the key to both gratitude and change. What we work on in yoga is rewiring habitual behaviors and thought patterns to open our minds to new experiences and viewing our lives with greater appreciation and fresh perspectives.
"We think that the point of life to pass the test or to overcome the problem... but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again.
It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen.
Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation.
Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos and change — this is the spiritual path."
~ Pema Chödrön ~
Similarly, the goal of yoga is not the pose with perfect alignment. Neither is becoming flexible.
The point is to notice where you’re stuck, and create space there. To listen to your breath, your body and your mind, and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates… To make peace with where you are. The intention of this practice is awareness and self-compassion, and by that path – compassion for others.
We do yoga to feel, to become connected to this “in-between state”, not to accomplish. There is no end-goal. It’s not practice for some final competition. It’s just practice. Practice for the sake of inward reflection, exploring what you see there, and accepting it.
New York, NY (2019)
Craft and instruct personalized yoga and meditation sessions for private clients and in corporate settings across New York.
Candidasa, Bali (Summer 2018)
Lived at ashram in Candidasa, Bali during Summer 2018 and served as the official ashram yoga teacher. Led 1-hour yoga and meditation classes twice per day, 7 days a week.
IBM Astor Place, NYC (2017-2018)
Co-creator of Yoga @ IBM after-work yoga and meditation program. Taught weekly Vinyasa and Hatha classes after work every Thursday, with a focus on meditation and mindful movement for stress-reduction and healing of ergonomics-based muscle tension.
WeWork Offices, NYC (2017-2018)
Taught bi-weekly slow Vinyasa classes for office employees after work.
Laughing Lotus Yoga Center
200 Hour RYT Vinyasa Teacher Training
New York City, NY. 2017
Ananda Retreat Center
1-Week Intensive, Hatha Yoga Training
Rishikesh, India. 2017
Ki-Ra Holistic Living Center
Weekend Intensive Training, Ayurveda
Dominican Republic. 2018
Laughing Lotus Yoga Center
Weekend Intensive Training, Ayurvedic Cooking
New York City, NY. 2017