What initially inspired you to do yoga?
I have always been in love with the mysteries of the universe and existence. The deepest reaches of space, the smallest particles, and the biggest questions about the origins of existence. I studied at the Colorado School of Mines to delve into those questions in the physics program there. I started practicing yoga seriously when I was studying abroad in England, and it was a lifeline. Yoga was the perfect antidote to the high stress of a competitive physics program and the stress of modern life. My almost daily tension headaches disappeared. I was falling into yoga and falling out of physics. As I fell, I started finding the deeper layers of yoga – people asking those same questions about God and the universe and the human experience. Asana practice is a somewhat modern development, but the history of yogic philosophy rest on thousands of years of deep spiritual practice and study. So when I tell people that I left physics to teach yoga they say, “Wow! What a switch.” But really, to me, it wasn’t. Yoga is the internal exploration of the universe – the microcosm in macrocosm. And I am still in love with those deep questions and still in love with science. I love to geek out reading science magazines. More and more scientific research is emerging to support what yogis have always known about the near-miraculous effects of a yoga practice. In the coming decades yoga and science will draw together even more closely with new studies on yoga and meditation, new modern support for this ancient practice.
What parts of yoga resonate with you?
Breathing is the most exquisite thing in the world to me, and one of the most valuable aspects of yoga practice. A few long luscious Ujjayi breaths can make a lot of things right. As my practice evolves and matures, I notice my mindful breath coming off my mat with me more and more. I am completely in love with breathing.
How has yoga affected your life? what does it mean to you?
The metamorphoses I see in my yoga students astonish and inspire me. I see bodies unfold and bloom. Some people find a strength they never knew existed. Many people find ease for aching bodies. Everyone finds connection to their bodies and breath. Yoga heals the schism that we have created between body and mind.