My first memory is of dancing as a 3 year-old to the jigs and reels of my uncle’s fiddle. The elemental connection between rhythm and movement whether experienced in celebratory social gatherings or in the solitude of the wilderness has been central to my life. There is a still point in movement, and observable dynamics of stillness. I have been fortunate to explore these themes of meditation in movement through parallel careers in dance, theatre, post-secondary teaching and in yoga.
I was introduced to yoga in 1983 in classes with Esther Myers. Her disciplined approach to BKS Iyengar’s method of teaching Hatha yoga made her a challenging and inspiring teacher. I continue to draw on the extensive teacher training with her and many insights into anatomy applied to yoga postures.
When, in 1986, Esther introduced me to Vanda Scaravelli and her intuitive, musical approach to yoga it dramatically changed Esther’s teaching and opened me to Vanda’s work. Vanda integrated her creative cultural experience with asana practice to develop an approach to yoga as “a dance between breath and gravity”.
I began studying with Diane Long, Vanda’s student for 23 years, in 1989 and she has been an inspirational teacher and friend since. She took away my preconceived ideas of the ‘correct’ way of doing the postures and guided me to a distilled experience of meditation in movement.
Vanda avoided the label of ‘Scaravelli Method’, instead inviting those influenced by her to guide students to experience “Awakening (of) the Spine” as her book so poetically describes.
In teaching yoga I create the conditions for students to let go of the fragmented multitasking everyday world and be focused in the present. Instead of asking the right way to do each posture, I invite students to explore the shape, rhythm and movement in the asanas as a guide to recognize their holding patterns and how to release from the inside. With cues, images, and hands-on assists, developed over many years of research, yoga practice and teaching, I guide students into a full expression of the postures with less effort and more wholeness.