Certified Yoga Instructor (Yoga Room Berkeley Advanced Studies Program)
I believe a well-lived life is like a craft. We can learn techniques and skills of the craft from others, which then become ours to perfect and apply how we choose, either to model our lives on the paths of those who inspire us, or to discover our own path. I believe the fulfillment of a life well-lived comes not from what we achieve, but from the experience of the process of crafting it.
My own path began in earnest in one of those life moments that embed themselves so vividly in your mind that it only takes a thought to transport yourself back there, even after decades. My college roommate, choreographer Reggie Wilson, and a friend who became my first yoga teacher, Colleen Winney, taught a six-week course at a spiritualist church in Chelsea one summer that combined African dance and Yoga. I remember vividly the excruciating pain I felt as I did my very first Triangle Pose. My whole body was on fire from the chest down. I had never experienced anything like it and, rather than be intimidated by it, I remember being fascinated. “There’s something in this,” I remember thinking, and was determined to know more.
Yoga for me in those early years of my practice was a necessity. Without it, I don’t know what might have become of me. My job at the time in the entertainment business was incredibly stressful and I was desperate for relief, both physical and mental. Yoga combined meditation, which I had been struggling away at in a seated practice, with physical activity and, in the nineties, was still a counter-cultural endeavor. All of these gave me the feeling of doing something special for myself as a contrast to the grind of working at a New York talent agency.
I came to the Alexander Technique also out of necessity. In my forties, I found that yoga wasn’t enough to keep my body healthy. My early years of stressful working conditions followed by a decade of pushing and striving in my yoga practice had left me with sacroiliac problems that gave me recurring back pain, and yoga was no longer able to help me. In fact, my back pain had become so intense that, for several years, the only yoga I was able to do was a small handful of standing poses. Anything more challenging would throw my back out. The Alexander Technique enabled me to strengthen my back and reclaim my yoga practice, enabling me to become stronger and more flexible in middle age than I had ever been when I was younger.
My principal way of learning is teaching. Organizing something in my mind well enough to be able to bring it to life for another person helps me integrate it. Over the years I’ve become: a yoga teacher, certified as a graduate of the Yoga Room, Berkeley’s Advanced Studies Program under Donald Moyer and Mary Lou Weprin; an Alexander Technique teacher, trained at the American Center for the Alexander Technique (ACAT) and nationally certified by the American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT); and an anatomy teacher, bringing embodied anatomy and developmental movement to my students. The Craft of Living website and blog is my latest way of integrating the different aspects of my practice into a unified exploration of mind, body and being, accessible to everyone.