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It is here that we celebrate the beauty, transformation and healing that yoga can bring to the lives we live, no matter where we came from or where we are going. We celebrate each individual's voice, their path and their truth. We become inspired to remember to always come to our mats in times of struggle and times of peace. We learn to take yoga's lessons off the mat as well. We celebrate the beauty of an asana practice, and the sheer magnificence of its power within our bodies and out in the world. 



What initially inspired you to do yoga?

I have been practicing yoga since 2003 and loved it right from the start. I used it as a supplement to my first love, running. I didn't gain much experience until 2007. I am a former elite competitive runner and became injured in 2006, that's when I really turned to yoga. It has literally saved my life!  Not only has it kept me sane, it has helped me heal, in many ways, both physically and emotionally.

What do you remember about your 1st yoga class?

The first class I attended was in the running store I worked in and was specialized “yoga for runners.” I remember finding it strange at first, but loved the good stretch! I’m not sure I enjoyed or understood the benefits of Savasana until many years later…

What keeps you coming back to your mat everyday?

It is my HOME. I feel calm and grounded when I am on my mat. Being a giver in the healing art of massage, being on my yoga mat is my time to receive.

What part(s) of yoga resonate with you?

All parts! I love the sense of release I feel from chanting, stretching, and resting in Savasana. I love the challenge of approaching new and advanced asanas, and even the challenge and guidance of the lessons I learn through the philosophy of yoga.

How has yoga affected your life?  what does it mean to you?

It has changed my world completely. Moving from a very intense life of marathon training to the more calm and less extreme life of yoga has helped me find self care and balance in life. I am a more well-rounded person with yoga in my life. For me, in one word, yoga means balance.

How does yoga make you feel? has it contributed to some healing in your life?

Yoga makes me feel grounded, balanced, free to be, calm, peaceful, flexible (and not just physically!), open-minded, open-hearted, and love. It has contributed to healing my running injury, plantar fasciitis, and has also contributed to emotional healing over the years, ultimately helping me find self-love and an open heart <3 .

What makes you avoid yoga?  what makes you commit to yoga?

I don’t really avoid yoga. I only tend not to practice when I am too busy. I commit to yoga especially when I feel stressed and know that I need it, when I have a personal-challenge or goal to reach (I am still very goal-oriented!), or when I have found a teacher or studio I love.

What about yoga enables you to help others and change the world for the better?

The mindfulness and mental flexibility that yoga gives me, helps me to be happier, forgiving, compassionate, positive, and loving toward others. I think having this good attitude spreads. The law of attraction…like attracts like. And when I continue to learn from more experienced teachers, I try to spread the knowledge of their wisdom.

Do you have a favorite quote that you live by and if so, what is it?

There are too many to choose from, but a couple of my favorites are “Gratitude is the best attitude” and “Carpe Diem!”




What initially inspired you to do yoga?

I was initially inspired to do yoga after realizing I was living an unhealthy lifestyle, and I wanted to make a change. I was lazy about basically everything: school work, working out, and eating healthy. In all honesty, I thought yoga would be the easy way out. I had always been flexible, so I figured yoga would come easily to me...but I guessed wrong!

What do you remember about your first yoga class?

I absolutely hated my first yoga class! I thought it would be all easy stretching, but it required strength and endurance. I remember thinking that downward dog was the worst pose imaginable. I had horrible form and alignment, and I was in child's pose for the majority of class.

What keeps you coming back to your mat everyday?

Growing up, I was a quitter. I tried basketball, ballet, tap, jazz, guitar, etc., and I quit everything within weeks. I didn't fully understand the concepts of patience and persistence. My first few yoga classes were a struggle, but I was tired of being a quitter. I was about to graduate college and I still had no sports I enjoyed playing in my free time. I legitimately feared the gym. I was inactive, and it needed to change. I knew I had to give yoga another chance. For once, I wanted to push myself and get into shape. This was 2 years ago. Now I'm a yoga instructor! Yoga was the first thing I stuck to. The first thing I persisted with until I saw results. I fell in love with yoga, and yoga helped me fall in love with myself. I come back to my mat everyday because each practice reminds me that I'm no longer a quitter. I am a motivated, healthy, strong yogini.

What parts of yoga resonate with you?

The main parts of yoga that resonate most with me are both the physical and spiritual parts. Again, yoga was the first activity I stuck to. Since I've started, I've lost over 30 pounds, and I am currently in the best shape of my life. I've also gotten healthier in my way of thinking. I've learned how to handle and clear negative thoughts and feelings, and connect with my higher self. The asanas and meditation of yoga keep me balanced, healthy, and happy.

How has yoga affected your life?  What does it mean to you?

Yoga has completely changed my life. Before yoga, I had little respect and love for myself. I first fell in love with my physical practice. This lead me to take better care of my body. I then found my spiritual practice. I learned that my thoughts manifest into reality, and I've become a more vibrant, positive person. Yoga isn't my hobby. It isn't my job. Yoga is my life, my love, my everything.

How does yoga make you feel?  Has it contributed to some healing in your life?

Yoga makes me feel confident, positive, and powerful. I used to block out bad memories. The more I delved into my spiritual practice, the more I realized I had to come to terms with my past. Through meditation, I dug in deep and released years of regret and negativity. Yoga has healed and cleansed my mind, body, and soul.

What makes you avoid yoga?  What makes you commit to yoga?

I started yoga because it's not a competition. It's about your own body and your own journey. When yoga is turned into a competition, I avoid it. I'm uncomfortable with the business-side of yoga. When people turn asanas into a competition, I also feel discouraged. I feel committed to yoga when I choose to focus on myself: my own mat, my own body, and my own mind.

What about yoga enables you to help others and change the world for the better?

After becoming more aware of my body, thoughts, and feelings, I've helped close friends and students to do the same. I still learn from other teachers every day, and I always try to spread the knowledge and mindfulness. Awareness and mindfulness are what we need in order to maintain peace, love, and unity in this world.

Do you have a favorite quote that you live by and if so, what is it?

My favorite quote is, “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears" - Anthony Robbins



What initially inspired you to do yoga?

My yoga journey began soon after leaving school in my late teens some 24 years ago now.  I felt inspired by yoga practitioners, they always seemed so calm and centered.  At that time, I was pretty lost, there were so many options and I lacked (a career) direction and clear focus. Everyone else seemed to be sure of their career.  Yoga provided me with direction, focus and also acceptance.

What do you remember about your 1st yoga class?

I first discovered Yoga at Pineapple Dance Studios in London. My first yoga class was beautiful. I remember instantly feeling connected.  Moving the body mindfully and working with the breath produced (and still does) such an amazing feeling.  In those days I was the youngest in the class.  It has been incredible to have watched yoga boom over the last 24 years. 

How has yoga affected your life? What does it mean to you?

Yoga soon became a very big part of my life and provided me with a focus and direction.  I felt positive, happy and healthy which I now realize has profoundly impacted my everyday life, relationships and friendships that I have formed. The benefits that yoga brings are immense and have provided me with a belief system based on compassion which also allows me to be a positive role model for my children.  Yoga has also introduced me to some really inspirational people and taken me to corners of the globe that have impacted my life in so many ways. I believe yoga provides valuable tools that offer physical and emotional support for whatever life throws at you.

What keeps you coming back to your mat everyday?

Yoga is with me always, when I cook, clean, as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend in fact it is with me in every aspect of my life both on and off my yoga mat.  Yoga helps me stay balanced and grounded.  It is for all these reasons that I roll out my yoga mat daily.

What about yoga enables you to help others and change the world for the better?

I love watching students leave a yoga class, they always seem somewhat lighter and almost float out of the studio surrounded by a cloud of good feeling.

Yoga provides support and guidance during times of change or upset. Yoga helps people heal both physically and emotionally.  A few simple yoga postures can naturally increase “good feelings”. Yoga is something that can be practiced by anyone, anywhere and at any time. I feel that yoga has survived the test of time for a reason.

My favorite yoga quote is from BKS Inyengar: "Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured."




The Reluctant Yogi

When I grew up on the North Shore of Oahu in the early 70’s, I remember doing yoga alongside my mother as she enjoyed being a vegetarian and the girlfriend of a guru.  Let’s just say there was a lot of neglect, abandonment, drugs and trauma in my environment.  Years later, I would run around in full lotus on my knees for entertainment, doing shoulder stand and plow with ease and fun.  Fast forward to my mother being deported from the country she loved and growing up in Northern Germany, where soccer, bike riding and ballet came into my life.   Yoga was non­existent during those decades.  I was a runner and a swimmer during my high school years, then enjoyed a successful modeling career all over Europe.  I was miserable and I hated myself, as I had a voluptuous derriere and was flat chested, completely disconnected from my body and all of my childhood trauma.  Both my parents were alcoholics and both served time in jail, I looked like a privileged person, growing up in Hamburg and Malibu, yet I felt like I was from the gutter.  Nobody cared what I was doing with my life, they were checked out. 

So, I went to India and found a guru and committed my life to a spiritual path.  Most of the disciples in my community really got into yoga at the time and I thought I would take to it.  Instead my guru encouraged me to dance and I joined an amateur group.  Somehow, I could never make it through a yoga class.  I could not understand how people loved it so much.  Taking deep, long breaths was hard for my shallow breathing habits.  I would incessantly watch the clock and felt like I was dying when only 45 min had passed and I still had double more to go.  Pure torture.  Sometimes I would get so frustrated and angry about being too stiff and everything taking so long, I would just walk out of class, especially if the teacher was hanging out too long on one side and forgot the other...I would feel abandoned and annoyed.  Twenty years passed with me attending probably a dozen yoga classes, feeling guilty about not being a yoga lover and feeling down on myself that I should have been doing it all along, feeling in debt to myself and my body.  In the midst of it, my back went out and I had lower sacrum problems for close to ten years, limiting my capacity for yoga and ending my participation in Ballet.  I know now that it was a deeper issue of disempowerment in my life and feeling unsupported.  Somehow, my innate unworthiness, the things I never dealt with about my parents neglect, all left me frozen and incapacitated and I left my spiritual community out of unworthiness and exhaustion. 

I had put on a lot of weight over the years and had struggled with candida, chronic fatigue syndrome, low thyroid function, low blood sugar, binge eating, joint pain, yet pretty much a healthy immune system.  I was psychologically hip to my story yet I was most likely clinically depressed and bipolar and had PTSD.  Since I was always into alternative health, I tried Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) when I left the community.  It changed my life radically.  Things I worked on for 15 years actually changed and shifted out of my nervous system, ie the PTSD.  In my early 40’s, I started doing hot yoga, and although extremely challenging, the heat helped me feel present to my breath and made me feel more like it was an actual rite of passage.  As Islowed everything down, the sweating actually allowed me to feel my skin and BE in my skin.  It was confronting as hell.  I started making connections with my right and left sides of my body, right for father and left for mother, and tracking the pain, limitations and stories of suffering that I had stored.  I would cry through most classes, which was easy since the music was on, the sweat was pouring down and our heads were red, I had my privacy to process.  Some days I walked out of class wishing I could pay $80 per class, like it was the most healing therapy session.  During this time my neck and shoulders were on fire constantly, fibromyalgia conditions.  I did internal EFT dialogue constantly during downward dog and telling the inner child “I am so sorry”  and “I love and accept myself” and choosing to forgive myself and all who contributed to my suffering and releasing the pain.  Even though I felt fat and self­conscious, I knew the value I was getting by working through my body in a non­competitive, but compassionate way, ­this emotional freedom I was experiencing was driving me. 

Healing myself of fibromyalgia, as an EFT practitioner and facilitator motivated me do a yoga teacher training.  I knew it would be a challenge to do 2 hrs every morning, but this commitment also empowered me in such a big way.  Every morning I met resistance, I went and checked in with my 5 year old girl who had lost her mommy and hung out with her.  For two weeks I held space with her in my heart, choosing core strength as my intention: core= coer, French for heart.  Courageous heart yoga.  You always hear the only way out is through and for me, yoga is that vehicle to allow me to unite body, mind and spirit and transform the old through movement, breath and presence.  It is always a challenge.  I love the warrior II pose, as it gives me inner strength to the parts of me that feel so weak and frail, and reminds me to embody my rainbow ­love warrior.  Shedding fear and moving into the heart, choosing love, is creating the new earth.

My favorite quotes: “Your biology is your biography” ~ Caroline Myss.  It is my experience that the only healing I have received is when I sincerely go through my cellularly memory with the intention of forgiveness.  I still have a voluptuous body and a stiff back on occasion, my mother and guru and children have put me down for it, and I have embraced it fully.  I am alas comfortable in it.  That is my success story.

"Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between the two my life flows."  Nisargadatta Maharaj

Lastly, “May your secrets become your healings” the ocean told me one day on my walk, as I believe what we hold in, unaddressed creates dis­ease….let your physical pain be your guide.





What initially inspired you to do yoga? 

Mayhem… Literally :-) !  I had been medically diagnosed with what western medicine labels Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  This medical condition was as a result of karmic conditioning ie. Life lived pretty hard.  I have been (along with many other brave beings) over exposed to trauma as a result of working as a Correctional Officer in a Maximum Security Penitentiary for many years.

Years previous I had been introduced to yoga by my brother Alistair and his girlfriend Madhuri.  I remember enjoying it as a teenage however I was still interested in more ‘active’ (relativity) and more ‘extreme’ activities such as Downhill Mountain biking and other sports. I would be lead back to yoga years later but I now realize the seed had been planted then as a teenager.

Fast forward to the age of 31 and I have an amazing medical doctor who is also a yogi and meditator.  Forever grateful for that combination.  The groundwork had been laid to guide me back to being exposed to the practice.  Circumstance and living had beaten me and allowed me to develop what Chogyam Trungpa would have called neurosis. (PTSD)  It made sense to delve into the practice.  Surrender!

What do you remember about your 1st yoga class?

I remember a lot about that class.  I was blessed with a brilliant teacher by the name of Lara Franck.  At the time I didn’t realize, couldn’t realize the blessing in having an extraordinarily skilled teacher for my introduction to yoa.  I now am even more grateful I went every day to practice while she was in my immediate sphere of influence!

I remember buying a three month pass knowing I was stubborn and it would force me to return.  I remember the class was full of older women.  I remember shaking like a leaf in my first revisit to a standing forward fold and looking at the more experienced, older than I, woman to my right, who clearly had been practicing yoga for years.  I remember looking at her folded gracefully in half and thinking, ‘I’m in good frickin shape and I’m shaking like a leaf… how is that older lady not shaking… she is older… and skinny and stuff…’

Most of all I remember the feeling in Savasana and MORE importantly the feeling that I carried with me upon leaving until I returned the next morning for another class.  I was hooked from the get go!  Endorphins and energetic flow lead me to actual sleep.  I hadn’t sleep a good nights sleep in months.

What keeps you coming back to your mat everyday?

 The Mayhem if I don’t come back!!!  Haha… the challenge, the progression of practice, the physical pain if I don’t for a few days, the mental anguish of the people immediately around me in my life if I don’t practice for a few days, my job, … the habitual patterns that got me here in the first place… just with the volume turned down you know!

This practice has revealed little bits and pieces of truth and awakening allowing me to peek out from behind the cocoon of my habitual patterns every once and a while.

What part(s) of yoga resonate with you?

The plethora of full spectrum teachings that progress the individual practitioner towards living their practice and affecting wholesome change that is ‘basically good’.  You can take it as deep as you like.  As my teacher often says, ‘you may come here for a tighter butt but maybe you will pick up Samadhi along the way!’

As I have taken on a teaching role in the past year I have been graced a whole other level of resonation.  To be given the opportunity to share that, which has helped me to rapidly and progressively, change my truth towards aligning with that which is basically good.  To be able to teach and spread this practice to my peer prison workers, their families, friends, and the general public is pure MAGIC if you ask me.  To be able to watch yoga deconstruct ego and force true self to the surface.  To watch people tangibly change their experiences of their bodies, to alleviate little bits of suffering here and there, and most importantly to watch them get ‘it’.  Smiles!!!  

Heads up I make all my students take seated meditation for a ‘substantial’ (relative) amount of time, at 99 percent of the classes that I hold at my home.  I love being a meditation dictator! 

How has yoga affected your life?  

At the risk of sounding grossly cliché the continuing practice of yoga quickly graced me the opportunity to reside higher along the spectrum of happiness and contentment.  Overall it has been a gradual steady opening that at times accelerates to tumultousness in all areas of life… hahaha.. its funny cause its true… 

Again to laymenize (the language of me) it make suffering less in all areas of my life.  Practice has taught me experiential impermanence through both stillness and movement.  From inversion to seated meditation the dynamics of this practice will interweave into your being if you apply the right amount of effort.  Its magic!

I remember the lady from my first class who I practiced beside telling me after a few months of dedicated practice, “James you have to keep coming.  I can see happiness in your face.”  That is when I began to truly believe in the transformational power of the magical practice of this conscious work that we call ‘yoga.’  This is truth!

What does it mean to you?

To me ‘yoga’ means conscious work at the level of working my self towards a more open heart, clear mind and free body.  Getting closer to our true selves.  

In the real world yoga means being more present in what I am doing.  This is true at work or with family and even pets.  Or even when I’m on my own.  Get back to being which is conducive to living life in coexistence energetically.  Not being burnt out and pissed off at the world.

To be conscious involves a certain amount of awakening.  Now that I have been graced these teachings by those who have come before me and been brilliant enough to figure out how to package these teachings to appeal to me, it is my dharma to bring the teachings to others.  That really excites me!  Also one has to remember that awakening is on a spectrum as well.  It is a continuous.  

Simply put the daily practice of yoga should contribute to me living a more mindful life.  I should more naturally paying more attention to whatever it is I am doing in the present moment.  Living my practice means I pay more attention to my intention and actions and the results thereof.  More specifically an ongoing non linear consideration of the following:  Right view, right intention, right speech, right livelihood, right effort, right concentration, right mindfulness.

How does yoga make you feel? 

After a full spectrum Asana practice 99.9999 percent of the time elevates (makes better) my mood and being.  If it doesn’t then I’m not surrendering enough to it.  As I now consider post meditation/mat practice part of my practice too that changes things… well considering that I run the full gambit of feelings, emotions, sensations during practice.  But when I sit and watch it that is when the magic happens… intuition!!!

Has it contributed to some healing in your life?

 Completely and with Produndity!!!

What makes you avoid yoga?  

It all comes back to fear doesn’t it.  Avoidance or aversion.  If I am avoiding my own practice these days I do so by saying, ‘well you have a full time job, plus you teach, plus you study, you can skip practice!!!’

Procrastination is procrastination…  If I don’t have a practice what is it that I am teaching.  Time management is my biggest challenge these days.  I’m learning.  That part with tumultousness at times too!  Love the path!

When the sun comes out I can get lost on my motorcycle and slack off on physical asana practice.  That is why some friends and I started a yogi motorcycle club.  Group rides will be happening this year.

What makes you commit to yoga?

Sometimes it is a remembrance that this practice gives me tangible results.  Other times I realize I am behaving like an asshole and should probably get to a class or engage in some home practice.  I was and can still be one sick mofo.  Practice reduces the dis-ease in my life that can manifest as disease or disorder ie. PTSD.  Yoga tangibly helps alleviate my symptoms.  I quickly came to the realization after dedicated years of practice that not only does it alleviate the symptoms and in fact has FORCED me to TRANSCEND that diagnosis.  The results have been rapid growth.  Again a term I first heard in a yoga studio, ‘post traumatic growth!’  

What about yoga enables you to help others and change the world for the better?

It is a practice that can allow one to transform themselves in a wholesome way, and progress towards living their practice and residing in awakening.  Its just that simple!!! (insert audible laugh) It is Dharma! (truth)  Tried tested and true over the expanse of space and time and at the risk of sounding overly pretentious… Legit!  By giving people this tool, this yoga, this conscious work, we are literally transforming the world one person at a time…. One practice at a time… now just think what will happen when 51 percent of people are conscious 10 percent more than they were yesterday.  Now what effect twould that have on their immediate environment.. keeping in mind that it is now a majority who have awakened to living a more conscious life.. that is our next ‘evolution’ a rapid raising in conciousness.  I believe we are closer than most think!  The curve of progression is getting steeper! 

Do you have a favorite quote that you live by and if so, what is it?


'unskilled farmers throw away their rubbish and buy manure from other farmers, but those who are skilled go on collecting their own rubbish, in spite of the bad smell and the unclean work, and when it is ready to be used they spread it on their land, and out of this they grow their crops.  That is the skilled way.  In exactly the same way, the Buddha says, those who are unskilled will divide clean from unclean and will try to throw away samsara and search for nirvana, but those who are skilled bodhisattvas will not throw away desire and the passions and so on, but will first gather them together.  That is to say, one should first recognize and acknowledge them, and study them and bring them to realization.  So the skilled bodhisattva will acknowledge and accept all these negative things.  And this time he really knows that he has all these terrible things in him, and although it is very difficult and unhygienic, as it were, to work on, that is the only way to start.  And then he will scatter them on the field of bodhi.  Having stuided all these concepts and negative things, when the time is right he does not keep them anymore, but scatters them and uses them as manure.  So out of these unclean things comes the birth of the seed which is realization.  This is how one has to give birth.  And the very idea that concepts are bad, or such-and-such a thing is bad, divides the whole thing, with the result that you are not left with anything at all to deal with.  And in that case you either have to be completely perfect, or else battle through all these things and try and knock them all out.  But when you have this hostile attitude and try to suppress things, then each time you knock one things out another springs up in its place, somewhere else.'

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche