One Life, Many Paths - Gurus, Swamis, and Coaches...
Always in an athletes body, I began my journey as a competitive athlete at the age of 7 with a swimming career that took me to the Junior Olympics. Swimming was dashed for Cheerleading and gymnastics, then the whole of it got dumped after High School to pursue studies in X-Ray Technology, Nursing, and Sports Medicine; which I worked at in Hospitals for three years after all the graduations.
Little did I know that all the focusing, stretching, visualization, and breathing exercises I had been spontaneously doing to help in sports and academics since childhood had a name! The name that has, over the last 30 years, become my first love: Yoga.
The paths all converged in 1980 like a head-on collision when I met my Guru, Swami Shyam, and dropped to my knees. At his feet, and those of my new spiritual community, I began to connect the dots. As I learned the graceful technologies of Yoga, I realized I'd been doing them on my own for most of my life. The lights just kept coming on!
During the ensuing two years, who can recall what happened? I was based in New York City in the midst of a professional dance career, and stumbled onto Broadway. It liked me! So in I went to an amazing whirlwind of training and travel in the international entertainment industry. An athlete once again.
Heres the catch, my beloved Guru was in India and the Western spiritual community surrounding him was split between Toronto, Montreal, and London. Needless to say, I ran around a lot. This got pretty old. With yoga mat and mala beads in tow, I prayed, meditated, danced, and chanted my way halfway around the world and back.
From my apartment in New York's West Village, my life evolved. One day my best friend suggested I take a Yoga class with her at the Integral Yoga Institute on West 13th Street. It was 1982. I was hooked. I was home. I entered the Integral Yoga Institute (IYI) community as an adopted child. His Holiness Sri Swami Satchidananda knew of Swam Shyam. We all exchanged letters, and I was welcomed into the community. As my professional dance career grew, so did my spiritual life and my participation at the IYI.
On stage I would do mantra, backstage I would meditate and read my scriptures, then down to the IYI for more teacher training. I helped train other teachers under the firm and loving eye of my teacher, mentor, and friend Swami Asokananda. I bow to him, and am so very honored to have been on his path. As the President of the IYI, AsokanandajiÂ continues to walk the highest of walks, and his love and words still run through me. He continues to foster the love of the Divine in students worldwide. There were also other influences on my teaching Leslie Kaminoff, Gary Kraftsow, Beryl Bender, Molly Fox. Molly brought me to fitness training and certification, which only enhanced my understanding of how the whole thing fits together.
Dance took me all around the world. Yoga took me all around the universe.
28 years after that beautiful IYI yoga class in 1982, this beautiful life continues to evolve. 20 years on the East End of Long Island in New Yorks Hamptons community has fostered a love of the outdoors that continues to partner with the soul growth of the path of Yoga. There is slalom waterskiing, wakeboarding, cycling, running and swimming in the beautiful primal waters of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding bays. There are beach meditations and amazing sunsets. A well-seasoned triathlete now, I am part of a wonderful Triathlon team and community of athletes. My work in the fitness world brings this message to those who might not have heard it otherwise.
The face of the guru looks back at me every day through the eyes of my child and my students. I founded and ran a yoga studio for 15 yrs, have taught in churches, schools, gyms, homes, yoga studios and on beaches wherever anyone wants to learn about this graceful path. I founded and directed a Wellness Center, worked side by side with a chiropractor as the head massage therapist for ten years,Â directed a yoga retreat property in Costa Rica for five years, and spent three seasons with students on retreat in Jamaica.
A yogi in an athletes body. A soul yearning for truth.
A heart bursting with gratitude. A mind searching for peace.
My biggest desire is to pass along the blessings that have been a way of life for so long, to help people find the truth inside them the grace of balancing the voice of the Divine with our very human lives.
I am humbled and honored every day that I am lucky enough to wake up and continue my work. I hope to inspire in my students and clients a love for themselves that is authentic and grateful, to help people see their possibilities.
I have learned that whether we are on a yoga mat, in the weight room, on a bike, or in the kitchen, it is all the same. We are here to find the same peace and balance in all things, to learn to drop our judgments and fears, and just be happy to be here. All the yogic philosophy willingly applies itself to modern life.
My blessings are doubled if I can share some of this with you! It is always nice to have good company along the way.
Thank you for listening.
With all love and respect