MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH YOGA
I first encountered yoga as a teenager, through a VHS tape my sister, Marybeth, and I procured and jointly owned. From that time on, yoga was a 1-day/week kind of thing. I took my first Bikram yoga class in 2001, sweating profusely and wondering why all of the people in the class were so intense and serious. I dabbled in Bikram yoga for years, but it wasn't until Marybeth started practicing Bikram yoga religiously that I gave it a solid try as a full-time "physical" activity. Trading in my gym shoes for a yoga mat, I took my own intense and serious path with Bikram yoga, eventually leaving an unfulfilling law career and completing a 200-hour teacher training in the Barkan Method of Hot Yoga.
I met Ashtanga Yoga in 2013, not long after I had already started teaching hot yoga. Scott Harig, my first Ashtanga teacher, blew my mind open in such a beautiful way as to what the physical practice of yoga was and what possibilities it held. Honestly, more than anything, it was the breath that sucked me in. I walked into Scott's Mysore classroom in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, heard 20+ people breathing and practicing at their own pace, and I immediately knew I had gone to the "wrong" teacher training. (No such thing. Ha!)
Not long thereafter, I completed a 100-hour Ashtanga training with Scott, soaking in all I could about the practice with which I was so awestruck and enamored. When the training was finished, I continued training under Scott in his Mysore room, but had to cut our time short to move to Pennsylvania when family needs called for it.
When I moved back to York, I quickly met my teacher, Maegan Bowling, and some other teachers that were heavily influenced by Nancy Gilgoff. During a 4-month travel stint, I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of the "old school" Ashtanga teachers at a conference in Bali, including Nancy, and it was there that I knew I wanted to learn more from her. I took my first trip to Maui to learn from Nancy in early 2016; after that, I completed both Primary Series and Intermediate Series Adjustment clinics with her, and I returned to Maui again in 2019.
I also completed a 1-on-1 training for Intermediate Series under Maegan at her studio in Lemoyne, PA, where I still regularly work on my practice with her. I'm currently learning Advanced A, i.e., "old school" Third Series of Ashtanga yoga from both Maegan and Nancy.
I've participated in other intensives, workshops, and training programs with some wonderful teachers including Manju Jois, David Swenson, Christine Hoar, and Iian Grysek, among others. I've also met some amazing Ashtanga teachers in my travels, probably too many to list here. Nevertheless, I am thankful to every teacher that has influenced my practice and how I share the practice of Ashtanga yoga.