In the summer of 2000, I graduated with a Computer Science degree from Rutgers University because “computers are the future!” and an English or creative writing major could possibly lead to starvation. I got my wakeup call when I was working for Morgan Stanley and the tragic events of 9/11 happened. I hated my job, but it paid well and it sounded so good when I told people where I worked. I couldn’t see myself becoming any of my superiors and I certainly felt my soul dying a slow death day after day. When I saw the second plane hit from my friend’s apartment, I became more aware of the fragility of life. If I could die when least expected, I may as well do something I love, or I’ve completely wasted my time. I quit a few weeks later and took a non-profit job as a creative writing director for children in under served Harlem neighborhoods. Most people thought I was crazy.
In my determination to find what I love, I tried yoga and soon was on a mission to find the best class in Manhattan. I must have gone to over 30 studios until I found my teacher. His class was more than just poses. The level of strength, discipline and concentration in his classes definitely surpassed all the others but the words he shared at the end of class got me good. They always left me questioning existence and the nature of our interactions with the outside world. Not too long after that first class, I signed up for his teacher training. I wasn’t sure that I would ever end up teaching but I knew that yoga was a practice I could never know enough about.
Once the poses have been mastered, training the mind and working on the spirit is where the real work begins. After immersing myself in yoga training for three months, I knew I had no choice but to teach it – it was that powerful. I became obsessed with perfecting my style and a year later I was teaching almost 20 classes a week in Los Angeles. When you teach that often, you get good fast and It’s very satisfying to know that you’re not only teaching what you love but you’re also improving your students’ lives.
I say it often but if everyone did yoga, the world would be a better place. We would all be calmer, less reactive, more forgiving, healthier, nicer, more loving, confident and open. And the list goes on. There’s a big difference between what I call “asana” teachers or teachers that simply instruct poses, and teachers that use their knowledge of philosophy to instill practical nuggets of wisdom.