‘Yoga’ originates from Sanskrit ‘yuj,’ meaning to yoke, to join, or a state of union. As spiritual seekers, we carry a deep sense that union is possible, discoverable from within, tucked deep inside the crevasses of our human experience. Our desire to align internally nudges us along the path, where we seek lasting liberation from the machinations of the mind. What a beautiful reflection of the human spirit that — against the persistent beckoning of an externally weighted world — we are drawn toward the universal inner light which both unites and liberates. The absence of duality, the courageous dismantling of the illusion of separation . . . that is the sacred intimate homecoming. That is the essence of yoga, our practice and our state of Being. My teaching methodology derives from the three complementary traditions of Yoga, Ayurveda and Tantra which, woven together, create a rich and cohesive framework for study and practice. What follows is a brief summary of each lineage, and words from trusted guides in the respective fields of study. May this information — along with my personal efforts — serve others, illuminate truth and reduce suffering for all.
Rooted in the ancient Indian texts known as the Vedas, Ayurveda (Science of Life) is a broad approach to health which recognizes the power of self-healing within. Ayurveda provides a holistic guidemap for awakening our healing potential, and may include personalized recommendations for lifestyle, activity, meditation, diet, bodywork treatments, and the use of herbs and oils. From an Ayurvedic perspective, health is not a static state defined by lab tests or yearly checkups, but a continuous and participatory process that embraces all aspects of life: physical, mental, emotional, behavioral, spiritual, familial, social, and universal. (excerpted from Eat, Taste, Heal, Yareda, Rhoda & Brannigan)
Most teachers and practitioners agree that yoga refers to stabilizing the mind, and this is accomplished through various practices and techniques. Beneath the physical practice, beneath breathing and meditation, beneath karma and service and lifestyle, yoga refers to Union, the remembering of our true nature. Mahadev Desai (secretary to Mahatma Gandhi) stated it eloquently: [Yoga means] the yoking of all the powers of the body and the mind and soul to God; it means the discipline of the intellect, the mind, the emotions, the will, which such a yoking presupposes; it means a poise of the soul which enables one to look at life in all its aspects and evenly.
Tantra offers an expansive approach to spiritual resolution and includes practices which cultivate devotion, humility, a relationship with Grace and deep personal integrity. In the words of my teacher: “Tantra has been greatly misunderstood, particularly in the West, where it is perceived primarily as sacred sexuality. While Tantra does work with pranic [life force] energy, this energy is not merely sexual; it is the underlying energy of all forms of life. The key is to resolve all differences into the experience of spiritual reality. It is the communion that is important, not the discernment of their differences. Ultimately all spiritual practices reveal spirit as the fundamental ground of being and consciousness as the essence of the mind.” (Mukunda Stiles, Tantra Yoga Secrets)