My study of yoga philosophy started in my very early years, contemplating the bible stories my mom would read to me for my weekly religion classes. Little did I know then that I was starting to learn about yoga. I was the kid who was trying to stop fighting and promote love and understanding, and was sometimes picked on because of it, but I think overall it was appreciated.
My journey into the asana practice of yoga started over ten years ago, in the annex of an old church building on a side street near my university. I saw a sign on the church outdoor bulletin board that said “Yoga with Robert” and was drawn to take the class. Attending these classes really helped reduce my stress level while getting through an engineering degree. Practicing yoga matched my lifestyle at the time; I was a hippy with dreadlock hair, thinking I should have been a young adult in the seventies when there was more openness to love and care about the environment. I was determined to become an engineer to help the environment in a way that would get people to believe me if I could calculate the benefit. When I graduated university, I purchased Robert’s CD “Yoga with Robert, without Robert” and continued to practice yoga with Robert as I backpacked across Europe.
I continued to practice asana after I returned to Canada and moved to Vancouver, then Calgary, and eventually back to Vancouver.
I had wanted to do YTT for many years, not thinking I was “good enough” to take it; as the urge percolated, my best friend had visited the Salt Spring Centre on a whim of a road trip from Tofino with some friends, and instantly sent me a text with photos of the centre, telling me that THIS is the place I needed to do my teacher training. I was looking for a YTT that would allow me to be submersed into the teachings, where I would have a place to stay and not be distracted by home life and duties. I also wanted it to be a vacation from the busyness of life, in a serene setting, with daily practice. I looked up the centre online and knew it was the place I was looking for. I applied a year in advance and was pumped to hear that I was going to be in the next year’s training. I took the advice from my best friend, picked up the Bhagavad Gita and read it over the course of the year in preparation of this “event”. An event I didn’t know would change the course of my life.
At the time I was new to “meditation” and “yoga” philosophy; on reflection the message was the same as that I heard as a child, and I soaked it up like a sponge. I soon learned that my level of flexibility and strength did not impede my training and that yoga teacher meant so much more than I had thought going in. I was also new to a vegetarian diet, which I was determined to embrace and reach the Ayurvedic description of good digestion, as the Pitta (dosha type) in me has the need to strive for excellence. I purchased the Salt Spring cookbook (Salt Spring Experience) and managed to get a couple of my favorite recipes from Sharada. I left the training filled with love- and a huge thirst to learn more.
Following this training, I started reading books that would either lend support to the ebb and flow of life, educate me further, or just plain blow my mind, such as “Be Here Now.” I started a satsang in Calgary, reading the Gita and Babaji’s Sutras, Book 1, with some friends and teachers from my Mysore community; I visited Mt. Madonna in the late spring and attended the Salt Spring Centre’s annual retreat over the summer. Driving my car up Blackburn road, I had an overwhelming feeling of going home, and knew that I needed to move closer to be part of this community that opened my heart.
By the end of that year I had packed my bags for Vancouver, “BC or bust!” my yoga teacher and mentor at the time had said. He knew it was where I needed to go long before I did. I had left my life of seven years in Calgary to follow my heart to Vancouver and be closer to my yoga community, friends and to get out of the snow!
I started attending the Vancouver satsang on Sunday evenings; I never want to miss it because it’s always a wonderful time with such great people. No matter how my day or week has gone, my heart gets a chance to be open and sing.
Last year I joined the Annual Community Yoga Retreat committee; I love working with such a wonderful team both in preparation for the retreat and during it. I look forward to the annual retreat every year; it’s a wonderful chance to connect with the community, to eat together, laugh, play, practice, discuss philosophy, sing and just hang out. My favorite parts are sitting on the mound and eating the delicious meals, chatting with friends and listening to stories. I also love the early morning wake-up kirtan: there is no better way to wake up in the morning!
I got involved with the Dharma Sara Satsang Society and later joined the DSSS board. Learning about the needs and goals of the centre has brought an even deeper connection to the place, history and community.
This community has enriched my life; I love meeting new people from the community and hearing their stories and holding space with them. I am eager to promote the centre, to build and strengthen the community, and to enrich the lives of others and spread the love.
In conjunction with my involvement with the Centre, I currently live in Vancouver and teach corporate and personal yoga classes in both asana and pranayama and meditation. I worked as a sustainable building design consultant for over 10 years providing guidance to clients on energy and water efficiency for both new and existing buildings, acting as a project manager for 8 years and leader and mentor for 5 years. I am currently contracting part time for these services so I can focus on yoga – my personal practice and sharing, building and nurturing yoga in community