You are very giving, how do you replenish yourself?
I meditate every morning. The giving of it self is a replenishing for me. For some reason when I give I get fuller. I do take an Epsom salt bath every night.
One of my passions/goals in life is to try to reach one person, and to help them see how I found happiness in life, “fullness”. That fullness came to me when I realized that my connection with God had to be my priority in life. After having worked the 12 Steps a woman guided me on the correct path, and I found this fullness. This can mean different things to different people.
For me, my life can be defined as before yoga and after yoga. Did you have that deep demarcation?
I would say working the 12 steps was it for me. Interestingly there is some question about this but there may have been some cross over between the 12 Steps and the Yoga Sutras. I had already practiced yoga for years before going to AA. When I started practicing here in Asheville, I learned the Sutras and this helped me to see the similarities with the Steps and how to fully use them in my teaching.
Do you remember a defining moment?
It has been a subtle process (for me) but this woman in Florida really helped me find my path after having worked the steps for the fifth or sixth time.
Do you want to speak to Addiction?
Everyone is addicted to something. We are constantly chasing our likes and avoiding our dislikes and that is all addiction is. We go into our comfort zone and we stay there. I have been addicted to so many things. It might be potato chips and eating them mindlessly while I am on the computer and needing to learn to get out of the kitchen and checking my emails upstairs instead. Changing habits.
How after 40+ years of teaching do you keep it fresh in each class?
I work hard at it. I prepare for my Tuesday class the weekend before and my Thursday class on Wednesday. I practice it and then am ready to teach the next day. Each class I focus on a body part. It might be hips, backs, or feet and then I plan the sequence around this. I never take teaching for granted. I also try to incorporate the Sutras into my teaching.
How have you been able to keep the personal touch in your yoga classes given it has become in many ways big business?
For me, when I am teaching I am so appreciative of what I am doing and the connection to the class and students. When I am connected to God or Spirit and giving of myself in such a way….how can it be anything but personal?
How do you stay humble?
Well thank you for saying that. I try to connect with God in all things and this helps me to stay humble and grounded and not letting my ego get in the way.
EGO easing God out.
How do you think kids are different now from when we were younger? Without getting judgy but I guess I am and so will own this.
Well in judging, I would say that things in some ways are hard for kids in general and kids showing up for (yoga) class don’t necessarily have the foundation that we had. They might not have solid grounding of family and structure or parents around when they get home from school and for dinner as we did. Maybe in some ways yoga offers this for them.
What advice would you give new yogis or yoga teachers?
I would say think long term. When you are doing poses. Think how will my body feel in later years if I do this now. Avoid injury. If you get hurt then that is going to take you out of your practice.
Isn’t that hard? I mean when we start we are so gung ho.
Yeah but like falling in love you are all in but still you can try to think long term and (keep your head about you.)
What was your first class like?
I remember it well. It was back at the preparatory school in Coconut Grove (Sacred Heart Academy). I remember doing shoulder pose and just loving it. Then I started to teach back then. We would walk out to the pool with the lions spurting out water. I didn’t think anything of it back then but now I think ‘that's pretty cool.’
Who have your Master Teachers been?
Well Eve Diskin. She was my first teacher and Jimmy Barkan. And my ballet teacher who was so spiritual, who taught me so much about discipline. Stephanie Keach when I did the YTT here in Asheville. Since moving here I have learned the Sutras and have really developed more of a spiritual center. Michael (MJ) at AYC has helped me to sew all the pieces of my spiritual being together like knitting a sweater. Joe has helped me with this too.
When I go to your class I feel accepted and I was talking to another student today and she remarked the same thing. You make everyone feel so special. It is like Romper Room! ‘I see Kris and I see Brett and there is Birdie!’
(Laughter!) Is there a theme song from that show?
What archetype (or caricature of yourself) represents you?
I don’t know, a bird maybe? One that flies high. It sounds grandiose and I don’t mean for it to be but what comes to mind is an Eagle.
Well that’s appropriate because in Native American terms the Eagle represents Spirit.
Perfect. I am not saying that I am God but…
When you are aligned with your Godliness and you are in that place within you and I am in that place within me…Namaste, Rosie.
Yes, thank you Kris.