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Personal Growth: Yoga and Ayurveda

In my search for healing and rejuvenation, I started taking yoga classes at the gym, and dabbled in meditation with Deepak Chopra's online programs and then Insight App. The main teachers who inspired me were Jack Kornfield, Davidji, Tara Brach, and Jon Kabat-Zinn. Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, a world-wide destination for yoga and Ayurveda is less than one hour away - and I spent a lot of money and many days taking programs there. I also traveled farther away to immerse myself in yoga and Ayurveda. I first went to Carlsbad, CA, for one week in the Perfect Health program at the Chopra Center, where I received my own bija mantra. I then took things to the next level by going to India for 5 weeks for Pancha Karma, the famous Ayurvedic cleansing protocol. I was in Maharashtra, outside Pune, at KARE Yoga and Ayurveda Retreat on Mulshi Lake. There I did 2.5 hours of Iyengar yoga every day. The owner, Dr. Prakash Kalmadi, had been one of the doctors in Iyengar’s team who gave information about what was happening in the body when one had particular medical conditions or injuries, so that Iyengar could develop the postures for addressing them. Iyengar had been a frequent visitor there, and the story I heard was that after he died, his assistant retreated to Kare, stopped eating, and died after three months. I was hooked on Iyengar yoga. I loved learning to pay attention to what was going on in my body, and work on precisely aligning everything. Upon my return home, I drove many times about one hour away, to Clear Yoga in Rhinebeck, NY, the closest studio led by a Level 3 instructor, Jessica Becker. I took classes with her and other senior Iyengar visiting instructors. I then discovered Tantra Yoga, taught by Lauren Toolin, a fabulous teacher who probably trained half of the local yoga instructors. I found it even more appealing than Iyengar yoga: we paid attention to what was happening in the body not only for alignment purposes, but adding in an energetic layer and focusing on internal practices. A seminal course I took was “Four Desires” by Rod Striker. I was mesmerized! In my quest to learn more about Tantra yoga, I looked for books on Amazon. And one day, Amazon suggested “The Tantric Arts for Women”, by Minke DeVoos. That was my introduction to Daoism and Qigong, which ultimately led me to Chinese Metaphysics.

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