A: Yoga came into my life 20 years ago, and continues to fascinate me endlessly because there’s always more to explore. Originally from England, I moved to the United States and settled in San Francisco in the early 90’s. I’m in my element when gardening, and I’m fortunate to have worked in the wonderful world of landscaping for many years, most recently as a project manager specializing in permaculture. I really enjoy traveling, having visited 35 countries on six continents. I’m currently planning my next trip to India, including a yoga sadhana immersion, and hiking in the Himalayas.
Q: How did you find the Himalayan Institute?
A: It was 2005, and I wanted to explore the deeper dimensions of yoga. At that time, the Himalayan Institute offered a program which allowed me to integrate my passion for gardening and herbal medicine with my desire to learn about Ayurveda. Having heard Pandit Rajmani Tigunait on a speaking tour a few years before, I was impressed by his presence and his writing. It all added up, and my intuition was clear that the Himalayan Institute was the place I’d been looking for.
For the yoga student who is willing to put in the work, living at the Himalayan Institute is a very rewarding experience.
Q: What inspired you to join the community?
A: Eleven years after my first stay at the Institute I heard an inner voice telling me to return. Initially, I just needed to take a break and rejuvenate, so I arrived with an open mind. Immediately I felt a sense of belonging. I was inspired to join the community because living here enables me to maintain a strong focus on yoga practice. Plus, I soon recognized how my landscaping skills could be used to good effect around the campus. Then, my commitment grew even deeper when I was invited to work on building the new Sri Vidya Shrine—a truly once in a lifetime opportunity!
Q: What have you learned during your time here?
A: I’ve discovered through my own experience that practicing yoga in all aspects, coherently, with devotion, leads to a deep-seated sense of fulfillment. I’ve learned to trust the tradition, and to embrace the process with courage and perseverance. For example, years ago a teacher told me, the real benefit of asana practice is to prepare you to sit properly for meditation. Sitting still for 45 minutes seemed like an outrageously ambitious goal to me at that time. Today, and every day, I now sit for that long with relative ease. As a yoga teacher, I’ve learned the value of listening to the wisdom of the body, and I’ve grown tremendously in my capacity to serve others.
Q: If there was one thing you could share about the Himalayan Institute, what would it be?
A: The senior teachers represent an impressive depth of knowledge. Through the programs they create and the wisdom of the tradition, the benefits of practice are made accessible to students of all levels. Everything seems well researched, well rounded, and well presented. For the yoga student who is willing to put in the work, living at the Himalayan Institute is a very rewarding experience.