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My Decalogue of a Decade

This month marks 10 years that I have been teaching Yoga. I thought I might share with you 10 highlights. They haven't anything to do with the Ten Commandments, other than I like the word 'decalogue.' Here goes:

1. I started teaching after two teachers approached me about taking over their classes in a downtown St. Pete studio near my  apartment (2004). I had been attending them regularly for a year and was upset they were leaving. I can not say what they saw in me and how much desperation was involved! I had no training and refused their kind offer for a couple of months. When the owners of the studio expressed interest, I acquiesced. I did get excited about it, I think... but I have always considered myself a 'student' and so switching gears to 'teacher' is not a comfortable shift. Even now.

2. It was a sink or swim situation. I practiced on my own for two years before attending my first group class. I am not one for group-style learning, so I used videos and books. I started attending classes because I had reached a place in my studies where I needed personal feedback about the experiences I was having. I took group classes for about one year before being approached to teach. I was completely ignorant of the culture of yoga building in the West and it's historical context in the East. I was only interested in the practice as a psychology... as a way of spotting and shifting patterns of thought and behavior.

3. Very soon after I started teaching, Arlena Dominick arrived on the scene! This brilliant woman, who had been the previous owner and lead teacher of the studio I was teaching out of, started attending my classes on occasion. After one of them, she approached me with this line, "You want me to show you something?" Music to my ears!! That started a two year mentorship, which I consider my foundational training. Our conversations were every bit a part of that. I learned the poses, sure... but it was our dialogue about practice and placing it in a proper context that endures to this day.

4. After my son was born, I moved to Austin, where I would eventually meet and train with some Buddhist Yogis. It was there that I really got into mindfulness meditation practice. While I have always maintained a personal practice, this was the first time I really got into the vibe of public group classes... prolly the only time, come to think.

5. I moved again to St. Pete where I started teaching more and more as Porter (my kiddo) got older. My primary demographic was seniors. I get along really well with older people, for some reason, and they really like me, for some reason. I think I entertain them. At any rate, they are the reason I finally had to do more training in Anatomy. I just couldn't problem solve their concerns/needs without it. I had run across Leslie Kaminoff's Anatomy program and became part of the first wave of his online students.

6. Given my current enthusiasm for the subject of Anatomy and somatic studies, it's hard to explain why it took me so long to find it. I have a great mind for science and problem solving, and place yoga practice firmly in the natural world of phenomenon. In fact, it was Leslie's evolutionary perspective on yoga practice that sold me on it. Turns out though, that understanding Anatomy better has been the key to a more informed psychological approach to practice.

7. Let me back up two decades for a hot minute: My deep interest in psychology began when I was in high school. If I can pin it on one experience (likely a huge mistake), it would have to be my interactions with a schizophrenic cousin whose condition was and is profound. If Yoga is about integration (it is), schizophrenia is about disintegration. Total disintegration of the personality and intelligence at every level of being. That got me reading college textbooks in Abnormal Psych at 16 and the obsession developed from there.

8. The momentum of that obsession brought me to  neuroscience, philosophy, evolutionary theory, etc. Broadly speaking, I am interested in the study of the human mind.  Yoga interested me in part because it matched up with what I was already learning in those areas, but also offered more in the form of PRACTICE. My head was already full of theories!

9. Fast forward to now, and I will say that Yoga is the integrated frame for my studies. It encompasses all my interests and gives me a sane lens for my endless inquiry. I simply don't know how I would have developed into an almost-not-crazy-person otherwise.

10. After I moved back to St. Pete in 2009 to now, I have acknowledged one principal teacher, Antonin Nenov. He teaches directly from the Yoga Sutras in what might be called an energetic or psychological approach to practice. Very disciplined. I have already written several other pieces on my experiences with him... so I won't revisit the material here... other than to say, I simply don't know how sane I would be had it not been for his influence. He really is the least confused person I have ever met.

The image on the blog main page was taken soon after I started teaching in 2004. Age 27. I was into Ashtanga and triangles... obviously ;)


This site and business are currently in transition. We offer private sessions only in the Huntsville, Madison, Athens, Decatur and surrounding communities. Please let us know if you are interested in exploring Yoga...all of it.

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Bright Verticality of the Heart

My Teacher uses the phrase, "bright verticality of the heart" to describe the sensation of being aware when the body is free of pain and the mind is clear and focused.

It took awhile for me to figure out what Tony meant. He's Bulgarian and well... most of what he says sounds a little strange on first take. However, that phrase has come to describe the ultimate beauty of this practice we call Yoga... for me.

To put Yoga in the context of your own experiences with it... recall a moment when you were quietly enthralled. Perhaps you were enjoying a scenic view, reading a good book, or chatting with a close friend... a moment when you were completely involved with an alert and easeful heart.

Compare that memory with one where you felt tired, distracted, under the weather. There's a world of difference between those two experiences, yes?

It's that difference, yoga teachings assert, that bring us to our mats. Because if we were already perfectly content... what need would we have of practice?

Yoga is really about a heart-tone... but we make a lot of shapes in the process.

Yoga refers to an alert and easeful quality of the mind and heart, and also to the way in which we can achieve that state more of the time. We do the work we do on the mat--breathing and moving in a coordinated, integrated way--so that we can make the body more supple and cultivate the conditions for our hearts and minds to follow suit.

I will revisit this topic from many perspectives... What brings us to Yoga? What keeps us in our practice? How do we evaluate our progress? Who Am I?

How We Teach Yoga

Kerry's teaching approach links posture with breath, typically called Vinyasa. Students practice integrated patterns of breath, movement, and awareness from the very beginning. This system of techniques works well for new students, even in cases of limited mobility and injury. Expect clear articulation of the organizational principles of yoga postures in a light hearted setting.

I am available for private yoga sessions. These sessions can be a way for students to learn basic postures before integrating into group sessions, and to individualize the practice so they are optimally effective.