“Although I had the great good luck to study with many brilliant teachers while I lived in New York City, David’s expertise in asana practice surpasses almost all of them. David is unrestricted by the typical labels such as Iyengar or Bikram or Kripalu. He deftly draws from all of those traditions as well as many other yoga styles to create his own unique interpretation with careful, deliberate, and intelligent analytical thought.”
– Terry Lacy, owner/founder Central Street Yoga, Bangor, Maine, and dancer with the New York City Opera for than 20 years.
Many begin Yoga to alleviate back pain, deal with anxiety, gain more flexibility, help themselves through a life change, or to simply improve their mind-body connection. Yoga certainly can help with all these challenges. Yoga postures not only help increase flexibility, they also build strength. In fact, the student learns the importance contracting some muscles to help other muscles release.
But benefits of Yoga go far beyond physical well-being. Yoga when practiced mindfully brings a sense of inner steadiness and resilience to stress. As we learn to connect more deeply to our body with compassion and awareness, we learn to live more connected to our own life force—what the yogis call “Prana.”
“In David’s yoga classes I am inspired to do intense new poses, also feel safe and respected to only push my body as far as I see fit. Some of the traditional yoga teachings that David shares with us as we breathe deeply and do our poses continue to inspire me throughout the week, as if they have become connected to my breathing. One of my favorites is ” I am that which I seek”, which reminds me to accept myself and others just as we are, even as I aspire to make improvements. Some yoga classes make me feel as if I need to shield myself from the expectations and issues of the teacher. In David’s classes I find a positive lighthearted flow that does not preach but inspires.”
– Birgit Frind, carpenter and graduate student at Institute for Integrative Studies in California.
Every posture helps to release tension and purify a different part of the body. Not only are muscles stretched and strengthened, the inner body, including organs, glands, and nerves, are flushed by the squeezing and releasing of the body. Twisting poses, for example, flush toxins from the spine, stimulate healthy intestinal movement, energize spinal nerves (which in turn positively impacts organs), and tone the muscles of the spine. Breathing deeply while twisting forces deeper oxygenation of lung tissue.
Most of us breathe only at about 15 percent of our capacity. The breathing techniques of Yoga are designed to fully oxygenate the lungs.
Standing postures increase the “endurance of the nerves of the legs,” to quote the great Yoga teacher B.K.S. Iyengar. Inversions, whether the headstand, shoulderstand, standing forward bends, or passive restorative poses like Legs-Up-The-Wall, all increase blood flow to the brain while decreasing the work of the heart. They help ease the return of the blood to the heart, and leave the practitioner energized with nerves soothed.
The practice can be very challenging, very relaxing, and very fun. Every time we get on the mat we bring a different mix of bodily feelings, emotional feelings, and mental states. We feel empowered by our practice to begin again in how we approach our life, to see things afresh.
From an 86-year-old woman who has been a student of David’s for five years:
“Occassionally, every now and then, I feel like I just dissolve, like I was stirred into the matrix of everything, like dissolving in water. It’s an amazing thing.” – Jan Watson, Artist, Harvard Lecturer
I welcome a description of your own experiences. Send me an email.