When did you get interested in yoga?
Everyone discovers yoga in his or her own way. However, my introduction to yoga was, in retrospect, a bit odd. At the age of 16, I began studying deep meditation, dream yoga and even astral projection. While it was unusual for someone to start with such advanced (and even unconventional) techniques, the experiences ignited my lifelong passion for the practice and deepened my commitment to self-exploration.
You are trained in Tai Chi and Kung Fu, can you tell us about those experiences?
Yes, I also trained in Tai Chi Chuan. It’s not a traditional school of yoga, it does teach the use of breath and movement to build internal energy, chi, or prana in order to free up energy blockages from the body and to clear and focus the mind.
In 1993, I continued my journey by training in the Lightning Fire Mountain System of Tibetan Kung Fu. The yoga practices in this system come from Tibetan Buddhism. Most of the physical training comes from llama yoga, which has been used by Tibetan monks for health and flexibility. Now 25 years later I still train every day.
Tell us more about your journey.
In 1997, my younger sister Jen expressed an interest in the practice and principles of yoga. As we discussed its power and benefits, we could never have known just how much we would come to rely on yoga in the near future. Because in January of 1998, our mother had a heart attack and drifted into a coma while in my arms. Yoga was the key to helping us cope with the situation. Our practice of yoga made it possible for us to say goodbye to our mother.
Can you tell us how American Power Yoga came to fusion?
Fast forward to the days after September 11th, 2001; I longed to find something more meaningful to do with my life. I decided to share all of the powerful tools I had found to help others. The presentations of yoga at that time did not seem accessible to many and not relevant in the “real world” so I created American Power Yoga.
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve undoubtedly realized that the practice of yoga is highly personal to me. But you might also have noticed a pattern. Throughout my experience in yoga, I’ve continued to merge and combine everything I’ve learned from so many amazing teachers. To those experiences, I have added an always friendly philosophy and an atmosphere. And that’s how American Power Yoga came to be.
You have been involved in the community for years, reaching out internationally to many. Will you share some of your accomplishments?
I have had the honor and the privilege to create and host Veria’s nationally televised show, Yoga for Life. This has given me the amazing opportunity to share as much as I can with Veria’s viewers around the country and around the world.
I was the official yoga instructor of the Dallas Cowboy’s Cheerleaders and have hosted a yoga DVD series which was produced and distributed by MTV. I have over 10,000 teaching hours, hosted over 100 hours of television and certified hundreds of yoga teachers.
End Note: Yes, he said the official yoga instructor for the Dallas Cowboy’s Cheerleaders. Being a male yoga instructor often has benefits.