A. Throughout my twenties and early thirties I experimented with various forms of exercise including weight lifting, bodyweight exercises, indoor climbing, the Indian martial art Kalaripayattu, Thai kickboxing and Pilates. I’ve always been an avid cyclist, hiker and walker and find these activities nicely compliment my asana practice. I’ve also recently started training gymnastics, which is a total blast and is great for overall strength and connecting to my inner monkey.A. My biggest influence is a teacher named Mark Whitwell, a New Zealander who went to India in the 70s and started learning yoga from Krishnamacharya’s son TKV Desikachar, and also became a student of UG Krishnamurti. Mark does an incredible job of translating authentic, ancient yoga teachings into a modern, relatable context. He continues to teach me how to teach others.
Q. Would you please share with us more about your website called updogs.org?
A. Updogs.org was inspired by my love of dogs, fundraising, and t-shirts. Every shirt sold provides one night of food and shelter for a homeless dog in a BCSPCA shelter. I figure at this point I’ve been able to purchase a few month’s worth of lodging. I’m hoping to get some new designs printed up this winter, so please sign up for my mailing list at burningheartyoga.com and stay tuned.
Q. What inspired you to create your yoga videos?
A. I wanted people to practice every day at home, and I know from my early experiences with yoga that it was useful to have a video to follow and motivate me. I came up in the whole 90s indie DIY scene, so I had no hesitation about using whatever limited resources were available to me to start making my own videos, sometimes with just a smartphone and iMovie. Yoga with me is rooted in tradition, but applied in a modern context. Class usually starts with an open forum discussion, often led by something that I’ve been contemplating (one of my students affectionately calls my class “rants and chants”). I hope that my deep love of yoga, affection for people and sense of humor comes through in my classes.
Q. When it starts to get a little hectic, do have quick calming or centering technique you use to get grounded again?
A. I usually step away from whatever I’m doing and do some simple moving and breathing...usually starting with inhaling arms overhead and exhaling them back down. Sometimes that leads into a few sun salutations, or maybe some balancing pranayama...whatever feels right. I find that just getting out for a walk does wonders as well.
My dogs Kingston and Sweetie are my greatest teachers in that they are completely pure mirrors that show me when I’m getting impatient or frustrated, or too caught up in work—in fact, Sweetie is telling me right now that I’ve been on the computer for too long! I’m constantly trying to embody the calm, assertive energy that Cesar Millan teaches us about.
I had some fun times in Toronto and met my wife there, but the West Coast is where my heart is. I feel so much more at home here and as a bonus all the moisture keeps my skin looking young and supple.
Yes! I’m constantly looking for new ways to connect with people online and provide them with authentic, accessible yoga practices. I’ve started an online shop where people can download practices to their desktop, smartphone or tablets and take them anywhere. I hope to have a new practice up every couple of weeks. If you’re in Victoria, I’m currently teaching 3 classes a week at Templed Mind Studio in Fernwood and teaching privates and small groups in our heritage home studio. Please visit http://www.