In this week’s teacher focus Kent goes beyond the bio and gives more insight into his experiences with yoga during his upbringing and how this has helped shape him into the teacher he is today….
“I remember going on a yoga retreat with my mother at an Ashram in upstate New York when I was a child. I learned how to meditate and breath correctly as well as learning to play a song on the recorder, juggle two balls in the air and walk on my knees in full lotus position! I found a four-leaf clover laying out in the sun one afternoon. I remember the feeling of laying out in the grass with my mother surrounded by people joyfully meditating, doing yoga, juggling, visiting and laughing. The experience was idyllic and stayed with me. My mother was on retreat studying with Shri Brahmananda Saraswati. Later she would meet and become a student of Baba Muktananda and years later while living in a small town in Nebraska, the basement of our home became a center for the study of Siddha Yoga every week when a small group came to study, chant, do yoga and meditate. In high school, I didn’t really have interest in any of this but enjoyed the chanting and often experienced the refrain of Om Namah Shivaya spinning in my head. I loved to pick up some of the many books on yoga and spirituality that were in our home and was fascinated by the teachings.
While in high school, I was a devoted gymnast, competing as an all-around gymnast throughout high school and on the local club team. I took what I knew about Yoga from my mom and from my personal studies reading about the teachings into our team stretching regimen before and after practice. Later in college, I taught myself to breakdance and developed a love for the possibilities for artistic expression within movement. I switched majors to study the performing arts and was on stage in many theatre and dance productions throughout college. Looking back, Yoga was always in the background informing and whispering sweetly. It was teaching me to listen, to follow my heart and to seek a fundamental understanding of life's purpose and calling. After college, I moved to Chicago and vowed to dance every day. Following that intent, I started to see the whole of my life as a dance, each moment and each breath. I made it a practice to listen deeply to that which stirred my heart and I followed that forward into a career dancing for over a decade with the world renowned modern dance company Pilobolus.”
What does your practice currently consist of?
I deepen and follow my breath and listen to and follow my bodies subtle dance. As the dance unfolds, I can then choose how I want to express through and with it. I do this every day periodically throughout the day. I don't need to set down my mat and can even do this practice in its subtle form while standing, sitting or walking. This practice then becomes my work and offering, whether teaching classes, privates or working therapeutically with bodywork clients. When I can't get to my mat then I know I can always drop into this form of Mahamudra practice that I have been cultivating and practicing on many different levels since my college days.
A few books have been important to me:
Illusions by Richard Bach
The Mustard Seed: The Revolutionary Teachings of Jesus the Mystic by Osho
Waking the Global Heart by Anodea Judith
The Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda (and everything else written by Carlos Casteneda or other writers teaching from the Toltec traditions of the Northern Sonoran desert)
The Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta
My favorite health tonic:
Boil fresh sliced ginger root to make a tea.
Add lemon juice from 1/2 lemon, One Tablespoon Honey (preferably local), One teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
Whenever I feel the touch of a cold or flu coming on this recipe does wonders!
Stop into the studio for one of Kent’s classes at the following times:
Tuesday 6:00 to 7:15 pm Beginner Yoga
Tuesday 7:30 to 8:45 pm Aligned Flow I&II
Saturday 11:30 to 12:45 pm Gentle Therapeutic Yoga