Photo Credit: Paul B. Goode

When did you start practicing at Bikram Yoga NYC, and why?

In the year 2006.

I came to study Bikram as a process of healing and detoxing following a diagnosis of cancer. I have been practicing Yoga mostly since I was a teenager with teachers in Hatha/ Iyengar techniques and following Krishna Murti in the 1960’s.

As a dancer, yoga has been great for empowering balance, nourishing growth, manifesting mindful awareness and concentration. It is essential for living the life of an active athlete/Dancer, choreographer, Artistic Director and Master Teacher. I was a principal dancer with Martha Graham from 1977 to 1990 and a master teacher of the of the Martha Graham Technique following that, 45 years in total. I’ve been Chair of the Modern Department at the Alvin Ailey School since 1990 and director of Buglisi Dance Theatre since 1993. Yoga has helped me though all those years. 

Please visit my website for more information. 

Who are your favorite teachers and why would you recommend their classes?

My first favorite teachers were Georgia Balligian, for her incredible positive outlook and unending insights. Christine for her compassion and science/physics. Kathrine Leary positive affirmation/inspiring spirituality and Patrick Lynch for his wonderful energy. 

What is it about Bikram Yoga that keeps you coming back?

To support my stamina as well as maintaining a positive, consistent dedication in my life. Practicing yoga has helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle, keeping me cancer free, detoxing my body and allowing me to focus on healing. I also admire Donna Rubin and Jen Lobo as dedicated owners and practitioners.

Favorite posture? 

Eagle Pose, for its potent focus, it’s overall stretching and strengthening of the spine while the compression and release of tension is powerful in opening my joints. Triangle pose for its overall challenges and Camel is so important to simulation the nervous system. Also Savasana, because it’s breathing is essential to healing, stillness and relaxation. 

Has being a regular practitioner of yoga helped your work life?

Yoga has empowered me to open my mind and heart to the wonders of living and to the natural world around us. Contemplative practice is a great a awakening to help us understand the self. I believe practicing mindfulness brings us closer to our own humanity and the awareness of breathing while performing. 

What would you say to someone new who’s unsure if Bikram is for them?

Look into your motivating reasons and accept the challenges of improving your life and find the teacher that speaks to you. Recognize the body, mind and soul/spirit are one. 

Do you live by any inspirational quotes or thinking?

I believe in practicing, whether learning to dance by practicing, or learning to love life by living, the principles are the same. I think the reason dance has held such and ageless magic for the world is that it has been the symbol of the performance of living, the instrument through which the dance speaks is also the instrument through which life is lived the human body. – Martha Graham

What is one thing you love about Bikram Yoga NYC?

Yoga can nourish your body and help you to manifest your vision by right intentions, listen in the silence to your intuitive voice if you will. I love being with all the incredible diversity that makes up America in one room practicing unity, with tolerance and understanding.

What projects are you involved with you’d like to share with our readers?

I am the creator of the 9/11 Table of Silence a movement for peace as expressed through the universal language of the body.  I invite you to join with me at Lincoln Center  – 8am on 9/11 this September on the Josie Robinson Plaza as 150 dancers perform The Table of Silence Project, a performance ritual for peace that is also live streamed, and to date has reached 102 countries and all 50 states. Join us for the live stream by following this link

Get involved by contributing to the 9/11 Table of Silence Kickstarter by clicking here.

Final thoughts?

Be still, mindfully aware, try to move to the edge, take risks, keep changing and don’t let fear rule your vision.