Currents – the Anusara Blog

We are accepting nominations for three new Directors for our Board! You may nominate yourself or someone else. We are accepting applications until July 1, 2017 for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2018.

As you know, the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga (ASHY) is in its inaugural year as a nonprofit organization. For those who are unfamiliar with American nonprofit organizations, it is important to note that this designation means that the organization is driven by its mission, not by the pursuit of profits. However, it will need to generate enough revenue to sustain and expand its services .

An inaugural Board of Directors has served for this first year, and it is time for new Board members to join the Board. Like last year, the members will be selected by ASHY’s Nominating Committee (see list of members below) in order to ensure a diversity of geographic representation and mix of skills. The final selection will be approved by the current Board of Directors.

What is the function of the Board? ASHY’s Board plays a very important role in determining the organization’s future. It is responsible for:
·     Ensuring ASHY’s financial sustainability through fundraising and stewardship of ASHY’s funds

·     Setting guiding principles and policies

·     Hiring the ASHY leadership team and overseeing its adherence to our guiding principles and policies
During its first year, the Board has established its bylaws (operating principles required by nonprofit organizations) and created three committees (Finance and Fundraising, Policy and Marketing) and developed a close working relationship with the Operations Team.

What can you expect as Board member? Through their work on the Board, Board members will have unique opportunities in making the mission, vision and the values of ASHY operational, understanding the needs of the different regions and  recognizing the sacred at the global organizational level.

BOD Qualifications & Responsibilities

The current members of the Inaugural Board, which has been serving since November 2016. are:

·     Aida Ponce Del Castillo (Europe)

·     Adolfo Fernandez Sauri (Latin Am.)

·     Benjamin Finnerty (Asia)

·     Chaya Spencer (USA)

·     Christel Meulebroeck (Europe)

Christina Fu (Asia)
·     Desiree Eastham (USA)

·     Doc Savage (USA)

·     Kevin Taplin (Europe)

·     Letizzia Wastavino (Europe)

·     Maria Grazia Orlando (Europe)

·     Romina Schlender Sese (Latin America)

·     Royce Battleman (USA)

Doc Savage, Chaya Spencer and Kevin Taplin will be leaving the Board at the end of the year. We would like to thank them for their leadership.
In the future, we will be selecting about one-third of the Board annually. This rotation of Board members allows the retention of knowledge and background but allows for fresh perspectives and new ideas to keep ASHY constantly innovating and growing.

What does the Board need? As a result of the departing members, there are three openings on the Board. The specific skills that the Board is looking for are marketing, leadership, non-profit governance experience, finance and fundraising (with a strong emphasis on finance and fundraising).

If you are interested in nominating someone or yourself to serve on this new Board, please complete the Request for Nominations/Application form online or, if you cannot access it online, download the form and email it to Tanya White, ASHY’s Operations Administrator, at You are invited to enclose a resume/CV if you would like the committee to have that background information on your experience.
Deadline is Sunday, July 1, 2017

Questions about the nomination process or the work in the Board? Please contact any member of the Nominating Committee. If you email us, let us know if you would like to talk by phone.
·     Gail Corvette, Chair (USA)
·     Aida Ponce Del Castillo (Europe)
·     Benjamin Finnerty (Asia)
·     Deborah Payne (USA)
·     Royce Battleman (USA)
·     Letizzia Wastavino (Europe)
·     Adolfo Fernandez Sauri (Latin America)


Gail Corvette
Chair, ASHY Nominating Committee
Certified Anusara Teacher


This is a series of interviews with a variety of teachers in our global Anusara community.  Our Feature a Teacher series, we contacted presenters who are scheduled to offer sessions at Samavesha 2017, taking place 30 May – 4 June at the Merano Italy.



Our last interview before we hit the hills of Merano, Italy next week is with our songbird and teacher of teachers from New York, Jackie Prete. Jackie is a long time bodyworker and dedicated believer in the connectedness of all things. “Everything is Consciousness” is her mantra and one that arose after years of practice. She shares her journey with us today as well as the revelations she experienced after an intense bike accident this past Fall. I have the honor of being one of those teachers who gets to witness Jackie in action on a regular basis. A continual source of inspiration, I hope you will be inspired by her story and healing journey. Enjoy and safe travels, everyone.

Evelyn Pate: Hi, Jackie. Great to have you back in action! Do you have a special story around how you connected to the Anusara community?
Jackie Prete: I started studying with John Friend in 1999 and became certified in 2001. I had met John’s Guru back in 1981 when my brother brought me to the ashram in South Fallsburg, NY. I had my first meditation experience in that ashram but decided staying for the meditation intensive would have been too weird!! I was not a yogini at the time. Fast forward 17 years to meeting JF in Los Angeles. I experienced a huge opening in my heart in those first workshops where I knew he was going to be my teacher. The search was over. When I realized he lived in Texas I was so upset. I asked him how was I going to be able to study with him. He smiled and said that he would be spending summers in the South Fallsburg Ashram. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I had finally uncovered the pathway to reconnect with my first experience of the Self. I instantly fell in love with Anusara Yoga and spent at least a week in the ashram every summer, studying with John and taking programs there. When John started teaching retreats at Inner Harmony in Utah, I connected with an amazing group of yogis that I cherish to this very day.

EP: What benefits have you experienced from practicing and teaching Anusara?
JP: Before Anusara Yoga, I was a gym teacher who taught asana. Anusara yoga touched my heart and taught me how to access non-dual awareness. Bringing this awareness to myself and my students has transformed my perception of reality. I learned that everything is Consciousness. Even the not so pretty stuff that happens to you in your life. Everything you experience can be used to awaken you to your true purpose. This was such a shift from the roller coaster I was riding. Life would be great and then it would really be awful. I would try to medicate myself when things were not going so well (alcohol, drugs, over exercising, overeating, over working…). Always finding a way to tune out. Through Anusara, I learned to tune in and not judge myself as I go through the highs and lows of this amazing experience of having a body.

EP: Can you share an unforgettable experience or “a-ha” moment you’ve had since you became a teacher?
JP: I have had many, but this year gave me a huge challenge. In September 2016, my bike hit a pot hole and I had a serious accident shattering the top of my tibia, tearing my ACL and sustaining a longitudinal fracture down the shaft of the tibia. I think we would call this the play of Lila. A random event that has changed my practice, my life, my relationship to my body, my community and to my teacher. I’ve had to cultivate trust and open myself to being cared for by others. I’m a fiercely independent 64 year old woman who’s used to holding it together. There was no holding it together. I came apart at the seams. The pain was excruciating and the prognosis mostly unknown. I applied the 10 heath habits I studied from Ayurveda and my teacher, Cate Stillman. These habits and my community helped me heal. My bones are healed perfectly. I’m still not bending my knee beyond 80 degrees but I’m able to walk, to teach and to take public transportation. It’s a miracle! I owe it to the amazing body workers who supported me along the path, my teacher, my family friends and kula. They helped me get through the hardest part of my healing and are still cheering me along noticing each little improvement I make each week. What a gift this crazy injury has given me! The gift of love and trust. I now understand what it is to trust and that my beloved kula has my back. I’ve been working hard on recovering but every day I’m grateful for this incredible experience. It’s made me more sensitive, more attuned to others and a better teacher.

EP: Amazing. Who are the biggest influences in your life?
JP: Rudrani Farbman, John Friend, Cate Stillman, my guru, Zhenja LaRosa, Desiree Rumbaugh, Paul Muller Ortega.

EP: Thank you so much for sharing your path with us. Now you’ll be teaching in Merano, Italy next week. Could you let the community know what your class will be about at Samavesha 2017?
JP: I’ll be teaching teachers how to find their own authentic voice through Heart/Class themes. By really connecting participants to discovering the inner presence they can find the voice of wisdom Inside. I’m also going to teach the art of Story Telling. Everyone loves a great story. Your class can unfold as a beautiful story taking the students to places they have never imagined and then back home to their own hearts.

EP: What do you look forward to the most when offering a TT or workshop?
JP: I’m always blown away by the amazing synergy of the community that gathers together in our Teacher Trainings and Immersions. I’ve been working with Rudrani Farbman since 2004 leading retreats, immersions Teacher Trainings and Advanced Teacher Trainings. The journey is so transformational. The teachers help facilitate the transformation but the Shakti is in charge. It’s magical to see folks releasing old samskaras (patterns of behavior) and embracing a new vision for their bodies, hearts and minds. The transformation happens from the inside out. You see folks building confidence, finding their voice, making deeper commitments to careers and relationships, ending life sucking jobs and relationships and opening their hearts to a more vibrant and fulfilling life filled with purpose and joy.

EP: Do you have any workshops or teacher trainings scheduled? Or something you’re really looking forward to?
JP: We have a summer retreat coming up at Dia Bosatsu Zendo upstate New York July 12-16. It is located 3 hours north of NYC in a beautiful monastery on a lake. We swim every day, walk in nature, meditate, do 2 yoga classes a day and are completely off the grid. It is so amazing life enhancing!. Next Fall, Rudrani, Julia Pearring and I will be doing the second year of a two-year 200-hour Anusara Yoga Teacher training. My newest adventure will be a teaching trip to China in September!! I cannot wait for this adventure into a new culture. I have taught in Japan for 10 years but this will be my first trip to China. I can’t wait! I will also be co-teaching with my dear friend and colleague, Tiffany Wood at Kripalu on Thanksgiving weekend. It will be my first retreat there!

EP: Any advice for new teachers?
JP: Learn to cultivate trust in the process. Your teaching will unfold in its own time just like my injury. When we get impatient and compare ourselves with others, we will always feel unworthy. Something has called you to this path. Listen to that inner wisdom. This is how your juicy heart themes will start to bubble up naturally. You will find your niche. Have patience in the process and study with teachers who will help you stay connected in your own heart and help you see your own unique gifts.

EP: Do you have a question you’d like to ask another Anusara teacher?
JP: “Why do you teach Anusara Yoga? What draws you to this school and to this community?”

What do you say, Anusara community? Why do you teach Anusara and what draws you to this community? Share your answers with Jackie in person next week in Italy (or Germany or China or NYC!) and on our ASHY Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you and see you in person!

Find Jackie at Samavesha:
Wednesday, May 31 – 14:30
Heart Theming – Find Your Own Unique Voice

Jackie online:

Full Samavesha 2017 Schedule and Registration Link.
There’s still time to join us – click on the link below and see you in a few days! We’d love to have you included in the memories:


Buonasera, beautiful Anusara kula! We are a little over a month away from the Samavesha gathering in Merano, Italy, taking place May 30-June 4. This month’s Samavesha interview is with our local Italian resident, Piero Vivarelli. Piero has been teaching Anusara for almost two decades and still finds ways to expand his practice and share it with others in a unique way. He will be hosting the opening ceremony along with Susana Garcia Blanco and Barbra Noh, as well as teaching two other classes during the event.

Read his exchange below and see what else he has going on during Samavesha and afterwards at Venice’s first yoga festival!

Evelyn Pate: How long have you been teaching Anusara and when did you get Certified?

Do you have a special story around how you got connected to the Anusara community?

Piero Vivarelli: I’ve been teaching Anusara Yoga since 2000 and I got my certification in 2005. I was so fortunate to meet John Friend the first time in 1995 – “walked” with Anusara since the early days, studying with John and all the amazing teachers who have contributed to the evolution of Anusara yoga until today.

EP: What benefits have you experienced from practicing and teaching Anusara?

PV: As a student and teacher of Anusara I constantly push to study the scriptures, to practice and share and discuss my understanding. This helps me to deepen the relationship with myself and with others in a very special way. I love it.

EP: Can you share an unforgettable experience or “a-ha” moment you’ve had since you became a teacher?

PV: The first lesson I ever taught had seemed disastrous to me – and probably it was – but at the end of the lesson the students were genuinely happy, and I thought of how incredible and fulfilling was that experience. A true “a-ha”.

EP: Who are the biggest influences in your life? Teachers and/or non-teachers.

PV: My beloved Guru.

EP: I see you will be teaching at Samavesha. Both the opening ceremony and a class! What will the focus will be?

PV: I’m so happy to teach the welcoming class along with Barbra Noh and Susana Garcia Blanco, two wonderful friends and teachers. Then I will be teaching a special class focusing how to use props and working in partners to go deeper in our practice, both physically and energetically. The last class will be a more advanced class to expand the boundaries of our limits to experience a sense of great freedom.

EP: Do you have any workshops or teacher trainings scheduled?  What do you look forward to when offering a TT or workshop? What really excites and inspires you the most?

PV: I’m regularly teaching Anusara Immersions, Teacher Training and Advanced Teacher Training and workshops. What I love most is to help the students find their own way to get inspiration from the Anusara teachings.

PV: I’m regularly teaching Anusara Immersions, the Level 1 Teacher Training and workshops. I recently started to co-teach ASHY’s new 300-Hour Advanced Teacher Training in Italy. This is of course the first time that we’ve had this training in our country. Overall, what I love most is to help the students find their own way to get inspiration from the Anusara teachings.

EP: Anything else coming up that you’re looking forward to?

PV: I’m very excited about two events after Samavesha. The first will be in Zurich, Switzerland in June 16-18, where I will teach an Anusara workshop along with my beloved hostess Ezgi Fisher for the first time. The second one is scheduled in wonderful Venice July 1-2, where I’ll be teaching in the first Italian yoga festival held in Venice!

Teacher trainings, workshops, and Italian yoga festivals – oh my! Come take a class and deepen your practice alongside Piero at Samavesha next month.

Here’s where you can find Piero at Samavesha

Piero at Samavesha:

Tuesday, May 30 – 16:00 Opening Practice! Welcome to Samavesha!

Thursday, June 1 – 08:30 Expand the Boundaries of your Vision

Saturday, June 3 – 08:30 We Love Partners and Props (taught in Italian)

Where to find Piero online:

Full Samavesha 2017 Schedule:

There’s still time to register. May 30-June 4.  Merano, Italy. Join us!


 This months Samavesha interview brings us to our Opening Ceremony co-presenter, Susan Garcia Blanco! Susana was certified in 2006 and has been teaching Anusara Yoga since 2003. As a nature lover, she conducts yoga and surf retreats in Morocco and Spain as well as many workshops and Teacher Trainings. After a waterskiing injury sidelined her physical practice last summer, Susana found an increased love and connection to meditation and pranayama, plus a deepened awareness and empathy for others. In addition to her bright spirit, youre not going to want to miss the THREE classes shell be offering this summer in Merano, Italy.

 Check out her story below and come say hello in person. She loves a good love story. Especially the one with yourself.

 Evelyn Pate: Do you have a special story around how you got connected to the Anusara community?

Susana Garcia Blanco: I moved to the USA in 1997 to collaborate in a Research Project at the University of Cincinnati (I ended up doing a PhD in Environmental Sciences and Engineering). It was a difficult time for me at the personal level In 2000, Sianna Sherman came to teach at the studio I used to practice. I was really touched by her presence and her practice, but especially by  her attention, her softness, and by the magic of the alignment instructions. I started to go to her classes and workshops and I met a wonderful community of yogis. I fell in love with the practice and with the community.  Anusara was still very small then and it was an amazing time of personal and community growth that totally changed my life.

 EP: What benefits have you experienced from practicing and teaching Anusara?

SGB: I love the awareness that the Anusara practice brings to the body, but I really appreciate the exposure to the teachings of Tantric Philosophy. There is a depth to this practice that easily transfers to the teaching. I think being an Anusara teacher, going through all the training process, gives you a variety of resources that make it easier to share the teachings and the practice. I love to teach Anusara yoga and I love to teach people how to teach this practice.

 EP: Can you share an unforgettable experience or “a-ha” moment you’ve had since becoming a teacher?

SGB: I am always amazed at the deepening of my understanding that happens every time I teach. How many times I would prepare a theme for a workshop months ahead and then when I am teaching it, I realize how important those particular teachings are for me at that particular moment. Or how trying to answer a question from a student or trying to explain something that students do not understand, and the new ways of understanding appear for me as well.  I am the eternal student and I love it!

 But the biggest a-ha moments have happened during the last months, especially in the last Immersion I recently taught in Morocco. In July, I had a waterskiing accident and a very serious injury to my right leg. Four months later, I fell and injured my other leg. It has been pretty intense and a part of me was feeling a bit uncomfortable to teach. But I told myself it was ok if I could only do some of the poses. There are ways to show everything. And yoga is much more than the physical practice. I was nicely surprised when during the last training, people shared how much they appreciated a teacher living the yoga in a difficult moment instead of seeing a person able to show all the most advanced poses. I don´t want to diminish the power and beauty of the physical practice but we get so bombed in social media with the external yoga, that it is really important to focus on the power of transmission that just comes from Inside.

 EP: That sounds like an amazing experience, Susana. Youve kept up your regular teaching schedule?

SGB: Not really. My travel schedule is lighter. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t practice asana so I have been practicing meditation and pranayama more than ever. My experiences have been really transformative. I was feeling down because I had to cancel classes due to the accident. Then I began to increase these practices and saw how the physical limitations can actually bring a greater capacity to my life.

 I recently covered a class for someone. I didn’t know the students and I found I was able to empathize more with the students who had little body awareness. Through my injury, I can understand them better now. The body is amazing how it recuperates and recovers.

 I think somehow, this really is the yoga journey. How we deal with a challenge.

 EP: Who are the biggest influences in your life? Teachers and/or non-teachers.

SGB: The Tantric teachings, the Goddess. Sianna Sherman has been for years and still is a big inspiration in my life. Other teachers that have had a big impact in my life are Douglas Brooks, Sally Kempton, Paul Muller-Ortega. My mother and my father taught me so much about love and honesty. Nature in its different forms, the Ocean, the desert, the jungle, is one of my main gurus.

 5) You will be teaching at Samavesha this year in Italy. Lucky us! Could you share a little information about the classes and what the focus will be on? 

 On Friday, I will teach The Universe is a Love Story. I have been teaching this workshop lately and people love it. The Love Story between Shiva and Shakti; the creation of the world; the way we enjoy togetherness or the way we feel the separation; the play of  concealment and revelation. That is the essence of human existence. In this class, we will explore asana but also some other yogic practices to create a love story with yourself, your life and your sadhana.

 On Saturday, I will be co-teaching with Jayendra Hanley in a class called Different Sequencing Methods. Its more focused on teachers or those wanting to be teachers. It will have both theory and practical exercises to explore the art of sequencing that is so important in the creation of an Anusara class. This is a 2 hour class and provides a taste of the CATT modules.

 On opening day, I will teach the Welcome class with Piero Vivarelli and Barbra Noh.  I am so happy to share this with such beautiful people.

 EP: Do you have any upcoming workshops or teacher trainings? 

SGB: I have a workshop coming up in Oiartzun, San Sebastián in June 2017. And others:

         Morocco 2018 – Immersion & TT (200h total) – 2 modules (dates TBD)

         2017-18 Immersions & TT: Oiartzun (San Sebastián) and Madrid

         Anusara Advance Teacher Training 300h in Spain (there are some modules in both English and Spanish)

         Philosophy Module for the Pratyabhijna Hrdayam (The Splendor of Recognition) with Christopher Wallis (Hareesh) ENGLISH 2-15 Octubre, MADRID

         Anatomia Funcional Aplicada al Yoga with Lucas Benet  – SPANISH only 2-5 Diciembre, MADRID

 EP: What do you look forward to when offering a TT or workshop? 

SGB: To serve people in what they most need in their practices or how to apply the yoga to their lives. My biggest motivation is to inspire people to go through the difficulties in life anchoring themselves in the practices. It gets so hard sometimes and we are so lucky to have so many resources available. To help people to see their beauty and light but also to be courageous to face their shadows. I am also very passionate about  empowering women.

 I have started to host women circles and there is so much power when women connect together.

 EP: What really excites and inspires you the most?

SGB: Love inspires me. Friendship inspires me. Nature (specially the Ocean) inspires me. In this moment of my life I am very excited about healing in general, about exploring both lights and shadows and about the connection with the Feminine and the empowerment of women.

 EP: Any advice for new teachers? 

SGB: Prioritize your sadhana. Follow your hearts desires. Take care of yourself. Keep on questioning and learning. Trust the Shakti. Trust yourself.

 Come and connect with Susana.  Learn more about her journey and share a little about yours in person. Together.

 Susana at Samavesha:

 Tuesday, May 30, 16:00: Opening Practice: Welcome to Samavesha!

Friday, June 2, 17:00: Shiva-Shakti – The Universe Is A Love Story

Saturday, June 3, 14:30: Different Ways of Sequencing

 Where to find Susana online:

Facebook: Susana Garcia Blanco & Yoga Surf Morocco

Instagram: susana_garciablanco


Full Samavesha 2017 Schedule:

Register now and join us in Italy from May 30-June 4! 



Dia dhuit, Anusara community! Love storytelling? This month, we interview Jack Harrison from Galway, Ireland who will be teaching a class weaving Anusara and celtic mythology as well as leading the kirtan on Saturday evening. He’s been teaching Anusara for almost ten years and brings with him the unique confluence of folklore, archeology, poetry and music to his practice.

Evelyn Pate: Looks like you’ll be bringing your kirtan talents to Samavesha in Italy this summer.  Many are looking forward to this part of the event.  Will you be teaching any other classes that week?

Jack Harrison: Yes, the class will be inspired by my own yoga school, the Celtic School of Yoga. It will be based on what I call the Yoga of Wandering (An Odyssey on the calendar). This will unfold using illustrations, poetry, playing music, and asana. Based off the stories of Catholic monks who wandered out into nature or across the Atlantic and back again only to come home to themselves. Or, how we all get our yoga from wandering and ultimately come back to what is true to us. People are often lost and they’re not going to find it ‘out there’. It’s really about wandering into yourself. Trusting yourself.

What we have to do is see that we intrinsically have all of these things inside us.

EP: Tell me a little more about the Celtic School of Yoga.

It has a celtic mythological framework. I have a background in folklore, museum exhibition design and heritage studies.  I lecture at universities and I see the yoga, music and all of these parts of my background as coming together, as the same thing.

There will be a discussion about it right after the asana class on Thursday.

EP: Who are the biggest influences in your life? Teachers and/or non-teachers.

JH: The biggest influences on my teaching in Anusara were Sianna Sherman, John Friend and Benita Galvan.

EP: What benefits have you experienced from practicing and teaching Anusara?

JH: loved the Kula connection and the emphasis on bringing feelings and heart qualities into yoga teaching and practice.

EP: Any other workshops coming up that you’re looking forward to?

JH: I have a workshop coming up on June 27th to July 2nd in Inishboffin, Co Galway with Jaye Martin and Benita Galvan.

Before that, a workshop on March 25th in Madrid and on April 1st with Benita and another on April 8th in my studio in Kinvara, Galway.

Join Jack this summer in Merano, Italy at Samavesha. Tell stories, chant, sing and wander back to yourself.

Jack at Samavesha:

Thursday, June 1, 10:30: An Odyssey – the Yoga of Wandering

Thursday, June 1, 14:30: Introduction to the Celtic School of Yoga and Music

Saturday, June 3, 20:30 – Kirtan!

Where to find JACK online:

Full Samavesha 2017 Schedule:

Register now and join us in Italy from May 30-June 4!


Lucas Benet has a vast well of knowledge and wisdom about the body

After 20 years as a practicing Osteopath and Rolfing masseur, he became a Certified Anusara Yoga teacher in 2013.  He admits there’s always more to discover about the body, and encourages others to continually explore their paths as well.   Combining his love of the body, philosophy and biomechanics, Lucas partnered with ASHY to create the latest Advanced Teacher Training  Curriculum. He’ll be teaching the Functional Anatomy classes at the Samavesha festival this Summer in Merano, Italy. Come join him on Wednesday, May 31 and Thursday, June 1, 2017. He purposefully made the subject of anatomy practical and accessible for everyone!

Evelyn Pate: How long have you been teaching Anusara and when did you get Certified? Do you have a special story around how you got connected to the Anusara community? 

Lucas Benet: I have been teaching Anusara yoga since 2007 and got certified April 2013. Yoga philosophy and meditation were a part of my life over 25 years ago. I was not as interested in hatha yoga at that time. Then I became more interested in movement and the possibilities to heal. I integrated it more into my work as an osteopath and Rolfing masseur.  I was attracted to the mechanics and the universal principles of alignment of Anusara yoga.

 EP: What benefits have you experienced from practicing and teaching Anusara? 

LB: The benefits I have experienced by practicing is feeling more comfortable in my body.  The benefits of teaching are staying in touch with the teachings and practices of yoga.

 EP: Can you share an unforgettable experience or “a-ha” moment you’ve had since you became a teacher?

LB: The moments I remember are the ones when you see the transformation in the student’s hearts and lives.

 EP: Who are the biggest influences in your life? Teachers and/or non-teachers.

LB: The biggest influences in my life have been my Guru, my parents, my wife and daughters, my brothers and all the people I share love with.

(Lucas shared that his annual family gathering has over 50 members each year. Anusara continues that sense of community and gathering for him!)

 EP: I see you will be teaching at Samavesha. Wonderful news! Could you share some information about the classes and what the focus will be? 

LB: I will be teaching the Functional Anatomy as Applied to Yoga courses. This 12h presentation will be a part of the Advanced TT Anatomy module. The focus will be the spine and pelvis and the way they relate to forward bends, back bends and asymmetrical poses. Also, how to teach these types of poses in a safe, and effective and expanded way.  The course teaches about the practical application of movement and how to prevent injury.  Feeling safe and creating safety. We’ll learn action, movement, and partner work using visualization and presentation. We’ll focus more on joint movement and major actions related to the individual and less on the names of the body.  We will learn how the body moves, how it applies to each individual. Everyone is different. Everyone has a different space. Knowing and understanding our limitations and differences. The names will be secondary here. Then, how to apply this knowledge to the body – and then to your classes!

 EP: Rumor has it you created the manual for this course? 

LB: Yes, I had already created a manual for my students (non-Anusara) as a way for them to have access to something practical. Anatomy is not just for teachers, it’s for ANYBODY who wants to learn more. So I worked with Jayendra Hanley who created the Anusara CATT program. He helped me with the manual as well as the translations. We framed the manual around the 24h training and used what was most important and applicable when learning about anatomy and movement.

 EP: I see you have an upcoming Teacher Training/workshop.  What do you look forward to the most when offering a TT or workshop? 

What really excites and inspires you the most? 

LB: I am currently teaching a 100hTT and have a few other anatomy trainings scheduled. When I teach, I look forward to meeting the people and their excitement about learning.  I enjoy taking them from injury to freedom. In Anusara, we have to go out. We have to take different routes to find the opening. We have a good foundation, but we don’t know everything! We must always be learning and exploring.

 EP: Anything else coming up that you’re looking forward to? 

LB: Yes, in terms of work, I am looking forward to see how yoga can help to unfold maximum potential in the mind-body of professional athletes.

 EP: Any advice for new teachers? 

LB: Be yourself, teach what you know. If you find a good path, follow it in depth. Follow it until you learn as much as you can…until you see what is no longer working. Now you know the path. Now you know the road. You know where you get stuck and can create another pathway for yourself. We have to continually learn. That’s what’s most important. Keep learning, keep flowing, keep exploring.

 EP: Do you have a question you’d like to ask an Anusara teacher? 

LB: “How do you do it?”

 So what do you say, teachers? Anatomy seem more accessible now? Come join Lucas in Merano, Italy this Summer.  Talk about how you do it in your part of the world. Let’s learn, flow and explore together. We look forward to seeing you then!

Lucas at Samavesha: 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 (Sessions 1-3)

Thursday, June 1, 2017 (Sessions 4-6)

Where can you find him online:

Full Samavesha 2017 Schedule:

Register now – join us in Italy from May 30-June 4!

Gail Corvette


This week, I sat down with Gail Corvette, ASHY Board Nominating Committee Chair and Certified Anusara teacher based in Charleston, South Carolina. During our talk, Gail shared how a profound epiphany during the last day of her teacher training shifted her path and now guides her to serve the addiction and recovery population. She weaves the Anusara methodology into their process and practice and she’ll be bringing these techniques with her to a Samavesha workshop this week. Come meet her in person and take her class on Saturday November 5 at 11:30am. See how Opening to Grace is similar to one of the 12-steps and some of the other recovery language. Read below and find out how Gail was divinely inspired to serve on this path.

Evelyn Pate:
Hi, Gail I’m so glad you could make it. How long have you been teaching Anusara?

Gail Corvette: I’ve been teaching Anusara since 2006. I did my teacher training with Rudrani Brown and Jackie Prete at The World Yoga Center in NYC. I thought I was going to be Inspired for life. When I went to Samavesha in Phoenix, the teachers were so wonderful.

They got me thinking why don’t I go for my certification, so I did and I got a certified last year. I received my certification in Martha’s Vineyard!

EP: Any special story about how you came into Anusara yoga? 

GC: It was just one of those serendipitous moments. Do you remember the blackout in 2001? I was working in a consulting firm in New York and had been dabbling in Jackie’s classes. I wouldn’t say I was that serious of a student. I enjoyed her classes and would attend whenever it fit my schedule. Some clients ended up spending the night at my house the night of the blackout. Once I got them out of town, my office was closed so I went to class. Unlike the fifty people that were usually in Jackie’s classes, there were only three people in the class that day. She spoke about the upcoming immersion and I felt like she was talking directly to me. Afterwards, she said “Gail I’ve been watching you and I think this could help deepen your practice”. It seemed to work with my very busy calendar so I signed up. I really had no idea what to expect. I just knew that it was something I wanted to involve myself with more.

EP: Anything in particular that stands out for you?GC: I think the richness of the Anusara yoga helps me and my students go deeper into their own self inquiry. How our language of embodying heart qualities and what we do helps guide them in places that are unfamiliar to them. I know when I’m told to set an intention, I pretty much set the same one unless I’m really studying some specific scripture or a teaching. So I think Anusara Yoga helps the unfoldment and revelation of grace, and our inner wisdom and highest nature can be revealed through the teachings. That’s the methodology of the Anusara yoga.

EP: Has any anyone been a big influence in your life, either teachers or non-teachers? GC: Along the way they’ve been so many amazing influences. Jackie and Rudrani were really the foundational experience in my yoga but I love the writings of Brene Brown. Her work in shame and vulnerability and reading her books and studying her research helped to lead me to the place where I felt like I wanted to offer what I’m offering at Samavesha.

EP: Could you share why you were drawn to that particular topic? I’d love to hear more about what you’re offering at Samavesha.

GC: Sure. One of the pivotal moments in my teacher training with Rudrani and Jackie was through the self inquiry process. I didn’t even realize what I was uncovering, what I’d buried pretty deep inside me. But in the last moment of the last day of the teacher training, I had a revelation and blurted out to everyone “Oh my God, I’m an alcoholic and I don’t think I’ve ever even admitted it to myself”, and the entire kula just embraced me. One of the women said ‘I just thought you had your act together so much’. You know, I had been sober for ten years at that point, but it was something that was so clouded in shame, I never wanted anyone to know that I had this horrible disease. I really just kept myself walled off emotionally and from anyone finding out the dirty little secret of mine. The yoga worked on me and helped me realize that there was nothing to be ashamed of. That’s part of who I am. It’s genetic. It’s a disease. Then it really just helped me come to grips with it and feel Whole again, which I really didn’t feel when I was hiding that from myself and from others. I didn’t even tell my mother for ten years.

EP: Thank you for sharing that revelation, Gail. And now you’re sharing your own journey with others in recovery and addiction?

GC: Yes, I teach two classes a week at the county run alcohol and drug rehab center. I’ve been doing this for several years with in-patients who first go through detox. It’s an in-patient program and I teach them yoga every Thursday night. The other is for outpatients and it’s part of a group therapy session. They do a check-in at the beginning of each session and then we do an hour of yoga. I try to weave in the Anusara methodology. They share how they’re feeling, their stress level, what’s going on in their lives and I tie it back into the teachings of yoga. I weave in the teachings of the 12-step program and other recovery language. That is part of their group therapy and also I weave in parts of my story because they react well to someone who is another recovering addict or alcoholic who comes across as being whole. It’s such a moving experience to see some of the transformations.

EP: So back to my earlier question of the benefits you received from this practice…

GC: Yes, I mean, I have my life back. And I really feel like the whole stigma in our society around addiction is something that doesn’t come with any other disease. No one’s really ashamed of saying that they’re diabetic or that they have cancer, but mental illness and diseases like that. Since 1959, alcoholism has been listed as a disease and it’s been recognized as a disease but there’s so much societal stigma. The malas are all in play too because you feel like you’re not worthy. It’s a very judgmental kind of a disease, but the whole Tantric philosophy of intrinsic goodness is something that just really spoke to my heart. It just helps to lift that veil of shame that you’re not worthy when people feel isolated.

EP: I love the way you weaved in all the malas into the addictions.

GC: I love being able to offer the Ishta Devata view to of our philosophy. That they can choose whatever their higher power is. Pick the God of your understanding. When I teach at a gym and I’m not talking about God in the way that I’m talking about God when I teach the people in recovery center.

So Anava mala is not feeling worthy and maiyaya mala is feeling separate. Sometimes when people have this disease and it progresses, they lose their families, their livelihood, anyone they’ve ever loved or relationships they’ve been in because the path of the draw of the substance is so strong, it’s changed their brain composition. So there’s really a feeling of separateness and of course they do things – karma mala – based on the overpowering need that their brain feels to get a fix.

So there are some different techniques that I’ve learned over the years of doing this that I wanted to share. There were also other trainings that were specific for doing yoga with people in recovery. So I wanted to share that with the Anusara community because I think the weaving of the bhavana and the embodiment of the universal principles just gets the teachings across much more quickly.

EP: Do you feel like what you’re teaching can apply to many other populations? Addiction comes in many forms. It’s not exclusive to drugs and alcohol. The other teachers in our community have other populations that they might be able to bring this to. Can you share a little bit about the workshop?

GC: The Samavesha workshop is an overview to help equip Anusara teachers to teach classes to people in recovery from addictions. So there’s an overview of what addictions are. I’ll be co-leading with Allison Carrington who was the counselor at the center. We’ll go into why Anusara fits so well and how you can relate the Anusara teachings to the language that’s used in recovery. Just helping them find this tool is one tool in their spiritual toolkit. What’s different about teaching and the venue is you can teach in the recovery centers, inpatient or outpatient centers, jails, public classes but then there are those are fraught with the whole anonymity issue with the twelve step programs. So just how to find the population is another part. We’ll do some teaching practice and class planning practice and other tips about trauma informed yoga because we have to assume that people who get themselves into a rehab center have experienced some kind of trauma.

EP: One thing I keep picking up on and all of these stories is there is a baseline emotion of shame and vulnerability. GC: There’s a lovely little catch phrase that they use in twelve step programs: “We are here to share our experience strength and hope”

And that’s what we do and it’s true. In the recovery context, they share their own stories with others so that people who are just getting into recovery don’t feel like they’re so alone. So they share their experience and they share how they’ve been able to get through it. There is no cure but there is a solution and that solution is God. They encourage people to find whatever they believe in, which is the same thing we do in yoga. We encourage people to find their Ishta Devata.

EP: May I ask what is your Ishta Devata?

GC: It’s not one thing…it’s just a loving presence that sees the good in everything. Just the energy I think fully. I was raised in the Presbyterian Church and I never knew what the Holy Spirit was that they were talking about in church. So I got on a yoga mat and then I felt it. Then it was like, ‘wow, this must be that Holy Spirit thing they’ve been talking about all these years.’ I never got it in church. And, I never got it in recovery. In recovery, I never really connected with the twelve step process. I went because I had to, but it didn’t give me that spiritual awakening. It happened as a result of Rudrani and Jackie’s teacher training and the entire yoga practice helped open me up spiritually. There’s an old hymn that I’d love “here I am Lord”…and that’s what Open to Grace and Anusara yoga did with my life.

EP: That’s beautiful. Do you have any questions for other teachers?

GC: “What keeps you learning and growing?”

EP: “Do have any advice for new teachers?

GC: Just allow the process to unfold. It’s something I know I will continue to learn and grow in practicing and teaching Anusara yoga and it’s just such a beautiful process to watch to not know where it’s going to go. I never thought I would be talking about this disease I was so ashamed of, let alone sharing my story twice a week with people who are early in their recovery process. But that is that is how it unfolded, and it unfolded in such a way that it really revealed my calling in life – to share this healing that I have been able to find with others.

Editor’s note: I’m abbreviating a story Gail shared about a retreat she attended several years ago that steered her journey towards a path of service. She referred to her journey and seeking at that time as “grazing at the spiritual buffet”. During an ancestral healing ceremony at a Native American retreat, she was asked to forgive her grandfather for his own battle with alcoholism. The forgiveness was already there and she found herself asking God “why am I on this earth?”. She began writing and felt like she was not in control of the pen. Here is what her hand wrote:

“I am on this earth to serve…

to awaken those who face the struggles I faced 

and force my way through to bring joy to those whose days are their darkest…

to show them glimpses of light to help them find their way through the long journey to heal.” 

Come meet Gail next week. Dine at the spiritual buffet with her and share what keeps you learning, growing and inspired.

Gail at Samavesha: Saturday, November 5 at 11:30am


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Carmel Calcagno


I had the pleasure of speaking with Carmel Calcagno, Certified Anusara teacher since 2003. Carmel resides in Belmar, NJ, a beach town off the Atlantic Ocean where she offers an Advanced 30-hour yoga teacher training as well as yoga on the beach and other workshops to a variety of students who want to deepen their practice.  After teaching for over 20 years, she’s discovered that her own niche was teaching others how to find their niche in life.  Unique, funny, big hearted and a firm believer that the well of our hearts does not run out, she will be with us in Mt Madonna – teaching teachers how to connect to their power and find their special sauce. Come meet her in November and check out her sessions on Friday, November 4 at 9:30am and 11:30am. In the meantime, read and learn a little more about Carmel who lives by the mantra “Love More, Care Less”.

Evelyn Pate: Hi Carmel. How long have you been teaching Anusara and when did you get certified? Any special story around how you got connected to the Anusara community?

Carmel Calcagno: I was already teaching in 1996 and met John Friend two or three years later. Back then, there weren’t 200 and 300 hour teacher trainings. He would just say “go out and teach”. So I was already teaching and I laugh now bc it took me three years just to ask, “can I apply to be a teacher?”. You had to send in a video and then you had an interview with John. My interview was at the top of a mountain in Utah

I don’t care what anybody says about John Friend, he was an amazing teacher and he shared everything he knew. The reason why Anusara teachers are all amazing is because nothing was held back. What he did was create amazing teachers. You would go to the teacher trainings and gatherings and you would be surrounded by three hundred people that were amazing! I remember thinking I wasn’t a good teacher because I was comparing myself to all these amazing teachers! It wasn’t that I wasn’t a good teacher, but anava mala was pretty deep back then!

EP: You offer an Advanced Teacher Training at Yoga Anjali. Is that for Anusara teachers?

CC: No, the training is for people who need help after their 200 hour TT.  The 30 hr Advanced TT is for the people who need guidance because their training may be lacking in some way. I teach from the Anusara manual. I teach the Universal principles of Alignment. I teach how to teach a class, how to adjust and how to align students. I get off on helping people become better teachers. I have vinyasa teachers who are teaching with alignment cues. I teach Anusara yoga to my students, but the most fun I have is teaching the teacher training for teachers that aren’t Anusara.

EP: That sounds like an obvious niche.  Is that similar to what you will be teaching at Samavesha? 

CC: My workshop at Samavesha is about finding your needs. There’s too many yoga teachers now. You have to be very specific about what it is that makes you unique. You have to be very specific about what it is you’re offering if you want to make a living teaching yoga. There’s more people doing yoga but not many people really interested in learning yoga.

EP:  So would you say that your niche is showing others how to find their niche?

CC: Yeah, I’m really good at that. We have to realize what our gifts are so that we can offer them. I really am excited about teaching at Mt Madonna in November. I’m really interested in helping people find what is going to help them become better teachers. And I just love, love, love helping people. I live on Love. I live on what I have. What we have is what we offer. 

The one thing my teachers taught is open our hearts. Open your heart. There will always be enough. You’re never going to run out if you give your students everything. You’re not going to deplete yourself because it comes back tenfold. Tenfold. And when you think about it, what is life without it? It’s about touching someone that you may never even thought you touched.  People’s lives transform from being in class. You might not ever know how much you’re touching another person through your teaching.

EP: Sounds like there have been many highs. Have there been any in particular a-ha or unforgettable moments that stand out for you?

CC: The moment I started teaching. Truthfully, I didn’t ever say I wanted to be a yoga teacher. I was practicing yoga for seven years and my teacher was going to Thailand for three months and invited me to teach for him.  I looked at him like, What are you crazy?. I wasn’t thinking I was a teacher, and he says “oh, you’re a teacher”.  So, that’s how I started teaching. I literally got thrown into it!

I really think when you allow things to happen organically, that is when they work out. Not when you grasp. It’s just like in the Bhagavad Gita. The desires aren’t going to get you what you need, it’s the Will. It will happen organically. 

When I was first looking for a yoga studio, I was scared to death. Am I really going to do this? Then I stopped at a red light, look to my left and I see a “For Rent” sign.  I said “#$%!”.  I have to do this now. There is a part of me that didn’t want to do it at all. I was scared. But you have to jump into the pool. You just keep jumping in and that’s what takes us. It’s our faith, it’s our belief. Faith that will take us where we need to go. It’s really nothing else. If we don’t have faith, it’s not going to work at all. What did you ask me again? (laughing) 

EP: About an a-ha moment. Sounds like you’re living one.

CC: I live in love and not fear, Just believe in what it feels like. Why do you do yoga? There’s so many different ways. There’s my true belief that no matter what you’re doing, even if you’re just going into a hot room to see how good you are, I really believe that there’s something about these asanas that affect you in a way where something opens up.  Yoga is all about the relationship we have with our Self. It takes work. So the challenge is getting to know yourself. The challenge is being with you.

EP: You mentioned you know don’t live in fear, you live in love. What do you do if and when fear arises?

CC: So whether you’re in class or in life, if a fear does arise, you learn to to handle it. Face the challenge. I’m an old lady at this point in life and I just know better. Now if a challenge comes, I understand it will pass. After you’ve gone through it a few times, then you realize that the fear is not going to get you anywhere. It’s the actions that you put into your life. 

EP: Anything that you do in your free time that would be fun to share with the community?

CC: I’m a very simple person. I go to the beach. I dance. I like to cook. I’ve got a garden. I really believe in not working hard. I believe in knowing this is what I did today. I taught, I went to the beach, I came home, I made lunch. I’m starting a little work on my blog. I gave a workshop and now I’m lying in my hammock talking to you. I have a great life.

EP:  What else do you have coming up on the calendar that you’re looking forward to?

CC: A retreat in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala on Feb 18-25, 2017. You can find the information online at or my website I picked this place because it’s very spiritual location in Central America surrounded by Mayan villages and a volcano. It’s a mile high and it’s going to be amazing. It’s pretty rare. 

EP: Where else can we find you besides your studio in Belmar, NJ?

CC: My website has lots of videos and info! There’s one video where I’m talking about my classes for people over fifty.  I’ve gotten stronger as I’ve gotten older, and also learned how to care less. The best part is that nothing matters. After doing my first meditation retreat with my teacher, Paul (Mueller Ortega). we had a writing assignment. I ended up writing over and over: LOVE MORE, CARE LESS…LOVE MORE, CARE LESS. And that’s how I live my life. I love more. And I care less. And I don’t care less about people. I just care less about the stuff that doesn’t matter. It’s very freeing and that’s how I live my life.

EP: Thank you so much, Carmel. That’s really beautiful. I’m going to take that statement home and share it with the others. Enjoy the rest of your day of Loving More and Caring Less and see you in November.

There you have it, folks. Come meet Carmel at Samavesha. Say hello, dive into her workshops, explore YOUR power and niche. Who you are, why you’re here and maybe laugh a little along the way too. 

Connect with Carmel:


Samavesha: Friday, November 4 at 9:30am and 11:30am

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Since I have the great fortune of taking Julia’s class in NYC I get to see her share her gifts with the community, observe her evolve as a teacher and now, bloom into mommyhood. She has a depth of anatomy knowledge and a tremendous ability to weave that wisdom into an asana practice while making it accessible to everyone. Here in this interview, she shares with us how Grace brought her to this practice and how it shows up in her life. She also has a question for YOU, beautiful Anusara community. Scroll down to the bottom to check out her question. Bring your answer to Samavesha, or share it with us in the comments box on Facebook. We look forward to seeing you there!

Evelyn Pate: How long have you been teaching Anusara and when did you get certified? Any special story around how you got connected to the Anusara community?

Julia Pearring: I’ve been teaching since 2008. I was halfway through my certification process in early 2012, and decided to pause to give the community and new leadership time to regroup. I then completed my certification in the fall of 2014. 

I’m not sure how I got connected to Anusara yoga except through pure Grace. I was in college, working at an Equinox location in New York, taking every style of yoga offered there. In two years, I only got to take one Anusara yoga class with Jackie Prete. It was a 7am class and I remember I was very tired, it was a struggle to get there so early ha! And yet when I graduated college and decided to take a teacher training, somehow that one hazy class stood out above all the others that I was sure I loved and knew well. There was something about it that pulled me towards it. I signed up for a teacher training with Jackie and Rudrani at the World Yoga Center that Fall and found my home in Anusara yoga as well as at the World Yoga Center.

 EP: What benefits have you experienced from practicing and teaching Anusara?

JP: Where to begin? Heart opening grace abounds – the continued deepening of my trust in my own power to awaken and expand. The Universal Principles of Alignment provide an incredible framework for stepping into the flow of Grace, into an unfolding process that mirrors natural cycles and sequences. The deep link to the Tantric scriptures and the power of Shakti that enlivens this practices has led me to incredible transformations. Lastly, the community that I have been enveloped in has been a saving grace, to have fellow yogis and yoginis to walk with on this beloved path.

EP: Can you share an unforgettable experience or “ah-ha” moment you’ve had since you became a teacher?

JP: I was an aspiring classical musician who struggled immensely with audition anxiety. I didn’t have the time or the space in those settings to prove who I was and what I was capable of. It was a space in which you either hit the notes or didn’t and it was easier on them if you didn’t! When I took my training my initial intention was to deepen my own practice, not to teach, and yet there I was in a very similar position thinking I had to prove myself– and how could I do that when I messed up which leg to step forward?!?

 But what I have learned is that teaching yoga is not another role in your life where you have to prove what you are capable of, rather your role is to connect to what is beyond what any individual can do on their own, beyond the illusion of the separation of you and me, to the depth of the moment that holds the potency of absolute potential.

EP: Beyond – beyond – to the depth of the moment that holds the potency of absolute potential.  That’s rich.

Who are the biggest influences in your life? Teachers and/or non-teachers.

JP: Too many people to name, and none ‘bigger’ than any other. For me it’s more a question of where I was in my life and how Grace showed up, in what form. You recognize the Truth when you need it most. There were countless times when I was stuck strongly in contraction and the illusion of my own stories – but life influences, that’s what it does. I have always been blessed to be able to realize this, even if sometimes it was hindsight or took a big smack in the head to come to! These people range from my teachers, to my family, to my long standing friendships, to those who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. 

 EP: I see you will be teaching at Samavesha. Lucky us! Could you tell us a little about the classes? 

JP: I will be teaching three classes in succession. The first an advanced practice (and I will reveal here, it will be focusing on ankle loop and my experience of ankle loop as an Open to Grace principle), the second on lower body loops and the third on upper body loops. My theme will be on the Dynamics of Graceful Effort. I am looking forward to diving into the subtle application of the loops as the dynamic dance to bring effort into our asana practice in a way that is supremely grace-filled, refined, exhilarating!! 

EP: Looks like you have an upcoming Teacher Training this fall at The World Yoga Center in NYC.  What do you look forward to the most when offering a TT or workshop? 

JP: What is most exciting is that there are a group of students interested in spending that many hours with me as we dive into the heart of Yoga. To introduce modern folks to an ancient practice that can transform and fulfill their deepest longings for connection is a gift for us all, and it inspires me to be steadfast in my own sadhana, or engagement with the practices. The a-ha moments that come during the training make our eyes sparkle and I look forward most to those moments of realization.

EP: Anything else coming up that you’re looking forward to? 

JP: I love creating the next opportunity for cultivating and exploring the subtlety of the yoga practices. I regularly plan retreats, run courses – Immersions, Teacher Trainings, Advanced Teacher Trainings, workshops… All of these are vehicles for us to commit more tangibly to aligning with the movement of Grace.

EP: Any advice for new teachers? 

JP: Journal, write, contemplate, chant, meditate, read scriptures, have a home practice, gather with fellow teachers to navigate your own forefront of understanding… Be actively committed to your studentship. This will keep you connected to the powerful teacher within, to your ability to transmit and inspire the living truth of Yoga.

EP: Where’s the best place to find and contact you? 

JP: My home base is the World Yoga Center in New York. I also have a live website that I post blogs and upcoming events. My mailing list is a great way to keep in touch as I love to connect and to feel the presence of those near and far!


Mailing list:

World Yoga Center:

EP: Lastly, do YOU have a question or something you’d like to learn about an Anusara teacher?

JP: “What do you bring to the community that you consider a unique offering? How do you envision it supporting the continuation or the expansion of Anusara yoga?”

EP: Great question, Julia!  So what do you say, beautiful Anusara community? What’s your unique offering and how do you share it with the world? Come meet Julia at Samavesha next month, share your answer – with her and with each other – see how she steps into the flow and shares her unique gifts with us and the greater worldwide community.

That’s a wrap for this week’s Feature A Teacher edition. Please feel free to reach out to us with inquiries or recommendations for the Teacher A Feature section.

See you in a few weeks!

Julia at Samavesha: Saturday, November 5 at 8:30am, 11:30am and 2pm

Full Schedule: 

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Evelyn Pate’s next interview with Certified Anusara yoga teacher Lisa Long



 Hailing from Jacksonville, Florida and teaching for over a decade, Lisa Long will figure out your life story by simply watching you walk into the room. Is she a fortune teller? Not exactly. She’s a therapeutic healer and has learned from her own experience with pain how to use the foundational principles of Anusara to walk on her own path of healing. She’ll be bringing her fascination with the human gait to a workshop at Samavesha.  Stop by and say hello and share your story with her in November. She loves community and believes in meeting each other the old-fashioned way. Face to face.  For now, let’s take a little trip on her journey with her, step by step…

 Oh, and if you’ve been on the fence about getting your Anusara certification, read her story below. You may wind up finishing your application after all!

 Lisa Long: I’m grateful I went to Samavesha last year because that really helped push me. I felt disconnected from the community and just going to that gathering felt like they did everything right. It was small. It was friendly.  Having people come in and cook for us. It just felt like we were really well taken care of. 

Evelyn Pate: How long have you been teaching Anusara?


I was introduced to Anusara in 1999. We were fortunate enough to have a certified teacher in Jacksonville. I practiced with a strong group of teachers who were very close in Jacksonville. We would travel and go to the trainings and workshops together.  It was a nice community to begin learning with. Around 2005, is when I went to a level one training with John Friend. Before that, just about five or six years of practicing what this method is all about.

So it’s been over a decade of teaching and fifteen years of practicing or trying to figure out what this is.

EP: What personal benefits have you experience from this practice?

 LL: I used to compete in triathlons, wind surf, waterski and would consider myself athletic. After my second child, I was diagnosed with a rare joint disease. One they’ll probably never figure anything about because it’s so rare.  It left me debilitated and in a lot of pain, unable to walk.  People who have my condition really don’t lead vibrant lives. They spend most of their days on painkillers and constantly searching for anything to alleviate the pain. So Anusara, the methodology and the fundamental principles of the system, really became my life boat out.

 You know how people say ‘your pain is your greatest teacher’? On my third year of learning about myself,  I remember sitting on the floor on my mat one day unlocking the pain, just so I could continue to function in my day – and I literally said out loud “I hate this”.  That’s when I said “ OK it’s time” I had the surgery. Coming back from the surgery, I couldn’t walk and then I’m questioning…why did I just do this to myself? And again, it was the methodology, the system, the principles, all the things that we know – brought me through. Was it easy? No. Did it take a long time? Yes. Did I have other teachers in the system helping me. Absolutely.  I had my senior teachers guiding me through this and I’m here to report that I live a 99.999% pain free life with a joint disease that is debilitating. I should be on painkillers and I should have an elephant leg – and I don’t. 

EP: Could you tell us a little about the classes you’ll be offering at Samavesha? 

LL: So I when I work with people privately, the first thing I do is watch them walk in and I walk behind them. You can see their whole life story just by how they’re moving.  You recognize people from their walking pattern.  It’s so basic to our human existence to be in an upright posture and walking, having people feel better and feel it through their gait is huge. 

 So (in the workshop), I’ll ask them to walk and feel the difference in their gait. I believe you cannot change gait in gait. I can’t change the way you’re walking because you’re just layering another pattern on top of your pattern.  Shift in gait happens from the practice of discovering. It’s you discovering you through the movement. So gait is significantly important  to me. I want people to continue to move well throughout all the decades of their lives. Yoga postures, the asanas and the breath work of yoga connect beautifully to fluid movement and the walking pattern. I know the ancients said the whole reason we’re doing the asana is so you can sit and meditate. I also think somewhere along the way, they all said it so we could move better too 🙂

 So if you’re a teacher, in addition to an experience, there will be a deeper understanding of how you might apply it when you’re looking at somebody and watching them walk into class or a session. Then seeing what and where you could work with them immediately to make the biggest shift, or offer the potential for the next biggest shift for them to experience life more fully.

 EP: When did you get certified?

LL: Five teachers in my community in Jacksonville in the application process and none of them were getting through.  These were teachers I admired and they were passing so I though “how on earth am I going to get through the process if they can’t do it?”. I kept waiting for one of them to complete it, so I just never took the test. That is, until I went to Samavesha last Fall and Doc Savage asked if I had taken it yet.  

 So I did. And I took the test in three days! Deb Payne said ‘this is the fastest anybody has taken the test’. I KNEW IT ALL I didn’t have to look it up .There weren’t any shockers here.  I have known it for a long time and I’ve been putting it off. Well, I didn’t know I knew it at the time. When I took the test, I was amazed at how much I knew it…I knew it in my bones. I didn’t have to go back to any resources. I knew it.

 EP:  Any unforgettable or aha moments for you?

LL:  Yes, it’s more personal than a direct moment with a student. It came when I first entered the system and my understanding to the back-bending aspect of Anusara. That there’s a passion because it is a heart centered philosophy.  Backbends were really hard for me, and still are. I start remember very clearly in those early years thinking there was concrete behind my heart in my back – literally, in between my shoulder blades. It was just a block of concrete. When I would go to gatherings. I would always partner with two men because I would want their strength to support and hold me up in poses.  I really felt that this concrete would never dissolve or chip away. I initially came into the practice thinking it was not accessible for me. What’s happened over all these years of practice is…it’s changed.   I don’t have concrete back there anymore! Not because I was going after it, but simply by doing other things. Just staying consistent to the practice. I was going after other things in my practice. I was getting out of pain. So the concrete is gone. The hardness behind my own heart is gone. The lesson was opening up to Universal. I was closed down to it. I was closed down to anybody having my back. In fact, I had my own back so well that I built up a nice solid wall back there! 

 EP: Wow. What a beautiful story! Anything coming up that you’re looking forward to?

EP: Lisa and I met in the pouring rain outside the venue in Martha’s Vineyard last year, and we both remember that memory vividly. We’ll always have that story and connection. Whether in class, at a gathering or in her hometown, she deems herself “Ms. Social”. So tune in to her online, come check out her class at our retreat in November and come say hello “the old fashioned way”.

To find Lisa: 


Samavesha: Thursday, November 3 at 2pm and 4pm

Full Schedule: 

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 Here, Evelyn Pate, an Anusara-trained teacher in New York City has a conversation with Gaby Zermeno, a certified Anusara teacher in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Gaby shares her dedication to Anusara and how staying on the path has kept her connected to her practice and inspired her to create teacher training programs, celebratory workshops and bilingual websites. All this has helped to build a large and expansive Anusara community in Mexico.

Read what Gaby says about her transformative experience with Anusara and what to expect from her upcoming Samavesha workshop. Read the full interview below and check back for more inspiring stories from our kulamates as we continue the Feature A Teacher series.

GABY ZERMENO  ashy_gabyzermeno-pic-1

Evelyn Pate:       How long have you been teaching Anusara and when did you get certified? Any                                     special story around how you got connected to the Anusara community?

Gaby Zermeno:         I have been teaching Anusara since 2005. I get inspired in 2008 and certified on December 2011. I think I was the last one that received the certificated signed by John Friend. It was funny because I used to be an architect and in 2011 I followed my heart and decided to teach 100% and leave my work as an architect. In February 2012, all the scandal happened.  I was really moved, trying to understand the message of the Universe.

EP:        What benefits have you experienced from practicing and teaching Anusara?

GZ:      First of all, Anusara took me out of pain. Since I was 14, I suffered with intense pain in knees and lower back. I even almost got operated and decided at the last minute not to do it. I went for many, many years to the chiropractor. Until I found Anusara that like magic take all my pain away.

Anusara Yoga helped me connect with true love, self-acceptance and understanding of my own greatness by this philosophy that teaches us that our nature is intrinsically good, auspicious and pure bliss. That life is meant to be celebrated, in every instance, and that we come to co-create with the Universe. That was a great shift in my life.

EP:       Can you share any unforgettable experience or “aha” moments you’ve had since           you became a teacher?

GZ:      When all the scandal happened, we didn´t know if the school will continue or not. I decided I can not teach something else. What I know and what I love is Anusara. I was sure that I don´t want to teach under other system/name. I wanted to honor the teachings that had brought so many benefits to my life. So I decided to invite Benita Galvan to Mexico in May 2013. We did a workshop name “Celebrating Anusara” even without knowing if the school will go on. But that gave me the great teaching that when you honor what is the essence, honor what it is really important, the Shakti always supports you. And in that workshop we have 70 yogis honoring and happy practicing Anusara Yoga.

EP:        Who are the biggest influences in your life? Teachers and/or nonteachers.

GZ:      John Friend, Carlos Pomeda, Bill Mahony, Paul Muller Ortega, Desiree Rumbaugh, Sianna Sherman.

EP:        You will be teaching a Spanish-language workshop at Samavesha. How exciting!     Could you tell us a little about the class and what the focus will be? (Will English-  speaking teachers be able to attend and follow along?)

GZ:      My class is call “Honoring the Rainbow”. It is about how we are a specific color, a unique color, and if we don´t shine, this color will disappear because nobody has the same color. So it is very important to share what we are. (I don´t know if there will be someone translating the class)

EP:        I see you have a Teacher Training coming up this October. What do you look forward to when offering a TT? What really excites and inspires you the most?

GZ:     Yes, this is the 4th Teacher Training I offered in my studio. I´m very happy because many people in Mexico don´t have the resources to go to other country to learn Anusara. That´s why Anusara didn´t grow in Mexico for so many years. So I’m very happy to make the great teachings available to the Mexican yogis. So we can have more and more people sharing these amazing teachings.

EP:        Anything else coming up that you’re looking forward to?

GZ:     We will have our 4th annual workshop “Celebrating Anusara Yoga”, where Anusara practitioners from all over Mexico come to share with the Kula. This time I will be teaching with Tiffany Wood. The first year I invited, as I said, Benita Galvan. The 2nd, Jaye Martin and we did a workshop together. The 3rd Jay and I offered the workshop, but we have the fortune to have Shantala also. It was really nice. So now I´m very happy to share for the 4th year this gathering in the beautiful place of Tepoztlan. Also I´m so happy to be the creator of a webpage with my son that offer online yoga classes in Spanish. So I´m very happy to spread Anusara teachings to more people. And soon we will offer also English classes. Benita Galvan and Tiffany Wood will be some of the English teachers.

EP:        Any advice for new teachers?

GZ:     Follow your heart and keep learning as the best student.

To find Gaby:


Samavesha: Thursday, November 3 at 9:30am

Full Schedule:

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Want to contribute to the ASHY blog? Send your articles here, along with bio information and photos in jpeg format.

Keeping the Spirit of Anusara Yoga Alive and Vibrantly Thriving

Will Doran headshotMy name is Will Doran, I am a Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher, and am also serving as the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga’s (ASHY)  USA Regional Representative and am a member of the Ethics Committee.  I also am part of the web development team looking to bring more content and teacher support value to our website.  A lot of discussion has taken place between the members of our school’s administration as to what is our vision and mission statement.  I would like to present some of these ideas here in this post because I believe it is important to express what we hold to be our core essence as a center for finding spiritual meaning and a comprehensive yoga instruction.

ASHY has its philosophical foundation in non-dual Tantra, and infuses this teaching of intrinsic goodness through the implementation of a highly refined methodology, one that shapes our attitude, alignment and action, both on and off the mat.  We infuse the physical practice with a deep philosophical and spiritual connection that speaks to people on all levels: mental, emotional, spiritual and physical.

Our methodology is recognized by world-renowned Tantric teachers as setting the highest standard of teacher training.  Our professional and passionate teachers contribute their experience towards the innovation and creative expression of our methodology.  Anusara’s special gift is to create a healthy, challenging and fun way of finding out who we are while creating a meaningful, rich life full of positive relationships and deep connections.

Will and Tiff teachingASHY offers a system for connecting to the Divine like no other hatha yoga school. We nurture the inquiry of how to find something deeper and turn it into a sustainable life practice through alignment knowledge and spiritual exploration.  Our international collaboration of teachers work together to create a vast network that provides clear and attainable progress on the path as students, teachers and humans.

Our highly-educated  teachers represent a continuity of excellence creating the gold-standard of yoga instruction.  The school serves a yoga community that desires deep insight and an instructional style that is inspirational, connected to the highest qualities of yoga teaching, and is heart-oriented in its delivery.  In 2016 ASHY will be launching its new 300-hour Advanced Teacher Training certification curriculum, rich in its diverse required modules and elective courses.

This is an exciting time for our school and we look forward to its continued growth; we honor the students and teachers dedicated to learning and spreading our beautiful Anusara methodology world-wide.

Unwavering Devotion

Dr. Bill Mahony and Tiffany Wood at Samavesha 2015

Whatever a person desires – whatever they worship, will eventually be attained. To have selfless love regardless of the object is to have love for the sacred One that permeates all that is. This Bhakti Yoga is one of the noteworthy teachings in chapter 9 of the Bhagavad Gita.

Bhakti yoga is to step into whatever you do with unwavering devotion to the love of Love itself. To act from the place that remembers the bigger picture. Creating and engaging our lives as if the God in all things matters.

Bhakti yoga is connecting to the higher purpose of the experience.

Anytime you drop into your heart and feel how loving care is permeating the moment. It’s what happens when the heart leads the way with a steadiness that is inextricably linked to being of service to that which is larger than the individual.

Tiffany Wood 3 legged dogThis was exactly my experience of The Anusara School of Hatha Yoga’s gathering this year in Martha’s Vineyard called Samavesha. For seven days 150 beautiful people basked in the totality of what it means to allow devotion to be the guiding light that holds individuals in community and in Grace. Seven days that celebrated the unwavering love offering made by Anusara Yogis from across the globe and reaffirmed my choice to remain lovingly and unwaveringly devoted to this method of yoga since 1999.

It’s with great delight that I feel Anusara Yoga and ASHY is brimming with more Bhakti than ever in its third year as a teacher run organization! It’s quite clear that the collective service of those who stepped up to organize and operate ASHY had a strong desire to carry forth the lineage of Bhakti Yoga that has been passed down from teacher to student as the root of the practice is being attained.  To Doc Savage, Jane Norton, Deb Payne, Jackie Prete, and BJ Galvan for creating structure from a vision of the heart, to those on the board of directors, to those heading and supporting in committees, to those who teach, practice and hold dear the method of Anusara…….I bow in deep pranam to your unwavering dedication to that which is larger than all of us, includes us, and is nothing but us!

12000858_10153716172736340_4318414662091705061_o-2I am honored to be the chair of the ethics committee for ASHY.  I feel very blessed to have a team of leaders from each region of the world as members of the committee! The role and desire of the ethics committee is to maintain harmony within the structure of our teacher run school by encouraging actions that are devoted to uplifting all of us. Remembering that we are stewards of this Bhakti lineage and creating a vast and wide net that is connected within mutual desire to grow stronger together by interacting with one another as if the God in all things matters.

Because we are indeed human and interactions can become tricky to say the least, we are working on guidelines to maintain integrity in communication and actions.

If you have anything you want to bring to attention or contribute, you can contact me or the ethics committee member in your region and you will have a voice and a pathway to clear current or arising challenges in your communities!

Bhakti Blessings,

Tiffany Wood

Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher, Chair ASHY Ethics Committee

ASHY ETHICS TEAM – click on a name to connect with your regional Ethics Committee representative

USA: Tiffany Wood     Will Doran

Canada: Annette Garcea

China: MeiChun Chen

Europe: Aranka Zondag

Latin America: Karina Sauro

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