Currents – the Anusara Blog

his 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.


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


Full Schedule:

Register now – there’s still time to sign up!

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

Full Schedule: 

Register now if you haven’t signed up! 




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: 

Register now if you haven’t signed up! 

 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:

Register now if you haven’t signed up!

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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