Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I taught a class themed on the organic rate of process yesterday. It brought me to share some of the snapshots of my evolution as an artist, teacher and embodied spirit.

My interest in body-centered practice began when I met Alec Rubin on Miami Beach in 1992. He came to be my mentor in developing my creative practice and theory of what art making is, which I am presently defining as the process of clarifying what you truly want to say to the world, finding the appropriate medium of expression and doing so with intention and presence. Alec was the most alive, present and loving teacher I had ever met. He was an actor, dancer and primal therapist who taught a form of improvisational theater that he called “the Theater Within.” Alec’s main teaching was to learn to be simple, real and move from the core. His influence directed my search towards the body as the doorway to authenticity and transformation. I also experienced the power of an educator holding a vision of what is possible for me beyond what I could imagine, luckily, for the first of many more times! Alec seemed to have a space of potentiality just to his right side, a space of focused attention for someone, potentially anyone, almost all the time. I wondered if it had something to do with a twin sister he lost at age two. This type of wondering is my life long way of being that has found it's home, as I continue to wonder from embodied experience.

I have come to see the body and mind in health as an integrated whole that is naturally predisposed to fluidity. My understanding is that we are born with a life force, which has a pulsation, which originates in the core of the body and flows throughout the physical, emotional and mental realms of the individual. This natural pulsation of life force is met with external counter pulses of life experiences which, when internalized, can block and change the flow of a person’s energy on the physical, emotional and mental levels. I think that, fundamentally, human beings are looking for fluidity in their lives. Because these counter pulses range greatly in quality and intensity, the expression of this search is unique to the individual. I do think that people with similar experiences and approaches to the neutralization of these counter pulses have a tendency to group together. For example, I have found a sense of place in the world in groups of people who are dedicated to a daily yoga and meditation practice. People in my life who don’t feel moved to such a commitment often consider this lifestyle a rigid discipline. Through different lenses, practice is seen as deep commitment or rigid neurosis. This has been confusing and difficult to navigate at times. In my investigation, I sought to understand how people get blocked and unblocked physically and how this in turn affects emotional and mental fluidity. I hold the larger context of education as the frame for my investigation. This is an urgent question for me personally in that I have been engaged in the modalities that utilize the body as the entry point for creating change in other levels of the person for twenty years and have now developed clear theories and language that support my teaching practice. I am stepping out to share my learning and wondering at the suggestion of Forrest Yoga Guardian Catherine Allen. In my next stage of hatching out, I am mobilized to reach out and initiate conversations about embodied practice, spirituality and activism.

I sought out bodies of knowledge in books and human beings as my method of investigation. It is a delight and salvation to have found mentors who have helped me find my authentic voice and bring it into the yoga studio, classroom and stage. It is equally delightful to have dialogue with people I have “moved “ with for years in improvisational dance and physical theater about their thoughts our shared world. I recently worked with two groups of women practicing movement together. One was a creative dance group of women who identify as Christians and the other is a theater group with the intention of breaking silence around sexual violence. Finding the ground is the first step for both groups, and most people. Although we are all structurally connected to the ground, most of us are energetically disconnected from the ground and their lower bodies at some points. In the same way that an ungrounded electrical current is dangerous, an ungrounded person is vulnerable to the imbalances of over thinking, anxiety and other forms of over excitation due to a lack of having the ground to absorb excess energy. Forrest Yoga has vigorous abdominal exercises and asanas that discharge excess tension from the pelvis feet and legs in order to facilitate a felt sense of being held by and connected to the ground. Being able to facilitate such acts of healing and life affirming practices brings my own spirit a deeper sense of being at home in my body and on this earth.


  1. "I have come to see the body and mind in health as an integrated whole that is naturally predisposed to fluidity ..." This is so well-said, Karuna, it takes my breath. I'm going to meditate on this, this exactly, when I'm hooping with Melanie in the morning! ...

  2. No wonder we watch with awe when you move. You breathe life from within so those of us without feel your essence, and are bathed in the beauty of your heart. Thank you for the willingness to undertake such an extraordinary journey. samantha, in awe.