The mind is hard to control. But it can be trained by constant practice and by freedom from desire.
Ever since I can remember, I have been on the search for more, for something greater. Growing up in LA, I never truly felt comfortable in my own skin. I hungered for knowledge and growth through perspectives that differed from myopic western systems. After reading some Alan Watts and Krishnamurti my thirst grew stronger and, although I didn’t know it at the time, I began my path seeking out yoga. Some of my old friends had found yoga and invited me to classes with them. At first, I rejected the notion. My assumptions about yogis kept me away: there was no way I was going to start eating tofu, opening chakras and chanting to Gods I knew nothing about. Thanks to my persistent friends, I walked into a Bryan Kest class in the summer of 2000. His down to earth approach was exactly what I needed and I instantly resonated with the physical benefits of the practice. The practice was a perfect companion for my recovery: my body healed from the abuse of addiction, and my mind grew clearer.
The high I had experienced with heroin was now replaced by calmness, balance and equanimity. My practice grew and I found another great teacher that gave me new insights and pearls. Govindas showed me the soul of yoga. However, my seeking did not subside. After finishing graduate school in mathematics at UCLA, I noticed that Bryan was doing a teacher training in Mexico. I wasn’t interested in teaching, but wanted to deepen my practice and travel. The training exposed me to new ideas, two of which I connected with immediately. The first was a 3-day Iyengar intensive with Lisa Walford. My analytical mind was intrigued by the depth of alignment instruction and precision she presented. I was hooked. In addition to intense physical practice every day, we meditated at the end of the evening for 45 minutes. This was the next step for me.
Even though I had achieved great control over my body, I realized I had almost no control over my own mind. Meditation was the most challenging part for me in the training, and at the same time, the most rewarding. Today I practice asana regularly at home and try my best to meditate every day. My teacher Vinnie Marino helps me continue to learn better ways to teach and incorporate my yoga into day-to-day life. He is a wonderful mentor and friend. I have climbed but a few steps of the ladder and am working my way upward still. Every fault is an opportunity for growth and every day is an opportunity for life. I am lucky to have great friends and family to share the love with. Hope to see you as we follow the road to happy destiny.