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Years Practicing Yoga: 31
Years Teaching Yoga: 25
Teachers: Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Morari Bapu, Dona Holleman, Roger Eischens, William Prottengeier, Ramanand Patel
I began studying meditation in 1982 and began teaching yoga in 1989. Initially my motives were driven by athleticism - I desired a calmer mind to better focus on my high jumping. The guided meditations I listened to on tape helped enormously and I went on to have a successful athletic career at The University of Minnesota.
I was drawn to asana similarly. The relentless athletic training was taking a toll on my body, and I desired something to regain wholeness, or optimal health. Hatha Yoga seemed the logical solution; and for awhile, it was.
I delved earnestly into the Iyengar method. It suited my engineering mind beautifully as the body was dissected into clear-cut angles and lines. The difficulty of appreciating the non-linear, mysterious and the unknown was largely eliminated in favor of a deterministic model. For my young-man mind, this was perfect!
I practiced doggedly and attained a degree of proficiency in the most advanced poses fairly quickly. Unfortunately, contentment of mind and comfort in body remained elusive. I believed fervently in the yoga, so when faced with adversity, threw myself more fiercely into the practice. By 1991 I was practicing 4-6 hours per day.
By 1994 I was in shambles. My body was wracked with pain such that practicing asana became impossible. I could no longer enjoy my passion for bicycling or skiing. Even sleep became difficult due to the relentless lower-back pains. Therefore, throughout most of 1994, I focused on the meditation practice, which I'd largely put aside during this foray into the asana-focused technique.
By the middle of 1994, I stumbled upon a yoga teacher outside of Madison, Wisconsin. I was initially drawn to his philosophy: an integration of sustainable agriculture, sport and yoga. This crossing of paths proved fortuitous, as Roger Eischens showed me the way to a yoga that healed the rift between my body and mind. For the next six years I studied at his side while in residence at Cress Spring Farm out in the Madison countryside. Living and farming at a yoga retreat center healed my body such that I could resume my joy of athletics, work full days and rejoin life.
By 2000 our egalitarian experiment had run its course and the community of Cress Spring Farm had largely disintegrated. I moved two miles up the road to the Village of Blue Mounds where my focus shifted from healing the mind/body rift to exploring the spiritual component of being. The inquiry became cultivating the trinity, rather than healing the duality. This quest has become the focus of my teaching - using this yoga practice as a vehicle to integrate the mind, body and spirit.
This is nothing revolutionary, really. The yoga texts are very clear that this is the aim of the practice. It's just the peculiar way that post-modern man has interpreted this ancient practice that leads us to think that yoga is anything but the integration of body, mind and spirit.
Hatha Yoga is a marvelous technology, as we may explore concepts of spirituality as they reveal themselves in physical form. It gets slightly messy, though, as we must embrace the body as an assemblage of curves, energy flows and relentless vitality. While it's easier to speak in terms of angles and lines, the point is really lost until we embrace the non-linearity and non-determinism that defines our physical form. Only then can we begin to comprehend the spiritual forces at work.
I've developed an approach to Hatha Yoga that demonstrates the immutability of our body, mind and spirit. I call it Alignment Yoga. This new form of Yoga hews faithfully to the aims and intents of the ancient Yoga masters, while recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of the Western body and mind. This intelligent approach to Yoga allows us to better lead our lives with an enthusiasm and joy that's effortless. Simply put, this practice allows us to be more fully who we are, rather than more fully what we think we should be or what somebody else thinks we should be. That takes a bit of nerve, as the fullness of who we are is often less comfortable than conforming to a preconceived ideal. The results however, are richly rewarding!
Scott approaches his classes with intelligence, discipline and knowledge. His knowledge of anatomy provides a language with which to communicate the body alignment desired, and his knowledge of biomechanics provides a basis for understanding the many challenging postures. His intelligence and intuition facilitate his perception and response to individual difficulties with the postures, that might result from previous injury or misalignment. His problem solving skills and his genuine desire to see each of his students overcome obstacles is impressive. He always attends to his students' needs, which is why there is such a great rate of improvement in his classes.
-Ellen B, Tucson
After an excrutiatingly painful sciatica experience that left me feeling like "a woman with a bad back", I began yoga classes. Each week at Scott's yoga class I would learn something new about my protective holding patterns, how they made matters worse, and how to undo them. His insight and intuition in class and privately eventually led me to not only let go of the thought of being damaged, but in to a level of core strength and postural integrity that supports all I do.