My Story

Yoga and Meditation are souvenirs of a life well-traveled.  The Yoga HotDish “recipe” is an eclectic blend designed to deliver modern best practices without cutting corners (no 1-hour classes), dumbing it down, new-aging it up or converting you to Hinduism.  So what’s in the mix? 

Heapin’ Helpings of  Kripalu ~ Teacher training in residence at Kripalu Yoga Center for Health, Stockbridge, MA. 2001.  This was back when reputable programs were immersion– 24/7, no cell phones –as opposed to on weekends or even online (good grief!).   Collegial in atmosphere, a large staff of full-time teachers was ready to guide you, tell you the truth and kick you in the backside. I picked Kripalu as the best blend of East and West: a school of lineage with roots back to India, under the capable leadership of Stephen Cope, author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self.  Kripalu had dispensed with guru worship and devotional Hinduism wasn’t in the mix. Known as the  “Yoga of Transformation,”  it’s a place to Get Real with 6″ of closet space, bunk beds and all things yoga from 6 am to 10 pm.
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One Part Sivananda ~ First yoga teacher in Singapore was a Zen Buddhist trained in India, Sivananda tradition. She was down-to-business and wore the same uniform to teach class: white polo shirt and blue track pants. She told me it would take 10 years for my hamstrings to stretch out back in 1999 and she was right!   “If you can’t have a flexible body, then have a flexible mind.”  She also taught me the importance of headstand and how to approach it safely, in spite of a whiplash injury.
One Part Santa Barbara ~ Santa Barbara has long been an incubator to amazing, eclectic Indie yoga. Frequent trips to Santa Barbara afford me the opportunity to study with local legends like Eddie Ellner in his one-of-a-kind sacred space known as Yoga Soup.  By sheer happenstance, I’ve stumbled into trainings with many of the thought leaders of modern yoga–not all of whom have yet made their way to the pages of Yoga Journal. 
Modern Anatomy Know-How ~  Trainings with Paul Grilley, Leslie Kaminoff, as well as Kripalu’s doctor-on-staff have led me to realize there’s no one path to the perfect pose.  While knowing “universal alignment principles,” is a start, it can only take you so far; and, if applied dogmatically, can lead to injury.  If you go into a class and the students all have the same body-type as the teacher (especially if it’s not yours) run the other way!  YogaHotDish classes are full of all shapes and sizes, each doing the pose in the best way for their body types–not the best way for Instagram!  With class sizes topping out at around 14, YogaHotDish is totally custom for your body.  Why buy “off-the-rack” when you can have your practice customed designed?
Rich Zen Sauce ~  In 1989, I found myself at the Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto mesmerized by snowflakes. When I returned to Japan in the mid 90’s to manage a software company, I befriended an elderly woman who spoke no English. Once we exhausted the limits of my Japanese for the day, we often sat in silence, eyes closed,  be it in a garden, on the train.  Simple acts of eating food, drinking tea and strolling the nearby “samurai garden”  were done with total focus and awareness, in silence.  I realize now that all of these were meditation experiences, yielding a level of peace I only re-discovered when I started yoga in Singapore.
Combine all the above, let simmer for years, stirring occasionally…Serve to anyone curious enough to show up.
Gluten-free, but will stick to your ribs.  Gimmick-free without the new-age music and mirrors that actually detract from meditation.  No microwaved, “hot yoga” served here — the heat is supposed to come from within and build gradually over 75+  minutes,  as not to harm your joints and muscles.  No Lululemon required; and please, no Speedos!
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