A: How did you come into TriYoga?
Q: I had actually had a yoga practice for a long time. I was not looking for anything new, I was happy with what I was doing. Then I moved back into my parents’ house and it turned out that they lived right behind Kaliji’s Ashrama in Malibu. I was doing my yoga practice in the back yard and it is funny to look back at that, but I think I started to pick up on the TriYoga vibe back there “laughs”. My practice was changing and I was slowing down movements combining them with the breath.
I was recieving little pamphlets on TriYoga in the mail, maybe one or two a year, and they were coming to my parents’ house in my name before I even moved back. But I never went to check it out, as I was not looking for anything. It is very funny to look back now, but I thought that it was kind of strange that this lady with long blond hair was teaching out of her house in Malibu. That was just my immediate response.
So I did not go to the ashrama for classes at that point, nor did I have any intention.
Then I got one of Gabriel Cousens books on the Raw Food Life Style. I opened that book and saw Kali Ray TriYoga in the back of the book. I was amazed to see there the same yoga system that I had been getting pamphlets for in the mail. I thought that if Gabriel Cousens promotes this, it must be something special.
Of course it was not just finding TriYoga in his book that made me go and check it out. It happened to be at the time of my life when many things had fallen away. I had a lot of questions and was looking for the answers. The last relationship I was in had just ended. There was a vacuum in my life when Kaliji came in.
I happened to come around TriYoga anniversary celebrations, so there were classes every day. My very first class was with Nandi and then I had satsang with Kaliji right after.
Q: What was your first impression?
A: I just really-really-really liked it. My body began to flow right away. Nandi even was surprised that I just came in and was flowing.
It felt like a home me. In many ways it felt like I just “flowed” right into this new yoga system and lineage, and that it was where I was supposed to be. It felt so right.
Q: And what about the first meeting with Kaliji?
A: I must say that before meeting her, I had weird experiences (even bad experiences) with people who are referred to as Gurus. So I was in a learning mode (laughs). Yet, I could feel and I knew that she was very very special and that she has a very special energy. Internally I responded immediately. Within a few weeks I had a profound experience with her that I knew for sure that she was “for real.” After that experience I did not even have to ask anyone. I knew in my heart and in my whole being that she was a phenomenal teacher and that she came from a place of not only truth, but of profound connection and knowledge.
Q: After you had that experience and realization, after Kaliji became part of your life along with TriYoga, did your life and outlooks change?
A: Completely. From that point on, my life was never the same. Particularly my perspective on the world. At that time I decided to go back to college. Spiritual connection with Kaliji shifted my whole attitude and way of relating to this world. Whatever I would study in college, I wasÂ approaching it from the inner core of wisdom that I was getting from her, and everything made sense to me in a way it never did before. I would say I had a very solid perspective. It made me more solid. Finally I had more answers than questions. I think solidness is the word that I would use a lot to describe what I felt. A lot of times when one gets involved in spiritual movements and follows a guru, life gets less solid.. people get very much “out there.” But with Kaliji one has both. There is incredible teaching, wisdom, and other-worldly energy, but there is also knock on wood reality, right now and here- that what is in your life right in front of you right now is incredibly important-and the important understanding that we all need to be consistently working to take right action in every moment of our lives. In other words, what is happening in your life right now is real and it does matter. I witnessed in some sprititual movements, life becomes less important, while with Kaliji, what is going on in your life and how you deal with it is sort of the external indicator of how you are internalizing the spiritual aspect of it.
Q: Since you have been practicing TriYoga Flows have you experienced any changes in your health, state of mind?
A: …the practice has been in my life for song now, that I cannot even imagine what it is like without it (laughs). There were sooo many changes. My state of mind is continuously changing through the in-depth practice of TriYoga, and I am always growing towards greater awareness and mental peace through it.
Q; How did you decide to get certified and teach TriYoga?
A: From the time I was first introduced to yoga, back in my teens, I always felt that I would teach yoga one day. I never gave it a serious thought back then though, it was more in the back of my mind. Nothing pulled me in that direction until I met Kaliji. Then it was so natural. First of all, the flow was so natural to me. So it was more a question of: “How can I not teach it and share with others?”.
For a while I was in disbelief that I was actually teaching.Â Teaching TriYoga transformed me… both the certification process and actually teaching….it caused me to grow in confidence and in awareness of my abilities as a teacher.
Q: In which way?
A: I had to overcome self doubts and fear and to find courage to actually teach. It gave me a sense of self esteem. Finally I felt that I had something so beautiful to share with others, but more importantly the confidence and realization that I could do it.
Teaching made me more organized; in teaching TriYoga, one has to be very organized. It organized my mind, my thinking and the rest of my life. It helped me use my mind in a more effective way.
Teaching is also a whole other level of discipline which is great to have.
It is also about service and transforming one’s experience of service. When teaching TriYoga, one gets to understand that being of service is not that difficult, and it is a beautiful experience, and can be so pure and come from the heart.
Q: You seem to be quite disciplined in your work now. You created a website on LifeFoods, wrote an e-book and there is one more coming?
A: Yes, I am finishing the second book. And I do not think I would have this discipline without TriYoga in my life (smiles).
Q: You mentioned that you found TriYoga through the raw food community. You have been following the raw food lifestyle for 10 years. After you found TriYoga, did those two merge together into one lifestyle or do they remain separate from one another?
A: That is a very good question, and I am so happy you asked that. Kaliji always says that diet is very important on the spiritual journey. I think I would have never found TriYoga without changing my diet. Diet transformed me so much, cleansed me and opened my being. It opened my mind and heart. I understand that for some people it may sound funny that diet can do that, but the Raw Vegan lifestyle really does do that, because it does not leave you with anything else to do. Once you stop being obsessed about food, you are left with a wide open space in your life and a question with what to do with yourself. One starts to gain more energy and it frightens some people because they do not know what to do with it. You have to find what to do with this energy. You also have to step up to who you really are inside, instead of pushing it down, or suppressing parts of yourself with food.
I think yoga is more important than diet and the right diet without yoga is nothing. Diet can be very transformative for one for the first few years but without yoga one does not move forward. I whole- heartedly believe that one needs both. As eating primarily raw foods causes a release of so much energy in your system that one has to know how to direct it and where to direct it, so that one does not disperse it in the usual ways people would try to deal with an excess of energy, liking eating to use up the energy, or several other common actions. Everyone I know who has been in the raw food lifestyle for a long time, has a deep spiritual practice to go with it in order to handle this increased energy and awareness.
Q: Did you have this understanding of the necessity of spiritual practice before you met Kaliji?
A: Well intellectually yes, I was always deeply studious of spiritual texts and teachings, but until I met Kaliji, I never understood the necessity of bringing that into a inner yoga practice, nor how to take it beyond the intellectual, so that it continues every moment of your life. I had practiced other yoga styles before, everyday, so it was part of my life, but I did not have the awareness of the inner yoga practices. Everything for me prior to meeting Kaliji was intelluctual rather than practical and appliable. I didn’t have a yoga practice that taught me the energy aspect of yoga, nor how important the breath was.Â TriYoga taught me deep meditation and pranayama and how to direct the energy up. I did physically intense yoga practice before, and always got great energy from it,Â but I never learnt how to raise the energy in a balanced way. It was more ego based, more physical, more about being fit and feeling relaxed then it was about spiritual awareness. So I did not discover true yoga until I met Kaliji. I have to say that I did not have any idea what true yoga was until she came into my life. As soon as it happened, there was so much wisdom coming into my life, in a way that I was able to digest and apply in my daily life.
Q: Now you are married to a person who is also a triyogi:). So now TriYoga is part of your relationship or your relationship is part of your TriYoga flow:).Â How does that feel? Did it bring any new understanding into your life?
A: I could be talking about that for a long time (laughs). I totally believe that the way our relationship flowed and worked is because we both were TriYogi’s. There was a level of trust that I would not have had if I had met him somewhere else and not in the community. Having this overwhelming trust in Kaliji, I was able to ignore all the doubts and fears and distrust that I had at that time to building a relationship. When I speak of trust here, I mean that I did not even allow my mind to go into what it normally goes when you meet someone, all the doubt and worry. Also, my rational mind was surpassed, for better or worse! A higher kind of knowingness took over. And of course the fact that we share the same path is so important as I could trust that we have the same values. If we have kids, we will be teaching them the same principles and values for the most part- and this is so important.
I think every relationship has its challenges and difficulties, but if two people have the foundation of these two things we talked about: trust in your journey together and sharing of the same spiritual path, then the relationship can flow through everything else (all life’s challenges).
Not that many men around my age have followed a yoga path for as long as Nada had been when we met, and it was very important for me to meet someone who was already set on this path- or at least already had a good awareness of it. By the time we met, Nada had been in TriYoga for over 13 years. I thought: “Wow, what a gift!”. It is very rare to meet a man who has had that kind of wisdom in his life for that long. Of course I totally owe that to Kaliji, because she is the one teaching it.