Gabriel Benjamin

11/24/2012
Home base: Santa Cruz, CA
Q: When and how did TriYoga become part of your life?
A: I was born in September, 1980 so I have never lived in the world without TriYoga. My mother Martha Posey began practicing the flows in 1985 and I can’t remember far enough back to when I wasn’t aware of TriYoga and Kaliji. I guess you could say I didn’t have to find TriYoga but that it found me.
In my childhood I was always a little small compared to most kids and not really strong or good at sports (except for tennis, I was ok at that). Martha suggested that I do Yoga as my Physical Education during my one year of home school. I did not resist as it was not a competitive sport and it seemed a nice atmosphere to be in. As a child I don’t remember a lot of tension in the body. When I became more interested in athletics in my late teens Martha took me to partner stretch at the center and I became aware of how much I needed to stretch. About a year later, I started taking regular classes and have since been hooked, it was a gradual deepening of love and appreciation and the process is still continuing.
Q: When and how did you meet Kaliji?
A: I do not remember the first time we met but Martha says it was in 1988. I always remember her picture and video tapes around the family home growing up. As a child, Yoga and Kaliji went hand in hand. When I was very young, I thought she had invented yoga. In 1991 I started taking classes three days a week and that year I also met Sri Swamiji and saw a concert of his, as well as a manifestation of a crystal pendant from a larger stone a devotee had given him.
photo of Gabriel in Side-T BalanceQ: How did TriYoga flows change you and your life? You practice so consistently, what gives you that drive?
A: Perhaps the question is, how did it not change me. In my adult life I have been involved in the practice and the community of TriYoga more and more. As I mentioned before, I am not naturally flexible and as a child I was sick a lot, so now to be strong and flexible and healthy is wonderful. I injured my back in bicycle racing and the free the spine series of basics was pivotal to restructure health in the body and emotions. To be in the flow is to experience our natural state of harmony and bliss; whether during Kriya, Asana, Pranayama, or even off the mat, the idea is to attain peace. I think it can be achieved without yoga for some, but Yoga definitely helps and is needed for most. This tradition of practice has not changed me but rather allows me to be my natural self and to experience dharma. I still feel the pull of the world and Kama (desire), but regular practice always helps draw me back to center.
Practicing regularly is a lot of fun and helps maintain physical health and the feeling of stillness and peace in the mind. It was a slow flow toward practicing as much as I do now which on average is about 4 hours every day. I could write a long time as to why I practice the way I do, but the simple answer is that it feels like the right thing for me now. Practicing regularly to me is a form of Bhakti as well as Raja Yoga. Also it feels fantastic and is tremendously fun!
Q: Did you ever try other yoga styles?
A: Yes once in a while I take a non-TriYoga class. Usually when I first start working at a studio, the owner suggests I come to their class and we meet after to get to know each other. It makes me appreciate the posture names, flow, and commitment to breathing deeply that TriYoga embodies even more. It works out well when I go to another class though, because, except for the posture names, I maintain these values and other students recognize that I can flow with grace. I tell them about TriYoga and some start coming to my class afterward. I think it a good thing for me to be able to say that I’ve tried a variety of styles and can say from experience that I feel TriYoga is the most beautiful.
photo of GabrielQ: How/why did you decide to get certified. What does teaching TY mean for you?
A: I was substitute teaching as soon as I attended my first TYTT and I soon was offered a regular class at one of the health clubs I worked at. I taught in health clubs for several years till I got certified. My main motivation was to teach at the Santa Cruz Center.
The first class I ever taught there had 22 students, it was a great experience!
Teaching TriYoga is wonderful; there is much variety and many ways to approach the Kriyas and Asanas. It is a very expansive experience and really great to share with people and watch the benefits unfold. Teaching means a great deal to me and I hope to continue at least forty more years.