A: A little bit by chance… but mostly it was a destiny unfolding. I had changed my diet into a vegan, raw foods diet. That action was profoundly changing my life views and values. I knew that yoga would be a good, integral part of it. So I saw a TriYoga studio in Santa Cruz and decided to go there. I went and I have never been anywhere else. I loved it from the get go and I was going there every day, sometimes twice a day. It was in 1987 or 1988.
Right before discovering TriYoga, I was going through a period of many inner revelations, realizations. It was quite overwhelming but I had nobody to share that with. Nobody in my surroundings was on the same page. My parents thought I had gone crazy. My husband thought I had gone crazy. When I found TriYoga, I found people who were on the same page as me, it was a real gift. And, of course, especially Kaliji, being who she is…. that was great.
I have always been an active person who likes doing something. Before TriYoga, I was doing a lot of jogging and then swimming, which I think was a nice preparation for pranayama. I feel that whatever I did before TriYoga was a preparation for that. Finding TriYoga and Kaliji was like a final piece missing in my life. So once I found it, I was completely immersed into doing it every day.
Q: It does sound like it was destiny unfolding.
A: There is another part of this story. One morning I was out jogging and I asked myself: “Is this all there is?” I was thinking about my life: we had moved to the USA, we had a house, and cars and most all else materially that we needed for a comfortable existence…. “Is this all there is in life? Is it just about having all those things? Is there anything else?”, – these were the questions that came up. As soon as I asked them inwardly… boom, it triggered a whole series of intense inward experiences of revelation and realization over the next several weeks. I was also guided towards books and other information which supported the inner growth that had started to happen at an intensely fast pace. Soon after that I came across a book that inspired me to make some major dietary changes and I did some fasting over several weeks. I became vegan instantly. It took no time at all, the logic was profound. Why waste time procrastinating? The book mentioned the usefulness of yoga, thus I sought out a place to learn and found the TriYoga studio as I already mentioned. It also stimulated me to do some spiritual research which profoundly changed my thinking and lead to the development of new priorities for my life. TriYoga became the instrument that supported and developed the transitions. So it felt like I had been coming to Kaliji all the way from England, right from being a small child and thinking that one day I would go to live in America. If I look back, it appears to me that I have been taking a path to TriYoga since I was a baby.
Q: By the way, was it Kaliji who taught your first TriYoga class?
A: No, it was somebody else. But I liked it a lot and was very interested to meet the person who founded the style. Then I went to Kaliji’s classes. She was offering classes at the studio and also at her Santa Cruz ashrama. I would go to both places. And I would take workshops with Kaliji whenever I could.
Q: Now you have been practicing TriYoga for twenty years. Has your understanding of it been evolving or did you get it all from the very beginning?
A: It is always evolving. Always. From the very beginning, I attended so many classes and progressed over a short period of time. Just because I wanted to do it, and I wanted be able to do everything and see where it took me. Then it matured; at the beginning there was a strong desire to do all the postures and do them well, then it reached the place where the process became more important. I still do the postures, but it is not my main focus anymore; the meditative focus is more important. Due to that, prana vidya became more important. As I am evolving, different elements of TriYoga become more of a focus. That’s what I like about TriYoga. No matter where you are, there is a place to start for everybody. Even if one is totally paralyzed, you can sit and work with the inner kriyas, there is prana vidya, visualizations, meditation. I love that all- inclusiveness that is rare in other paths.
Q: How did TriYoga influence your life?
A: It helped me to balance out so many things. I went through a very challenging divorce and TriYoga was an anchor that took me steadily through it and helped me to maintain a positive and constructive attitude. It gave me a sense of perspective and enabled me to develop a much more mature view than I had previously.
TriYoga helped me to develop self-control, deeper introspection. It helps to develop will forces, so that when you become aware of things you need to work on, you have the inner strength to systematically work at it. It is a very effective self-transformation tool.
I think that the systematic approach in the flows transverses into all aspects of one’s life. There is a direct correlation between the precision and consciousness that you have in your flows and how you deal with the rest of your life.
TriYoga gives clarity. Now I look at things from a whole point of view. I do not have any questions on what is my purpose here any longer. I am clear about my purpose and am guided intuitively about what I need to be doing. What I am constantly hungry for is refinement and improvement, and deepening my ability to stay focused. For that I need to come and see Kaliji as often as I can. Every time I come, she recharges my batteries. Whenever she is in reachable distance, I come to see her.
I draw things in from all the paths, but the core is Kaliji and the teachings of TriYoga. All the other things are complementary and help to deepen my understanding. But it is the connection with TriYoga and Kaliji that is the most important for me. My husband is also on a spiritual path, but a different one. Clearly, some the things from his path intrigued me also. Of course, there are a lot of parallels, but for me TriYoga does it the best of all.
Q: What is it about TriYoga that makes it the best choice for you?
A: There is clarity and an incredible orderliness to the teaching. TriYoga encompasses everything, whereas many paths focus only on one or two aspects. I like this because it gives me the ability to be one with others on different paths because TriYoga enables one to appreciate all shades of spirituality. The presentation is of such a high quality.
I really like the emphasis on the flows and how through them, you can reach a high degree of health on so many levels. Other spiritual paths do not emphasize that so much. So many spiritually oriented people are not always very healthy. They get only a piece of it. TriYoga gives you the whole. You can enjoy tidbits from here and there, but if you want the whole thing, TriYoga provides. Being healthy is important, for what use is one in their service to others if their capacity is limited by constant sickness or lack of energy or clear thinking? TriYoga provides all the tools one could wish for to promote high levels of health for body, mind and spirit.
Q: How did you decide to become and teacher and how did you get certified?
A: I knew right away that I want to be deeply involved in TriYoga and teach it. I asked Kaliji even before there were any formal TY Teacher Trainings: “How do I teach?” (I was there when the flows were getting into a written form).
I would teach classes while Kaliji was there, I was pink all the time (smiles), as I was feeling so inadequate teaching in her presence, because, she was (and is) so brilliant. Finally, I think it was in 1993, I was certified. Then I just continued with the practice and subsequently got certified through Level 3. It was a slightly different process than the one developed by now. It was more her evaluation of me. Of course, I did all the workshops and teacher trainings. And we were so close. She knew well where everybody’s practice was.
Q: What does teaching TriYoga mean to you?
A: I love sharing it with people. I enjoy seeing people make improvement. It is so fulfilling. I have worked with a lot of people, and I saw so many really positive transformations. It is important for me to share. TriYoga is a gift that was given to me and I have a duty to give it to others. My goal is to have a high level of integrity with it. So I am not into me doing it, but me being a vessel for it. The way to do that is to stay close to the Source. That’s why I try to be with Kaliji as much as possible.
I would love to say that Nandi, who has a high level of integrity, has been very helpful. When Kaliji moved from Santa Cruz, my children were little, so I could not take the time away and did not have the resources for it. It was good to have Nandi, who was always with Kaliji and then would bring the flow refinements back to us. Now my children are grown up, and I want to come as much as I can to develop and refine further, the skills Kaliji has already given to me. This allows me to sharpen my own practice and be a better teacher.
TriYoga is always evolving through Kaliji. It is completely alive; it is not a set of teachings that are institutionalized. It is constantly evolving. So it is always new and refreshing, exciting and inspiring.