Will Gibson – Yoga instructor
Navy diver, EOD specialist, EMT, antique picker, commercial diver, beta tester, guitar builder…yoga teacher. Such is the progression of Will’s life to the yoga mat. Many lives. Many experiences.
At age twenty, Will struggled futilely on the battle fields of Kuwait to save his teammate from a landmine blast. At age twenty-four, one of his EMT comrades was shot in the back while trying to save a life. At age thirty, he fought for the rights and safety of commercial divers.
At age forty and after many perfect twists and turns of a life well lived, his ninety year-old mother-in-law gave him a life-changing gift…her yoga class pass.
In the beginning Will went reluctantly, but it did not take him long to fall in love with the practice, which strengthened him both physically and emotionally.
Will enrolled in teacher training and was certified in 2012. His first commitment was to the serve our veterans. He taught two classes at the Veterans Administration—a general class for Veterans and a class for those suffering from PTSD. He also volunteered at the Federal Prison, providing a respite for those who crave the meditative aspects of the practice. Currently he is teaching the homeless through a program sponsored by Catholic Charities.
Will is exceptional with those with limited mobility and flexibility. His classes are gentle, slow-paced, and designed to gradually introduce the body and mind to yoga. Another bonus of his classes is the never-ending box of stories from all his amazing experiences. He promises you will leave smiling; because that’s what it’s all about.
Wendy Brown- Founder and yoga instructor
People seek yoga for a myriad of reasons: joint issues, lower-back pain, depression, anxiety; or perhaps to increase strength, improve balance, coordination and flexibility. I sought yoga for a far deeper reason…to find purpose in my life and rediscover myself. If we engaged in a very intimate conversation, I would tell you that I sought yoga to save myself.
Before I came to the practice, I was drowning in a combination of self-condemnation and hopelessness. I knew I had the power to create my life, but I didn’t know how. Self-help books and books written by what we would call ‘spiritual masters’ gave me hope, but it wasn’t until I began to actively take action–moving from the power of the thought to the power of action–that my life began to change. I can’t explain how yoga transforms a life, it just happens. If one becomes vulnerable to the practice, Yoga will transform the physical body, crack open the heart, and expand the awareness. To sum it up: yoga has taught me to accept myself; and through the accepting there is allowance; and through allowance…freedom.
Yoga is like a black salve. It draws out the darkness–exposing our shadows and our physical and emotional pains–so the light can shine brighter and healing can occur. It’s a beautiful journey and one I yearn for others to experience; and like all journeys, it takes time to change our programming: those habits of thinking and doing, and our habits of response.
We all want to be at the finish line. We all want to live in a state of joy, unconditional love, and peace. The problem is we resist the experience of what many call ‘the struggle,’ but what I have learned to call ‘opportunity.’ Physical and emotion pains want to be experienced and deeply felt so they can move through. This knowledge alone teaches me that the only way to the ‘finish line’ is through–not over, under, or around.
And so I say to you: come as you are. Every day is a different day on the mat, and that’s what makes it a journey. Without darkness we would not understand light; without sadness, how could we possibly fully comprehend the essence of joy. We are here in this dimension to experience; and I find yoga provides the gift of helping us connect with our bodies, our emotions, and our timeless and limitless essence.
I was trained by Anjali Sunita at Baltimore Yoga Village. I am grateful for the strong foundation in which that training provided, and the beautiful group of souls who took that journey with me. The training provided exposure to a variety of yoga disciplines and the foundations of the practice, which are vast and deep. Yoga is far reaching and ever-expanding. Amongst its wondrous depth and countless layers, I would say that at its core, yoga is about freedom and love. Yoga is about coming home to yourself.
After my training, I went inward. I hibernated a bit. I went into the virtual child’s pose and delved deeply inward to discover my unique approach to the practice. And when I had found my center, my voice, and my authentic approach, I brought it forward. There is no one way up the mountain. There are many approaches, many methods. Part of the journey is finding what works for your authentic self.
Throughout my training and my inward searching, I suffered from many injuries. At times these injuries were so overwhelming that I actually wondered if I was making a mistake in my pursuit. Eventually I found the pearl of that suffering: my injuries were a blessing because they taught me the vital importance of not only alignment in a pose, but how my ego can very much get in the way of my practice.
When you come to one of my classes, I invite you to ask for what you need, tell me how you’re feeling, and always honor your inner voice. You are your greatest guru.
Off the mat, I am pursuing a literary career. One day I will get these books published. Similar to yoga, writing gives me breath, it gives me hope, and it heals.
In closing, I wish you love and light, and an abundance of everything good.
Bridget Strama has been a special education teacher for 20 years, working with children ranging in age from 3-21. After seeing children improve their focus and ability to calm themselves through some exposure to yoga in the classroom, Bridget trained to become a yoga teacher with a specialty in children.
After training through YoKid and Radiant Child in 2014, Bridget founded Child’s Heart Yoga. Child’s Heart specializes in classes for children of all ages. Bridget’s blend of breathing techniques, yoga poses, games and music make her classes fun for kids.
After more than 30 years of playing soccer and running, Bridget came to yoga to aid in injuries and increase flexibility. She jokes that she is the least “bendy” yoga teacher ever. Her own yoga practice is constantly evolving and growing.
In addition to running a business, Bridget is a wife and mother to four year old twins. She is also a co-founder of Karma Dogs, a local non-profit company that trains rescued dogs and their owners to work therapeutically with children in a variety of settings. She is looking very forward to both teaching and attending classes at EarthPulse Yoga.
I came to yoga originally as a form of exercise to complement the competitive sports I was playing in high school in but soon found that it was a wonderful outlet for connecting my mind and the body as well as a path to finding self-acceptance and love. After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease yoga became a way for me to manage chronic pain and learn to work with my body instead of against it. I completed my 200 hour teacher training through the Jivan yoga teacher training program in 2014, and found I loved teaching so much I started teaching classes before the program was complete. I am currently enrolled in an advanced teacher training program to become an RYT 500. I aim for my classes to meet students on their mats wherever they are in their practice and know that can change from one day to the next. Yoga should be fun, so laughing during practice and questions are always welcome in my classes.
Justin Landers was born in Houston, Texas, in 1972. When he turned 12, he began a love affair with the study of martial arts. When he turned 18, he began studying Chinese martial arts and Tàijíquán (Tai Chi) in particular.
Over the years, Mr. Landers has trained with teachers like Jeff Bolt, Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming, Madam Wang Jurong, and most recently Sean Marshall.
In the early days of his training, after a martial arts injury, Madam Wang sent Mr. Landers to an acupuncturist to help him heal. This inspired him to begin acupuncture training. Where he was given even more Tàijíquán training.
He now has more than 42 years’ experience in martial arts with 25 years’ experience in Tàijíquán, 18 years’ experience in teaching Tàijíquán, and a master’s degree in acupuncture and oriental medicine.