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.
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.
Cindy (Kirtan) has been practicing yoga regularly since 2003, after initially being drawn to yoga in search of healing issues centering around anxiety and depression, including a state of complete disconnect with her body. She found the capacity to heal that she was searching for and she explored, and learned from, a wide range of yoga styles before attending her first Kundalini Yoga class in early 2009 – she was immediately hooked! She fell in love with Kundalini Yoga from her first class and adopted it as her daily practice. The combination of chanting mantras along with the (often challenging) postures, with the breathwork, mudras and energy locks, felt like ‘coming home’, creating a sense of connection as well as a greater degree of peace and ease. Discovering that each of us has the power to choose how we respond appropriately to any situation, rather than to simply ‘react’, was quite a revelation, coming from an emotionally reactive family. We all have the ability to discover the connection of our mind, body and spirit as well as experience our connection with each other and with the universe.
She is a RYT-200 certified teacher, having completed her Level I Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher training in 2016 at Radiance Yoga in Alexandria VA. She is currently working towards RYT-500/Level II and is grateful for her many teachers now and all along the way.
Kundalini yoga has made an enormous positive difference in her life, and she loves to share the many benefits that this wonderful technology has to offer!
When not teaching or practicing Kundalini yoga and meditation (or working), she enjoys creating art and music as well as reading books and chanting mantras (though not at the same time!), and can often be found walking in the woods enjoying the peace and looking for birds, with her husband of many years, or spending time in their beautiful garden.
I studied yoga with the highly respected Ganga White and Tracy Rich of White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, California. I lived in the beautiful mountains of Santa Barbara for a month as I completed comprehensive training in asanas (postures), pranayamas (breathing exercises), meditation and mindfulness practices which are the heart of all I teach as meditation is powerful medicine needed now more than ever. I also learned yoga philosophy and successfully met the requirements for certification to teach. I have over 20 years experience teaching yoga and have spent many years in continuing education studying other types of healing movement therapies as well. I am so grateful to be able to share all I have learned to help others live in peace and less pain in their body, this incredible container that acts as our home for life! Yoga is for all! All bodies of all shapes and sizes are welcome and invited to learn more about this transformational practice. Can’t wait to see you in class!
Joanna spent ten years immersed in studying yogic practices and philosophy with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and became a certified teacher of meditation in 1975. As the paradigm of self-empowerment filtered into public consciousness, Joanna knew the time was right to empower others through her passion for yoga. She has been teaching yoga (asana) classes since 1999 and holds six yoga certifications. Her yoga-based programs include:
- yoga asana classes
- private yoga coaching sessions
- traditonal yogic meditation instruction
- yoga nidra (yogic sleep) meditation
- trauma sensitive yoga for recovery from PTSD
- Love Your Brain yoga for people with head injuries
My goal as a teacher is to live what I teach, blending technical skill with compassion and joy to inspire students with knowledge of their wholeness. This journey has taken me beyond the confines of a yoga (asana) classroom, to study how yoga’s many practices can be used for deep healing and transformation.
YOGA TEACHER CERTIFICATIONS
- Transcendental Meditation (1975): Maharishi International University, Zinal, Switzerland
- Advanced Cerification in Transcendental Meditation (1977):Maharishi International University, Arosa, Switzerland
- Kripalu-Style Ahimsa Yoga (1999):Ahimsa Yoga Center, Baltimore, Maryland
- Integral Yoga Therapy (2004): YAMA Studio, Baltimore, Maryland
- Nischala Joy Devi’s Yoga of the Heart (2004):Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Lenox, Massachusetts
- Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy (2007): PRYT Training Center, Bristol, VT
- Trauma Sensitive Yoga (2013):Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Lenox, Massachusetts
- Love Your Brain Yoga (2019):Sponsored by Love Your Brain Yoga for the Traumatic Brain Injury Community, Baltimore, MD
A highly sensitive introverted soul who has an affinity for plants and animals, prefers stillness and silence over the hum of the electronic and mechanical world, and was given the gift of yoga and meditation as a child to calm an overactive nervous system.
Having tried to thrive in a world where I never felt I belonged, I failed and through circumstance found my way back to yoga, which enabled me to survive the most difficult times of my life. Having let go of the perceived dreams that no longer served me and finding the strength to go my own way, I came back to yoga with rawness and an open heart and I was led to my authentic self.
I now offer the gift of yoga, meditation, plant medicine, reflexology, energy work, and earth-centered living to others. I am a barefoot rain dancer who dedicates her life to helping Mother Earth’s creatures through organic native gardening, homing feral kitties, and being of service to others in their human journey on this precious planet. I am an ever evolving spirit