An Interview with Colorado School of Yoga

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Recently, I was lucky to chat with my friends at Colorado School of Yoga about my journey with writing my new book. This interview was extra special, because this is where my deeper journey into yoga, and even my initial exposure to Ayurveda, began. Here’s how the story goes:

Q:  What initially drew you into learning about Ayurveda and, eventually, teaching this lifestyle?

A:  I’m a chiropractor and my education as such came before my knowledge of Ayurveda, despite already having an established yoga practice. I had attended a workshop on the foundational principles of Ayurveda and quickly realized that it was a bridge between what I learned to become a chiropractor and what I was studying as student and teacher of yoga. Chiropractors receive training as portal of entry doctors, which means we learn about all illnesses, not only those involving the musculoskeletal and nervous system. I saw Ayurveda as a way to integrate a holistic practice to work with those illnesses I was not already addressing in my chiropractic practice, and with it being yoga’s sister science, it just became that much richer. 

Adopting the lifestyle myself was a catalyst for teaching it to others. My experience with how Ayurveda creates such intention around our life and how we choose to stay healthy was something I knew I had to share.

Q:  You’ve been teaching Ayurveda for years, so what compelled you to write this book?

A:  I felt like the most foundational principles of Ayurveda, such as routine or dinacharya, continued to be overlooked for more glamorous things like herbs and food lists. I also couldn’t ignore that my healthiest patients were those that had a really steady and consistent routine, and that those who were more aggressively pursuing health through as many exercises, supplements, and superfoods possible weren’t doing great. It really made me start to question the “how” and the “when” of things over the “what.” I did a small pilot study as I was writing my thesis, to determine things like this—such as if someone who ate no specific diet, but at at the same time each day, might be healthier. The conclusion was “yes” and I felt like I needed to provide this work in handbook form for others.

Q:  What specific value does your book bring for yoga teachers, both professionally and personally?

A:  The obvious answer is that yoga and Ayurveda are interrelated, and having a knowledge of Ayurveda will enhance one’s practice and teachings. However, what I hope is that this reaches yoga teachers in a way that allows them to be healthier and to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Teaching yoga requires a tremendous amount of giving and energetic output, and we need to have the tools to refill, and this handbook has these tools.

Q:  What do you see as the largest obstacle that people have for “living in rhythm,” and how would you address that?

A:  Answering this question could become so tangential for me. I feel that so many of the things that now exist (our devices, in addition other technology) to make our lives easier and to have more time to do the things we love with people we love are working against us. It does allow us to be connected at any time, but the problem is actually that. We no longer have structure in our day because we can access anything we want when we want. We no longer use our senses for making decisions (when was the last time you trusted your intuition on what the weather would be like versus using the weather app on your phone) and we are moving further away from nature (quite literally, as we are over 80% urban dwellers). 

We can address this by going outside, by being in nature instead of looking at things on a screen. We can use our hands to make things instead of buying things from a store. We can choose to talk with someone in person and observe their facial expressions instead of sending an email. We can set up a schedule that fits with how we are naturally, as beings living within nature, such as going to bed shortly after dark and waking with the sun. 

Q:  What is the ritual that you have incorporated into your life that has proven most impactful?

A:  My most meaningful ritual has been honoring transition. You might not think of this as a ritual, but as I define a ritual as a repetitive meaningful and intentional act, it very much is. Instead of rushing from one thing right into the next, I stop, close my eyes, and take deep breaths. I acknowledge when I’m shifting activities or changing locations. Sometimes I even say to myself, “I am now home from work” or “I’m transitioning from home to work.” This has really helped me to embrace the actions of my parasympathetic nervous system and to manage stress so that I can continue to do the work I love without getting burned out.

Q:  You are a chiropractic doctor, yoga teacher, Ayurvedic practitioner and now author.  How do you marry these roles professionally?

A:  I’m fortunate that I have been able to develop a center where all of these practices can be integrated. But on a deeper level, Ayurveda has become the common thread for all of my practices. I use Ayurveda to help me communicate with my patients more effectively—knowing their dosha makes this possible. I use Ayurveda as a yoga teacher by sequencing classes by the season or energy of the day. And with the release of my book, I hope to help inspire to use Ayurveda to enrich their lives the way it has mine.

Colorado School of Yoga was founded by my long time friend, Gina Caputo. We first met at her yoga studio in Blue Springs, Missouri -- which was probably around 15 years ago! I knew after my first class with Gina that she was a special teacher, and that she was someone I could learn from both inside the studio and out. Since then, we've shared many classes, workshops, deep conversations, and most importantly--laughs. I know she'll forever be an important person in my life, and someone I can always openly converse about my digestion.

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