From Small Beginnings
As a child, I was captivated with the extraordinary clarity and understandings that I experienced while alone, immersed in the natural world. I noticed that this way of being did not easily translate into home, school and social life. Consequently, I spent every moment I could in solitude, hiking or riding my horse through the endless canyon country around my Southern California home.
My life grew around my choice to live and re-live these rarified states of sublime comprehension. From as far back as I can remember, I was a seeker, a philosopher, and a wild outdoor enthusiast, delighted to forgo the comforts of home and couch and the dulling effect of television and urban entertainment, for the direct experience of what I was sure others might call God.
As a Young Adult
Pushing myself deeper into the extraordinary, I discovered yoga in the 1980’s as the miracle food I consumed in order to keep my mind and body healthy enough to engage in extreme sports. There was, of course, no other purpose for yoga. Weekly classes kept my joints strong and nimble for climbing, mountaineering, telemarking, mountain biking and all the rest. I kept this my secret as I hauled 100+ pound packs over mountain ranges throughout the world, listening to the writhing and moaning of my companions. “No pain no brain”, they would say as they reached for their cool light-weight graphite ski poles, a necessity to stop their hopelessly damaged knees from completely giving out under the weight of their packs and the demands of our adventures.
Yoga Training
The mystique of traveling and constant brushes with death, had begun to wear-off when I met my soon-to-be husband at Richard Freeman’s Yoga Workshop in Boulder in 1989. Our first date was a three-month stint in Mysore, India where Pattabhi Jois introduced me to the breadth of Asana practice and the extreme depth of yoga philosophy. Studying Ashtanga Yoga with Richard Freeman and Pattabhi Jois kept my body very strong and my mind so deeply engaged, I barely noticed my transformation into a mother of three with a mortgage.
In August of 1998, I retreated from my family to Inner Harmony for a teacher training with John Friend. Although I had studied with John annually for 8 years, it was during this week that John provided the missing piece to my practice. That piece was Anusara. I witnessed in amazement as my mental understanding and physical understanding of yoga joined together in song and celebration.
I was then invited by John to travel as his apprentice and assistant for the next seven years. This was undoubtedly among the most magical, exhilarating, fun, transformative, demanding and exhausting time of my life. In no hurry to take on the immense responsibilities of teaching myself, I opted instead to deeply study the beauty and profundity of Anusara and yoga teachings. I have embraced a particularly clear understanding of Anusara due to the long-time intensive study with John and a masterful voice from which to teach them.
Anusara practice has brought astounding joy and vibrancy to my life. I am incredibly blessed by John’s generosity, patience, insistence and belief in me. A debt I try to repay with every class I teach, every practice I execute and every moment I interact with others in my life.
In 1999 I began my studies with the brilliant author and master of eloquence and story-telling, Martin’ Prechtel, one of the nation’s foremost teachers of indigenous culture and artistic traditions. Martin’ has guided my passion for authenticity, spirituality, nobility and legitimacy through the historical and geographical diversity of indigenous perspectives of the worlds cultures and peoples ~ past and present. To learn more about Martin’, his books and his teachings, go to www.floweringmountain.com
— Madhuri