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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Multiple Teachers and Styles Equal Multiple Benefits

Sep 17, 2010 04:36PM

To the newcomer, yoga often appears to focus only on postures (asanas), muscle tone and flexibility. As a discipline, however, its complexity involves far more: breath (pranayama), various phases of meditation, ethics and philosophy. To the seasoned student, yoga is an experience and expression of who we are, in all facets of our being. Studying asanas with one teacher and pranayama with another allows us to deepen and evolve our practice.

Here, local yogis share insights they have gleaned by studying with multiple masters, including some of the “Titans of Yoga.”

Francesca Vanegas, founder of The Florida Yoga Institute, has studied with Yoganand, Stephen Cope, Ana Forrest, Hyon Gak Sunim, Dharma Mittra and the teacher within. Her repertoire of styles includes Kripalu, Forrest, Iyengar and Kundalini. She teaches and practices classical yoga, faithful to the philosophy of yoga’s first scholar, Patanjali, who emphasized 2,000 years ago that meditation is the heart of the discipline. Classical yoga encompasses ethics, asanas, pranayama and the four phases of meditation. Ninety percent of the Institute’s classes offer meditation, even if it’s only five minutes.

Vanegas’ insight: It’s not necessary to bow before renowned teachers or gurus. “The guru,” she emphasizes, “is already inside you.”

Jackie Chiodo, co-founder of Joyful Yoga, has studied with Charles and Lisa Matkin, Tias Little, Aadil Palkhilvala, Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait and Yogi Hari, among others. Her yoga styles, which range from Iyengar and Vinyasa Flow to Kundalini and Tantra, include Ayurveda. Chiodo practices and teaches based on Raja yoga, or the Eight Limbs of Pantanjali, incorporating Ayurveda to make her yoga practice a complete system of health and balance.

Chiodo’s insight: She feels best when basing her practice on her Ayurvedic constitution and how she feels, rather than limiting herself to one particular style. “Overall, the most powerful part of my practice is meditation and spending time in nature,” she says.

Kiersten Mooney, owner of Bala Vinyasa Yoga, has studied primarily with Baron Baptiste. Her yoga styles include Power Vinyasa, Iyengar, Anusara and Prajna, which support students at all levels. Her preferred style of Power Vinyasa, although physically challenging, cultivates awareness, consciousness, compassion and freedom.

Mooney’s insight: Yoga unites people and encourages growth and wellness on every level. “My yoga practice helps me be a better person for my family, friends and community,” she advises.

Kandy Love, owner of Health & Harmony Center, has studied with B.K.S. Iyengar, Bobbi Goldin, Ramanand Patel, John Schumacher, Felicity Green, Angela Farmer and Victor van Kooten, Judith Lasater, Manouso Manos and Rodney Yee. She has also studied Maharishi Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation, Muktananda’s Siddha Yoga, and Higher States of Consciousness with Lansing Barrett Gresham’s Integrated Awareness.

Although early pursuits took Love into various Hatha yoga camps—Iyengar, Kripalu, Bikram and Vinyasa—her studies have focused on the Iyengar tradition, the style in which she teaches.

Love’s insight: Yoga is a demanding, compassionate and joyful master, on and off the mat. “Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, I get all of me and the best of me—physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually—because of my daily yoga practice,” she states.

The Florida Yoga Institute, 9480 Corkscrew Palms Circle, Ste. 6, Estero.; 239-498-0222.

Joyful Yoga & Ayurvedic Spa, 24821 S. Tamiami Trail, Stes. 1 & 2, Bonita Springs.; 239-947-9845

Bala Vinyasa Yoga, 6200 Trail Blvd. N., Naples.; 239-598-1938.

Health & Harmony Center, 15951 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers.; 239-433-5995.


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