What first attracted me to Yoga is how it made me feel - free.  I have named my site - Liberated Yoga, to better align with what Yoga means to me - moksha, or liberation.  Liberation from what?  Let me count the ways...

This sense of freedom comes on one level from freedom in movement.  I can move my body in amazing, delightful, and often surprising (to me) ways. I choose the way I carry myself physically - with an open heart, standing tall on both feet firmly planted on the ground.  What many people do not realize is that their posture (in daily life and Yoga class) is a choice, be that conscious or subconscious or unconscious.  Most of my choices are conscious, and therefore empowering and liberating.

On another level, I feel my energy is also freed - we all hold energy in our body's tissues, and when the physical body moves through these places of holding, the energy trapped there is released.  It is a good feeling - as if a ton of bricks falls off my back and I can take a deep breath of relief.  Ahh.... the joys of Pranayama.

On the mental level I am much more flexible with what I find acceptable in life, I change without breaking.  I have completely overhauled over the years my paradigms.  At some point I felt free to choose what I believe in - my beliefs are carefully selected and often revised things that make me a happier person.  There is freedom in that - I am no longer a slave to unexamined, unconscious beliefs that are not even my own.  I mean, there are definitely still plenty of those deeply buried unseen things in my mind (kleshas), but at least I am willing to be on the lookout for those and I am not afraid to take them on.  I am not attached to the beliefs I hold (aparigraha) - be that my chosen beliefs or the unchosen ones.  Meditation is a great tool to revisit my beliefs and revise as needed.  As soon as my beliefs stop serving me well - they are discarded and new ones replace them.  This doesn't mean that I am flighty, on the contrary - I am loyal to what I believe in.  I believe in Yoga, and I have been faithful to it for almost 20 years.

In my practice and teaching I constantly examine and reexamine the effectiveness of the tools I use - does this Asana (posture) work, or is there a better one to achieve the same effect?  What is this Pranayama doing for me?  This Mantra, this Bhavana (visualization)?  I do not subscribe to a Yoga style for that reason - there is no absolute authority for me other than - does this work the way I want it to work?  So, if it does and for as long as it does - it is in.  If it doesn't and as soon as it doesn't - it is out.  And in my Yoga Therapy approach it is always on the individual and case by case basis.

This takes a lot of vigilance, I admit, but I find this system enormously rewarding and liberating.  Now, this is not the kind of freedom where anything goes and there is complete anarchy.  There are rules and limitations that are acknowledged, because there needs to be structure.  It is important for me not to be happy at the expense of others (asteya).  Structure allows us to have direction and support for this journey.  But these rules have also been carefully selected based on years of study and experience (a deep Namaste here to all of the great teachers I've had along the way and continue to learn from).

There, in a nutshell, is my philosophy as it is now, subject to change, but not without careful consideration.  I invite you to look around at your life, at yourself on the outside and the inside, and ask yourself - are you free?