When I was in high school I always imagined doing work that I loved. Before managing to graduate from high school I moved to England just after my seventeenth birthday to join the British army. It's what I thought that I wanted to do. I underwent trade training as an armourer and served for just over five years, narrowly missing going to the first gulf war.
I'd studied while I was in the army and it was while I was studying that I realized that maybe I'd like a job that involved mathematics since I loved it so much. And so one of the reasons that I left the army was to attend higher education. I thought of going to college at first but was eventually convinced to attend university. I enrolled initially in electrical engineering but then made a switch half way through my first term to systems design engineering. (My dad was instrumental both here and in my decision to join the army.)
I spent five years in university doing a Co-op program which meant I studied for four months and worked for four. I spend a few of my work terms in Ottawa where I exercises a love for speed skating on ice in the winters and on wheels in the summer.
When I graduated I moved to Calgary because they had an Olympic oval there.
I spend three years as an engineer, maybe less, before quitting after realizing that I wasn't happy. I thought that I wanted to be an actor (the fame thing was attractive) but eventually realized that I enjoyed teaching yoga, which I'd been doing to make ends meet after quitting engineering.
I taught for about 5 years in North America before things went tits up. I had a shit load of credit card debt and moved back to my parents not knowing what I wanted to do with myself. I declared bankruptcy and decided that I wanted to move to Taiwan.
Initially I though of going to China but a friend suggested that I might like Taiwan a lot more. I taught English for a year, while teaching yoga on the side to friends, just to keep myself in teaching form. I then ended up teaching yoga again and have been doing so in Taiwan for the last 10 years.
As a yoga teacher my training began with Rockney White in Calgary. His main teacher at the time was Larry Schultz of It's Yoga in San Francisco. And so I trained a little bit with Larry too. Later I got the chance to take part in one of Andrey Lappa's classes. This was in Chicago. I then later took part in two of his teacher trainings. I'd say that Andrey was my most important teacher in that he gave me the tools I needed to teach myself. One of those tools was Dance of Shiva, and the other was his framework for Universal Freestyle Yoga.
The most important gift that Andrey gave me was freedom from himself. So rather than having to constantly study with him he gave me the tools to teach myself. And that's a large part of what I'm trying to do. My tools and my understanding is different in a lot of ways that Andreys, but I'm trying to help my students be free.
It's actually kind of cool that a lot of the principles and techniques that I use in teaching and doing yoga I learned from my dad when he taught me how to drive and also from the army learning to file pieces of metal. Some of my understanding is also based on what I learned in engineering school and later working as a test engineer.
As a yoga teachers my focus has been on teaching my students to become smart yogi's. Rather than following standard recipes for doing poses, I teach them to feel and adjust their body internally so that they can find the best version of their pose from within.
I'm a little like a driving instructor (or motorcycle riding instructor) for your body. (Learning to drive a motorcycle is perhaps a little closer to learning to drive the body in that there is an element of balance involved.)
Actually, that's what the goal is now. Prior to this I've been busy figuring out what it is that I'm trying to teach.
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