While living in Las Vegas I wanted to try Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda is an ancient system from India and is a form of alternative medicine. For those who don’t know me, I have never subscribed nor will I to western medicine. My belief is to look at the body as a complete organism and not suppress it into a dependency of drugs that cause more problems.
In my initial search I Googled and spoke to about 3-4 people who eventually lead me to Madhu and Baba, who became my friends. They lived in Henderson and would hold monthly Satsangs ( a sacred gathering with a spiritual discourse).
On one of those occasions, they had presenter Alice Strauss, speak about Yoga and the mind/body correlation.
A man in the audience (the crowd was always between 40-60 people) who I sensed was speaking from his ego challenged her statements. With every answer she gave, he pricked for more. I sensed it was his intention to appear all-knowing, however as he continued, she never lost her cool. And I knew she was the person I had come to meet.
Through this interview you too may catch a glimpse of what I first saw; a woman with heart, a good mind who speaks honestly, is wise and knows when silence is the best answer.
Q: Do you consider Yoga a profession or a passion?
When I was studying to become a certified yoga teacher, over 40 years ago, it was a passion of mine. I practiced every day in the early morning and again in the late afternoon. Attending twice weekly yoga classes was a habit I had looked forward to because it calmed my anxious mind by forcing it to concentrate when moving in and out of the asanas (held stretches). Quickly I discovered that the yoga asanas provided many things that my prior aerobics classes did not: flexibility, concentration, patience, acceptance, spiritual awareness, and in-depth connection to my inner essence.
After practicing yoga for 5 years, it became very clear to me that I wanted to teach. The four-year journey into achieving and receiving my teaching credentials was very challenging. I was a wife of a teacher and mother of three young children. Yet in my heart I knew this was a way of life that would lead me to the changes I had been sensing I needed. The psychological, philosophical, and spiritual aspects of yoga affected me in a way that felt like “coming home” and for this I will be forever grateful. So, to answer your question, yoga has been both my life’s passion and a profession.
Q: Tell us how you went from teaching Yoga to your current “symptomology,” when you evaluate a clients’ body mind connection.
When working with clients, students, or individual corporate leaders I gather information regarding the symptoms each is experiencing from an energy psychology perspective. The word symptom, in our Western interpretation, defines it as having to do with physical problems. However, in the East, from which my work is derived, the word symptom is applied to all aspects of the human experience: physical, mental, emotional, financial, relational, social, and intuitional. As varied symptoms arise in individuals, my work is to identify the reality and truth that is hidden from conscious view. Discovering the beneficial reason for having to experience a particular symptom, finding the spiritual meaning behind it, deciding how best to move through it rather than resist it and finally accepting the gift (a better life) it has offer is the goal of our work together.
With energy based symptomology work, I can help individuals see why certain areas of their lives may need adjusting, and how to go about doing just that. I begin a session by gleaning intuitive information from each person’s bioenergy field (formally known as the aura). Then I move on to evaluate the acupuncture/acupressure meridians (energy lines that run up and down the body) to identify the emotional habits of each, and lastly I evaluate the chakras to identify the life-lessons that the individual is consciously or unconsciously struggling with. All of these energy psychology evaluation techniques I learned while living and working in Japan and Korea.
Putting all of the gathered information together, along with Yoga and Buddhist philosophy psychology, and spiritual teachings the individual and I can put together a step-by-step program that will move them slowly and steadily through the symptom, crisis, situation, or challenge they are experiencing via their particular symptom.
Q: In your work how do you use creativity?
The work I do requires creativity in the sense of receiving, trusting, and sharing what I receive from that part of me that scientists are now referring to as intuitive intelligence. Everyone has this form of intelligence. However, the problem is that we do not normally allow its voice to be heard, trusted, or applied into our everyday lives. To this day, I have not been able to separate creativity from intuition.
Creativity is something natural to all human beings, much like intuition. Creativity requires expanded, out of the box thinking¾as well as imagination, open-mindedness, curiosity, and flow. I suppose my mind sees creativity and intuition as siblings from the same family: consciousness.
Q: When working with a client do you have a usual procedure?
This question is a bit complicated and so is the answer. I trust and rely on information coming forth from what I refer to as the Triune Energy System (biofield, meridians, and chakras). From these three energy systems, I gather information regarding the “symptoms” each person often needs to experience in order to heal past wounds that continue to “bleed” into their present lives. Here’s an example. When someone is experiencing problematic relationship symptoms, I feel it would be naïve of me to give everyone with similar issues the same guidance and coaching because each person needs to hear the information given in a way that they can comprehend. No two persons are alike, though each may be seeking the same solution to similar problems. This is where Eastern and Western psychology differs. One way of treating a symptom does not fit all people. This is where creativity and intuition come into play for me. I have learned to trust the intuition I receive and the creative process I need to use when working with those seeking solutions to their problems and meaning for their symptoms that will lessen the depth and length time spent in confusion, chaos, pain, and suffering.
Q: How important is having a client that continues to develop themselves internally/spiritually without your influence?
This is the ultimate goal for me. Observing a client or student grow under my initial tutelage and then watch their potential to come alive, and stay alive, on their own is the best form of reciprocity for me personally. The idea of helping people to help themselves is the work I have come into this life to accomplish, and as each day passes I come closer to meeting this goal.
Q: Where do you find inspiration for your monthly newsletter, Yogatsu?
I am always inspired by the people around me. Very often the idea for an article arrives in the form of a question that a family member, friend, client, or student asks. The primary intention for writing newsletters is to inform and coach. My aim is to open the reader’s mind, provide new perspectives about our human condition and drama, show another way of seeing things, and to inspire and encourage living life with more truth, vulnerability, courage, and resiliency.
Q: What defines beauty to you?
Beauty, in my mind, is an inner essence in someone who makes others feel safe, comfortable, and respected. Authentic beauty is and internal quality that goes beyond the physical markers in which a externally biased society declares appropriate. When we see the beauty of nature, we stand in awe of how its loveliness makes us feel. So, when you ask me about what defines beauty, the closest answer I can give you is that beauty is something that makes me good inside. It’s an internal emotion rather than an external state.
Q: How can a person profit by coming to see you? Can you give us an example?
One example of the profit a client has the potential to receive can be stated in this way: taking ownership of their truth. It is extremely hard, if not impossible, to transform from one way of thinking and behaving if not convinced it is needed. An addict who refuses to take ownership and admit addiction will have little recovery success, if any.
Here’s an example of what I mean by taking ownership of the truth. Recently, I was working with a young woman who grew up believing she was not important because her mother had continually judged and criticized her when growing up. This quickly began to erode her sense of self-worth; something most infants and toddlers have in abundance. As she grew into adulthood, she lived her life as though what she had heard and learned about herself from her mother was accurate. This young woman’s poor opinion of herself was the direct by-product of the words her mother chose vehemently to throw at her for so many years. My work with her centered on recognizing and taking ownership of all the wonderful, great, and exciting things she had done with her life since she had left home at age eighteen. We worked together to find a new voice in her head that fully recognized the real truth of her brilliance, grace, tenacity, resiliency, and learned compassion for self and others. She had finally realized that what she did not receive from her mother was now her job to remedy. By learning to appreciate and love herself, her mother’s words soon became softer and softer until she no longer heard it. By accepting the truth of her difficult and painful life, rather than resist it as she had always tried to do by being a tremendous workaholic, she was able to claim her power and exceptionalness, slow down and enjoy the life she had created.
Q: How do you evaluate the chakras and their points of tension and/or blocks?
When I am with a client in person, I use a pendulum to evaluate the chakras. The pendulum will move in several different ways, each having a definite meaning.
In the same vein, when I am with a client in person, I evaluate the 12 major energy meridians with light thumb pressure on specific pressure points along each meridian. If a particular pressure point is sensitive, I know that the corresponding emotion is being over or under used.
And for the biofield, or aura, I use my intuition to receive information from the person’s past history that floats within his/her energy field. Though intuition arises from within each cell of the body, it vibrates with a great deal of intuitive energy that floats outside the body in the biofield.
Q: How does your work involve your life mission?
The intention behind all of my work is supported and encouraged by my deeply held conviction that the world can indeed become a better place to live for all. Raising human consciousness, which utilizes our inherent courage and shares our common compassion for a better world, is not only a desire of mine, it is something I instill, and hopefully inspire, in those I serve. It is my fondest desire to help shift the mentality of our human race from one “me” to “we.
I am no longer teaching hatha yoga, the physical practices. The branch of yoga I now teach, and include in my private practice as a licensed spiritual health coach, is called Raja Yoga, which deals primarily with meditation and how to apply the effects of meditation into our everyday lives – often referred to as mindfulness.
Q: Do you have three simple tips for living that you can share?
Yes, I do.
- Learn to include meditation, personal contemplation, or journaling into your life. This will help you become self-aware, which eventually will bring you to greater efforts toward self-actualization.
- Surround yourself with people who accept you as you are, and support your abilities and growth.
- Make sure that those you refer to as your best or closest friends are worthy of your trust.
Q: As Founder and Director of the Yogatsu Institute, how can people get a hold of you
For those interested in working with me who do not live close enough to come to the office, I rely on Skype or phone. Tell me your symptom, whether physical or otherwise, and I will tell you the meridian (emotion), chakra (life-lessons), and intuitive wisdom that your symptom is attempting to convey. I approximately one third of my clients use Skype or phone for sessions.
In addition, much of the work my clients and I do together appears in the form of making each client accountable for completing the transformations needed to heal the symptom that brought them to me.