A friend who came to dinner in May of l976 introduced
Gary to yoga. Gary was 20 years old and lived in southern California
at the time. They practiced some breathing exercises and did the
plow pose. The impact of this first exposure to yoga was powerful.
He was amazed at the sensation of energy moving up and down his spine.
He dabbled with yoga for a couple of years
on his own, simply based on what his friend had shown him and with the
help of some books. By l978 his interest in meditation
led him to study Transcendental Meditation, aka "TM" which was very
popular at the time. In l980 he attended his first yoga class
in Ontario, Oregon with Deborah Harry, a teacher oriented to the Iyengar
tradition. He describes his study with Debbie as being very "opening".
The idea of practicing yoga still seemed a little weird to him and the
people who practiced it even weirder. Nevertheless, he was drawn
to it and continued to study with her for 3 years and developed his
own personal practice at home.
In l983 he moved to Portland to attend Chiropractic
college. Although his yoga practice lagged, he continued to weave
it into his other fitness workouts. Even though he used it inconsistently,
he still found his knowledge of yoga and meditation very helpful through
school. Gary's interest in meditation revived in l985 when he
went to see Ram Dass in Portland. During a group meditation he
sensed a connectedness to spirit he had never experienced before.
He felt something change in his heart and an "opening" in his head that
he feels was a kind of seventh chakra shift. Until then his approach
to hatha yoga had been strictly biomechanical and he had resisted the
spiritual aspect of yoga.
After graduation from Chiropractic college
in 1986 yoga became Gary's central fitness activity. Iyengar's, Light on Yoga, was used daily as he entered into a period of
The next transformative experience of Gary's
life was a trip to India in l989. A one week visit to Poona "opened
me up, turned me inside out, squeezed everything - I was never the same
afterward." He rode a residual high from that trip that lasted
for months after his return home. He felt like he came back with
a new way to live, like he was part of an awakened consciousness.
And besides all that, yoga just seemed like a good thing to do!
So, In Fall of l989 he decided to start teaching
yoga in what we now call "The Yoga Loft", above his office. 14
people attended his first class. There was hardly enough room
for them all. He was nervous yet excited about each new class.
He was a self-taught teacher so he felt like he was really going out
on a limb to take this challenge on, but he did it anyway.
Over the years he has studied with several teachers
in the Portland area, starting with Jane Santarsiere and including Holiday
Johnson and Diane Wilson. He has attended many workshops
given by visiting yoga teachers and masters, Kali Ray, Victor Van Kooten
and Angela Farmer, and Bob Smith, to name a few. He has studied
meditation with guidance from Robert Beatty.
Students have benefited from Gary's fun approach
to yoga at many sites in the Portland area - Kaiser Permanente Hospital,
Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District, Metro YMCA, St. Vincent's
Hospital, Nike World Headquarters, and the Multnomah Athletic Club.
Currently he only teaches at The Yoga Loft in Scappoose from October
Gary believes that Hatha Yoga and Chiropractic
share much philosophically and he often prescribes specific asanas along
with manipulations and nutritional therapy. "There is a vital
Life Force that creates life as well as restores and maintains health.
My role as a Chiropractic physician and yoga instructor is to facilitate
the discovery and development of that Life Force in my patients and