What we choose to practice, study, and believe are highly individual and will differ from person-to-person, and will also likely change as an individual evolves. At the moment, these bear the greatest influences for my personal process and practice:
RADICAL ALIVENESS CORE ENERGETICS
Core Energetics is a body-based process taught since 1973 and the lineage comes from Wilhelm Reich’s seminal work on character analysis and the “muscular armoring” that forms as a defense pattern. Radical Aliveness was created by our school founder Ann Bradney, building upon Core Energetics practices and principles by facilitating a dynamic approach to group processes that reflects the complexity of real world experiences; this approach also accesses the wisdom of collective intelligence, for the evolution of both the individual and the collective entity. Information about this work and process can be found on the school website
, this video
about the school, and the docu-series Group
about the process.
Through the Radical Aliveness process and in some of my own experience and self study on group dynamics, I’ve come to realize the value of diversity and the necessity of growing our capacity to hold complexity. We believe that each member of society contains the potential to enrich the resiliency and strength of the whole, depending on the extent that the individual shows up and speaks and embodies their truth. Further, this model redefines “leadership” from the top-down approach many of us grew up with, into a self-leadership where we stop becoming victims of circumstance; instead we learn to take ownership and co-create solutions.
I am currently a student-practitioner in my 3rd year of the 4-year training program at this school, and hope to spend a 5th year at one of the Core schools around the world.
As a child, I loved Greek and Roman mythology for the goddesses and the mischief and grief they caused for Zeus/Jupiter and other gods and mortals. As an adult, I stopped relating to the limited virgin-mother-crone archetypes from Western mythology and the subservient women of my culture. My introduction to the fierce and primal (as well as the beautiful and benevolent) goddesses of southern India and the reverence given to all of them helped me to embrace a greater spectrum of the feminine that is more authentic to my experience as a woman.
I am also fascinated about the feminine and masculine aspects at play and interested in exploring how these aspects can come together in more harmony – within myself and others as individuals, as well as in our relations, our communities, and our world.
In 2013, after almost a decade of casual practice, I started a 5-6 days per week practice of asana (physical postures) with a certified Ashtanga Yoga teacher in Los Angeles. The lineage as taught by Sri Pattabhi Jois is passed down from teacher to student, similar to the way martial arts masters may teach. The Mysore room is a magical place, where the sound of breath inspires, the focus is palpable, and the teacher can teach each student according to her/his own body and path. This is one of the foundations of my daily practice where I face myself and my mind’s games, awaken the energy of my body, practice breathing and awareness through discomfort and fear, and connect to the wisdom of sages, the compassion and grace of my teachers and the lineage of teachers before them, the group of fellow students who keep returning to the practice, and to the grounding of the earth and guidance from the heavens.
I am also early in my study of Sanskrit and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras with the delightful Sanskrit and Yoga philosophy professors Drs. M.A. Jayashree and M.A. Narasimhan in Mysore, India.
While I eventually lost interest in pursuing Acting as a career, my 10 years as an acting student (2003-2013) gave me great insight into the vast spectrum of human experience and the stories carried with our bodies.
My third acting teacher, probably the first mystic I remember encountering, taught me about purpose, faith, grounding, awareness, the role of artists as wounded healers, and the stories that come to us that illuminate opportunities for healing. Her depth of compassion and insight was extraordinary, and she planted within me many seeds that guided my learning after I studied with her.
My four years at The Imagined Life first and foremost taught me how to practice. I also learned about the empathetic imagination, and that all the “characters” I’ve learned to become were all possibilities within myself, given certain sets of conditions and circumstances.
Separate from the creativity aspect of acting, I was also introduced to bodywork, specifically the Alexander Technique and the Linklater Vocal Technique, where I first learned that my body was inhibiting the free expression of voice and thought. As I encountered the rigidity in my own body, I realized my body needed more release than the scope of these techniques allowed for.
As I studied the craft of acting, I began to experience my parts in stories as “alternate universes” of possibility. And I also noticed the truly great actors crafted their universes with such specificity and empowered them through the courage of their hearts. The freedom of expression in their bodies and their “faith” in the universes they created actually shifted qualities in the room so that the audiences could experience that universe with them. In fact, other actors talked about when working “the greats,” that it merely took breathing to step into the story with them.
And I became more fascinated by using the power of imagination and intention, coupled with the courage of our hearts, the energy in our bodies, and breath to transform our real lives outside of the theater and sets.
Soon after, Radical Aliveness / Core Energetics and Ashtanga Yoga entered my life.
- Martial Arts and Eastern philosophy
- 12 Step, for the communities and a practice of self inquiry
- the Coaches Training Institute (CTI)