Here for the Savasana...
Michael has been a student of Yoga since 1998, seeking relief from back pain related to scoliosis, and something like enlightenment. His teaching blends anatomy of movement studies with Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa. Now ten years into teaching Yoga full-time, he invites you to compassionately explore your boundaries in search of the middle-path.
Michael got more serious about his practice ten years ago, unable to touch his toes and doubtful that his back pain would ever go away. Having been born with scoliosis, he had back pain his whole life, arms that would go numb, and a prescription for massages that never really addressed the real issues.
“Physiotherapists told me the lower back, neck and shoulder pain I was experiencing would only get worse with the yoga I was practising,” he says. “When they advised me not to practice any yoga in the mornings, and definitely no backbends, I truly believed that I was destined to live in pain and mild anxiety and go through life with a hunchback.”
Inspired by the profound physical changes he witnessed in a close friend after three months in India studying Ashtanga Yoga with the Jois family, Michael started a daily practice. Through a combination of daily asana (posture) practice and putting the yoga principle of non-attachment into action, the practice slowly transformed him from the inside out. Of course, there were many setbacks along the way – which have been great opportunities for learning and refining the craft of teaching with precision.
Michael uses simplicity and breath awareness to draw students deep into the core of the body – the seat of meditative awareness and postural stability. Having explored a variety of systems, he believes the modern innovation of Vinyasa yoga (based on traditional teachings) combined with meditation is probably the most potent and practical path for modern westerners. His aim is to share these teachings with anyone and everyone who is curious about how Yoga can bring balance to the mind and body, and change the way we relate to the difficulties that arise in our lives.
Michael continues to honour the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga method founded by Krishnamacharya as an old roadmap that guides the way, but leaves much to interpretation, innovation and adaptation to the needs and aspirations of the individual.
Michael studied directly with the prolific teacher Richard Freeman for a summer, who continues to be his main inspiration in the art of teaching, and blending different yoga systems with a modern understanding of the body and mind.
In addition to leading 200hr Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training programs in Ottawa, you can find him teaching at yoga festivals and international retreats.