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Ok, I am reexamining all of this fresh to share with you.

I tried to keep it to outline form


without getting into too much extraneous storytelling. My life has been quite colorful to say
the least (although every chart looks like a soap opera). So in the gaps of time, just assume
strange things are happening.
I still cannot remember the first time I meditated, or where I even got the idea. It feels like I
always did. My theory is that, because I was so hyperfocused as a child, I was thoroughly
primed. I seriously started studying piano from the age of 6, gifted, and self-motivated. I
used to get up early in the morning and practice for an hour, even that young. My poor
parents. Then came theater. Dance. Classical voice. Weight lifting. And I was mad about
studying, even though bored by what school had to offer; I created my own curriculum.
My mother told me that when I was in kiddy gymnastics class at maybe 4 years old, the
teacher recounted to my parents that I had this method of visualizing myself going over
the beam and would then execute it.
I was intense, mature, precocious, well-socialized. Never really considered myself a kid.
Joyful. Intelligent. I suspect rather manic. And perfectionist- a self-judgment that was
deeply internalized. I understood my mind well, enough to struggle with not projecting it
out on the world. Highly intellectual. Not so emotional. I rarely cried, especially when I
injured myself. Meant nothing to me, except a new beautiful scar I proudly wore. Read
constantly, especially silly psychology books.
I began meditating daily in 1998. I was 18 years old and had just moved to NYC. My
inquiries into consciousness were initiated somewhat by studies at NYU and mostly by
confronting millions of suffering people every day. My mind was thoroughly blown open. I
questioned everything and wrote constantly. In addition, I was studying psychology and
neuroscience and working in a lab by the time I was 20. Definitely experienced medical
student syndrome with the different pathologies. Mild drug use helped exacerbate this,
too.
The best I can describe my meditations from 98 forward is that I decided to connect with
The Universe. I never read a book or talked to anyone about it. Very ritualistic. Candles,
incense, and sometimes music. I had an obscure cd called Beautiful World from a group
called In Existence. My primary accompaniment. Otherwise, there was a little Enigma and
Deep Forest in there, I have to admit (!!).
I would repeat phrases over and over again, such as I am one with the Universe. The
Universe is one with me. I am love. Let me heal _____ [insert person/place] Let me
become everything. A lot of SURRENDER involved. I surrender to God, to love, to the
Universe. Wow, Brad. I havent thought about this for so long. I was instinctively practicing
something liiiike shambhavi and khechari mudras. (Obviously you sit there long enough
and you have to figure out what to do with your tongue and eyeballs. Fireworks are not
exactly a deterrent .)
It very quickly became a healing practice. But not for myself. I would picture myself flying
around the universal void to different place or people on the Earth. I have healing
energy. (the healing phrases, perhaps there were no words, are not coming back exactly
to me)
I started to play with energy with the simplest activity, generating heat by rubbing my
hands together for different time intervals. Experiencing the charged molecules, feeling the
shape of the space moving my hands into different formations, and letting it guide me into
spontaneous asanas, you could say. I mostly sat, but sometimes laid down. Played with
unstructured trataka.

My awareness was such that I did not achieve much understanding yet of swara, nadis, or
bandhas. I certainly do recall having a few spontaneous orgasmic experiences. Of course it
had nothing to do with sex as they call it.
I felt that I needed to meditate. A fine attachment, certainly preferable to others.
I think the first remotely yogic book I ever read, besides SIDDHARTHA as a teenager, was
Paramahansas AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI. An out-of-his-mind Indian musician I briefly
dated (still a lovely friend) gave it to me. That was around 2002 when I was studying postbacc medicine at Columbia.
But my personality started disintegrating. The first time I experienced a debilitating
depression was December 2001-January 2002. There are journals describing all these
periods. Though never mentioned meditations in detail. Very private activity.
When I was in acting school, around 2003, I was first introduced to a physical asana
practice. A fellow acting student, Youngblood, taught us at the school. I even took classes
at Crunch gym (ha!). Felt like a fish in water.
From December 2003-September 2005, I was in a fog. Did not move from bed for days on
end, and did not leave the apartment for weeks at a time. I was an insomniac depressive.
Not a sleeper. All I could do was write. Hundreds of poems, many journals, a few plays.
Could hardly meditate during that time. Psychotherapy. Refused medication. Felt I lost
everything. Had turned the corner beyond which there was no return. Died. I refer to it as
The Dark Ages.
Upon emerging, I re-entered life with a bang. Quite manic, uncomfortably so. Meditation
returned. Attended a 10-day Vipassana. Incorporated bits of that into my practice.
2007, as a gift to myself for my 27th birthday, I devoted myself to being a full-time dancer
again,. 2-3 classes per day, an entire year spent with pain running through my body, as my
body re-formed and energy refocused. Thankfully no injuries. Becoming much clearer.
Healthy, strong, happy.
Fast forward to 2008, I fell in love with a girl Tita (who, by the way, was born the same
day as me, same year, 12 hours younger). Upon ending a touring dance contract, I
accompanied her to Salt Lake City, to help her recover from opiate addiction. Sadly, she
was on methadone for years after an insane decade with heroin, etc. I did not go with her
in SLC to be her lover, but to hold her hand through her recovery. That was our explicit
understanding- though it got wildly muddled along the way. It was intended to be a 3
month process. I stayed almost a year and a half.
The first 3 months, June-August 2009, were a total nightmare. I discovered I was not only
taking care of one bipolar addict, but a whole family of alcoholics, one of whom we lived
with and died a year later- when I was away on a trip. I went back to NYC a couple times
that summer to dance. Before I left, I had just reached a plateau in my training and was
ready to reenter dancing professionally full-time. I was aware of the sacrifice- but did not
begrudge it. In SLC, I was not working, besides a couple child piano/singing students. Tita,
and learning to do nothing, together were a full-time job.
On my third trip back to NYC, beginning of September while considering returning to NY, I
had an epiphany: I should teach yoga. I realized it was the perfect combination of the
mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional- and through it I could reach my desire. I only
ever wanted to touch as many people as possible, and travel the world. It is why I was a
performer, why I stopped performing, why I studied medicine, and why I came back to the
theatre.

I decided that upon returning to SLC, I would try all the yoga studios, and first get my
practice back. The first studio I stepped foot in was then called FLOW. Jennifer Ellen Mueller
ran it. I knew I was in the right place. I also tried each of the other studios, but did not feel
anything special from them. From then on, I practically lived at the studio. When I needed
to get away from Tita, I went to the studio and meditated or held court in my spot on the
couch there. I also attended a Tibetan Buddhist temple, which added a rich dark layer to
my new understandings.
Simultaneously I began researching yoga teacher training programs. Jivamukti first
captured my attention. They suggest a long reading list. I read them all. The library in Salt
Lake is gorgeous. I read nearly every yogic book they had. Every few days Tita and I would
check out stacks of books and movies from the library. Just reading and practicing the
Introduction & hints and precautions to yogasanas sections to Light on Yoga
transformed my life immensely. Like my first drink of water.
That same September, Arun Deva made his usual trip to FLOW and I was introduced to and
smitten with Ayurveda. Do you know Arun? An Indian man. He also studied with Dr. Lad.
Around that time, Jennifer Ellen was in the midst of selling the studio to these Vedics from
Latvia. How very strange. Thankfully the young teacher, Andrejs, who was sent to run the
studio is a bundle of knowledge. A very weird character, just learning how to teach, but
perfect for the time.
Of course I quickly had the insight that any relationship I had with Tita, beyond being her
caretaker was over. And I mostly weaned her off our sexual relationship. And naturally she
blamed all of my decisions on yoga or what I learned or read- rather than intelligence.
Anyway, eventually she understood. All water under the bridge now.
I took a trip to California in January, before deciding if I would head back to NYC towards
Jivamukti program. There I realized I still had more to learn from my teachers in SLC. I did
Jennifer Ellens teacher training (5 months?) there. It was really eye-opening to witness
what a difficult time the teachers in training had with trying to meditate. AT ALL.
The studio was transitioning to being called Shiva Centre during that time. Based on Shiva
of Latvia himself (ha!). But I did get to take every single class that was taught at the studio
during that time, ranging from jyotish, ayurveda, sanka shastra, vastu, japa. It was really
incredible. I completed the teacher training program and created my show THE RADIANCE
as a farewell to SLC.
After some weeks in California with my family, I returned to NYC around September 20,
2010. Everything settled into place beautifully. I placed a meditation/yoga teaching ad on
Craigslist, and people kept finding me from mysterious sources. My performing life was
very full. I said yes to every opportunity that came my way. I met Carlo in September,
working together at The Living Theatre.
Being away from any teachers, my meditation practice became quite intense. I was
meditating for hours every night, and throughout the day. There became no end to it. The
combination of reading, meditating, and answering the many people who would come and
sit before me led to what felt like a great influx of insight.
I never looked for, nor found a yoga studio here in NYC. This takes us up to ketu dasha from
April 2011. And in my meditations found this encroaching Other kept re-entering, which I
struggled with and challenged for months. It was Carlo. By February, I had to tell him. We
began a love relationship. And by summer, also a student-teacher relationship with
meditation, studying the sutras, etc. By then, insanity was ensuing around us because of
our coming together (save that for another essay!).

I stayed in contact with Arun Deva, and kept him as my only confidante about my practice.
I like to call him my teacher; he does not really accept the title from me. I visited SLC
crossing over with him in order to assist with panchakarma treatments and transcribe
ayurvedic consultations. In 2011, Arun wanted me to be part of a small team of teachers to
travel the world and offer an Ayurvedic immersion training for teachers called Vaidya Yoga.
We began some preliminary groundwork through Skype sessions, visits to L.A.
The program did not happen for a number of reason. It felt unsatisfactory to me, because
of the looseness of beginning steps. I wanted a full-time commitment. Turned out, we all
had other plans. Arun continued with his teachings, travelling and in West Hollywood,
where he lives. At the time, I was contemplating establishing a Vedic Centre here in NYC. I
have forgotten about that. Pulling out my notes and documents now.
I never intended to have a space of my own. But uniting with my partner Carlo gave me
that.
A little about my teaching. I find it hard to characterize what I do exactly. Honestly, the bulk
of it is spending time listening and talking with people. I mostly teach privately, sometimes
couples. Strictly by donation. There is a donation tray that put the money in after the
session. Those who can afford it, roughly pay $100/hr. And it varies from there. There is
always some exchange.
The primary skill I pass on is structured meditation. Most of the rest is likely an energetic
transfer. I give them an intimacy. Love. Tools to live with. I do teach some asana. But I feel
like it is almost the least of what I offer. Asana practices are always incredibly gentle and
simple. Different for each person. I give them a detailed written description for their
individualized home practice. If it seems suitable, I do some form of abhyanga. I dont
advertise this. If I say I do massage, I will get 8 million emails. I am not an ayurvedic
doctor. My training is minimal. But I am intuitive, and get strong signals about peoples
imbalances. I always put my hands on people in one way or another.
They have meditation, reading, and usually writing assignments each week. I generally
stay in touch with them through email and check in with them regularly. Everyone
meditates and learns how to breathe. Few are prepared for a more intense route of study.
All this being said, I had to mostly stop teaching around September 2012, when I became
co-director of The Alchemical with Carlo. Once we open the new studios, I will again have
my own meditation room and begin seeing students again.
So that is that. As square a version of the sequence of activities as I could muster. The
poetic renderings and more profound experiences are expressed in some of my writings
and all of who I am and how I live.
Thank you for this opportunity to reflect.