Meera Patricia Kerr began Integral Yoga teacher training in 1978 at the Satchidananada Ashram and later taught at the IYI in New York City. She has a new Hatha yoga video out called Big Yoga. The Southwest Michigan native took some time out of her busy schedule to enlighten us on a few aspects of yoga.
Why did you get into yoga?
Meera Patricia Kerr: I was always flexible and discovered I was good at it. It made me feel "high", which is what I was after in the 60's when I started.
What has yoga done for you?
Meera Patricia Kerr: Yoga disciplines have prevented me from becoming a total loser. I was living a pretty wild lifestyle when I met my Guru, Swami Satchidananda. I was traveling all over the US in a rock band, using drugs and booze to get high, but the yogic practices helped me calm down and find a more peaceful center.
What is the most important tip you could provide for someone new to yoga?
Meera Patricia Kerr: Don't disrespect your body! Honor the body's wisdom, and love the body back to harmony and health. And don't go to a class that makes you feel out of place. A really good yoga teacher will welcome all body types and be respectful of your process.
How can someone who has been doing yoga for some time liven it up?
Meera Patricia Kerr: Add more pranayama, the breathing practices. By simply using ujjay, the hissing breath, during a yoga practice, you can burn up a lot more toxins. Don't skip the deep relaxation, which heals the body, mind and psyche.
Your first DVD is called Big Yoga? Why did you choose this avenue?
Meera Patricia Kerr: I wanted to reflect my teacher's approach: Big as in EXPANSIVE, not just yoga for the larger body. Big Yoga uses yogic techniques from all the different aspects of yoga, Bhakti, or devotion (chanting) Raja yoga, or meditation, Karma yoga, or selfless service, and Jnana yoga, or study of the Self. The Hatha yoga is the physical postures, and is just one component. Not all the yoga practices are for everybody, so we offer a smorgasbord of techniques so the student can find the things that appeal to her.
How is Hatha yoga different from other yoga?
Meera Patricia Kerr: Hatha yoga refers to the physical postures, and is just one of the branches of yoga. It is specifically designed to bring about balance, vitality, and awareness to the yogi.
What do you hope others gain from your instruction?
Meera Patricia Kerr: Self Love is big on my list. Ultimately, any yoga practice will result in a greater knowledge of the inner Self, and that is impossible without accepting and loving yourself. Once we make the body comfortable with the Hatha yoga, we can then sit for meditation in comfort, and bring a higher level of consciousness to our daily life, ultimately becoming more useful in the hand of the Divine.
Visit Meera's official website.