Years of immersive experiences in the yoga culture and business, I searched long and deep for the thread that would link me into a place of true understanding and wholeness. Traveling to India numerous times searching for spiritual realization was one avenue I took. There was a 5 year celibacy and sobriety immersion that excavated my patterns of mental and physical pleasures that I sought as a means to be fulfilled. I was a vegetarian for over 8 years, not for the specific reason of nonviolence, but because of a stomach disorder which developed from stress and depression. I explored every fathom possible to discover my potential, power and purpose. There was no rock left unturned. There was a phase a minimalism, with just one bowl, a spoon and a fork. I wore a simple uniform inspired by Michael Kors, keeping apparel simple to focus on artistry and creativity. I read countless, books, watched Tedtalks on repeat for months on end as inspiration and recondition for my perspective. I wanted to see the potential of life. I didn’t ask to be here, but I am here and how I can I make the best of this experience? This was the search for purpose.
After repelling a social life and immersing myself in the study of yoga and the teaching of yoga 5 years without a pause for a breath, it was as if I was going into the caves like the traditional yogis, except my cave was an 300 square foot studio apartment on the Upper West Side. To some people I was insanely industrious and fanatical, to others I was sincere and studious. I was searching. Humanism was my inhale and existentialism was my exhale. From desperation, I was able to cultivate sincerity. From isolation, I was able to develop community. I tell students, I wasn’t always a pariah. I was popular in High School and College. I am not an outcast, I am observant. Through an objective lens, I was able to realize I am not the victim of life’s unfortunate situations. I am a witness. This yogic principle gave me courage and confidence to step into discomfort and know be trapped.
I’ve been the actor. I’ve done modeling. I haven’t graced magazine covers and been in feature films. I was able to taste bits and pieces of notoriety to know what is truly appetizing and acceptable for myself. Life is not able fame, though recognition is nice and necessary to grow and be successful. However, we cannot hold our individual success as the apex of life. Through my yoga study, the practice of Bhakti Yoga was a pivotal moment for me. Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of devotion. Balancing the spiritual with the material world, this taught me about loving relationships. How to I connect and appreciate all the wonderful people in my life? How do I display love to my friends, family and students? Instead of always motivating myself from a place of insecurity, work from generosity, sincerity and intelligence. This new perspective gave insight which helped me climb out of my state of depression and stagnation.
Sometimes we have to shift gears, make adjustments and move in a different direction. This is not failure, but an act of ingenuity to adapt to the current times and conditions. This is the flexibility of yoga. Poses are meant to help unlock insight into the mind and intelligence. I needed to grow! I needed to step out on my own. I needed to take a risk and truly be a leader. I took all on my savings and jumped. I opened Merge New York. Merge New York is a Self- Discovery Studio which provides a welcoming, supportive and sincere environment which honors respect and integrity in an intimate loft space.
I am now 30 years. I made the conscious decision that I would stay away from poor association and distaste. I will continue to be a part of environments which truly help be grow, and when that is not possible, I will foster it myself. This is the yoga that I teach. I teach life skills and insight through movement. You don’t have to go through the radical and extreme experiences that I went through, unless you want to. I am here as a testimony to soul searching so others don’t have to go as far or real like it’s not attainable. You don’t have to be a vegan. You don’t have to wear all white and speak in hushed tone to be liked. You can indulge in adult beverages and wear designer clothes. You can curse, and you can have sex! It’s all about mindfulness, moderation and intention. Merge New York is materialization of spirituality as I see it in New York. As a leader, I must use this platform to truly affecting change. We all want to access our potential. Some of us want to feel as confident and empowered. Some of us want to be able to let our guard down and be vulnerable. Some of us want to be stop being alone, be a part of community and be heard. Merge New York is the space for this.