Indiana & Yoga Magazine Summer 2016 Issue 1 | Page 21

COMMUNIT Y course. Maybe it would have been different in California, but we practiced together when we could,” she states. The practice worked, alleviating her pain so she could sit for meditation, which was the main goal after all. So, Nancy kept at it throughout college and beyond. During the years immediately after graduating from IU, Nancy delved deeper into meditation, becoming a follower and initiate of Maharaji. Along the way, she met her future husband, Stan. Yoga, meditation and healthy living were more than practices for the couple, they formed the bedrock of their lifestyle. Eventually, Nancy and Stan moved to Florida and founded an organic farm in the agricultural area south of Miami. But, there was no yoga. Craving a regular class practice of some sort, Nancy started driving the forty-five minutes to Miami to an Iyengar class. “Well, that didn’t work for me because it was so strict, and I can remember the teachers would actually strike you sometimes to correct your alignment and such. Honestly, it felt a bit like mean yoga to me,” she says. She ended up finding a Bikram style class in Fort Lauderdale and would drive through Miami all the way to that class. “Although [it was] also strict, it was a bit more fun and had a nicer teacher.” She stops here to add that back then, quite literally, there was only those two regular classes for her to attend in Florida. “One day, I just thought to myself that what I was doing was ridiculous—spending more time driving on one of the busiest roads in the state than I was practicing in class.” First came the informal classes with employees of the farm and some other local residents. Her teaching was based solely on Nancy’s twelve years of personal experience on her own mat. But soon, she started to think about obtaining formalized training and certification. Luckily, the Sivananda lineage had an ashram in the Bahamas, and Nancy set off on what would be the first of many yoga training programs. The year was 1986. “At Sivananda, the focus really wasn’t on asana, like many of today’s YTT pro- INDIANA & YOGA MAGAZINE ISSUE I grams,” Nancy says. “There was a whole lot of karma yoga, chanting, pranayama, sitting in meditation—as much as thirteen hours per day for an entire month, quite intense!” She also recalls how there were many masters who’d lived at the ashram for years and taught specialty topics from the 8-limbed path. With a chuckle, Nancy described the “uniform” that was (and still is) mandatory for yoga students at Sivananda: loose-fitting white pants and a short-sleeved t-shirt. Modesty was a requirement, and skinbaring, or tight-fitting clothing that is the norm today was a no-no. Sivananda certification in hand, Nancy returned to her farm in Florida for a bit, but then found herself traveling once again to deepen her studies. This time, she landed in California. There, she enrolled in a second 200-hr yoga teacher training with Ganga White and Tracey Rich, founders of The White Lotus Foundation. She relates that this experience was almost at polar opposites with the Sivananda training. “At Sivananda, nobody talked about the business side of yoga…I guess they thought you’d just live in an ashram,” she says. “But in California, Tracey had painted nails and was all pulled together and we learned a bit about how one could make a living through yoga. Plus, it wasn’t so strict. It was hip California yoga.” For a few minutes, Nancy draws more comparisons and contrasts between her first two yoga teacher certification courses. It quickly becomes clear that she relishes those memories. And, that she seems to feel something has been lost along the way, with the rapid growth of yoga and the proliferation of training programs of all varieties. “At Sivananda, for example, everything was based 19