Your Voices, Your Stories | Yoga. Meditation in Action [Speaking of Faith® from American Public Media]


When it aired, I was riveted by the interview with Seane Corn on Being (then Speaking of Faith). I was in the process of recommending John Friend as a guest for the program when I happened upon this listener’s post. “So tantric,” this describes the path of the householder perfectly.

SPANDA (September 9, 2008)

Like many people, I lead a life of duality. Be they mothers/daughters, wives/workplace warriors, or caretakers/lovers, women all over our country are constantly being challenged to fulfill somewhat opposing roles. It is my experience that the practice of yoga radically affirms the greatness of a person (read: a woman!), and therefore helps carve out a space between our sense of responsibility and our desire for freedom.

I both teach and practice Anusara Yoga, created 11 years ago by John Friend of The Woodlands, Texas. I had the great privilege of studying with John this summer in Paris, London and Berlin, where I was once again reminded of this duality in life. In yoga, it is called Spanda, or the divine pulsation of the universe.

Spanda can be found around every corner of this fabulous world in the forms of light/darkness; contraction/expansion; giving/taking. So it is that during the day I give… I teach people how to delight in discovering their own hearts and say “YES!” to the challenge of trying something new. And at night, I perform Musical Theater in the DC-area.

I strongly believe that my yoga practice has been taken “off the mat” — as Ms. Corn might say — in that it has dropped me back into my own heart in my acting and singing. My regular, challenging yoga practice has improved my ability to use my breath resourcefully, and maintain the physical stamina needed as a singer/dancer. When those facets of performing are in “good alignment,” I am once again able to focus on communicating the story to the audience — the paramount priority in theatre. When successful, it is that energetic vibration that inspires my ability to find myself through song and dance. That empowerment is then fed back into my yoga teaching, having tapped into and challenged my own sense of creativity.

Many people know that the word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit meaning “to join.” It is this joining of my two sides: practical teaching and rockin’ theatre that keep me centered. Like a cyclist’s wheel that is called “true” when it is in alignment, and “out of true” when it is slightly off, the beauty of Anusara Yoga always brings me back to center.

The Spanda remains, as is the nature of our amazing universe, but I am able to rest in the promise that — through the practice of yoga — I am balanced in the sweetness of my own heart.

Hannah Willman

Silver Spring, MD

via Your Voices, Your Stories | Yoga. Meditation in Action [Speaking of Faith® from American Public Media].

About Richard Hudak

I am Senior Adjunct Faculty in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and I have been a practitioner of Anusara™ yoga. I have completed 200 hours of teacher training within its diaspora community, consistent with its philosophy and alignment principles.
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