Christina talks to us about her practice, the healing power of homeopathy, Miami, and her upcoming retreat with our friend, Elena Brower.
MBG: When did you first start practicing?
CN: I began practicing yoga in 1988, when I was 15 years old and on a camping trip with my brother and father. My father was a devotee of Swami SatChidAnanda, founder of Integral Yoga, and would practice yoga all the time during my childhood. I had been studying several types of dance since I was 5, so the conscious engagement with my body and powerful stretching of hatha yoga made immediate sense to me and I have been practicing ever since. I have tried all types of yoga but it wasn't until I first did Anusara Yoga in 2000 that I knew I had to teach yoga.
How do you describe your practice?
My practice is something that is as much a part of my life as eating or sleeping. Sometimes my time on the mat is strong and very consistent. Other times it is limited for various reasons, but that doesn't mean my practice stops. My practice is anytime I am putting conscious awareness into the movements of my living experience, so whether on the mat or off, I spend as much time as I can increasing awareness of what I am doing, and why and how I am doing it. For me my practice can be described as refining the art of living.
Can you tell us more about your study of homeopathy? What can we learn from this healing practice?
I studied homeopathy at The School of Homeopathy, New York, completing the four-year program in Classical Homeopathy in 2002. It is an incredible healing art, created by a German physicist, chemist and linguist named Samuel Hanhemann in Germany in 1796. What is amazing to me is how much the philosophy of Homeopathy, a western alternative medicine, echoes many Tantric yogic ideas of energy and subtle-body anatomy. Homeopathy sees disease and sickness as being caused by disturbances in the "vital force," much like yoga's subtle-body anatomy philosophy speaks of the prana of the body and the negative affects on one's health caused by pranic disturbances. In Homeopathy, the mental states and attitudes of the person are believed to effect the susceptibility of the vital force to a degree, a concept that reinforces the yogic ideas of the inextricable connection and interplay of the mind/emotions and body (subtle body and gross body). The vital force is thought to have the ability to react and adapt to all sorts of experiences and influences, a concept that is known as the law of susceptibility. So a homeopath's job is to find a remedy that most fits the state of the person seeking treatment -- a remedy whose subtle but potent power will be one that said person is most susceptible to. Any natural substance can be a homeopathic remedy, from plants, animals and minerals to organic disease matter, with the idea being that everything has a unique vibrational energy, a subtle vitality and energetic signature of its own. Homeopathic remedies are extremely diluted in water to the point where the actual molecules of the original substance are no longer present; the idea being that the energetic frequency or signature is imprinted onto and carried on the molecules of the water. When a particular remedy's vibrational frequency is matched to a particular person's vibrational state, it is believed to stimulate the person's vital force to begin to heal itself from the inside out. In Tantric yoga philosophy, everything is believed to be made up of pulsing consciousness, a kind of essential vibration of existence. Homeopathy sees everything as having its own particular vibration and when that vibration is harmonized, optimal health ensues. In yoga, we seek to harmonize the vibrations of body, mind and heart, in order to maximize the movements of prana in the body, which leads to vibrant and optimal well-being. There is so much to say on this topic that exceeds the parameters of this forum, but if someone is interested in learning more about it, I would recommend they contact the National Center for Homeopathy by visiting their website at homeopathy.org.
What are some of your favorite healthy/green places to eat or to go in Miami?
I love going to the Coconut Grove farmer's market on Saturdays. The local farms bring their incredible produce and homemade prepared foods, drinks and sauces. There are wooden picnic tables where you can eat lunch and you are always guaranteed to meet wonderful people from the community from all walks of life. I also adore a restaurant in the Miami Design District called Mandolin. It is an Agean eatery with a rustic and charming garden dining room that highlights both Turkish and Greek fare in the most delicate, simple, clean, fresh and delicious presentations I have ever had. The salads are incredible and the Octopus and seafood is remarkable. The food just tastes alive with great energy.
Who inspires you?
My mother, for her ceaseless positivity and caring heart. Dedicated parents, earnest students, loving children, passionate teachers, wise elderly people, sweet and patient friends. Every single person who takes time to smile more often than complain, goes out of there way to bring joy and brightness to other people's lives, and who lives their life aware of the blessings that surround them. Those everyday unsung heroes inspire me very much and inspire me to always want to be the best I can be.
What does mind/body wellness mean to you?
Increased amounts of time when your mind and body are vibrating at a similar energetic frequency to that of your deepest, wisest, compassionate, most free and loving heart space. When the mind and body are in tune with what is truly important in life.
What's next for you? Can you tell us more about your upcoming retreat?
Elena Brower and I are long time friends and colleagues. She is a certified Anusara Yoga teacher in New York city and founder of Virayoga studio in Soho. We sometimes team up to teach together and will be happily co-leading a retreat to Tulum, Mexico, at the beautiful Amansala resort, over President's Day weekend, February 16 - 21, 2011. I have always wanted to go to the Yucatan peninsula and connect to the beauty of the landscape and sea there as well as explore the Mayan ruins and the potent historical energy that permeates that unique corner of the world. More information and details can be found at YogaAdventuresTulum.com. I will also continue teaching my local trainings and classes in the Miami and Miami Beach area, will teach at the Wanderlust satellite festival that is taking place in Miami Beach in March and will be returning to Europe in May to lead trainings and workshops. Life is full right now and I am grateful to be doing something that I love and that brings more light into people's lives.
For more on Christy:
The Standard Spa, Miami