I am the co-founder and co-owner of Yoga Lab Studio, in State College, PA.We've assembled a great team--including my dearest Anna Sunderland Engels and the lights of State College, Mark Agrusti, Ariel Xu, and Kristen Boccumini. Check us out!
I have been studying yoga philosophy for twenty years, since I was a youngster in high school who wrote a paper on Thoreau, Gandhi, and the challenges of nonviolent resistance. I have been practicing yogasana regularly for the past fourteen years. My brilliant and beautiful wife, Dr. Anna Sunderland Engels, was my first teacher, and it is a joy to be on this yoga journey with her.
I completed my 200 hour teaching certification in 2013, and my advanced 500 hour certification in 2014, in Lila Yoga, training that led me to study in India twice, at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai. There I took advanced classes in yoga philosophy, pranayama, Sanskrit, meditation, and chanting. Dealing with pretty consistent injuries, I sought out additional knowledge in Western anatomy and biomechanics by completing an 200 hour training in 2015 in Yoga Stream under the direction of physical therapist and yoga rockstar Lara Heiman. I am a registered yoga teacher (RYT-500, E-RYT-200) with Yoga Alliance.
We practice yoga because it is difficult to work directly on our minds and our emotions. It is much easier to address how we are living in our bodies in the present moment. By taking care of our bodies and our breath, we can also--slowly but deliberately, like water over a stone--take care of our minds. By practicing yoga (which for me includes yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, and meditation), we can learn to change our moods--and so quite literally we can change how we see the world.
As a yoga teacher, I practice gratitude in my teaching. I do not teach to get a return. I do not teach out of a need for reciprocity. Teaching yoga for me is a practice of true service: it is an offering into the common good of the community. I truly believe that we would all be happier, healthier individuals if we took the time to bring a little more harmony and ease into how we are living. I am truly blessed to be able to teach yoga in Central Pennsylvania, especially as the faculty advisor to the Penn State Yoga Club.