Those retreats marked the beginning of my encounter with somatics. A neck injury I had incurred while snowboarding during high school made it intensely, unrelentingly painful for me to meditate for extended periods of time. Zen monasticism is characterized by 3:30 a.m. wake-up calls, multiple daily hours of meditation, and rigorous physical work. In that context, having a spine injury and poorly developed body awareness was a recipe for trouble. Luckily, another person at the center was a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education. While I initially viewed his lessons as a necessary medicine - like, 'I hope this works, and the faster the better, so I can get on to other things!' - I soon saw that the exploration of somatic awareness as a fascinating complement to my meditation practice.
After leaving the monastery in 2012, I joined a four year, 800-hour training in Feldenkrais. Halfway through my training, I began teaching volunteer classes to people with Parkinson's disease. When some of those folks started asking if I could teach them mindfulness meditation, I realized that the overlap between somatics and mindfulness went beyond my personal story. I now maintain a private practice in Boulder and Denver, and I am completing a PhD Dissertation on the history of somatics at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
I am a somatic educator and writer in Boulder, Colorado. My encounter with mindfulness began when I was 10 years old. My family went to see the Dalai Lama speak, and while I couldn't understand anything he said, I saw a flier for the event which read, "My religion is simple, my religion is kindness." It stuck with me, and in high school I began devouring books on Buddhism.
By age 18, with the patient help of an 80-year-old Taiwanese retired-chemist-cum-meditation-teacher, I was haltingly creating a meditation practice. During college I began doing intensive retreats in the Zen tradition, and after I graduated I started doing longer, three-month retreats at the Crestone Mountain Zen Center.