What drew you to yoga?
I began meditating on my own as a child of five, just sitting cross legged with my eyes rolled up and teddy bears under my arms. In elementary school I started watching Richard Hittleman’s Yoga for Today on television after school, this was in the sixty’s and it was originally in black and white. Later I studied with a teacher who was instructing in a community center, in high school I began studying with Baba Muktananda and Yogi Bhajan.
How long have you been teaching?
36 years. I began teaching yoga while still in high school and during the course of writing my book on world religions and spiritual teachers, called Looking for God, I ended up studying most forms of yoga and meditation and received teacher training in three schools: Hatha, Kriya and Kundalini. I began teaching other teachers in 1985 when we founded the Self Awareness Institute at the suggestion of my root guru Yogiraj Vethathiri Maharishi.
Who has been some of your influential teachers (and why)?
Jesus originally, via my paternal grandmother Ruth, who was my first spiritual teacher. Satya Sai Baba used to appear to me as a child and guide me meditations psychically, I met him personally for the first time in the 1980’s and it was he who gave me my spiritual name SAI which is also the name of Self Awareness Institute (SAI). Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Iyengar and Baby Muktananda were early teachers who had a major influence, as was Yogi Bhajan. Kalu Rinpoche and Roshi Suzuki were influential as was Sri Chimoy, Swami Laksman Joo and Osho; my Kriya guru is Chuni Lahiri (Kriya’s founder Lahiri Mahasaya’s great grandson). My root guru and the one I apprenticed with was Yogiraj Vethathiri Maharishi from Madras, it is his lineage which I carry on, and I did my yoga tapas with Sri Sri Sri Shivabalayogi Maharaj. He is the one who asked me to give Shaktipat on his behalf and who had the greatest influence on me.
What made you commit to yoga?
I was drawn to this since early childhood, began writing Looking for God at sixteen and for the next twenty years set about studying all the spiritual paths of the world and writing about them, along the way I studies with most of the gurus teaching during these years. Each step deepened my commitment. In 2000 I retired from a career in finance to teach yoga, meditation and write full time.
What you are doing now?
I am the director of the Self Awareness Institute. I conduct courses and retreats in Shaktipat and Kundalini yoga and meditation, we now focus on teacher training programs. I have six books published, my most recent is The Theory of Existence & The Science of Consciousness with Amazon.com. I am host of Enlightenment Radio on the Internet which is listened to in over 120 countries, and I appear in two new spiritual movies: Spiritual Revolution and 3 Magic Words. 3 Magic Words is premiering in Los Angeles this month.
I have also recently written a screenplay called The Lost Teachings of Jesus, based on my book Christ Enlightened, the Lost Teachings of Jesus Unveiled, which has been picked up and being made into a feature motion picture. I will be appearing at the Body Mind Spirit Expo in San Diego and the Creative Field Conference in Loveland, Colorado in September. Most of my courses are conducted via teleconference and more information is available at www.SelfAwareness.com