My mother was initiated into a Hindu lineage at age 19 and gave me my middle name, Anami, which in the Radha Soami tradition refers to the "7th Heaven" which is beyond words. We were raised vegetarian, and I understood Yoga as meditation, philosophy, and the Guru/disciple relationship. I attended Catholic School so Bible stories and Yoga scriptures were side by side. Jesus just seemed like a great Yoga master with his disciples! And his teachings of simplicity, kindness, and prayer matched with the Yoga teachings.
When I was 17, my father died suddenly which in retrospect catapulted me onto my spiritual path. At 18 I discovered the body practices of Hatha Yoga (Kundalini) and began my own studies of eastern philosophies (Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism). I was fortunate to have deep immersions in Kundalini and Iyengar style Yoga (Alice Rocky) during my college years with senior teachers who instilled in me great discipline and passion for the practice which I continued. I began my undergraduate studies in pre-med and moved into a degree in Anthropology and Ecology from UC Berkeley. I focused on indigenous cultures and their spiritual relationship to the environment. I pursued post-graduate mentorship in deep ecology, community design, permaculture and horticultural therapy. I had a strong desire to reconnect people to nature in a concrete spiritual way in order to heal our psyches and the planet.
I never thought I would become a Yoga teacher, but once my daughter was born I felt a strong desire to deepen my practice and I was introduced to Anusara Yoga which blended Iyengar Yoga alignment, Hatha Vinyasa flow and Non-dual Kashmir Shaivism (Classical Tantra) philosophy. In 2004 I completed a 300-Hour teacher training (Jim + Ruthie Bernhart) and began my teaching career. Along the way I also became a certified massage therapist, certified holistic aromatherapist, and immersed myself in the study and practice of Ayurveda, Kashmir Shaivism, and Hatha Yoga as taught by the Bihar School, and the Krishnamacharya lineage (viniyoga + heart of yoga).
Concurrent with my own Yoga path, my mother (Ruth Davis) continued her Yogic and healing path. She remarried, and she and my stepfather (Bruce Davis) traveled the world for decades leading meditation retreats across Europe and Bali, eventually creating retreat centers in Italy and back home in California. It is through mentorship and study with them that I was able to access a new stage of awakening and integration and become a meditation teacher. The practice of HeartFullness that they/we teach is a universal practice of heart-centered presence that is found in the revolutionary and mystical branches of all the great wisdom traditions.
In 2009 I opened my own Yoga studio - Ojas Yoga Center - in El Cerrito, California. I wanted to create a place that was less like a gym and more like a temple: clean, quiet, welcoming, non-pretentious, and sacred. For 10 years the studio hosted an incredibly nourishing calendar of healing yoga, workshops, concerts and guest teachers. The beautiful community of students moved online in 2020 and the brick and mortar studio closed in 2021. We continue in a slightly new form, but with the same deep intention through this platform of Centered in the Heart.