Alexia was 5 years old when she found a yoga book in her grandfather’s library. She loved playing around with the postures she saw in the photos. She would walk around the house on her knees in lotus posture while her dad scolded, “you’re gonna get hurt.” She never saw the book again but the inspiration remained in the back of her mind. Seventeen years later Alexia realized that she couldn’t deny her hunger to learn the practice of yoga: she left Guatemala, her home country, and moved to Chicago to start her teacher training. Alexia’s teacher and greatest influence is Kino Macgregor, one of the few certified Ashtanga teachers in the country. Kino’s inspiration helped Alexia discover that her heart is in the Ashtanga yoga practice. Alexia practices everyday under the guidance of Todd Boman, who supports her practice and teaches her faith and dedication with his own shining example. She has apprenticed with Todd for the past four years in the mysore classes and continues to assist him. Alexia has found a daily practice to be profoundly transformative, calming, and awakening to self-knowledge. It is these benefits that have given her tremendous faith in yoga and passion for the practice. As a teacher, Alexia inspires students to persevere, with enthusiasm, and discover what gifts their practice holds for them.
Todd Boman took his first yoga class in 2001, on the recommendation of a friend, after moving to Chicago to pursue a fast-paced career in visual design. After some time, Todd discovered Ashtanga Yoga. Ashtanga was a physically demanding practice that he had not initially bargained for given his initial yoga experiences, which focused on relaxation. The challenge of the practice, however, was something that inspired him and became an aspect of yoga that he gravitated toward. In 2005, he traveled to Mysore, India, the home of Ashtanga Yoga, and practiced at the K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute with Guruji, Sharath and Saraswati. While practicing in the West, he felt confused and overwhelmed by all the options and information that was available about yoga. However, the veil lifted when he came to Mysore; he felt the authenticity of the practice and he knew he found true yoga. The Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga system links a series of postures together through conscious breath and points of focus. Guruji emphasized three main points for practice: Vinyasa, which is the system that links movements to breath; Tristhana, which are the three points of attention during the practice including the posture, the breathing, and the gazing points; Lastly, in the Yoga Shastra, it is said that God dwells in our heart in the form of light, but that light is shrouded by six poisons: desire, anger, delusion, greed, envy and sloth. When yoga is practiced with dedication and enthusiasm over a long period of time the heat that is generated will burn away these poisons revealing the light of our inner nature. After annual stays at the KPJAYI and with Sharath’s blessing in 2008, Todd began teaching Ashtanga Yoga in traditional Mysore style, where the individual student learns directly from the teacher, rather than teaching to a larger group of students. Learning in this manner benefits the student in that it is possible for one to gain independence and confidence in their practice as and that becomes personal when it is transmitted from guru to student and committed to memory. In the daily practice of Ashtanga Yoga, one can turn inward, gain insight, and become proficient in its methods, thereby reaping the many benefits the practice brings. For this to be accomplished, a slow, steady and dedicated approach is best. During his stay in Mysore in 2010, Todd had the privilege to assist Sharath teaching in the shala. His direct experience learning, not only asana but also the Ashtanga teaching method with its hands on adjustments has firmly grounded Todd as a student and teacher. Todd received his Level 2 Authorization which will allow him to teach the Primary and Intermediate Series. Todd is honored to share his direct experience of Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore with the community of students in Chicago, contributing to what is a happier and healthier community of practitioners.