Rolf Gates, author of the acclaimed book on yogic philosophy Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga conducts 200/500 Vinyasa Intensives and Teacher Trainings throughout the US and abroad. Rolf and his work have been featured in numerous magazines to include Yoga Journal, Natural Health and People Magazine and as one of Travel and Leisures’ Top 25 Yoga Studios Around the World and as one of the featured contributors to The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood being featured nationally on television and in print. (All proceeds from this project go to support groups working with men and boys at risk). You can find Rolf’s latest blog on Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Wellness SuperstarContributor Blog. Rolf is also the co-founder of the now annual upcoming Yoga, Meditation and Recovery Conference at Esalen Institute, Big Sur CA (November 2012) and Kripalu Center (May 2013). Questions and Answers with Rolf Gates What does yoga mean to you? An opportunity to realize the promise of a human life. What impact has yoga had on your life? For the last 20 years it has been the context in which I have been able to overcome the challenges that have arisen in my life as I have attempted to live and to love well. In what ways does yoga help you off the mat? There are two aspects to making a good choice: The ability to abide calmly and the ability to see clearly. Yoga helps me with both. What do you recommend for people who are brand new to yoga? Start and never stop. Yoga is the ability to align your values and your actions while experiencing physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. It is the ultimate life skill and therefore worth putting forth our best efforts everyday. If you are new to yoga, keep searching until you find a style of yoga, a community, a setting and a teacher that works for you and then give it your best effort everyday. What yoga tips can you share with people? Never give up. Always let go. Have faith and relax. What drew you to teach the particular style(s) of yoga that you teach now? The composer Claude Dubussy said that 'music is the space between the notes.' Vinyasa Yoga expresses that part of us that celebrates the space between the notes. A typical class will move from simple to complex poses, from standing poses and balancing poses, to back-bends, inversions, and hip openers. The teacher and students take this simple formula and make it their own day by day. No two classes are ever alike yet the intention behind the class is always the same. The genius of Vinyasa Yoga is not found in its approach to alignment or sequencing, but rather in the rhythm with which alignment and sequencing unfold. Anchored in the unseen aspects of an asana class, Vinyasa Yoga is uniquely accommodating to the evolution of a teacher; allowing her to bring all that she has learned and all that she is into her classroom. The result is a class that is at once consistent and inspired. It has been an unending source of inspiration and enjoyment to teach this style and to train others to do the same.