Liberating ourselves from the ego’s message of fear – that persistent thought that something is wrong (always wrong) is particularly challenging for gay men. Building a consistent yoga and meditation practice (discipline) has liberated Mike in subtle and profound ways (freedom) that he wishes to share.
That’s freedom through discipline.
Cultivating authentic heart-centered connection between gay men is what motivates me to teach yoga.
During my lifetime, I have experienced heart-centered (love-centered) connection in many ways: through religion & boy scouts, through professional ballet, through the plague of AIDS, through addiction & recovery, through rituals in the fetish community and finally through the practice of yoga & meditation. All have revealed to me an ancient truth; the holy grail of peace and joy are found in connection with one’s higher Self, one’s Atman – the energy that connects us all.
Ballet taught me to appreciate the technical functioning of the body, its challenges, and the power of ritualized movement on my emotions. Dance connected me to peace I had only previously experienced during specialized religious traditions that were no longer available to me after I came out as a gay man. Suffering during the AIDS era taught me the difference between being truly loved and enduring empty pontificating. Recovery taught me the value of letting go. Sexual exploration taught me the joy and devastation of choices made while accessing this incredibly powerful life force.
While taking yoga classes at the gym I stumbled across a modern guru. I experienced this yoga teacher’s authentic modern style that revealed the relevance of the 5,000-year-old tradition called yoga. With today’s music, in today’s language, I received the message that perfection is inside me, had always been there, and all I needed to do to experience it was listen to the ancient wisdom already present within every cell of my body. This feeling inspired me to get my 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) certification so that I can share it with others.
Now I have taught yoga at gay men’s fetish retreats in the mountains of California and in conference rooms in Cleveland, I have taught in private homes, and now teach in a private studio called Flux Rebellion.
For me, yoga is a moving meditation, a fully embodied form of prayer. It is as intimate as sex, as expansive as the universe, and as rejuvenating as a tear-filled belly laugh with a best friend. Sometimes it is still and silent, while at other times, vigorous – both offer comfort and challenges. It has held me steady through a divorce. It continually inspires me to be my authentic Self.
Sexual energy has been pathologized by modern society. I am convinced that the authentic expression of any human being, especially a gay male human being, must mindfully embrace our intrinsic sexual proclivities. We must ponder our preoccupations that are sexual in nature so that we may know ourselves completely.
That is why, we will, at times, practice naked.
We will fully embrace and articulate the effect our sexuality has on our individual and collective consciousness – while respecting the power it has to devastate our community if not shown the respect all dynamic forces require. We will look directly into it so that we might leverage the awesome power it has to connect us to our Atman.