"I began my yoga practice in the early 70's after returning from a tour in the Vietnam War as a fairly well decorated Infantry captain- Bronze Star among others. With remorse for having been involved in an action designed to take life, the idea of enhancing and healing life had a great appeal to me. I dabbled in Yoga and various Spiritual communities and began a practice called the Tibetan 5 rites, which I still do almost daily. In 1993 I was introduced to Bikram Yoga in the original San Francisco studio and knew right away that this was for me. The wisdom behind the Bikram series of postures and breathing exercises touched the core of my Biology study at the University of San Francisco during the 60's. After my wife Sandy returned from the first Bikram training I began to teach at the studio our sons' and I built for her in San Rafael. I then took the Bikram training and after amputating my thumb turned my construction company over to my sons and became a full time teacher and studio owner. For the past 10 years I have continued studying anatomy, physiology, cell biology and every esoteric teaching on a daily basis. Nutrition has always interested me and I keep up on the cutting edge of the hard science non-fad nutritional studies found primarily at the Hippocrates Health Institute and The China Study. With these tools I try to bring the aspects of profound Yoga, diet and spirituality to my classes.
Teaching the principles of Yoga has become my spiritual practice"
Background - During college, I was introduced to Tai Chi and Yoga and found that this type of movement works really well for me. I have practiced yoga on and off over the years. In 1998, I attended a gym and took yoga again for a year. When the teacher quit, I was asked to teach the class and did for several months. Then a friend of mine brought me to YogaLoka. As you probably know, practicing hot yoga at YogaLoka is quite an experience. After practicing at YogaLoka awhile, Sandy asked me to lead the 6:00 a.m. silent class, which lead to teaching again. Teaching yoga was not something I ever set out to do, it found me.
Yoga Journey - I have been practicing yoga at YogaLoka since Thanksgiving of 1999. I took a year off to pursue other interests and of course found myself right back at YogaLoka with Bill and Sandy. Teaching yoga is a joy, an honor, and a privilege. In my experience, Yoga is the truth. When I practice yoga, the rest of my life aligns with the truth and I experience wholeness and clarity. In my experience, yoga brings a clarity to my being - takes away the pollution from the day. By Ardha-Matsyendrasana Spine Twisting Pose, I see shining faces looking toward the front mirror.
Teaching Philosophy - My approach as a yoga teacher is using compassion, love, and breath as a bridge to the next level. The edge may actually be practicing some of the poses in the more beginning stage rather than advanced. I believe that as the individual practice progresses, the awareness of the self, mind, body and spirit increases. Knowing and respecting the story the body tells - where it is and where it can go. I find yoga to be a wave rather than a straight line. My practice may awaken and then heal areas of my body and then again at a smaller level. But the wave gets smaller all the time until it is almost a straight line.
Other Interests - I am an accountant, bookkeeper, artist, and a student of Ondre Seltzer's Psychosymmetrolysis method of healing. My husband and I enjoy our life together with our dogs.
Michael Mercury was born in Tokyo, Japan, to American parents. He spent his early years in Puerto Rico, the birthplace of his mother. Memories of his magical childhood have taken him back to his beloved island throughout his life, enriching him in the Latin culture and sensibility. Over the years, he has lived in such varied locations as Dallas (Texas), Tehran (Iran), Puerto Rico, Frankfurt (Germany), Montreal (Canada), Hollywood (Florida), Gainesville (Georgia), Zurich (Switzerland) and many locales throughout California, and this has helped him to develop a unique perspective to astrology.
Mercury, who received his Master's Degree in Fine Arts from the University of California, Davis, has taught theater in Iran and has performed in Puerto Rico. He studied at the National Theater School of Canada in Montreal and has acted in 45 stage plays over his career. He has ten years experience in television and filmmaking in California, and has produced a variety of television programs, ranging from sporting events to interview shows. He is a seasoned commentator, announcer, and actor. Mercury has produced over 400 hours of original programming for television, and he is currently preparing for another television broadcast in the near future.
Mercury's interest in the occult began in Berkeley, California, where he gained insight and proficiency in palmistry, aura readings, and astrology. His studies in Buddhism, Zen, Kabbalah, Christianity, Hinduism, the way of the Sufis, and Yoga, have recently led him to the ancient practice of combining yoga and astrology. To stay abreast of current literature in astrology, and to further refine his skills, Mercury has taken courses at Kepler College in Seattle, Washington.
As his travels suggest, Mercury has followed a serendipitous route to his current role as an astrological talk show host and an astrological columnist. For seven years, he hosted the popular Sacramento-based radio talk show, "The Center of the Universe" on KDVS 90.3 FM (www.kdvs.org). Launched in 1998, his program became the highest-rated program in the station's history, drawing an estimated 50,000 listeners per week.
Mercury's profound knowledge of astrology, ancient wisdom, and insight into the human heart and condition can be found in various California publications: Solano Magazine (Fairfield), Decor & Style (San Diego), and Health and Fitness (Sacramento). By using his intuition, quick wit, and prescient awareness, Mercury delivers a positive message that his readers have come to love. His one-hour program Spirit Speaks, which features audio clips from some of the greatest spiritual hearts and minds in recent memory, is now available weekly on his website.
I started doing yoga about 10 years ago. I intially studied Kundalini yoga. A friend of mine used to attend Yogi Bhajan's studio in LA. She knew of my interest so she brought the manual and taught me the poses. It was like a mini yogathon weekend and I was hooked. After they left and went back to LA, I continued to work through the manual, picked up a yoga DVD at Target and then finally found Yoga Loka and absolutely fell in love with Bikram yoga. I have explored several different types of vinyasa yogas and have enjoyed them all, but there's something devastatingly great about the Bikram series that resonates with me and my body type.
For the first several years of my practice, I attended Yoga Loka on average 5 to 6 times per week and was amazed at how I changed. I changed physically, but more importantly, I learned how to really enjoy continuously showing up to the mat to face the heat, face the work and learn how to continually release all the mental jibberish. I strive to work through each and every pose to the point of being able to strengthen, breathe and become the pose and then I allow myself to fully experience the total joy of release. Yoga opens us to communing with our divine nature and key to aging gracefully. It's not about how flexible you are or how far you can take the pose, I'll never be a cirque acrobat. It's about returning to your mat. No matter what hardships life throws at you, or what great blessings are bestowed upon you, it all gets stripped away at the mat - so that you can feel and become rooted in your true self.
I've been teaching now for several years and absolutely love it. I feel that teaching is a combination of karma (service), bhakti (devotion), and Jnana (wisdom) yoga. It's an honor to share my knowledge and experiences and a blessing to watch people unfold the power that is in each of us....