Where to start? Once upon a time, I saw a movie called Star Wars. It sparked a lifelong interest in science, science fiction, and storytelling. That, and I also wanted a lightsaber of my own one day. When it came time to choose a major in college, it was a no-brainer. I chose physics. And it was amazing. In grad school, I felt like I was uncovering the secrets of the universe; objective truths that no one could gainsay. I realized that what I loved about physics was the pursuit and discovery of truth. I never made that lightsaber though.
After grad school, I wasn’t sure if I should do a postdoc or get a job. I choose academia. During that postdoc, my life began to change. To make a long story short, I reconnected with a friend from college. My friend, let’s call him T, had met an authentic yogi, called Sadhguru, and started meditating under his guidance. T had been meditating for a few years at that point and anyone could clearly see it had left its mark on him. So, on his recommendation, I took a class from Sadhguru as well. I mean, I’d done “book yoga” in my college dorm room (please don’t learn yoga from a book), but it’s not everyday that you encounter an authentic yogi; a person who doesn’t merely teach yoga, but someone who is yoga and can create a yoga practice that is specific for you. The class is difficult to describe, but it basically pours the essence of yoga into you in a few days time. It gave me the tools to remain peaceful and joyful within myself, no matter what is happening around me. It became a beacon through what was my darkest hour.
These days, I develop machine learning software at Digital Reasoning and my wife and I opened Adi Yoga of Nashville to teach Hatha Yoga. I’ve been working at Digital Reasoning for about four years. Before that I was at the Center for Naval Analyses in the DC Metro area as a research analyst. Machine learning is a much better fit for my skill set. Teaching yoga is a new thing for me. I’ve been practicing for almost a decade, but only recently started teaching after my wife and I took six months off from our jobs (who welcomed us back with open arms!) to attend the five-month Isha Hatha Yoga Teacher Training program in India. It was 1,750 hours of training. The length of the training gave us the time to study anatomy and physiology from western and yogic perspectives, learn about the diet most conducive to Hatha Yoga, to visit places in South India of significance to the yogic tradition, and to deepen our inner experience and understanding of the science of yoga. We also delved into aspects of Hatha Yoga which are almost extinct in today’s world. But that’s a story for another time.
I used to read a lot. In high school, a lot meant that I averaged three science fiction novels per week. That average dropped in college and then plummeted in grad school. Now, I’m lucky if I read one book per month. My time is split between practicing yoga, teaching yoga, volunteering with Isha Foundation, full-time work, hanging out with my wife and friends, and sometimes a fun programming project. And movies. Did I mention that I love movies? I appreciate storytelling in all its forms.