Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Training: 46 years ago, I began studying Chi Kung and Tai Chi with Grandmaster Marshall Ho’o at the National Tai Chi Association in L.A. I’ve been blessed by having many teachers and guides. My studies and practices continued with Sifu Doria Cook Nelson, Master Hong Lui, Mantak Chia, Dr. Paul Lam, Master Tung, White Lotus Studio’s Sigung Carrie Wong and Taoist Institute’s Dr. Carl Totten, but the list goes on.
Specialization: White Lotus Studio’s Chi Kung Exercises, Master Hong Liu’s Temple Exercises, T’ai Chi Ch’uan Yang Style 24 Short Form, & Yang Style 108 Long Form.
Astrological Sign: Capricorn
Playlist Favorites: Any 70s funk music
Hobbies/Passions: Playing with Chi, dancing, singing, reading, hiking, swimming, puzzles, and playing games, as well as just creating (a good meal, a beautiful garden, a delightful doodle, a well made bed).
What was your path to yoga and Tai Chi?:
The ‘60s were about freedom and cutting ties with a puritanical yet spirited ‘50s. The ‘70s brought questions and the desire for answers. I chose a successful modeling career instead of finishing college and promised myself I’d study what I was interested in—the human condition. College provided classes in Anthropology and Psychology. My path led me to the study of various religions and ancient cultures when I started rummaging through the occult section of Sam Weiser’s bookstore and the Bodhi Tree in L.A. Adding to that, I studied acting and the Alexander Technique. I was fascinated by how the body affects the mind and the how emotions affect the body.
In the early ‘70s, upon witnessing my emotionally distraught condition, a dear friend introduced me to a Yoga teacher in New York. I found it to be extremely helpful. My body resonated with the movements and I delighted in being strong and flexible, and learning the power of letting go. I absolutely loved being able to quiet the mind and emotions by focusing on the body and connecting with the breath. Life’s challenges seemed easier to deal with.
As I studied more about Buddhism, Yoga, Zen, I began to focus more on my spiritual being, listening to my intuition and asking questions. What is consciousness? If I’m not conscious, does that mean I’m asleep? If I’m asleep, can I do? What is love? What is life about? What makes me happy? What is the reactive mind? Am I fragmented? If so, how do I become whole? Can I increase my potential by aligning the mind, body and spirit?
When the doors to China were opened in the ‘70s, we were introduced to their health practices. Traditional Chinese medicine is centered on the concepts that are the foundation to acupuncture. After filming an episode of Rockford Files with Hollywood’s leading man, James Garner, I was introduced to his acupuncturist, Dr. Yu. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn.
My acupuncturist explained how acting was dangerous to my health, and how emotions are aligned to specific organs which really got my attention. I longed to stay strong and healthy while working on my craft and raising my children. He explained how the needles strengthened my immune system by cultivating, moving and balancing the energy flow in my body. After experiencing an instant healing while in the middle of production on a TV series I was starring in, I was convinced of its validity. I knew firsthand how powerful it was, and that it worked.
Eventually, Dr. Yu said I didn’t need to continue seeing him. I could do what the needles did by practicing Chi Kung and Tai Chi—a moving meditation, a healing art form and a martial art all at the same time. Studying such seemed like the ideal way to spend my time and soon became my passion. This was something I could do anytime and anywhere for the rest of my life, and it’s the cornerstone behind my health plan.
The study of Chi Kung, Tai Chi, the I Ching and Taoism continues to be a wondrous journey. The more I’m exposed to these mysteries, ideas and practices, the more blessed I feel for having found them. As I ride the ebbs and flows of life, these are the tools I use daily to help me stay balanced and healthy in mind, body and spirit. My desire is to share it with others.
Favorite pose: Sun Salutation, Downward Dog, Child’s Pose
Favorite Form: Intermediate Mixed Style Form Tai Chi Ch’uan
A few adjectives to describe you: optimistic, hardworking, sensual