Craig Villani

Craig Villani

I was born and raised in New Jersey, which probably explains a lot. Upon graduating from college, I decided to move to Los Angeles and become a hugely successful rock star, most likely overnight. We plan, God laughs, and I’ve discovered that she has a rather interesting sense of humor. Life happened, and yoga found me.

As a first-time student of hatha yoga, I was fortunate enough to walk into Bikram Choudhury’s legendary Beverly Hills studio on a prophetically hot Sunday morning in September, 1998. With absolutely no desire to teach yoga whatsoever, I enrolled in his Intensive Teacher Training Course nine months later (an appropriate time-frame for yogic gestation, I like to imagine), and graduated with forty-eight other emergent instructors. I began teaching to see if the formula actually worked, and was caught up in the flow of a powerful current in which I am continuously learning to float.

Within a year, Bikram’s Teacher Training had expanded to include over two hundred students. Unable to add any hours to days and logistically perform every function himself, Bikram asked me to assist him in guiding the process. Honored, challenged and more than a bit daunted, I told him I would, and was immersed in the work for eight years. During that time, magical beings like Emmy Cleaves, Rajashree Choudhury, Ram Puri Baba, His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, Dr. Anne Marie Bennstrom, Dr. P. S. Das and Jason Winn danced into the flow and rewarded me with their wisdom, challenge and  trust. It is a responsibility I am grateful to have experienced, and an experience from which I learned much.

I, in my heart am a student of yoga, and hold true that one must first become a focused student in order to serve as a balanced instructor- only then can one aspire to teach. Instructing is the science, the craft, and teaching is the magic. We who aspire to teach attempt to lead others in the veiled direction of the deeper Self, without taking personal credit and by respectfully getting out of the way. We endeavor to polish the mirror reflecting the eyes of each individual’s unique inner teacher and strive for excellence in our own self-image.

Teachers lead by example, regardless of whether others choose to follow. We share feelings and ideas that compel us to evolve and transform both on and off the mat. Our principled efforts aim to support the growth of inherent potential and elevate the adventure of being alive. I am grateful to have been placed upon this path, and honored to share it with those whom I continue to meet along the way.

Namaste, and May The Force Be With You.