Is yoga an art or a science? In Aaron Reed’s case it’s both. Sitting cross-legged, face-to-face with Reed is like listening to the wisdom of a professor. The lecture could have been on philosophy, science, religion, dance, or film. Interestingly, Reed said, “I almost feel like I’ve been preparing my whole life to get to yoga. Yoga is almost like graduate school: PhD for physical discipline.”
The first time Reed moved to Los Angeles was to attend film school. He never actually took a film course because the dance department recruited him; his love affair ended up taking him to New York City. While in college, he was introduced to yoga, but he wasn’t quite ready for it at that point. After retiring from his dance career, he returned to LA to resume filmmaking.
He had filed his yoga experience in the back of his mind and knew that he would get there someday. He wondered, “What other physical activity nourishes your artistic side, your intellectual side, spiritual side, health, and well-being?” After several years of practicing, he desired to transcend yoga class and do a teacher training at Yoga Works.
Just as he was beginning to entertain the idea of teaching, the unthinkable happened: a debilitating lower back injury. “After the injury, I really had to re-examine why I was doing yoga and what kind of yoga would be suitable for me from then on…I really got the chance to investigate what the practice was about, which I don’t think I would’ve done had I not been injured.” Instead of having surgery, Reed worked through his injury for the next year, practicing restorative yoga with Chris Stein and Lisa Walford.
Reed got the chance to go to India to the Iyengar Institute to see all of the innovative ways that one can use props to work through injuries or disabilities. He credits Eric Schiffman for opening his eyes to all of the creative possibilities of the practice. He loves how teachers thread their additional interests into the style of yoga that they teach. As a restorative yoga teacher, Reed uses Iyengar’s restorative component as a base while sharing his own discoveries with students.
He incorporates scientific and medical literature into his creative experience of yoga. He is very interested in the evolution of yoga from its traditional, Eastern foundation mixed with the education, ideas, and understanding of the West. He asserts, “Information to me does not take away from the mystery.” Reed believes that what science can bring to spirituality is one of the major tenants of yoga: “We are all one…all life is one.”
As Reed personally evolves, he uses yoga mostly for relaxation and recovery from other rigorous forms of activity. He claims that “yoga is the best system for quality of life extension.” After recuperating from his injury, he was able to return to surfing.
Reed’s life has come full circle as he is in the process of filming a yoga DVD on the beach! He teaches a Relax Deeply class at Sacred Movement on Fridays from 6:30-8pm and on Sundays from 6-7:30pm.