David Bauer – MSPT
I caught my first glimpse of yoga leafing thru a book at 9 years old and seeing skinny guys in white swallowing yards of cloth and contorting themselves.
At thirty I had been through an unsuccessful attempt at higher education and served in the military onboard an aircraft carrier. I was working in construction installing sprinklers and boilers and breathing in a lot of nasty stuff. In my off time I ran, lifted weights, biked and played tennis.
Life happens. My father was diagnosed with lung cancer/mesothelioma, brought on by his exposure to asbestos over 23 years in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I decided to find a greener job, something healing for myself and others.
I went back to school dreaming of becoming a doctor. By my third undergraduate year I applied to and was accepted into Columbia University's Masters in Physical Therapy. Two more years of school and I could treat patients, teaching healing movement.
In the spring of 1996 just before entering Columbia University I took my first Ashtanga yoga class with Beryl Bender Birch and fell in love with the practice. It answered all my physical needs to be challenged and it quieted my mind.
The summer before graduate school I took a job at Omega Institute, a holistic learning center in Rhinebeck, NY. Beryl showed up the first week and I took a one week workshop with her. I was earning $50 a week but thrilled to be free and passionate about yoga and what it could do for me and for others.
Over the next two years I practiced yoga in my dorm room thirty stories over the Hudson river and at Jivamukti on 2nd Ave. I studied anatomy and the body and drew pictures of yoga poses with the muscles, bones and nerves exposed to learn the systems of the body and how yoga postures fit in. I took workshops with every Ashtanga Yoga practitioner I could and kept loving and learning more and more about the practice and myself.
After graduation I practiced Physical Therapy full time and taught one yoga class during the week. Gradually the balance shifted. I thought and communicated better as a yoga teacher, and that became my focus.
I was teaching in NYC, Queens and Long Island. I met a good friend on a yoga retreat in Mexico. He invited me to teach out on Long Island, at his house in Orient. I had never been that far east but as soon as I drove over the causeway I was hooked. Eastern Long Island is clean and green and the air is fresh off the water.
The first class was packed and I realized the East End needed a yoga teacher. I opened Stirling Yoga in 2002 and gradually starting seeing more and more Physical Therapy clients, but always with a yogic orientation.
I still commute into NYC once a week, teaching yoga as a physical therapist with Dr. Robert Schulman MD, and with private clients. So it's teaching yoga as a physical therapist....or is it practicing physical therapy as a yoga teacher?
The studio and my love of the practice continue to grow. Last year I received some great instruction from Gary Kraftsow and Baba Hari Das at Mt. Madonna in Monterrrey, California and I am fortunate to be able to teach and learn from so many wonderful students and friends.