Have you ever wanted to try Yoga, but didn’t want to go to a regular class because of
your size? Your age? A disability? Well, you don’t have to be thin, young, or flexible to enjoy the benefits of Yoga! Over 25 years experience of teaching Integral Yoga, has given Meera Patricia Kerr a unique approach to teaching students with a variety of health challenges.
Her groundbreaking video, Big Yoga Hatha 1, is helping plus size Yoga students enjoy this life-affirming practice through the use of adapted poses designed for the larger body. Meera’s Yoga students are finding they can lower their blood pressure, improve glycemic function, feel more energized and happy with the simple and effective Yoga postures (asana) and gentle deep breathing (pranayama).
Yoga has been proven to reduce the health risks of obesity, as well as contribute to a healthy heart lifestyle especially important to a patient recovering from heart surgery. Her friend and colleague, Dr. Dean Ornish, founder of the Wellness Institute and author of Stress, Diet and Your Heart, and Eat More, Weigh Less, says “Meera’s adapted Yoga is a perfect compliment to any cardiac rehab program. Her soothing voice and peaceful presence enable the patient to experience the relaxation response, and begin to identify how to achieve this state on his own.”
When Patricia Kerr left the midwest in the mid 70’s, she wasn’t exactly seeking enlightenment. What she really had in mind was fame and fortune in the record business, so she put together an all-female band, Ira Gobu. While woodshedding in Connecticut, the girls discovered an Integral Yoga center and began coming for hatha classes, and Friday night kirtan. One day their teacher, Padma, informed them that her guru, Swami Satchidananda (Sri Gurudev) was coming to town, and they were invited to meet him in a small private satsang at his home.
It was a meeting that would change her life. Patricia asked Sri Gurudev to bless her little band, and he serenely told her to “give the people something uplifting” with the music. After that, a series of events transpired, like beads on a mala, (rosary) all strung together: She went to a ten day silent retreat to be initiated by Gurudev himself, where she met her future husband, who then got her a record deal at RCA, where she recorded her signature ballad, “Water My Soul”, which she often sang for Sri Gurudev and his devotees.
He gave her the name Meera, the celestial singer.
A corporate purge at RCA left “Water My Soul” languishing on the shelf, but Meera continued to write and record while her interest in Yoga was flourishing. She took the Integral Yoga teacher training in 1978 at the Satchidananada Ashram, began teaching at the IYI in New York City, and got married.
A week after her husband, Les Alexander, left for California to produce his first sitcom, “No Soap Radio”, Meera gave birth to son, Sam. They moved to the west coast, where Les began producing movies. Two years later, son Dave was born. Although Meera was a full time mom, she continued to teach Yoga privately in her home, and when the boys were a little older, moved with them to Satchidananda Ashram in Virginia. For the next three years, Sam and Dave attended Integral Yoga school (Vidyalayam or temple of learning) where they had close contact with Sri Gurudev, and were taught in the yogic tradition.
One of the outstanding aspects of the Ashram was the Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS), an interfaith shrine designed by Swami Satchidananada as a spiritual home for people of all faiths. Meditating together every day at noon became Meera’s cherished ritual, and it was during one of those divine meditations that Big Yoga came to her.
Big, not just in terms of large, but expansive, inclusive, integrating all aspects of Yoga, including chanting, asana, pranayama, deep relaxation, Jnana, Raja, Bhakti and Karma Yoga, as she had been taught under the guidance of her Guru. It wasn’t until she came back to the West Coast that Meera actually started teaching Big Yoga. With Sam and Dave all grown up, Meera has devoted more time to teaching her unique class, which is an adapted version of Integral Yoga Beginners Hatha One. And now, the first of several videos has been released. Yoga can benefit everyone.