Yoga Teacher Leigh Simran Brown teaches at Yoga at The Raven and is a licensed spiritual therapist at Agape International Spiritual Center . She is also the Executive Director of Office of Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith.
What inspired you to take your first yoga class?
In high school, I had a calling to practice yoga so I searched high and low for a yoga studio in DC in the 1980s. Literally the only yoga studio I found was a Kundalini Yoga ashram. I took classes (priced at a $4 donation) for an independent study in P.E. I landed at home in my own heart!
Who do you see as your mentors?
I am grateful to have had so many wonderful mentors; primarily Michael Bernard Beckwith, Tony Guiliano, Noah Maze, Ravi Singh, and Gurmukh.
What keeps you coming back to your mat?
The joy and freedom of living in greater and greater inner alignment for a more radiant outward expression of me and of my unique gifts and talents.
Where do you go in Southern California when you need to restore and recharge?
Joshua Tree and the high desert as well as to the Lucerne Valley to meditation retreats led by Michael Beckwith.
What’s been a favorite recent getaway you’ve taken?
Rythmia Life Advancement Center in magnificent Costa Rica. Raw, pure beauty, alignment in nature, great teachings, healthy clean, organic, food, Dead Sea cleanse, yoga, and bike rides to the beach for a swim. Heaven!
How do you start your day?
I start my day with hydration and a flush. I drink 4-6 glasses of water and take empty stomach supplements. Maybe a tea and sit in meditation. Then I have a smoothie or hot cacao drink.
What is an example of your power breakfast?
One is a Smoothie:
Almond milk with a large splash or two of coconut water
Pure Synergy (the original superfood) green powder
1 heaping Tablespoons maca
Sun Warrior pea protein or Gematria protein powder
Another is a Cacao Drink:
1/2 almond/cashew/or macadamia nut milk
1/2 rooibos tea
pinch sea salt
dates or honey
Do you have a go-to daily practice?
Yes, I always start the day with a 31 minute meditation and prayer time. Depending on the time in the morning, I practice yoga based on what my body needs on a particular day. I teach yoga onTuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings. I take classes the other days except on Sunday when I’m at Agape Spiritual Center.
What are some of the books you find inspirational?
Spiritual Liberation by Michael Beckwith
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda
The Kin of Ata Are Waiting For You by Dorothy Bryant
Are there some movies you have seen that have shifted your thinking?
Some movies which resonate with my thinking include The Matrix, Collateral Beauty, and Food, Inc.
Do you have a personal soundtrack of practice or house cleaning songs?
Journey Into Satchitananda – Alice Coltrane
Yuapunga – East Forest
Morning Yearning – Ben Harper
That’s The Way of The World – Earth Wind & Fire
Kiss of Life – Sade
Visions – Stevie Wonder
Rise Up – Andra Day
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away – Stevie Wonder
Lifetime – Maxwell
Truth – Kumasi Washington
Infinite Mind – Sheila Nichols
Way Back Home – Prince
One Day in Heaven – Michael Beckwith
Summer – Lupe Fiasco
Enter One – Sol Seppy
Leigh is wearing YW bra and active shorts by clothing by Yashel Athletic Wear. Photo at the Lotus Garden at Echo Park Lake by David Young-Wolff.
Felicia Tomasko has spent more of her life practicing Yoga and Ayurveda than not. She first became introduced to the teachings through the writings of the Transcendentalists, through meditation, and using asana to cross-train for her practice of cross-country running. Between beginning her commitment to Yoga and Ayurveda and today, she earned degrees in environmental biology and anthropology and nursing, and certifications in the practice and teaching of yoga, yoga therapy, and Ayurveda while working in fields including cognitive neuroscience and plant biochemistry. Her commitment to writing is at least as long as her commitment to yoga. Working on everything related to the written word from newspapers to magazines to websites to books, Felicia has been writing and editing professionally since college. In order to feel like a teenager again, Felicia has pulled out her running shoes for regular interval sessions throughout Southern California. Since the very first issue of LA YOGA, Felicia has been part of the team and the growth and development of the Bliss Network.