Stephanie weaves an eclectic blend of styles into her teaching: Vinyasa Flow Yoga, Core Strengthening, Zen Philosophy, Compassionate Humor and Ecstatic Chanting. She honors the tradition of Yoga, yet feels a need to embrace new understandings due to our Western perspectives. She feels our conditioning has led us to unconscious thought, speech and behavior patterns. From a place of fear, we have armored and built layers around our heart, around our True Selves, around our bodies. Guided from a place of love, she encourages unfolding and awakening by looking at ourselves and our belief systems very closely. Hatha Yoga has never been a path for the weak of heart, yet by trusting our inner strength, we can allow the awakening to bubble to the surface as we learn to go with the flow of life.
Stephanie received her first “wake up call” from God at the age of 20. She had dropped out of the University of California, Santa Barbara because of her questioning nature. She was questioning the purpose of a degree and wanting to know the deeper meanings of life. So she traveled: to Europe several times and around the US. She was living high in the Rockies when she broke her back in a car accident. It could have been fatal, no seat belt, snow storm, tumbling down a shear rocky cliff, broken glass, etc. Miraculously Stephanie limped away from the accident with only a fracture at T-12. Choosing self-healing rather than conventional medicine, she began practicing visualization, meditation, deep breathing and yoga postures. She thought she was just making it up, alone with her imagination and creative intuition. A friend gave her Light on Yoga and she realized it was yoga, and she was hooked. Only 3 months of rehab and she was pain free, doing backbends and everything!
She returned to her native Carmel, California and found Kali Ray in Santa Cruz. She also began intensive meditation trainings at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Both Kali’s TriYoga influence and zazen transformed Stephanie’s world. She replaced boredom with mindfulness, laziness with body awareness and judgment with acceptance. These changes inspired her to begin teaching at her local high school. This first year of intensive study, both yoga and zen, laid the foundations for her development as a yoga student, zennie, and yoga teacher.
Craving the deeper philosophical aspects of Zen and Yoga, she returned to UCSB. She graduated with a BS in Eastern Religious Studies, where she studied the Upanishads and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, as well as major Buddhist texts. She also taught Yoga at UCSB as well as the Santa Barbara Yoga Center. She wanted to teach philosophy to high schoolers. But that fell to the wayside as yoga’s roots wrapped deeper around her heart.
Stephanie feels so blessed to have lived in southern California during the early 1990’s, when Erich Schiffman, Rod Stryker, Sarah Powers and Bryan Kest were just ripening into their own glory. After years of Vinyasa flow yoga, she entered Peter Sterios’ class of Iyengar yoga. He was so gentle and playful, Iyengar yoga seemed an important compliment to her flow style. Then she studied with Rodney Yee. He challenged her relationship to asana in new and profound ways. These two men helped Steph to return to the foundation of the asana, with detail and precision. They have all been very strong role models for Stephanie, and continue to be. Anatomy began to take on new light and going to massage school seemed a completely natural companion to teaching yoga. It was there she met her husband Sunny and after a year, they were pregnant. Not wanting to raise a family in southern California, they moved east to Asheville, North Carolina.
Intending on a home birth, Stephanie got her second “wake-up call”. This beautiful baby boy was stillborn. He died of a heart-attack in labor due to an enlarged heart. Even open-heart surgery wouldn’t have saved him. Thanks to Zen training, Yoga and Vipassana training, Stephanie and Sunny moved through this Dark period by being completely present with the grief. They lovingly let go of their son whose heart was too big for humanity. Sunny named this first son, Tree, after which all his brothers are named after. Six months later they birthed a Yoga Center. One year later, they home-birthed Samson Oak Forest Keach. Three years later, they home-birthed Duncan Tyler Sequoia Keach, then another three years later they home-birthed Tobe Coyote-Willow Keach.
Stephanie teaches weekly at the Asheville Yoga Center. In addition to running several teacher training and certification programs a year, she also travels around the US and internationally conducting workshops and trainings. She has produced the Flow Yoga video series. With the loving support of her beloved husband Sunny, motherhood is her biggest and best yoga practice.
Stephanie’s Website: www.stephaniekeach.com
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