Thomas Michael Fortel
is a longtime yoga practitioner/teacher, influenced by the Iyengar, Ashtanga, and Anusara styles of Hatha yoga, and drawing from his devotional experience in Bhakti yoga. He travels widely, sharing his love for yoga.
“In many ways, our whole lives are a series of doorways and passages into new or forgotten ways of being,” says Thomas Fortel. “Over time, the practices of yoga can create a softening of habits and patterns, a clarifying of mind, and a gradual opening of the spiritual lotuses (chakras). All of this can lead to an expanded field of awareness beyond our personal ego, and into a wellspring of life-force (energy) and our natural place in the ocean of consciousness.
One's whole being, starting from the physical body, can be refined and strengthened so it acts as a medium for the higher cosmic force. The system of hatha yoga was designed to transform the gross elements of the body so they can receive and transmit a much subtler and more powerful energy. — Hatha Yoga Pradipika (6th century text)
“Dharana and drishti are Sanskrit words that indicate a process of development in our ability for a depth of mental focus and concentration,” says Thomas Fortel. “It could be said that asana (physical postures) and pranayama (breath) are a foundation of yoga practice for the gradual healing of the mental, physical, and emotional bodies. Drishti is a yogic gazing technique that develops concentration; gazing outwardly and at the same time, the attention turns deep within.