Awareness Practice

What is Yoga?

The word and practice of yoga has many meanings.

The way I was taught initially is that yoga means to yolk, or union. As a teen I understood it to mean that the practice helps us to recognize that the personal “I” and the universal “I” are inseparable. I still hold that understanding in a way, but I would say more succinctly that the illusion of their separateness has never been.

The practices of asana and pranyama were designed from the get go to calm the fluctuations of the mind by increasing awareness, and to make the body more supple, flexible, strong and balanced.  These thereby prepared one for meditation. Being wholly engaged in thought patterns and the usual subsequent arising of emotions is considered the height of distraction and a barrier to awareness or realization. When the mind is quiet it is far easier to see things as they are, rather than succumbing to typical thinking and feeling habits.

When we practice asana and pranayama together, meaning the body and breath are moving in unison, automatically the mind and awareness are more relaxed and open.  You could say the three are then more aligned and the practice becomes therefore meditative. This conscious harmonizing of body, breath, and mind has a great power in it.

Yoga - Headstand - Tanya Roland

I like to start from the point of view (with myself and with students) that everything is possible and that our limitations are generally temporary. I encourage people to feel/face their inner boundaries within the microcosm of the body, and to learn how to relate to them in a gentle and direct way. This regularly leads eventually to a softening and often a collapse of the barrier so that there is far more freedom. When this becomes a typical happening our confidence grows, and the leap to other realms of our life can be a result. There are also other potentially numerous beneficial by-products of the practice which are widely advertised.

Yoga - Tanya Roland

Tanya’s Yoga History

My mom started doing yoga in the 60s, so as a child I would just imitate what she was doing on her blanket on the floor. Somewhere I have a photograph of this.

I was always quite physically inclined and was drawn to gymnastics once I got into jr. high school. When I was invited to come to the ashram at 15 with my mom and aunt, that was it. I went to it like a fish to water and went a few times in the ensuing years with my mother and then later without her. I started teaching almost right away. My dance teacher in high school knew that I was practicing so she asked me to share some asana with the class.

After graduation from college the first thing I did was get training as a teacher and I joined the organization that I’d been learning from then for about 7 years. While the whole ashram life on some level worked for me, on another it didn’t so I went back home after about 8 months and went to work in the film industry.

I kept practicing, teaching and taking classes here and there when time would allow. I kept that balance until the early 90s when I decided I wanted more training and wanted to focus more of my life in the yoga world. I taught and co-owned a popular yoga studio for some years and then left the area to focus primarily on meditation. That foray lasted for 8 years, after which I came back and have been teaching primarily small classes and privates since then.

Private Instruction

Tanya offers private, in-home yoga or painting tutoring locally.
For inquiries email Tanya at