Rolf Gates, a former social worker and U.S. Airborne Ranger, discovered yoga and meditation through a 12-step program he joined to combat addiction. Now, more than 20 years later, Gates is an author of yogic philosophy and one of the leading voices in yoga and meditation practice. He spends his time running a yoga studio and traveling the country teaching workshops and intimate sessions, all with the hope of instilling his passion to as many as he can.
This weekend, Gates takes his talents to the Yoga Joint South to lead three days filled with vinyasa workshops based on his latest book, Meditations on Intentions & Being: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga. He welcomes all who are interested — from the modern yogi to those with a new year's resolution to become one.
"Everyone is successful in these things," he says. "Whether you've had a few days of practice or more than 20 years, it's valuable for anyone in between. Being able to find the common ground between the two is the essence of education that I love."
The three-day workshop will add to what seasoned yoga lovers and meditators already know and build a foundation for those without training. He will touch on themes of stability, freedom, intention, being, faith, and flow.
"I want to take what people already know and use yoga to deepen their skills and abilities in terms of meditating," he says. "In general, yoga doesn't teach you anything new. It teaches you how to use what you already have and bring attention to new ways on how to use it."
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Gates puts it simply: For newcomers, his workshops can be compared to learning about technology from his children. "I might have a Mac and be able to do word processing, but if you know more about computers or phones, you can do so much more with it," he laughs. "Especially with photos, my children flip through all these filters I never knew existed. It's the same with yoga. People all over the country go to class and do poses, but it's about learning how to do it fully and properly."
Gates hopes to teach students about the power of holding attention and avoiding reaction, as well as getting people's feet wet about the power of practicing consistently. "It's about teaching people to be in the middle of life, without fear or control," he says. "It's about changing your practice and working on flow."
And for those who use the "I'm too busy" excuse to avoid yoga or any other health-conscious practices, Gates respectfully disagrees. "To the busy person, it's like putting gas in your car," he says. "You have to do it or the car won't work. If you don't take care of your mind and body, it won't function properly."
A Vinyasa Weekend With Rolf Gates
Friday, January 22, through Sunday, January 24, at the Yoga Joint South, 1850 SE 17th St., #303, Fort Lauderdale. Sessions are three hours long. The cost is $160 for the full weekend or $65 per session. Call 954-764-7744.