Tangkao’s first experience with yoga was 20 some years ago while still active as a dancer. Out of curiosity, he tried a yoga class at the legendary White Cloud Studio in New York. The class was taught by Ms. Hilary Cartwright and known back then as “Yoga class for Dancers”. Although many years would pass before he returned to yoga again, the sensitivity of the practice and attention redirected towards within left a profound impression on him.
In the late 90’s a severe back injury forced Tangkao to stop dancing and for two years he sought treatments of both Eastern and Western medicine without much improvement. He remembers clearly how one sunny afternoon, he sat down on the floor and closed his eyes, without knowing what he was doing he began to bring his attention and breathing to the area of injury and pain. Two days later, he noticed an improvement he had not experienced from any previous treatment. It was a revelatory moment and he verified for himself that the power of healing lies within.
In 2010 Tangkao took his first 200 hours teacher training in Shanghai, China at Yogi Yoga, a branch school of kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute of Lonavla in India. Upon completing the course, Tangkao was invited by the director Yogi Mohan to join the faculty, thus embarking on the ongoing journey of yoga learning and teaching.
As a yoga practitioner, he was first drawn to Ashtanga vinyasa style, advocated by the late Sri Pattabi Jois in which traditional yoga postures are linked together to form a sequence of postures and movements. This seemingly outward and intense style is exhilarating and when paired with a fixed sequence offers a meditative quality. To deepen his practice, Tangkao made repeated trips to Mysore, India and studied under teachers such as B.N.S Iyengar and Sri Sheshardri. However, the intensity and the repetitiveness of the sequence eventually led to injury after injury.
The fact that most yoga practitioners from the west (outside of India in general) have a very “unnatural modern body” as Simon Borg-Olivier describes, is rarely considered seriously. “One becomes stronger through yoga practice if one survives it” has become a painful norm. While the idiom “sukham sthiram asanam” is often spoken about, it relates mostly a seated meditative postures, rather than asana practice in general.
At that stage in his practice, it became clear to Tangkao that his yoga practice was disconnected from the yogic scriptures for it rarely served to create the yogic state described in these texts—the state in which the body is rejuvenated and the mind reaches a clear meditative state. The truth is that yoga practiced at that level differs little from common physical exercises such as sports and various forms of gym workouts.
In 2014 Tangkao met Simon Borg-Olivier, who has co-founded Yoga Synergy, a Sydney based yoga school with Bianca Machliss. Simon and Bianca are both physiotherapists and with their decades of yoga practice, learning and teaching, they made the incredible and daring connection between classical yogic scriptures and modern science and medical studies such as those by Neils Bohr and Constantin Buteyko. Through their hard work and research, asana practice found its unique and proper place in the yogic path and the applications of yogic techniques such as mudra, bandha
This experience changed Tangkao’s practice completely. Although already a yoga teacher trainer at that time, he was convinced for the first time of the value of Hath Yoga (physical yoga) practice and the importance of proper yoga teaching in order to deliver
At Morning Star Yoga, Tangkao worked closely with a small community in the rural, fire-threatened Northern Sierra Foothill. Working with an older age group, his teaching has gradually condensed into two fundamental
As a dancer and dance teacher,
As the new year 2019 begins, Tangkao has renamed his yoga school “ArtAnvaya” to better represent his new vision.
A former dancer and a specialist in 18th century Baroque dance, Tangkao holds BA degree on Dance Pedagogy and for many years trained in Jerzy Grotowski’s movement based acting techniques. The variety of his experience has creatively enriched his understanding of body movements.