Contemplative Educator: Niki Gernold


My Yoga practice started at age16 to overcome pain due to a back injury. Over the course of the past forty plus years my Yoga practice ebbed and flowed and initially was done without much attention to the philosophical context and mostly following the first Yoga programs on television “Yoga with Lilias Folan” ,on PBS in the 1980’s.

When experiencing times of struggle and going through life transitions my practice again and again became my refuge. As I was facing unexplored territories of my mind, body and heart I encountered daunting and uncomfortable moments on my mat that led me to explore the wider teachings of Yoga. I realized that, despite the discomfort, I always emerged feeling more balanced, more connected and more alive from my practice particularly when I included breath work and meditation to my routine of postures. I started to approach my practice with more intention and awareness. I realized that it was there on the mat that I was able to cultivate tools that helped me navigate my busy and complex world as as a High school teacher, parent and active community member with more clarity, tranquillity and centeredness.

After many years of practicing on my own I was fortunate to connect in the mid nineties to the wonderful Yoga community of Healing Waters, and I began reaping the benefits of Felicitas skillful teachings. I realized and appreciated the value of continuing to learn and practice in community so much that I decided to obtain my Yoga Teacher certification from Kripalu Center, in Lenox, MA. so that I also could start to share the benefits of a Yoga practice.

As a long time high school teacher, I witness daily how teens are impacted by digital culture and the consequences of this new paradigm is of particular interest and concern to me. As both a Yoga and class room teacher I also witness the struggle of young people to fit a particular body image or consume a particular product in order to be accepted or feel happy and how that leads to symptoms of discomfort and anxiety.

As a contemplative educator I believe in the power of Introducing contemplative practices as tools that can help each of us to meet and cultivate our authentic selves with kindness and compassion. This path is something that I feel fully invested in and that I want to bring more actively into teenage education. I believe that contemplative practices can infuse the world with more authenticity .

I have been a a certified Yoga instructor for over a decade, a High school teacher for close to two decades and I have been an Instructor in the 200hr Yoga Alliance Yoga certification course at Healing Waters in 2012. I have participated in training courses in contemplative practices & Yoga with Paul Grilley, Erich Schiffmann, Sarah Powers, Pema Chodron and Gary Kraftsow. I completed a mindful meditation immersion course specifically for educators with one the pioneers of mindful meditation in the west: the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh in 2014.