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Brian Castellani at Funky Door Yoga Berkeley

Chronicles of being Castellani

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. –Nelson Mandela

I was born on December 17th, 1973, in Decatur, Georgia, at 11:35am.

I was adopted at two weeks of age by my loving parents, Edward and Hazel Castellani.  I have one adopted brother, David Castellani, an estranged adopted sister, and one half-birth sister, Vera Anne Stover.

Currently each of my family members live on complete opposite spectrum of the United States.  My Parents are in Florida, brother in Washington State, my half sister lives in Texas.

Luckily and quite self admittedly… almost naively, I have always been a “fearless” person.  Jumping from the roofs of houses.  Taking leaps in life, dedicating myself to lost causes and standing up for what I thought was right.   Some people are just like that, I guess.  And then they move away from being forthright, become more apprehensive, are afraid of consequences and just keep quiet.  Things don’t apply to them, so they don’t make a decision.  Well… sometimes life deals you a hand you can’t avoid, so you find out one way, or another.

December 4, 1993

On December 4, 1993, I suffered a head injury as the result of being beaten up. I flat-lined and was then revived, but then lingered in a coma for four days. When I came to, my eyes had crossed, I had trouble speaking, I had lost all equilibrium and mobility on primarily my left side, and could not walk unassisted.

I was at Harborview Hospital in Seattle for over a month doing physical therapy and speech therapy.  I eventually left the hospital in a wheelchair, later graduating to a walker, and then for some time after, a cane.  The doctor’s prognosis of my injury was devastating for my parents and friends, and it was probably one of the lowest points of my life.  We were told that physical rehabilitation would most likely be of little use, and even if it did help, it would be a life long process. They said that people with traumatic brain injuries have little to no hope of really significantly changing.

Life deals tough breaks, and in many head injury cases the situation is much worse.  How was I to know what would happen in the future?  How is anyone supposed to know, for that matter?  The doctors didn’t, and no one really can foretell the future.

Each Day Is A New Beginning.

I had never been in a position where my reality had been so altered.  There was nothing I could do but accept and adapt.  For 8 years I found myself off balance, quite literally. I practiced pronouncing words in a mirror for years.  (Even today, I will stop talking mid-sentence and start over if I feel I am saying it improperly.)  My eyes were crossed and my left foot would not “sync” with a regular pattern of walking.  For years, I couldn’t understand half of what people said to me. There was nothing I could do about it, and so I had to focus on what I could do.

(Later, it caused a “accept nothing at face-value” attitude that allows me to ignore most corporate blanket statements and engineered marketing)

What I could do was accept these things as part of who I am and move to a different place.   I have carried so much rage over the circumstances of December 4th and it’s effected me to such an extent, that for an the entire decade everything has the marks of the head injury shadow.

I worked hard to regain range of motion on my left side, to be able to walk without a cane and to speak again, but it wasn’t until I started practicing yoga that I saw the most dramatic results.

Yoga Changes Lives

I started yoga in 2006, when I first started working at Yoga Journal Magazine as a temporary employee. I was then hired on permanently, and my practice continued to flourish.  Today, with regular and consistent practice, I have seen huge improvements in my physical, mental and emotional abilities, in every area, but particularly on my left side.

I am now doing things that I never thought I would be able to do again…like regaining range of motion in my left leg, getting better with balance and (oddly enough, because I don’t wear my glasses when I practice) my depth perception. Yoga humbles me on a regular basis and I am constantly amazed by how my life continues to change. I would encourage anyone to start today.

It’s because of the profoundly positive influence yoga has had on my life, opening up the world to me again, that I have devoted myself to giving back to the yoga community I now call home.

In 2009, I left Yoga Journal

In 2009, I left Yoga Journal to chart my own course with Yoganomics. Yoganomics is an online resource bringing you breaking news in the world of yoga, and asking questions about our yoga industry some are afraid to ask. The intention of Yoganomics is to ensure that everyone has access to yoga, that individual teachers are free to teach according to their own beliefs and backgrounds, that individual studios have the resources and the freedom they need to teach yoga as they see fit, and that we something something something like this!
Yoganomics is a community tool that allows your yoga business more visibility without costing you money.

Yoga for New York

In just one short year

I decided to start Yoganomics mostly, in part, because I was so disturbed by the direction Yoga Alliance was asserting.

InfoTek group hired by Yoga Alliance (John Matthews & Lynn Bushnell for $336,325.00 for website work that was never started)

Pictured Above: Actual Picture from the InfoTek group website that was contracted by Yoga Alliance… specifically John Matthews & Lynn Bushnell for $336,325.00 for website work that was never started, or completed.

The Yoga Alliance 501c3 Charity

Yoga Alliance USA

Many of us in the yoga community felt that Yoga Alliance was setting themselves up as the official “regulator” of yoga teacher training certifications.  The reason why Yoga Alliance attempted to introduce mandatory state credentialing is because they know, just as most larger Yoga Corporations know, that medical doctors are already prescribing yoga to their patients.  Yoga teachers are getting paid for the rehabilitation of  hospital patients.  Insurance Companies are getting bills and paying them.
Facts Check:
Healthcare Based Yoga in the state of  Louisiana Profit and Loss

  • Amount yoga costs by the hour costs a Louisiana hospital.
    • $250.00 / hour
  • Amount a yoga teacher is paid for teaching yoga at the Louisiana hospital?
    • Answer: $50.00
You may not be interested in what Yoga Alliance but when you weigh costs as a practitioner who pays, or as a teacher who receives the payment, or you owns a studio,  you either show up and be present for whats happening or you will end up paying money for it later, and most likely to Yoga Alliance.
So now lets talk about the biggest scam in yoga that has to do with the certification of yoga teachers and yoga studio teacher trainings.

What is a 501(c)(3) corporation?

 501(c)(3) — Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, to Foster National or International Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations

I succeeded in changing an entire organization... what did you do today?

Yoga Alliance CAN:

  • Be the National directory for people who agree to the MINIMUM number of Yoga teaching certification of either 200 or 500 hours.
  • Yoga Alliance can in theory emphasize mutual respect, sensitivity and support of different yoga styles and traditions.
      • However, the fact is that Yoga Alliance did respond by saying that regulation was inevitable, to New York, Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri or Arizona.  Without any further comments to anyone… except to me.
      • In the middle of the Virginia Legal battle to stop the misguided Legislation of Yoga teachers and Studios, Yoga Alliance found it necessary to move from Virginia to Maryland.
      • Yoga Alliance now resides back in the original State of Virginia, using the membership dues to pay for both moves.
      • Sell their subscriber lists to other businesses and non-profits for profit that they don’t have to explain to you as a subscriber.
      • Pay money to other yoga corporations supporting their conferences.
      • Make FALSE statements of “setting the standards for yoga”
      • Avoid words, or commenting on things publically because that would make them accountable.

Yoga Alliance CAN NOT:

  • Represent yoga teachers or yoga studios in a court of law
  • Lobby on behalf of yoga studios or yoga teachers because of their 501c3 legal status.
  • Set Credentialing, licensing or minimum Standards of Yoga legally due to their 501c3.
  • Support localized yoga events that are put on by studios or teachers.
  • Legally set the “Standards of Yoga.”
  • Adhere to the traditional yoga principles as written in the Yamas and Niyamas
Why does this matter? Because what may have started out with slightly good intentions, has manifested into a completely useless certification that standardizes yoga at the lowest common denominator. 

Does Yoga Alliance actually perform Charitable Acts? 

If yoga is already being  administered and covered by insurance, then as a yoga teacher, why wouldn’t you want to qualify?  Do you know how to qualify to bill insurance agencies for yoga?  Do you think that a generalized education certification of 200/500 E-RYT is going to cut it, or even scrapes the surface?  NO – IT DOES NOT.
Yoga everywhere is suffering because Yoga Alliance alone is responsible for lowering the bar of yoga education.   They have created a false sense of certification that has been promoted by YogaWorks and other corporate entities.
I succeeded in changing an entire organization... what did you do today?

I don’t want to end Yoga Alliance – I want to make them better

I don’t want to end Yoga Alliance – I want to make them better… And I am making them better. Because of my efforts with yoga regulation and legislation and uncovering the facts from former Yoga Alliance employee Jeannine Frest, I have covered Yoga Certification and geared Yoganomics to help the Yoga Community understand the pro’s and con’s.
Because of my efforts, Yoga Alliance has changed business models and hired more employees to actually respond to the Regulation they created with Mark Davis.
John Matthews does not feel it necessary to divulge what Yoga Alliance does with their money, although he didn’t consider that I already know what they’re doing with their money, and that changes everything.
Because of the benefits I get from yoga, I try to practice yoga 4-5 days a week.  Feel free to drop me a line if you’re in town and want to go to a class.  Yoga has given me a worldwide community of people I love being around, and each person I get to meet, I always walk away feeling blessed.
© 2006 – 2014 Yoganomics®. Design & Production by Brian Castellani.
All rights reserved.
Brian Castellani Bowling
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