TBY Teacher Feature
Michelle Fiore: The Path to Joy
Interviewed by Julia Jonson
Michelle Fiore’s love of music combined with her journey into yoga has led to a very interesting path in life. She’s a musician who plays the bass, the guitar, drums, gongs, you name it. Michelle is a recording artist, teacher of Tantra and a Kundalini Yoga teacher at Total Body Yoga. She explains Kundalini energy as the powerful creative energy that dwells in all of us. Kundalini yoga is a technology for awakening this energy. When awakened, it can help us to live in our fullest creative potential, supporting us in all of our hopes and dreams. Practicing Kundalini yoga is very healthy for the body because it works all the internal systems. Practitioners typically report leaving class feeling refreshed, renewed and revitalized. I had the joy of sitting down with Michelle and hearing about her life path.
J: I loved talking with you recently about your Midwestern roots and your musical background. Paint a picture of your journey to your yogic present through your musical past.
M: I found yoga just when I needed it. It saved me. I was young, healthy, had a great marriage, financial security, a successful business and all the material items I was told would “make me happy.” I was far from happy and this is when my soul search began and when I discovered yoga would lead the way.
As I went deeper into my own practice and into certification programs to become a teacher, my life began to change. Others around me began to notice an inner joy.
All of this led me back to my musical roots. I began incorporating my music into some of my classes, which elevated my own practice immensely. I saw it affecting practitioners too.
Yoga combined with music have empowered me to maintain things in life that both fulfill and fuel me. Music and yoga help to bring purpose to my life.
J: Andrew and I were humming along to the lovely sounds of you, and fellow Kundalini yoga teacher Carol Crawford, rehearsing recently. Tell us about being a recording artist with your band Preet.
M: I wasn’t even looking to start a yoga band, but life’s synchronicity's led me to become part of “Preet.” My yogic name is Puranpreet, fellow member Carol is Sahejpreet and band member Kitty is Sangatpreet, hence the name. The word “preet” in Kundalini yoga is one form of unconditional love. How fitting!
Our signature sound is a unique blend of acoustic guitar music that is decorated with celestial harmonies. The message of our music is all about going within (oneself) so that we can create more love in all aspects life.
We have performed at Kundalini Yoga Summer Solstice Celebration in New Mexico, which is the World’s largest annual Kundalini Yoga gathering. More recently, we appeared at the Midwest Women’s Yoga Retreat held in Wisconsin. We have regular events in various studios throughout Chicagoland and our CD “Celestial Essence” will be out later this year.
There are few greater joys in my life than sharing this music in combination with yoga.
J: There’s a huge theme of “sound” in your life ….
M: Sound is such a gift! I started playing the guitar when I was eight years old. Music always stayed with me. I completed college at NIU with a Masters in Music Performance. Every single time I perform I feel comforted, soothed and healed.
Whether I’m playing with an orchestra, harmonizing with friends around a firepit, singing on a Saturday night, or performing in a “Preet” event, music offers the magic of joy and connection for me.
In fact, the vibration within sound is so transformational that I have come to know vibration as one of the languages of yoga. It is so powerful.
J: You have so much education and experience teaching yoga. I was excited to hear that you were invited to start the process of teaching teachers. Please elaborate.
M: It has been a dream of mine to become a Kundalini Yoga Teacher Trainer, which will be my 5th yoga certification. It’s a dream that’s coming true as I’ve been invited to be a junior trainer at Spirit Rising Yoga (the main Kundalini Yoga training center in Chicago). I’ll be working closely with Shiva Singh Khalsa and Shabad Kaur Khalsa, who are my trainers. Both of them studied with the master Kundalini Yoga teacher Yogi Bhajan.
As the Latin proverb goes, “by learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn,” I know this will take my knowledge of the ancient teachings of Kundalini Yoga to a whole new level. While it will take me many years to complete my training, I’m committed and feel a great sense of purpose. I’m blessed to be fulfilling my destiny while helping others to find their own passions.
J: How would you describe your teaching style?
M: I consider myself to be a dynamic teacher. In a typical class, I will offer ways where the practitioner can expand their awareness around Kundalini Energy so they have the potential to have an experience in their very first class. That is balanced out with quiet moments so the practitioner can really “tune in” and listen to what is occurring for them. It is so much about simply raising awareness. When the student learns the capacity to work with intention, and then sets their focus on that intention, awareness is raised so much that it can expand!
J: In your opinion, why do you think yoga, in its many forms, has exploded in the Western world?
M: We live in a time where people are seeking. We want something more than our parents had. We want fulfillment on a deeper level. Yoga offers this. That feeling of peace, calm and clarity keeps us coming back to the mat. This inevitably seeps into daily life, and suddenly the toolbox is filled with tools to keep us uplifted.
J: Tantra is a subject that is very often misunderstood. I know you’ve gone through extensive training for this and your husband and you both teach the subject matter together. Why tantra, and how did you get involved?
M: Yes, I am a Certified Level 3 Tantra teacher, a process that took more than 3 years. My husband John and I have been together since 1990. In terms of our intimate connection, we got to a place where old patterns and habits were creating blocks to expanding our connection. Studying and practicing Tantra helps us to see and to break through those obstacles or blockages. The result has been better communication, more compassion and deepened sensitivity. And while Tantra is not all about sex, it has deeply affected our sex life too. When our intimate life is connected, flowing and prosperous, all else in life tends to flow more smoothly as well. Who doesn’t want more of THAT?? J
J: Tell us something we’d be hard-pressed to know about you, like a favorite pastime.
M: I love to watch football. Most people are stunned when they hear I'm an NFL fanatic. I’m 5’2” tall with a small frame, but I sure do know how to root for my team. When I was a kid I played football with the boys all the time. I can still throw a helluva TD pass too! J
Michelle's Teaching Schedule:
Sunday 8:00am Kundalini Yoga
Tuesday 6:30pm Kundalini Yoga
Saturday 4:30am Kundalini Yoga Sadhana
*Saturday, October 1st, Gong & Music Event: Good Vibrations