Philip Bender

philip bender
Every day I return to the body. It is the bedrock of my practice and source of my being and therefore of my best teaching. What a gift it is to be guided there by my teachers and what a joy to have the opportunity to encounter it again and again.
I first encountered yoga in a rehearsal room at Signature Theater, Shirlington, VA, twenty years ago...(continued)

I first encountered yoga in a rehearsal room at Signature Theater, Shirlington, VA, twenty years ago with a wonderful teacher named Mark Stevens. I was a member of the ensemble in Sweeney Todd and I distinctly recall director Eric Schaeffer wondering why his actors were so mellow before each Wednesday performance.

Today, after much seeking, study and practice, I teach yoga and meditation to facilitate greater joy and confidence in the lives of beginners and experienced practitioners alike. My humor is dry and occasionally irreverent and I’m not above tossing in a show tune. But above all I want to share traditional teachings in an accessible way and inspire students to connect to the wisdom of their own bodies.

An initiate of the Himalayan tradition, I currently find greatest inspiration from the work of Reginald Ray, the somatic lineage of Dharma Ocean and the vital sangha that remains after the organization dissolved in early 2020. A registered E-RYT500 and YACEP level teacher with Yoga Alliance, I teach weekly yoga and meditation classes at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Circle Yoga and Willow Street Yoga. I also lead workshops and retreats, as well as teacher trainings at Anne Arundel Community College and training modules at Blue Lotus in Raleigh.

In my yoga classes I connect movement with breath to draw students out of chronic overthinking and into the present, combining dynamic and static postures with attention to awareness. My work is influenced by the Viniyoga and ParaYoga traditions as well as Dharma Ocean, Buteyko breath training and other modalities. I am inspired daily by my students and family. And, from time to time, I am fortunate to have a chance to step onto stage again and sing.