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Sandra Carden's yoga experience has embraced a wide range of teachers and traditions, in a way that is best described by philosopher Ken Wilber as "to enfold and transcend." Her varied Christian influences throughout early childhood allowed her to appreciate, in the early 1970s, the inclusive teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda. This non-dogmatic appreciation of the many facets of yoga was affirmed in her tutelage under Joel Kramer, and through the writings of J. Krishnamurti. At its inaugural session in 1974, Sandra and Field Carden attended the Naropa Institute, to study yoga philosophy under Ram Dass, and Buddhism under Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. Here she was schooled in Vipassana meditation. From these early influences, Sandra developed a strong commitment to embracing diversity within the wider yoga tradition.
Early on, Sandra studied with senior teachers of the Iyengar lineage. In the 1980s, she sought and embraced "meditation in motion," through the Kripalu movement, as well as with outstanding senior teachers of the Ashtanga system and other vinyasa styles. The 1990s brought a transcendent shift toward more therapeutic avenues of yoga, including her certification in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy and Svaroopa Yoga. Viniyoga and Ayurvedic studies were important additional influences. The first decade of the 21st century has brought deeper study of yoga history, philosophy and literature through Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D., at Sonoma State University, and with Cynthia Snodgrass, M.div., of the American Sanskrit Institute. Sandra Carden graduated Summa Cum Laude from Grand Valley State University, with a thesis exploring The Human Quest for Liberation.
To "embrace and transcend" is to take in deeply, embracing the experience as fuel to transform inclusively and from within, as the sphere of understanding widens. In that way, UNION/YOGA is still growing, unfolding, and transcending, as we all are.
Further interest in connective tissue and its living matrix as the whole organism led her to the study of anatomy through human dissection with Dr. Tom Myers. She continues to study the human organism and psyche and its role in a participatory universe through the work of Carl Jung, Mae Wan-Ho, James Oschman, Stanislav Grof, Ervin Laszlo and other inquiring minds.