February 8, 2021

45 Forward – Episode 5

Listen to Ron's Interview with Lesa Kingsbury and Ken Taub

Yoga and Meditation: Exploring Two Ancient Practices —Together

While the practices of yoga and meditation have been around for thousands of years, their popularity has surged in recent decades, as part of the ever-growing trend in holistic health, spiritual wellness and mindfulness. But there’s much more to these practices than increasing the flexibility of our aging bodies and finding occasional moments to de-stress our stressed-out lives. Lesa Kingsbury, head instructor at the Amba Yoga Center who has taught yoga for over 20 years, and Ken Taub, a former advertising executive who leads meditation workshops at the Amba center, take a deep dive into how yoga and meditation work together in profound ways. Lesa and Ken will explain the basics of these practices, as well as describe their personal philosophies and approaches. And they will venture far beyond the basics, offering insights and examples of how people of any age, experience or physical condition can benefit from both these practices—and stay with them for life.

Featured Guests: Lesa Kingsbury and Ken Taub

contacts: lk@ambayoga.com

                kenja@optonline.net

Lesa Kingsbury has taught yoga for over twenty years. Lesa is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance, and a Certified Yoga Therapist. She opened the first Amba Yoga Center in January 2001, where she is the director and head instructor.  Lesa’s yoga teaching philosophy is simple: address students at their own level, so that they can learn each pose in a manner and at a pace which offers them maximum benefit. Her overarching goal has been to make yoga accessible to all individuals who come her way.  Lesa works with people of all ages, physical condition, and experience. Over the years, she has done supportive, effective work with injured people and individuals with various illnesses, including arthritis, back injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis. Strongly rooted in the esteemed Iyengar tradition – in which she had the majority of her training -- she brings to her yoga practice a deep appreciation of form and function, together with a special attention to detail from her past career as an architect in California and Manhattan. During her two decades in the architecture field, she worked on projects for Disney, the Grand Central Station renovation, and Ellis Island, among others. She received her Master’s degree in Urban Design from Columbia University.


Ken Taub has had a keen interest in Eastern philosophy since his teen years, starting with Zen Buddhism. While still in high school, Ken  had brief but influential stays at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center near Big Sur, California and the Rochester Zen Center, in upstate New York, under founder and teacher Roshi Philip Kapleau — who, in short order, threw Ken out and made him complete high school. Ken did, and proceeded to study philosophy and psychology in southern California before switching colleges to get his B.A. degree in Chinese Studies at UC San Diego in La Jolla. Ken went on to a career in advertising, design and marketing, becoming the president of one small ad agency and then the associate partner at a second, larger ad agency. However, his interest in Eastern philosophy and Zen never diminished. In the mid-1990s he started going on retreats at Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, NY. He also joined all-day meditations out on the East End of Long Island with Peter Matthiessen, a renowned author, naturalist, and Zen Roshi, who was kind enough to provide a quote for Ken’s 2004 metaphysically-oriented memoir, Waking Up In America. Offers insights, personal travails, colorful detours and small successes in clarity and centeredness—a personal exploration of “the possibility of an earthy enlightenment amidst all the excess and stress” of contemporary society.  After a close friend requested it, Ken began leading multi-week mindfulness meditation workshops at Amba Yoga Center, beginning in 2003, continuing to do a couple of sessions most years, into the winter of 2020, when the pandemic hit.

Yoga Resources:

www.ambayoga.com Lesa’s website

www.yogajournal.com The latest on all things yoga-related, also a magazine

www.yogaalliance.com Great site to find yoga teachers

www.tricycle.org All things Buddhist & mindfulness-related, also a magazine

www.yogainternational.com Great website for online yoga classes & longer

courses, good for new students, experienced students and yoga teachers (note: Lesa has about 12 instructional videos on this site, in Community Partner section. Also, for a FREE 30-day trial, go to ambayoga.com, Online Classes sub-page).

Meditation Resources:

www.tricycle.org

https://medschool.ucsd.edu/som/fmph/research/mindfulness/free-sessions/Pages/default.aspx Mindfulness classes and information from Ken’s alma mater, UC San Diego

Insight Timer app. Versatile, easy-to-use app, free to download for guided meditations, a timer, chimes and gongs to begin and end your meditation session, courses, relaxation & sleep aides, music, 70,000 free meditations, and a global community

Books on Zen, meditation & mindfulness:

Nothing Special by Charlotte Joko Beck
Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Don’t Bite the Hook and The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron

Here is the link to an article by Ken Taub:


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