By Brian Jansen, BCPP, RPE
I had the pleasure recently of talking with Heather Principe, the Founder and Director of the Yoga Polarity Center, to learn more about their programs and her approach to teaching.
I served in the past with Heather on the APTA Board — I always appreciated how quickly and efficiently we were able to solve problems with Heather’s support. Heather stabilized group dynamics with wisdom, compassion and clarity.
She’s a true leader in the field and has touched thousands of lives. She has taught in NY, CT, Switzerland, Ireland, England, Arizona, LA, North Carolina, and Colorado.
Her school, the Yoga-Polarity Center, is one of the longest-running Polarity Training programs, having been opened continuously in the same location since 1995. “I’ve had an anchor in this spot a long, long time,” says Heather.
Located in western Nassau County, Long Island, the Center is easily accessible to many parts of Long Island, as well as Brooklyn and Manhattan via the Long Island Railroad.
The Center trains Yoga Instructors and Yoga Therapists as well as Polarity Practitioners. There is some cross-pollination between Yoga and Polarity programs as they share a common root in the chakra system.
Heather’s philosophy for learning is to hold shorter classes – usually one day every two weeks – with homework and practice in between. This enables students to slowly integrate the lessons and bring students into full mastery of the material over time.
The Center offers APP, RPP, and RPE programs. This year they have 12 RPP students, three separate APP Classes across three locations, and many Yoga Teachers and Therapists in training.
The center also offers unique elective courses, which Heather sourced primarily from John Beaulieu. They include Trance Counseling, based in teachings of Milton Erickson, as well as Relationship Counseling, which is rarely offered in a Polarity context.
Heather brings to her practice not only decades of experience with Polarity and Yoga, but also a background in Hermetic Philosophy, which was influential in Dr. Stone’s creation of the Polarity system. “My Great Grandmother was the Grand Matron of the first lodge in Scotland,” she says. “All my ancestors through my father’s maternal line were Eastern Stars and Freemasons. That goes back to about 1710.”
Recently Heather gave over management of the Center’s Yoga trainings in order to better focus on her first love, Polarity.
“I believe there is an essence that Polarity brings to us that is so ancient. It’s like this intelligence that comes to us from another age.” Heather understands certification and standardization to be necessary for our time, and also upholds the esoteric, elusive nature of Polarity. ”If we try to affix it in this age it’s going to lose its efficacy. We can’t make it a tamasic, fixed, stuck system. The nature of Polarity (or any tri-gunal organism) is not to be affixed.”
So she sees the Polarity community as being a good position with the Certification Council operating separately from the rest of APTA, and further supports IPEA, which is focused solely on community and education. These separate groups are able to co-exist and effectively support the Polarity community each in their own ways.
Outside of Polarity Therapy, Heather has been influenced by Native American wisdom and shares it with others. “Mostly my embodied understanding comes from my work with the Native Americans. I do something called The Journey of Thirteen Moons. I have people come to my house every new moon and I teach them around the fire. It’s not Polarity, and it’s not Yoga; it’s what I learned with my Native American teacher … It’s very simple natural-world phenomena and understandings. We work with the drum and we work with song… with the circadian rhythms and the seasons.”
Whether working with Native American, Hermetic, Yoga, or Polarity teachings, Heather acts as a “journeywoman of old ways, weaving an understanding of the human body and mind to go beyond what we have separated in our world, to bring it back into oneness.“ This ability to resolve polarization and return to unity is something that “we can access at any moment… to heal a hundred years of pain in one moment, or a hundred years of damage in one moment.“