Feathered Pipe Roots - A Mystical Intersection of People, Place & Spirit
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Feathered Pipe Roots: A Mystical Intersection of People, Place & Spirit

The fabric of the Feathered Pipe is woven of a profusion of radiant threads of place, people, and spirit – all intersecting in sometimes unexpected ways, creating a wellspring that fostered and continues to nurture prescient souls in the communities of yoga, meditation, and personal growth. Beginning as the Holistic Life Foundation in the early 70s, Feathered Pipe Roots traces the other-worldly history and interwoven tapestry of one of America’s oldest and most revered institutions in the world of  yoga.

India Supera: Miracles & Crazy Wisdom

During the Nixon years I decided that living in America might bring about bad karma, and I could not cope with the ramifications of an event like Vietnam. So I decided to travel and find a spiritual teacher, to retreat to a cave someplace like in the Himalayas, and pray until the world changed (possibly a long wait). Finding a teacher or guru was no easy task. I had already been sick and near death for almost a year in Pakistan and had walked another year and a half around India looking for a guru. I was ready to give up and return to the USA, get a job at the phone company and settle into oblivion. But fate decided differently. READ MORE

Guiding Light: Liam O’Gallagher & Bob Rheem

More than three-quarters of a century ago, a young and adventurous Liam O’Gallagher, who played a pivotal role inspiring Feathered Pipe’s evolution over the past 45 years, took a chance and hitchhiked from his home in the Bay Area out into the Mojave Desert to pay an unexpected visit to the writer, Aldous Huxley. He knocked on the door and was welcomed in by Mr. Huxley’s wife. That conversation between Liam and Aldous Huxley catalyzed Liam’s life-long exploration in creative expression and conscious evolution through art, culture and societal transformation. READ MORE

Genesis 1972: Feathered Pipe Visions

During the first summer I spent at the ranch in 1972, when Jermain Duncan was still alive and before we found out how sick she was, we took a trip to California. Our plan was to go to Arizona to look for another property so we could have our think tank year-round. First, though, we went to San Francisco to visit friends. It was blissful to be surrounded by all of the interesting people that Bob Rheem and Liam O’Gallahger, both visionaries within the counter-culture movement of the late 50s and 60s, introduced us to. READ MORE

Visionary: William “Golden” Staniger

We were living in San Francisco and had planned to get a place in Arizona to do a summer workshop. We decided one day to go and listen to Dr. Chaudhuri of the Institute for Asian Studies speak at a nearby church in Pacific Heights, San Francisco. We were sitting on the front porch steps of the church after the lectures, when William Staniger, later Golden, recognized me from our time in India together. On the steps of that church William came over and said, “Hi. Aren’t you India Supera? We met at Sai Baba’s.” And that was the beginning of all the work we did. READ MORE

Solid Gold: Tom Ryan & Heidi Goldman

Heidi was meant to be house sitting for Ike and Judith Lasater when they came up to teach our first yoga workshop in 1975, but had gone off to physical therapy school back east leaving Tom Ryan, her then boyfriend, to house sit. When Ike and Judith arrived home in California, they called and said they had just met the most amazing man, Tom Ryan. Ike felt that he would make a perfect caretaker for the Ranch. Even though they didn’t know him they did not seem to care as Tom repaired everything in their house. READ MORE

Laughing Water: Feed Your Mind

Laughing Water, who was still known at the time as Paul Superak, was originally brought to the Ranch by Judith and Ike Lasater, as LW and she had been roommates in college. He came as the cook for the first real workshop in 1975, which featured Judith Lasater, Gisele Fitch, and Felicity Hall who is now known as Felicity Green. He was the only cook, while everyone in the group helped out with everything else. It was just expected that if you wanted to eat or have a clean yoga space that you had to make it happen. READ MORE

Summer of ’75: Our Beginning

We started the summer with just the group of us, Laughing Water, Tom Ryan, Heidi Goldman, William Staniger (later Golden), Janice Paulsen and myself who had big ideas, little money and no work. Of course we didn’t know we couldn’t do it so we started promotion. The 1975 summer was basically us teaching whatever we knew. We had photography workshops with our neighbor Tom McBride. As well, we had "Basic Yoga and other Nice Things, Like a Flower Opening" with Laughing Water, and Heidi Goldman and myself taught what little we knew. READ MORE

Tom Ryan: “More Than A Job, It Was A Love Affair”

Andy Vantrease sits down with Tom Ryan, long-time Feathered Pipe Ranch caretaker, at his treehouse-inspired abode overlooking the Feathered Pipe property. With sun beaming through floor-to-ceiling windows, they chat about memorable Montana winters, unshakeable determination and mishaps turned magic in this mysterious circle of life. READ MORE

Heidi Goldman: “Yoga is the beginning, middle and end of my life.”

Heidi Goldman, member of the core founding group and former director of yoga programs for the Feathered Pipe Foundation, was hugely instrumental in making the Feathered Pipe Ranch an epicenter for the exploration and distillation of yoga in America. Here, Heidi reflects on the early days at the Ranch, where her dreams of bringing body and heart-centered teachings to the world were inspired and facilitated. READ MORE

Zipporah Dobyns: The Stars Above

Our first big workshop was 44 people with Zipporah Dobyns, the astrologer. I went to the old airport to pick people up, and I was late. The Helena airport was so small they used to just put the baggage out on the tarmac and the parking lot was a cow pasture across the road, except for the 8 cars that could park in front of the airport. READ MORE

Tuffy Ananda: How ‘Tuffy Ananda’ are you?

Many years ago, I had a black cat named Tuffy Ananda. All our cats continually killed birds, mice, squirrels, and other small animals...Now, many years later, I’m asking myself: are we like Tuffy Ananda? Do our actions flow from an instinct to kill each other, or can we begin to think and act in ways that spread good will, good thoughts and non-fear? READ MORE

Howard Levin: A Life of Service, Friendship & Hippie Dreams

In July 2019, Amy Stephan and Andy Vantrease sat down with longtime ranch manager Howard Levin in his one bedroom cabin, just past the Lake Tipi on the Feathered Pipe Ranch in Helena, MT. After quieting the Hindi tunes and shifting seats—away from the armchair that “wasn’t for sitting”—the questions begin. Here, Howard opens up about the past 50 years of travel, devotion and service. READ MORE

Dean Lerner: Gone to Feathered Pipe Ranch

"Gone to Feathered Pipe Ranch. Back in a week." was the message on the answering machine of George Purvis, an Iyengar yoga teacher based in Dallas, Texas. That was the first time I had heard of the Ranch.  Two months later, I found myself sitting in a welcoming circle with 17 other yoga practitioners, all with more experience than me, hearing about tipis and bears, and meeting our teacher, Dona Holleman, one Guruji BKS Iyenger's first western students.  READ MORE

Jananne Lovett: The Ultimate Earth Mother

Whenever I think about Jananne nothing but love comes up in my heart and head. Our experiences together will always live in my memory. We did a cruise in 1984 called “Into the Arms of the Goddess” which we nicknamed “Into the Armpits of the Goddess” because everything that could go wrong went wrong. READ MORE

Our Dearest India: A Life Very Well Lived

India Supera, 73, completed her earthly life in Helena, Montana surrounded by her loving family on October 29, 2019. After receiving a terminal diagnosis with bile duct cancer in July, she said she was filled with nothing but gratitude for the full life she lived and wouldn’t change a thing. READ MORE