Happy Healthy Humans

Kurt Johnsen

American Power Yoga Founder and Instructor

kurt headshot 300x300 Kurt Johnsen My introduction to yoga training began in 1981, while studying with Dr. Spencer, a true renaissance man with a PhD in Theology 15 200x300 Kurt Johnsenand Philosophy, an ordained Minister, an English professor, a magician, and a lifelong practitioner of yoga. Over the next two years, I trained with him in deep meditation, then dream yoga, and then out-of-body travel. In retrospect, I realize that these were some of the most advanced forms of yoga and though it is odd for a person to start with such advanced techniques, it is also what gave me a lifelong passion for pursuing the possibilities of self-exploration and yoga.

During that time I also began training in Tai Chi Chuan. Although it is not a traditional school of yoga, it teaches one to use breath and movement to build internal energy, chi or prana, to clear energetic blockages from the body as well as to clear and focus the mind.

In 1994, I began my training with Roger Stainbrook in the Lightning Fire Mountain System of Tibetan Kung Fu, and I still train with him to this day.

The traditional yoga practices found within the Lightning Fire Mountain System arose from the Vajrayana teachings of Tibetan Buddhism called the Diamond Vehicle. Most of the physical training comes from lama yoga which has been used for centuries by Tibetan monks to maintain health and flexibility after long hours of seated yoga meditation and prayer.

In late 1997, I began to explore and discuss the powerful practice and principles of yoga with my younger sister, Jen. We did not know how much we would use it in the not too distant future. In January 1998 my mother had a heart attack and drifted into a coma while in my arms. This was the first time my sister and I recognized what a true yogic “pose” was. After the heart attack, Jen needed to see Mom and say goodbye but she had never been comfortable in hospitals and wasn’t sure she could make it. As we walked, hand in hand, down the stark hospital corridor Jen told me she wasn’t sure she could make it. We stopped and faced each other and there in the hallway of the hospital we discussed how to view this event as a yogic pose and how to use breath work so she would be capable to deal with the situation. She did and it made it possible for the two of us to say goodbye.

Later that year, Roger suggested I begin teaching yoga classes. I studied at the Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas and became a Certified Personal Trainer. I developed what I called “A State of Mind” Power Yoga and taught by donation in an extra room in a Therapeutic Center for two years.


In 2000, I stopped teaching and spent a lot of time in working in California. While living there, I had the opportunity to practice yoga with one of my favorite instructors, Bryan Kest, in Santa Monica. I also discovered Jiu-Jitsu, a martial art, which I blended with elements of yoga practice. I trained with some of the best Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the world including Brazilian Black Belts Anderson Conclaves and Fabio Iha and former UFC World Champion, Tito Ortiz.


After September 11, 2001, my sister and I longed to find something more meaningful to do with our lives. Sharing all the powerful tools we had found seemed to be the best thing we could do. So, with credit cards and a prayer, we opened The Whole Life Health Center to offer what we then called A State of Mind Power Yoga to as many people as possible.

I blended all that I had learned from so many amazing instructors and experiences with the philosophy and atmosphere my sister and I created and created American Power Yoga.

I continue to learn and train. I have had the pleasure of studying with some of the most well recognized yoga masters in the world today including Manju Jois, Beryl Bender Birch, Bryan Kest, Rod Stryker, David Swenson, Tias Little, Sean Corn and continue to train with my friend and mentor, Roger Stainbrook.

CONTACT KURT VIA EMAIL: kurt@americanpoweryoga.com

The APY Method

To achieve optimal fitness results, a variety of exercise concepts are necessary to keep the mind and body engaged and challenged. The APY Method is a revolutionary fitness program designed to create healthy happy humans by intertwining effective training methods with a lifestyle philosophy. Our combined collection of classes, offered at our Dallas yoga studio, will assist all in living healthier, and ultimately happier, lives.

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