Shar Lee began her Buddhist Meditation and studies in 1964 at the Zen Buddhist Temple in
Shar’s teaching style is experiential and nurturing. She instills confidence and self-discovery in each Apprentice she works with. At each retreat-training she teaches Yoga, Meditation, and Prayer focus in addition to Tibetan Cranial. This enables each person to enter a calm receptive state. This forum allows for Tibetan Cranial to be taught in its original Eastern style; non-verbal, tactile, and intuitive.
In the 1960’s Shar Lee studied yoga, Ayurvedic and massage therapy. She became a yoga teacher in 1966 and a massage therapist in ‘67. In the late 1970’s Shar began traveling around the world looking for healers. What she didn't’t realize was that she was building a body of knowledge for her own healing practice. “At first it was just my hobby,” she says. The hobby became her life’s work as she began learning from the wide variety of gifted healers. In between trips she studied and continued her own healing practice. She took a trip every two years, absorbing as much knowledge as she could find.
In every village she traveled to, she would ask for the healer, priest, or medicine person. The search brought her to the high Himalayas, South India, Nepal, Thailand and Brazil. She studied with several of the healers she found, building a reservoir of experience from which she later drew upon in her own healing work. In northern India, above Rishikesh, she studied in a mud hut with a man who was said to be 130 years old. In Brazil she worked with a psychic healer. In southern Brazil there was a woman who heard the music in plants and coordinated it to the music in her patients. And then there was the medicine woman in Nepal who bit her patients to draw out the “poisons” in them.
In 1987, when Shar was 38, she was in Kathmandu staying at a yoga center. As usual she asked to visit the local healer. She was brought to a Tibetan monk who was called, ‘Lama Dorje,’ He worked in a storefront, almost a garage, on the street in Kathmandu.
Every day 20 to 30 people were lined up outside his “office” waiting for
his attentions. He had one assistant who was not an apprentice, but more
of an attendant. There were two hard board beds in the office where patients
would be treated. He worked on one patient and then, while the first person
rested, he worked on the second person. While the second person rested
the first person would leave and a new person came in to fill the first
bed. The patients rotated through the room in this way from sunrise to
sunset. He worked on each patient for ten or fifteen minutes, kneeling
at the person’s head, saying little or nothing, just using his hands on
the bones of their craniums.
Shar knew, instantly and absolutely, that she must study with this Tibetan monk. She felt that her own healing gift was similar to his and that she could do the cranial work. Lama Dorje spoke no English. Shar knew no Tibetan. There were no translators. The “assistant” spoke a few words of English, but very little more than his master. Still, Shar knew that she must study with Lama Dorje. When she asked his assistant what other people practiced this form of healing, he said, “Master had many, many monks before Chinese.” From this she ascertained that Lama Dorje had been in a monastery where he and other monks had practiced the cranial work before the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet.
In the eastern tradition of asking for a teacher to teach, she placed
herself at his feet and waited for him to acknowledge her as his student.
She sat on the floor inside the treatment room from sun-up until after
dark, for three days in a row. She didn’t eat or go to the bathroom. She
only sat and watched him work and silently implored him to take her as
his apprentice. “Traditionally, you’re supposed to sit there around the
clock,” Shar says. “But I snuck out after dark and went back to the yoga
center and ate and slept. I made sure I was back in my spot in the treatment
room before daybreak.”
On the second day he dropped a human skull in her lap. “I was happy,” she says, “because then at least I had something to do.” She sat through the second and the third days studying the fissures in the skull she was holding and watched Lama Dorje manipulate the skulls of the patients on the two beds. On the third day he signaled to her to help him with the work, and she knew she was in.
Shar studied with the Tibetan monk for fifteen days, eighteen hours a day. There was only one break, at mid-day, for some broth and a trip to the outhouse. She began working with the patients under Lama Dorje. His teaching was blunt. When she did something right, he said nothing. When she did something wrong, he hit her. His teaching of the Tibetan Cranial work was non-verbal, tactile and intuitive. She learned by doing what he did and by observing the results with her eyes and hands and deeper knowing. The patients came for treatment for either five or seven days in a row and she observed progress in their healing over that time. She learned that on the gross level the work consisted of three main actions: 1. taking the pulses at the occipital, 2. moving the cranial bones in specific ways, and 3. “sealing” the cranium when the work was finished. Everything else was progressively more subtle and out of the realm of language.
After fifteen days, she went back to the United States. She planned to come back to Kathmandu to study with Lama Dorje, but six months after she left, she got word that he had died.
All evidence of the monk and the work seemed to have disappeared. Shar
traveled back to Kathmandu several times after Lama Dorje’s death looking
for other monks who practiced the Tibetan Cranial work but couldn’t find
any. As time went on the strong sense that she must find another teacher
of the work grew in her. She asked everywhere in Nepal and northern India
but there was no trace of the Tibetan cranial healer or his lineage. She
continued to search from America and on several trips east, but with no
results. Meanwhile, she practiced Tibetan Cranial on her massage clients
assimilating the work and continuing to learn from the basics the monk
had taught her. Over fifteen years she perfected the work, establishing
a vast body of knowledge and experience. She continued to wonder why there
weren’t any other Tibetans practicing the work. Every few years, she went
back to Nepal and looked for others.
Several years went by before she spoke to three lamas in Kathmandu who acknowledged that they knew of the lama and his work. The first one said to keep looking for another teacher of the work. The second said that she had already studied with her teacher, Lama Dorje. The third said she may be the only one alive who knew the work and she should start taking students.
Shar feels it is her dharma to pass the Tibetan Cranial work on to others and build the tradition that was nearly lost. Though she still holds hope for finding a Tibetan teacher or colleague, she admits that she may be the last practitioner of the work. In the past few years she has started to take students - tactile and gifted people she feels she can teach. She teaches without many words and with no text or charts. She feels that the work is authentically eastern and not translatable into Western ways of understanding. She believes that students learn the work better if they surrender to the style of teaching and working that Lama Dorje showed her. She has achieved much success with the work, including hundreds of people over the last 4 to 5 years who have had significant improvement from migraines. She has also had positive results with TMJ, tremors and seizures, Parkinson’s-like diseases and depression as well as sciatica, knee, elbow, shoulder complaints, and many more.
When asked why she never learned the lama’s true name or where his knowledge came from and why she doesn’t try to maximize or market the work, she says, “The work is ultimately anonymous. It’s typical that the monk wouldn’t put his name on it. In the east, healers don’t put their name on things given to God. Healing work is given to God and not attributed to any human.”
Shar Lee, CYI, has been practicing yoga for over 30 years and teaching
for over 27, both in the USA and internationally. Her classes cover a wide
variety of yoga related subjects including: asana of all levels, Yoga Therapeutics,
Anatomy and Yoga, Doubles Yoga, Ayurvedic Massage and Marma Points, Meditation,
Yoga Teacher Training and Certification, and Pre- and Post-Natal Yoga.
Her own studies encompass many different forms and modalities of yoga with
many of the senior yoga teachers world wide, including extensive studies
in the US, India, and Nepal.
Shar is a well known yoga teacher in her home state of Colorado. She is on staff as a teacher at the Rocky Mountain Institute of Yoga and Ayurveda where she is currently teaching "Asana & Anatomy", "Marma Points", "Structural Yoga", and "Yoga and Women's Health". She also teaches numerous weekly classes in the Boulder, Longmont, and Niwot areas to a wide variety of students. She also teaches private teachers classes and yoga therapy classes.
She is the former director of the Boulder Yoga Institute and The Hatha Yoga Center of Boulder and Longmont. Shar also is a founding member and past president of Yoga Teachers of Colorado and a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists.
Shar is familiar figure at the US based Unity in Yoga conferences where she has been teaching since the conference's inception. Some of her most popular classes there have included: "Structural Asana" and "Asana in Movement".
Her international experience includes teaching a variety of classes to students of all levels and other yoga teachers at various locations around the world. Some of these locations include Yoga Nigatan Ashram in Rishikesh, India, Lindrick Lodge in Calendar, Scotland, Patanjali's Yoga Center in Kathmandu, Nepal, and most recently the 1997 International Yoga Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where she taught Doubles Yoga.
In addition to her yoga classes, Shar is a co-author with Dawn R. Mahowald, CYI, of Doubles Yoga, A Manual for Two or More, covering doubles yoga, published in 1998 by Kriya Yoga Publications.
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