Stephen McManus is a meditation and yoga teacher, and director of Three Jewels in New York City, a studio which integrates yoga, meditation and Tibetan Buddhism. He was originally introduced to yoga and meditation by his mother as a child, and returned to it as an adult as a way to cope with anxiety and stress. Clay Hamilton interviewed Stephen in autumn 2019.
Briefly describe yourself as a meditation teacher.
My entire life is woven around my spiritual practice. My partner and I run Three Jewels as well as teach there. There is no separation between work life, love life, and meditation life, and somehow we make it work really well. Three Jewels is an “Enlightenment Studio” that teaches yoga, meditation, and Tibetan Buddhism. There are a lot of different types of meditations within Tibetan Buddhism, but lately I have been focusing a lot on opening the heart and cultivating compassion.
How did you first learn to meditate and why/how did you become a meditation teacher?
I grew up meditating because of my mom, but I didn’t get serious about it until college when I used it to cope with anxiety. After college I moved to New York City and met Hector Marcel, who introduced me to Tibetan Buddhism. After practicing meditation more seriously for a couple of years, I did the Meditation Teacher Training at Three Jewels to go deeper in my own practice. But, as with anything that you learn, eventually you share it. That’s how I started teaching.