About Carl T. Vreeland
I stepped onto the spiritual path for one reason and one reason only—insufferable pain. As a young boy, I suffered from mental illness—specifically obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit disorder (ADD), anxiety disorder, and chronic depression. I did poorly in school and was socially awkward. Luckily, at age ten, I discovered a love for music and an ability to play musical instruments. This, in addition to a supportive and loving family, became my solid ground and solace. That is to say, without them, I would have likely wound-up in prison later in life.
Regardless of the success though, and irrespective of the fact that I was seeking professional help, my drinking, drug use, and depression progressively got worse.
Not long after music lessons and much practice, I started working as a musician. Indeed, I found my identity and a circle of like-minded people. Sadly though, I got into alcohol and drugs and later dropped-out of high school. Nevertheless, after a few years of ups and downs, my music career began to take-off. However, so did my alcohol and drug use.
I eventually achieved some success performing with artists such as Dion, Ben E. King, Lesley Gore, Gary U.S. Bonds, Little Anthony and the Imperials, and Connie Francis. I appeared on various TV shows like Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Regis and Kelly. And I had the pleasure and thrill of taking the stage at Radio City Music Hall, the Beacon Theater, and Nassau Coliseum—venues I attended as a young practicing musician.
Additionally, I turned to composing music and writing songs. Many of my compositions can be heard on TV shows such as Jersey Shore, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and the Dr. Oz Show. As a singer/songwriter, under the aka Uncle Carl, I released three independent albums and a digital EP. My songs can be found on numerous compilation albums and in such films as Graduation starring Huey Lewis and Trust The Man starring Julianne Moore and David Duchovny (in which two of my songs were included on the soundtrack album).
Regardless of the success though, and irrespective of the fact that I was seeking professional help, my drinking, drug use, and depression progressively got worse. I underwent psychoanalysis and probed the pharmacological world, which led me down a path of exploration and experimentation with antidepressants, anti-anxiety, and anti-seizure medications. And even though the experience helped me and broadened my understanding of mental illness and human suffering, I remained a depressed, disenchanted drunk. That is, until I came upon the Twelve Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous, Yoga, Buddhism, and Taoism, which transformed me. They provided me with the missing component in my life—spirituality.
And so, it should come as no surprise that I am now a Yoga and Buddhist meditation teacher. In fact, I have been teaching for over fifteen years now. I received my training certification at OM Yoga and at ISHTA, both in New York City, and I had the fortune of training with many wonderful teachers, including Alan Finger and David Nichtern.
As far as my lack of schooling, I got my GED and attended Empire State University, in which I received a Bachelor of Science degree. I studied writing, religion, and cultural anthropology among other subjects. I also studied poetry writing, lyric writing, and music at New York University and The New School in New York City.
I still perform as a musician on occasion, but presently, I make my living teaching Yoga and meditation. Teaching has given me the opportunity to deepen my knowledge about spiritual living, which began over twenty years ago, not long after I got sober in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Speaking at AA meetings and sponsoring other alcoholics has also helped me develop and refine the ability to carry the message of recovery and healing. Further, as a Christian turned atheist who discovered a spiritual way of living, I feel I offer a unique perspective on spirituality, religion, and God. In the end, it is my wish, that my experience, strength, and hope will help others who are suffering.
[Caveat: Carl speaks as an individual recovered alcoholic, not as an AA member or representative of Alcoholics Anonymous.]
Services & Resources
Join a Yoga Class
Classes are for all levels, meaning, whether you are new to Yoga or a long-term practitioner, you are welcome to attend. I design my classes to be challenging for advanced students, yet accessible to beginner students. I am on the mat through-out the class for those who need to see the poses and movement and I offer modifications and variations for newcomers and for those with injuries or limitations.
Watch My Videos
Watch my YouTube channel, 12 Steps to Heaven. I’ll be talking about addiction, alcoholism, depression, fear, anxiety, anger, mental illness, and the Twelve Steps of Alcoholic Anonymous. I am sober and sane because of the Twelve Step Program, the AA Fellowship, my sponsor, and the grace of a God of my understanding. On this channel I intend on carrying the message of recovery and sharing my experience, strength, and hope.
Listen to My Podcast
Close to the Bone is a podcast about uncovering the uncomfortable truth. There is no escaping the human condition—all of us must deal with fear, anxiety, anger, conflict, change, loss, and immortality. Every episode touches on the inside work, and offer insights, strategies, and tools that can help us improve our lives. If we truly want to create positive change, I whole-heartedly believe that we must look within.
Read My Blog
I plan to write a post at least once a month about my thoughts, opinions, experiences and insights. I’m giving myself the freedom to explore whatever topics come to mind, whether that be art, religion, politics, parenting, romance, sex, money, diet, exercise, or what it was like being a touring musician for over thirty-five years. My intention is to provoke thought, strike a chord, and of course be helpful.
In addition to announcements, you will also receive a complimentary pass to join an upcoming streaming yoga class when you sign up for the newsletter.
Read Reviews by My Students
"I have practiced various styles of yoga on and off for years in many different studios. I find myself extremely fortunate to be a student of Carl's. He combines his mindful meditation with a beautiful vinyasa flow. His classes are always challenging and you leave feeling grateful, connected and at peace. Carl has an ease and energy about him that is rare. I tell everyone I know to experience one his classes is a blessing."
"We've been fortunate to know, work with and learn from Carl for the past 5 years as a yoga teacher, mentor and trusted friend. The practices of yoga and meditation have had such a profound impact on Carl's own life, and he is both adept at teaching them and dedicated to sharing them with his students. Carl was instrumental in building up the vinyasa program at the studio and he has a devoted following of practitioners, us included! Carl is attentive and intuitive as his creative classes seamlessly weave interesting music, stories and humor; his classes touch well beyond the physical practice of yoga. In all things, Carl demonstrates a depth of commitment both to his students and to these practices. We are incredibly grateful for Carl's dedication, commitment and presence at our yoga studio, and we look forward to many more years together."
"I met Carl Vreeland back in 2010. I was interviewing Yoga Instructors to work for me at Apogee in White Plains. I was immediately drawn to Carl and his easy going vibe. He is the kind of person and instructor who draws people in due to his compassion and open manner. As an employee, I never had to worry whether Carl would make the long journey from the city to teach, he was always there for his students. Once I moved away from Westchester and Apogee closed, Carl and I kept in touch with each other via Facebook. This is where I first heard him sing and play the guitar. I was blown away. I asked him to video himself more on Facebook as his artistry was soulful and calming and got me through some of the most difficult days during the 2020 pandemic. Carl is a joy to know and I consider myself lucky to have been able to remain his friend."
"I have been practicing yoga asana for eleven years, most of that time practicing five to six days a week. I have been through many hundreds of hours of yoga teacher trainings, including three trips to India, and taught yoga in Arizona prisons for 2.5 years. Carl is a gifted teacher, possessing great attention to alignment, recognition of the personal ability and needs of each practitioner, a sense of humor, and a strong personal yoga practice. Good teachers like Carl push their students to new heights all the while being careful to prevent injury and bad yoga habits. It is no wonder many are eager to attend Carl's classes."
"I’ve started my day several times a week for a number of years at Carl’s class, and I wouldn’t miss it for anything. His calm and focused demeanor creates an environment where awareness and engagement combine to build an increasingly strong yoga practice. Carl’s classes have let us progress in the basics while offering an opportunity to attempt new and more challenging poses. Carl’s adjustments to a pose are always helpful, and his skill can be seen in the deepened and more assured practice of our entire class. In addition, an unexpected plus to Carl’s great flow class has been his introducing the class with a brief meditation."
"Looking to take a yoga class from a highly qualified, professional and caring teacher? Carl’s classes are the perfect mix of form, breathing, challenge and encouragement. After three years I find myself stronger, more flexible, proficient and peaceful. You can’t get any better than that! Do yourself a favor and take one of his classes, you will feel at once renewed, strong and confident."
Thank you for your interest in connecting. If you’d like to chat about my work or inquire about a service, please feel free to contact me.
Tri-State Area (NY, NJ, & CT)