Hey East Side Yogi’s! I’m putting each one of our ESY teachers under the spotlight to answer some questions I’ve put together to tell us more about their personal story, and to drop the knowledge on some general yoga inquires. Hope you enjoy! ~ Jaime
Lets start Sarah Smazal. She is currently teaching Wednesday at Noon and Friday at 5:30pm.
* What was it that first attracted you to yoga and inspire over 900 hours of yoga and yoga therapy training?
Love! When I started to realize that everything I needed to know or access was available inside, I dedicated myself to exploring this inward journey which for me,always leads back to love. Like a challenging yoga posture, this path back can be messy and it isn’t easy. The asana or the postures themselves are not the practice but rather a tool, an extension that leads to the essence of yoga: union, connection. My yoga teacher and yoga therapy trainings were inspired by a yearning to experience my body as a doorway to deep and universal truths. I learn to remember the essence of my being and the oneness that exists in all things. Teaching for me is just a way of sharing that great love.
* Your quest for knowledge is invigorating. As a student I am always learning new things from your class. What is something you have learned recently?
Cool! I’m always learning new things from students as well, the difference between giving and receiving is paper thin. Right now, I’m learning to remember that I don’t need to know. It is the mystery of life that makes the journey so rich. Trust, surrender, all of that seems to resurface again and again. Just being is enough. The “universe” or whatever source you identify with sends us very simple messages: be love, let go, we are one. Im always learning how to surrender resistance and the tendency to complicate. I’m learning that being in the flow of love is to trust that life is given freely to everyone.
* What should I do when an emotion such as fear or anger comes up while in a pose and why does this happen?
I imagine somewhere inside you know just what to do. If you are open to exploring such experiences, I would simply suggest you see what it would be like to consider your body as a wise teacher with emotions like fear and anger being one of it’s expressions…what would it be like to pause and listen, to honor what’s happening instead of trying to fix or change it. In my experience, exploring the relationship between physical and emotional qualities has lead me to great truths. I dont know why this happens but I do know that the body is intelligent and trust that what it chooses to share is intelligent too. Listening in this way is a part of the practice of svadyaya (self-study). Knowing who and how we are in our bodies and our lives allows us to be of greater service to ourselves and our world.
* Why are we (as students) often asked to pick an intention to dedicate to our practice to at the beginning of class?
I like to think of intention setting as an invitation to manifest your hearts desire. There is not way I could know what is best for you or what you need to receive from your yoga asana practice. Cultivating an intention can be a way of honoring your own wisdom.
* If I’ve had an injury can I still practice yoga?
Yes, you can always practice some part of yoga asana as long as you are honoring your body and taking care of yourself, everything can be modified.
* What gives you the most satisfaction as a teacher?
Being a student. Teaching gives me the opportunity to learn more, to experience more and to tap into that great love.
* Do you have a favorite pose to teach?
Whatever pose serves you best in the moment, I like that one 😉
* What do you like most about East Side Yoga.
I love the authenticity infused into ESY. Steven and Elsa hold a strong intention to serve and it comes through in what they’ve created. I love being a part of a this loving community, it is truly an honor.