I had the pleasure of asking Sara a little about her practice and teaching history. Sara S teaches on Tuesday mornings at 10:30am, then the lunch class at 12:15, and again on Saturday at 9:00am. Hope this brings inspiration!
* What made you step into your first yoga class?
I first approached yoga from purely a fitness point. I had just moved to NYC after college and needed a new regular form of exercise but was definitely not a ‘gym person’. I attended a variety of group classes, hoping to find one that I liked enough to make a part of my daily routine. The yoga classes I attended caught me completely off guard as I fell in love with not only yoga as a form of fitness, but as a art that brought a sense of clarity and happiness to my life.
* How has your practice changed since then?
My practice has changed a lot since my first class and continues to evolve to this day. From first being a physical practice, it grew to encompass my spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Now as a teacher my practice is about discovering how to share these blissful feelings with others.
* When did you realize that getting your teaching certification would be the right fit for you and where did you complete your training?
I set a goal to become a teacher after several years of practicing on my own and with various teachers of different yoga backgrounds. Yoga became such a big part of my life that I wanted to help others experience all of the wonderful benefits, both physically and mentally. I attended Joschi Yoga Institute in New York City for my 200 hr certificate and Nosara Yoga Institute for my 500 hr certificate.
* I hear that inversions are very beneficial to the body, could you explain why?
When you have your heart above your head in an inversion, there are an endless number of physical benefits: improved lung function, strengthened heart, stimulated thyroid, boosted immune system, and improved focus and alertness. However one of the best benefits is the improved mental power that combats depression and instantly lifts your mood.
* What pose do you find most difficult and what do you recommend when your student faces the same difficulties?
I always find Lotus Pose very challenging. My legs just do not easily move into that pose and the few times that they have, they’re not easily undone. I have to remind my self in this pose that despite the physical difficulties, there are benefits and things to learn. My recommendation to anyone in a difficult pose is to use it as a practice in finding ease, contentment, and breath. When poses are physically unpleasant it is just an opportunity to mentally expand.
* I see from your website (sarahstudebaker.com) that you are also a health coach with a heavy focus on nutrition, could you speak about how these two areas of wellness go hand in hand.
Yoga and nutrition go hand in hand no matter what style of yoga you practice or what diet you enjoy. It is challenging to practice yoga and not pay attention to what you are eating. They are both tools we can use to mindfully care for our bodies and our health.
* What is your favorite go to recipe that takes little ingredients and time?
I often throw together meals with leftover vegetables, whole grains (usually brown rice or whole grain pasta), and a pre-made sauce (pesto, curry, or simple garlic and soy sauce for a stir fry). This is something that is so easy and can be done with whatever vegetables you have on hand and any sauces that suit your individual tastes.
What do you like most about East Side Yoga?
I love the variety that ESY provides. From the themes of the classes to the teacher’s backgrounds to the special events, I’ve never had the same experience there twice.