* Your bio on the East Side Yoga website says that you completed your 200hr training at the beautiful Kripalu Institute. What drew you to begin your study of yoga through their approach?
I was living in Massachusetts at the time and had been told by several friends and respected teachers that I would love Kripalu and should go. I was 22 at the time, and had only been introduced to Baptiste yoga, a very active and hot practice. I honestly had never heard of Kripalu and had never experienced a teacher with this lineage before. Those who really knew the method and were encouraging me to go must have known something that I didn’t because it was a blessing to land there. The whole Kripalu approach is based on the premise of acquiring self-compassion to become your best teacher. Since then, I’ve been incorporating Kripalu yoga in my practice both on and off the mat.
I’ve dabbled in a lot of different lineages and can say that I’ve been influenced by all of it. I recently took most of Christina Sell’s Asana Junkies series a few months ago and was very inspired by the intensity and dedication required to get through some of the sequences she pieces together. My teaching style is pretty much the opposite, so I was curious to see how I’d react to something so challenging. I liked that it brought up a lot of ego related issues for me and returned me to beginner’s mind. I think that’s important for all students to do from time to time. And of course I love all my fellow teachers at East Side Yoga and try to make it to their classes as often as possible.
Becoming a massage therapist seems like such a necessary step in my journey. I have a much better understanding of how our bodies are put together. It’s so much more complex than I ever imagined and I still have so much more to learn, but now I think I am better informed about how to help my students achieve better alignment and little tricks to help mend sore wrists and tight gluts, which we all suffer from every now and then. I see the postures in terms of how they actually benefit the physical body on a more specific level…like, what is a twist actually helping to accomplish.
Like I said earlier, I’m becoming more and more devoted to the practice of self-compassion. For example, when I walk through life I try to treat myself like I’m my own child. If I have a negative thought, I remind myself to be gentle. If I begin to compare of criticize myself, I bring my awareness to my breath and quiet down the part of my mind that is reacting to fear, stress, loneliness etc. My practice is like my own secret garden. It’s a retreat.
Expect to hold poses close to the ground for about three minutes. Expect also to come into slow and gentle movement to break up the stillness every so often. Yin is slowly becoming more recognized as an important and necessary form of yoga. It channels the feminine energy in the body, aiming to balance it out with the otherwise active forward moving yang energy. Expect to want to fidget and also know that it’s normal. Most people fidget in yin poses once they arrive. It can be uncomfortable to remain still, but the stillness is where clarity and spaciousness are born. The challenge is enveloped in doing something we are not naturally geared to do.
*Do you have a favorite pose to teach?
I think I must love teaching butterfly pose the most, or maybe pigeon. I’m really interested in the hip region and how it’s said to carry emotions and memories. I’ve had some of my own emotional releases from hip opening stretches, and so I’m always curious about my students and their hips. I might be a little biased because these are two of my favorite poses to practice, but I try always to incorporate them in my classes.
* What do you like most about East Side Yoga?
Is it too general to say everything? I love ESY. It feels like coming home each time I arrive. I love how Steven and Elsa are to deeply devoted to keeping the studio a very special place and making us a community. Their intention, I think is what sets the tone for all of us. Their hearts are so open and that energy just pours into the space. I also love the other teachers there and how dedicated they are. They inspire me. I want to be connected to East Side Yoga always.