Zoha Vaezi is inspiring, this is her yogic journey.

IMG_5090.JPG

I had the fortune of meeting Zoha during our training at Lighthouse yoga School, almost two years ago. She is a great teacher and is a genuinely caring person and Yogi. She just came in 30th at The National Yoga Championship, which is truly inspiration.

 

Here is more of her inspiration for you:

 

1. How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching yoga for 3 years

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching?

I originally didn't want to teach. I fell into teaching because my sister bought a bikram studio, and I was managing the front desk staff and practicing everyday. It was sort of like my family telling me "you're going to teacher training now." I wasn't crazy about the idea but I went along, and I am glad that I did. I have learned so much from yoga, mostly about myself! So I would say the most significant thing Ive learned from teaching is self-awareness and self-love, and that is what I try to relay to my students the most.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

I have learned so much from other teachers. I believe a good teacher is a good student, and ALWAYS a student. There are so many teachers Ive learned from but I'll mention only two. First is Mary Jarvis (located in San Francisco), she healed her spine and has taught me  acceptance. Of myself, and of others, without judgment or condemnation. The second is Jared McCann (NYC), he taught me grace in the poses and patience.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I practice daily. Sometimes more than once. I love all forms of yoga. I prefer to do one vinyasa class, one bikram class, and one yoga conditioning each day. I love to practice while I teach too so I feel really lucky when I get to do that.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

All my students inspire me, as well as the yoga champions (USA YOGA). I see how hard they work and the struggles they deal with and I see how yoga makes a significant positive impact in their lives and their healing. Sometimes those that look like they're doing the least, are actually working the hardest.

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

I cannot emphasize the importance of practicing yoga for an instructor. So much of my instructions come from my own experience opening my own body, and the physical sensations I have. Also, it is important to be able to demonstrate the skills you are attempting to teach others. I have learned so much from watching, so I think that's key for people to see it done correctly, and also to inspire them.

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

The message I focus on the most is self-acceptance WITHOUT judgment, practice on yourself so you can extend it to others. I emphasize the importance of flow (breath, life cycles, etc.), and I also encourage the practice of strength (suck your stomach in). I would say those three themes are consistently present in each and every yoga class I teach.

 

8. Where are you currently teaching?

I teach all over! Sirius Yoga, Mind Your Body Oasis, Bikram Alexandria, and I also do yoga for physical therapy through Arlington county workman's compensation through Ace Physical Therapy in conjunction with Elite Fitness Concepts. I am located in Northern Virginia.

 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

The most significant impact yoga had on my character is non-judgment. Loving others as they are, loving myself as I am, and seeing the best in people, even when it seems impossible.

 

10. What has kept you practicing all these years?

I love seeing the changes my body goes through. Also, I see the senior women who have been practicing yoga and the youthful glow they emit is enough to get anybody into the studio.

 

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?

My facebook name is my full name: Zoha Vaezi and my Instagram name is @Zohayoga

Meet the inspiring Stephanie Acosta

Stephanie is full of life. I love the story of her yogic journey, it is filled with truth and beauty. She radiates and genuinely cares for her practice, those around her and the impact that she is having on the world. 

Her answers are truly inspirational, below!

IMG_5044.JPG

1. How long have you been teaching?

    It'll make a year in December.

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching

and what have you learnt from teaching?

    I literally fell in love with yoga instantaneously.I practiced almost everyday and I kept telling myself that I'm not ready, I don't know enough and that I'm too scared to speak to a room full of people. I remember taking a class at YTTP (Yoga to the People) I remember how friendly and real this particular teacher was and I thought to myself: hell yea this could totally be me.They started announcing a teacher training and I finally got the courage to sign up.

      The biggest thing that I've learned from teaching is self care. Its brought such a new found body awareness in me that I never had. As a student, I've always been a, "Push through it" kind of yogi. However, as a teacher I'm just like, "Girl take that childspose now!" It's liberating to be able to take care of yourself in way that simply feels good to you.

 

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

That you don't need to have a certain body to do yoga. If you can breathe then you can do yoga.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

    4-5 days in a studio and the rest is a self practice at home.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

  My 2-year-old daughter. She is the greatest joy of my life. She gives me so much life that it honestly makes me want to bring that energy into a studio.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

  It just keeps me level-headed. Its keep me cool, calm and collected. Plus it keeps me from not completely losing my mind when i take the subway 🤣

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

That the magic comes from within. The asanas don't mean a thing without the spirit and the breath. That just being who you are is always going to be enough.

 

8. Where are you currently teaching?

I teach at Yoga to the People in NY, Sunmoon Yoga in Jersey City, The Shannon Rose (Pints and Poses) 1x a mth(Nj),Yoga at Pelham Bay Park (Bronx), Yoga at Branchbrook Park (Nj) and I also teach privately.

 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

  I feel like i have come into my own the past few years. Diminishing all that isn't good for me has made me a calmer more clear-headed person. Which, ultimately leads me to make better decisions in my life.

 

 

10.What has kept you practicing all these years?

    I have such a passion for it . It seriously brings me so much happiness. A happiness that i can't even explain. Theres always something new to learn, always someone new to meet and the community itself is such a joy to be around. I have met some of the best people through yoga.

 

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name

 

@StephanieAcostaYoga

Ksenia Voropaeva lets us in on her yogic path... inspiring!

It is clear that Ksenia is passionate about yoga. However what is more endearing about  her, to me, is her demeanor, poise and posture. Being in her presence, her humility, determination and inner- peace is inspiring to me. 

Be inspired by her too...

 

IMG_4940.JPG

 

 1. How long have you been teaching?
2 years

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

I started teaching because when most things in my life no longer made sense, yoga made more and more sense. I was at a life/career crossroads, unsure of what to do, so I began to strip away the things that were no longer important and focus on what was. Yoga was one of those things and I wanted to share with others.

I've learned (and am still learning!) how to not take myself so seriously. Public speaking is intimidating. Leading others and sharing our truth is intimidating. Lightness and authenticity help. When we trust and share what we love we become a vessel for it to come through.

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

I'm lucky to have amazing teachers in NYC. They ALL inspire me to practice and teach because of the impact they've had on me.

One of the things I've learned in different ways from different teachers is that what we practice we become. Want to land a handstand? Practice that handstand over and over, and fall and fail, 10,000 times. Want to feel more connected? Connect to your breath to your body to your self, over and over everyday, even when you don't want to. Want to find purpose? Be of service.

We're always practicing something. Notice what that something is.

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I try to practice daily. Even if it's not a full asana practice, I make time for breathwork, meditation and mantra. It's the small changes over time (often through resistance) that make the difference over a lifetime.

5. Who inspires your practice?

My yoga community - teachers, students, masters past and present. My not-yoga life - friends, family, work, play. Everything is connected.Part of it is self-motivation. What can I do to re-connect to myself, to be more present, to be more compassionate?
And, another big part of it is surrounding myself with people who challenge me. If we're comfortable, we're not growing, and practice is all about growth.

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

Haha, for sanity. I used to practice as a physical exercise and mental break maybe once a week. That gradually increased to 2 times a week, then 3 times, then 4 times, 5 times and now daily. I noticed that I feel better when I practice, so I started practicing more often. Over time it became less of a decision to go do a thing, and more of a habit. It's what must be done so I can be my better self. Now I don't really think about it, I just do it. Yoga is sneaky that way.

7. What message do you like to spread by teaching yoga?

This is always changing as I change, but the underlying thread for me is that we are our best teachers. There is no right path, there is no right answer. It's our everyday life, our relationships, the stressful job, the lack of sleep, that crappy thing that happened to us, that teach us. Growth is a constant work in progress.

The power of yoga is not that it gets us into a cool Instagram pose, or to touch our toes, or to sleep better at night (which are all good things). It's much more subtle than that. Its power is in a gradual unveiling that behind all of life's ups and downs there's a stillness within us that cannot be changed by time or circumstance. The practice of yoga is finding our way back to that.

8. Where are you currently teaching?

Currently teaching @yttp and privates

9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

As I become more aware of my mind and body on the mat, I become more aware of my feelings and (re)actions off the mat. Realizing that I am not my sadness / my anger / my frustration (that no one is) helps me move through the world with a little more compassion. It helps me soften around judgements and stories and see that we're all connected, we're all in this together.
My practice has also given me the disciple and confidence to leave my 9-5, to start my own business, to change the way I consume, to reduce my footprint, to grow my own herbs and food. It's a ripple effect. 

10. What has kept you practicing all these years?

Life! And all its craziness. The practice grounds me, gives me a sense of balance, peace and purpose. It's been the one constant in my life over the last decade. As relationships, circumstances, age, health, perspectives change, my practice remains. I'm fascinated by the essence that doesn't change.

And as I aspire to be a good teacher, I must always be a good student.

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?

@kseniavo

Arden Goll reveals her inner inspiration.

Arden has been an inspirational teacher to me over the many years. She teaches from an authentic and loving place. Being one of her students has been a pleasure. Here's a glimpse of her essence... 

IMG_4877.JPG

1. How long have you been teaching?

I started my teaching journey 15 years ago with Ballet when I was 21 and fell in love with teaching and sharing a passion with others so it came very naturally to me when I found yoga to want to teach it and share a new passion. I've been teaching yoga for 5 years.

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

When I found yoga it opened up my world and I wanted to help others experience, explore and find themselves as well which motivated me to want to teach yoga.  I've learned endless things from teaching but most of all that there's no limit to what I can accomplish and what others can accomplish and teach me about life in the process. Because it's all a process and journey we are in together.

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

Patience and compassion. It's so easy to get caught up in my own life. So I'm so grateful to have fellow teachers to remind me to stay grounded and to give me a fresh set of eyes to see things through.

4. How many times a week do you practice? I try to make it to 4 group classes a week. But I also do my home practice, meditation, pranayama all week long. I do give myself 1 day a week off not teaching or doing a physical practice, and on that day my yoga might be laundry or mopping or sitting on the beach. Just a nice disconnection.

5. Who inspires your practice?

I don't know if there's a "who" but more of an everything, everyone, myself, my general sanity. I practice so that I can put good back out into the world.

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice? My practice keeps me grounded. Coming from a dance back ground I love and live for movement. Tying my body, breath and mind together helps keep me sane.

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

There are so many but I feel the most important message to teach is awareness. First you find the mind, body and breath awareness in yourself then it translates into your life then into your world. Then you see your students applying and using their awareness and that's when the message shifts into reality.

8. Where are you currently teaching?

I teach at The Yoga Room, Chalk Gym, Breakin Boundaries, and Usha Veda

9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

Honestly I'm not a jaded narrow minded selfish bitch anymore. Because I was all of those things and never realized it. Thank you yoga:) The practice made me take a long hard look at myself.

9. What has kept you practicing all these years?

Happiness

10. What is your Instagram and Facebook name?

Facebook: Arden Goll

Instagram: arden_cicada

Brian Nygard speaks inspiration...

I have been truly blessed to know this yogi for the many years that I have. He has taught me the most knowledge  of all teachers that I have had. He has definitely inspired me over the many years and I hope that he can inspire you.

How long have you been teaching?

 

I began teaching yoga in 2010.

 

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

 

I am motivated by my students, friends & teachers and  their commitment to change their patterns and own their circumstances.

I've learned that we have a lot in common. We are made up of the same star stuff. The most powerful thing we have is the story we tell ourselves.

 

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

 

My teacher Nevine Michaan would say "Stability is not a feeling, it's a measure."

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

 

Daily.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

 

I'm most inspired by my elders. Those I know and those whom I don't. It's seeing wisdom in people who continue to maintain a practice to be well adjusted, light and loving.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

 

Practice provokes me to face truth and grow. Practice allows me to take responsibility of my future and my present.Practice helps me navigate life with more grace and elegance.

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

 

The universe is practical, imaginative and well organized. Spot the patterns and you can participate in writing the story.

 

8. Where are you currently teaching?

 

Katonah Yoga Bowery

Pure Yoga

Yoga to the people

Yoga Vida

The Yoga Room

 

 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

 

Yoga helps me take a pause. Yoga helps me understand others. Yoga reminds me how to get back home.

 

10.What has kept you practicing all these years?

 

Patience, curiosity and love.

 

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?

 

IG: @noticeyourself

IMG_4833.JPG

Be inspired by Samara Speller...

It is very clear that Samara Speller is beyond her years. She has a thirst to learn about yoga, anatomy and people. And her thirst is inspiring.  

Her yogic journey inspires me and I would like her to inspire you.

IMG_4766.JPG

Photo by Kristina Kashtanova. IG:@icreatelife_

 

 

1. How long have you been teaching?

1.5 years

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

I never had any desire to be at the front of a room full of people, as public speaking has always made me feel ill but the more I practiced and learned the more I wanted to share with others. Teaching has taught me many things. Among them:

a) How to not take things personally: students' facial expressions while they're practicing, their reactions to you/to themselves, feedback/suggestions etc.

b) How rare it is to find a body with no injuries. Everybody's got something so you can never make an assumption about someone's practice just from watching them.

c) Instant forgiveness of self. When I first started teaching I would get completely thrown off and lose my confidence if I made a mistake such as saying right instead of left or hand instead of foot. This kind of self consciousness is selfish because it means I'm thinking more about myself than my students. Teaching taught me how to roll with the punches. I still make little mistakes all the time but I brush them off because it's not about me, it's about them.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

My dear friend Mathieu Boldron taught me about abundance. He told me about another teacher who gave him the advice to only give a little bit of information to students at a time so that they keep coming back for more. I asked him what he thought about that and he shook his head and told me he believes in abundance.

Being stingy or withholding comes from a place of fear, as if there isn't enough success or brilliance to go around. Ever since then I have seen in my own life how the more I give, the more I receive. Only good things can come from generosity.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

5-7 days a week depending on my schedule and how I feel.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

The other people in the room. I love practicing in group classes. I usually only have about a 10% visual awareness of the two people on either side of me and 0% of everyone else but I can still hear and feel the presence of everyone moving together and it's magic. It's union. Plus, I'm an introvert so getting to be with other people without the need to talk to them is heaven.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

Because I teach. Every cue that I give in class is something that I do in my practice as well. If I can't feel it in my own body then I would never instruct someone else to.

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

The yoga practice is a tool. Just like any other tool, knowing when, why, and how to use it will get you the most out of it.

 

8. Where are you currently teaching?

I teach group classes everyday in Brooklyn. Goodyoga in Greenpoint/Bushwick and Lighthouse Yoga School in Williamsburg. I teach privately as well, all over New York City.

 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

It's made me more conscious of my own behavior patterns. The more I become aware of my own patterns the more I see how they affect myself and others. I'm able to see myself in others and others in myself very clearly. Because of this, life has become a lot less dramatic. The jig is up, so to speak. I can't tell stories to myself that I'm a victim or everyone else is crazy or I'm crazy or whatever the case may be because I know none of that is true. Any frustrations I have with anyone else are temporary and will soon be replaced with compassion. Compassion is an equilibrium. It's almost disappointing because being dramatic is fun.

 

10. What has kept you practicing all these years?

That there is no obligation. I can stop any day I want and that's why I don't. For many people, discipline is what draws them to the practice and keeps them going. "Do it because it must be done." That doesn't work for me. The second I have to do something, I don't enjoy it anymore. I do what I love and that's it.

 

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?

Instagram: @eatdrinksavasana

Website: www.samaraspeller.com

Jennifer Lynn Tune describes to us what inspires her, let it inspire you.

One thing is for sure, Berlin is very fortunate and lucky to have this amazing teacher, Jennifer Lynn Tune. Her classes are consistently filled with love, compassion, a push to your edge and wisdom. 

 

This is what inspires her practice...

IMG_4685.JPG

1. How long have you been teaching?

 

I have been teaching since 2012.

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

 

I had been really curious about teaching for a while but couldn't find the courage to commit to a teacher training. I've got to give credit to Kathryn Maykish who pretty much shattered all my excuses and gave me that final push that I needed. I'm so very grateful for her persistence.

 

Teaching yoga has taught me so much about authenticity and connection. I've relaxed so much as a teacher over the years. I used to over-prepare and worry about not giving enough to my students but I have learned to shift my focus to truly seeing, listening and showing up for them. If I want to help someone find ease and freedom, I want to be practicing what I preach.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

 

I've been really lucky to have had so many teachers around me who have consistently pushed themselves to go deeper and not get complacent. I really couldn't point out just one of them. I've learned stillness, trusting the natural intelligence of my body, I've learned discipline and to not fall into negotiating with my own mind. Again and again, fellow teachers have seen potential in me that I couldn't see myself and I'm so grateful for those moments of limitlessness.

I'm really inspired by yogis who embody the idea of "ease inside effort".

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

 

I absolutely love to move, in as many different ways as possible. I like intensity and challenge, so I have to be mindful that I listen to my body. I practice most days but have started to put the focus on meditation over asana.

 

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

 

I don't follow one particular lineage but I definitely gravitate most towards a vinyasa type style of yoga. I find the rhythm of moving with your breath incredibly therapeutic. It usually starts with an idea or a word (like "stability" or "freedom") and then I create a practice around that.

Jared McCann has been a huge influence on me. His classes changed me and opened me up like no other.

 

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

 

The practice puts things into perspective for me. I've had countless days where I was mulling over a perceived problem, took class and all of a sudden couldn't remember what the issue was. The practice makes my world feel bigger.

It gives me an appreciation for my body that I want to remind myself of, daily.

And most of all, it gives me that feeling of connection that I'm always looking for.

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

 

I want to do my part to spread the benefits of stillness, pausing, doing less. And being rather Type A myself, I know how challenging the quiet moments can be in the beginning.

There is no one right way to practice. I hope to help students trust their instincts and their body's natural intelligence more. Sometimes the practice is really just how to get out of your own way.

 

 

8. Where are you currently teaching?

 

I recently moved but was lucky to find a great community at Berlin Hot Yoga, where I currently teach Hot, Vinyasa and Yin.

 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

 

I've definitely relaxed into myself through yoga. Like with anything else, it's a work in progress but it's become so much easier to trust my curiosity and show up fully and honestly.

 

10.What has kept you practicing all these years?

 

I really just love to move. I enjoy variety, so I move back and forth between different styles of yoga but I've really never had a problem motivating myself to practice. It just feels so good and there's always another layer to peel back, a way to go deeper. I'm thrilled to be part of the yoga community.

Quazzy inspires us with his 'Quazzy'ness...

I remember teaching Quazzy the breathing sequence his first class. And I am so proud of his evolution as a teacher. The past 3 years, I have watched him improve his anatomy, care for his students and allowed his character to develop. He is clearly inspired and now, let him inspire you.

IMG_4563.JPG

1. How long have you been teaching?

Summer 2014 - Yoga To The People TT20 baby!

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

My first Yoga class was with a guy named Johnny, and Johnny is a former tough guy turned Yogi Bad Ass. I experienced a yoga class in a way I otherwise thought non existent.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

"Don't Fuck It Up". Unpacking that:

1. Be aware of your students.

2. Know your material.

3. Be helpful in a way that supports the teaching and not the ego.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I breathe everyday.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

God. Kobe. Kanye. The Sag (Saginaw Michigan). Peace. Love. Light.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

Life is inherently practice, and I choose to live because I love.

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

Breathing, and the Subtle Body.

 

8. Where are you currently teaching?

Yoga To The People and Cross Fit Bridge and Tunnel.

 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

Now, I'm Quazzy Quaz in HD.

 

10.What has kept you practicing all these years?

The undeniable evidence of change.

 

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Faacebook name?

Catch me Earf. Nuff said.

Hali Tsotetsi tells us about what inspires her practice

 Hali was born in New York but raised in South Africa, her parents native country, and England. She now resides in New York. She is a skin specialist, certified health coach, certified yoga teacher and CEO/Founder of KindGirlco.- an organic cosmetic company. She also runs BiologiqueLife. She believes that everyday has been sent to us in order for our souls to flourish through challenge and gratitude.

 

 1. How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching for almost 4 years.

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

 

I came to a point in my life where I couldn't live without yoga. It may sound like an addiction; however, I live in New York and without yoga, I noticed that my anxiety increased, my stress levels went up and my faith in life narrowed. Yoga helps me expand: my breath, my body and my mind. So, with that in mind, I wanted to be a medium for others to expand too.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher? From Emalia Dawson, I have learnt that I, as a teacher, can be firm yet nurturing.

From Jared McCann, I have learnt many things but mostly to keep things simple and that I am worthy of what I want. From Yancy Schwartz- years ago- he told us in class to use our intelligence. These words were so powerful to me because yoga helps us access intelligence that we have always had. From Bryan Nygard, I have learnt to keep up with the current anatomy as research is always changing and scientists are discovering new things about the body. From Holly Colino, I have learnt to push myself within reason- she was my mentor during my first TT. I really also learn from every class that I take and I feel very fortunate to be able to practice.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

 

It depends. Sometimes everyday and sometimes 5 times a week. I don't like to get stuck in rigidity. I know when my body and mind need yoga.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

 

Honestly, this question is a lot more difficult to answer than I thought 😀 The usuals: Kino McGregor, Jared McCann and Talia Sutra- of course. However, the conversations that I have with my friends about yoga inspire me, truly. My friends in the yoga community are people that I cherish so much and I am so grateful to have them in my life.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

To stay grounded and be aware of myself. So much damage comes from people being unaware and I want to avoid that. I want to be the best version of myself that I am able to be.

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

To step outside of yourself and to honour the 5000 year-old science of yoga. We are blessed to be able to practice. Up until recently, only a small population was allowed to practice yoga. Now that we have access, we need to be cautious with it. I am an African and even though I started meditating and practicing yoga at a young age, I must be careful not to culturally appropriate and fetishize such a pure practice.

 

8. Where are you currently teaching?

Taking a minor break from teaching for KindGirlco. and BiologiqueLife.

 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

It's helped me pause and analyze my decisions, without judgement. Knowing that tomorrow, I can do it again differently and that how it was done before was not bad, it just wasn't how I want to do it in the future.

 

10. What has kept you practicing all these years?

The need to release. For some reason, I have had a challenging time in romantic relationships. A re-occurring trend in my love life is to be left or abandoned from my partner, which has been very difficult; however, yoga has helped me feel supported. Hopefully, I am learning from my mistakes and yoga has helped me deal with them in a way that makes me stronger each time. As I get stronger, I don't put up with disrespect and lack of consideration, from myself and my partner, like I used to.

 

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?

Instagram: @halitsotetsi

Twitter: @kindgirlco.

Facebook: Hali Tsotetsi

IMG_3156.JPG

Image by Alcy Sivyer

Mara Lileas tells us about her yogic journey

I am a huge fan of Mara, her positive energy and strength is palpable and contagious. Let it spread to you through this article.

 

1. How long have you been teaching?

 I've been teaching since 2012.

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

A good friend and teacher Ted Caine motivated me to start teaching. I was avoiding it for a while. Making excuses to why I didn't want to try but ultimately I realized at the time, yoga was the one thing in my life that made me feel very happy and very connected not only to myself but the whole amazing universe around me.

Now I see that I can choose to be happy and choose to connect. As a teacher I see a LOT of very different people out there and it's so amazing how many right ways there are to connect with yourself and others, how many right ways there are to stretch and strengthen, how many right ways there are to live your life.

: )

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

That as you progress in yoga, you can't rely only on sensation. Only labeling feelings as good or bad.  It's important to start implementing measurements, alignment, and geometry into your practice.

 

4.How many times a week do you practice?

I practice everyday. It's always different, but I do something for myself everyday.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

Me : ) and of course the people around me. But, ultimately my practice is a connection between my body and my breath and all the amazing exploration I can do between those things.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

It feels like a great time to really care for myself. To stay openly interested and curious while challenging myself the kindest and most considerate way possible : )

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

That connecting with yourself and making time for yourself is wildly important. That there are a lot of right ways to do that, and to let go of judgements and expectations on what that should be. That wether we know it or not our practices affect everyone we come into contact with and we really have the power to ripple out our care and attention from ourselves to others and making this world a better place to be in.

 

8.Where are you currently teaching?

Brooklyn Boulders Queensbridge, Jewel City Yoga, NP Rock Yoga

 

9.How has yoga helped your character develop? 

Yoga has helped me out of very dark, depressed, and anxious times in my life. And helped me to find a lightness that lets go of judgement and expectations and connects me more to myself. I used to spend a lot of time worrying about others, and what they thought of me. Yoga helps me to practice letting that go.

 

10. What has kept you practicing all these years?

Everyday is a new day. A new body. A new practice. There's so much to explore!

 

11.What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?

Insta:marbq

      FB: Mara Lileas

  No twitter yet

IMG_4381.JPG

Image from NP Rock Yoga website. 

Shakiem Evans introduces us to HOT HIIT, available at some Hot yoga studios

  If you have not taken a Hot HIIT class, I highly recommend taking it. I love it. Particularly Shakiem's class,  I never thought that muscular activity could be so fun. I think his dance background allows students to absorb the fun of it all. He, himself, thoroughly enjoys it and it is very apparent.

Here is Shakiem's Hot HIIT journey.  

 

1.  How long have you been instructing HIIT?

For 3 months
2. The class is so fun. Whait motivates you to have fun?
HIIT is high intensity so keeping it fun helps students get through the class.
P.S. - A banging playlist helps!!!LOL

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow instructor?
My favorite classes are when the instructors are challenging yet compassionate and understanding. I strive to be just that.

4. How many times a week do you do HIIT?
3x a week is good to maintain a healthy practice. You'll really start to see the benefits. muscle toning, strong abs, glutes and legs.

5. Who inspires you to teach HIIT?
The students who want to learn how to burn the maximum amount of fat and calories and at the same time strengthen their core inspire me to teach!
6. Why is it necessary for you to do HIIT?
Because a strong CORE is the key to a strong body!  Core is the focus of the entire class. Also we incorporate the cardio in to burn fat and calories. I know people hate doing cardio but it's important. It's the ONLY way to burn fat and calories no matter ppl say.

7. What message do you like to spread through instructing?
Whatever you put into YOUR class, THAT'S what you'll get out of it.  Keep in my mind, it's your class. Work at your maximum but mindfully.

8. Where are you currently teaching HIIT?
Bikramyoganyc in New York  and Zuramontclair in Montclair, NJ

9. What outside struggle has HIIT helped you deal with? If so, how?
There's always haters!  Some people didn't believe in me, so every time  I teach the class, I'M LIKE ,  FU** YOU!!!!!!  lol
FullSizeRender.jpg

Audrey Wayne inspires us with her beautiful words about Yoga

If you have met or taken Audrey's class, you will know how sincere and genuine she is with her compassion and intention.  

Here are her words from her yogic journey. 

 

How long have you been teaching?

About two years

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

I was actually convinced by my friend, Emmie, to go through the teacher-training. I had been practicing yoga for about a year and a half at that point and never imagined being an instructor. I was really captivated by all the amazing teachers I had at Yoga to the People II, such as Nikki Carter, Talia Peretz, Jared McCann, and Scotty Schwartz. I wanted to inspire others the way they inspired (and continue to inspire) me.

Teaching has given me a voice that I never had. I was always very shy, and had a really tough time with public speaking. I was the girl that would never raise her hand in class if she had a question because she was afraid of sounding stupid. Teaching has empowered me in so many ways .I have learned that I can be confident in sharing what I know and humbled by the fact that I will always have more to learn about this practice. Knowing that I will always be a student gives me comfort and being vulnerable creates space for growth.


3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

Something that I've learned from all my mentors is that as a teacher, we can never really know what each person stepping into the studio is going through. This insight inspires me to lead with compassion and respect. It encourages me to hold space for each student and be extra thoughtful in how I communicate and interact with every individual, inside and outside of the studio.


4. How many times a week do you practice?

I'm always practicing yoga! The physical practice is just one piece of the puzzle. Recently my practice has been focused on self care. Doing little things for myself as often as possible so that I can be my best self. Something like treating myself to a nice lunch, applying a face mask, going on a longer than usual walk with my dog, calling a friend or watching my favorite show in the middle of the day. It might seem silly, but sometimes even the simplest things can boost my mood (which, of course, also includes the physical practice of yoga!). I practice asana 4-5 times a week on average. I don't put too much pressure on myself to practice everyday. Taking breaks is another form of self care. The yoga will always be here and I will always come back to it.


5. Who inspires your practice?

Every yogi! I am constantly amazed by the yoga community and how dynamic and vast it is. On the days that I'm feeling uninspired, I like trying out a new studio in NYC. I typically won't go to the same teacher's class until I've tried all of the other instructors. I'm interested in having new experiences and I always learn at least one thing from every class I take. I love seeing how teachers and students make this ancient universal practice their own. I'm also super inspired by the yogis on Instagram. I find it fascinating how you can never meet someone but still feel very connected to their journey and growth.


6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

Yoga has become vital in my life because it reminds me that I am part of a whole. I have a tendency to let my struggles and anxiety consume me. It's hard to explain, and I know almost every yogi says this, but it's true: yoga connects you with yourself and the world around you. It's through this natural connection that I am better able to process my emotions and experiences as well as empathize with others. The practice constantly pushes me to challenge my perspective. Right now, yoga has inspired me to be more of an observer. Something that I have been working on lately is talking less and listening more.

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

I like to encourage my students to make conscious choices so that they can continue to do what's best for them outside of the studio. This practice doesn't live on a mat. It lives within the practitioner and it is all around us. Your practice offers constant opportunities to experiment, to do something different, to change your mind. I aim to create a space where students feel safe to explore, try, get messy, fall, laugh, cry, reach an edge, pull back, move faster, move slower, twist, turn- all information and it's all a breakthrough. Every part of you is welcome. I want my students to feel empowered in their practice, and if that means completely ignoring my voice and doing their own thing, I am thrilled. I hope those who take my class feel supported and free.

8. Where are you currently teaching?

Yoga to the People and private lessons


9. Has yoga helped through some painful
?

If so, what and how?I recently went through a traumatic experience that pulled me away from my teaching and my own personal practice. I was so wrapped up in the negativity and evil of the world that part of me resented the positivity found in yoga. After a month long hiatus with the practice, I realized that what I really missed was the community. I spent 4 weeks holed up in my apartment, and based on past experiences I knew that it was becoming extremely unhealthy. I felt weak and depressed, and noticed that my anxiety had hit an all time high. There wasn't a single "a-ha" moment that brought me back, it was just that I had nothing left to lose. I thank my higher power that I had a yoga practice prior to my experience because I truly don't know where I'd be right now if I didn't. I forced myself back to my home studio and also started an intro package at a new studio for the times when I wanted to feel anonymous. I completed a Trauma Informed Yoga training that opened my eyes to my experience and helped me understand how I can be sensitive towards others who have been through trauma. I still have down days, but I find peace in knowing I can step onto my mat to move that energy around. This practice is important and it heals. You just have to open your heart to it. 

10. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name? Just an Instagram - @audreywayneyoga

IMG_4231.JPG

Lara Saget describes her motivational yogic journey

I have had the pleasure of knowing Lara for almost 7 years. In all of this time, she has always been kind, gracious and loving. It is apparent in her yoga classes too.

She shares her yoga experience with us...

1. How long have you been teaching? 

I have been teaching for seven years.

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

I have been practicing yoga since I was four years old (or perhaps since I could recognize conscious movement). I was my mom's "yoga baby" so to speak. She started doing yoga when she was pregnant with me, and she would have instructors and practitioners come to the house. I always loved yoga, and it has always been an integral part of my life. When I was 17, I worked at an orphanage in Brazil and decided to attempt to teach yoga. I found it incredible how yoga could be such a universal point of connection. In that moment, I knew that spreading yoga was something that I wanted to do. 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

I have learned patience from my teachers for sure (well I'm still learning it) and how important the practice of slowing down is. 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I practice most days.

5. Who inspires your practice?

I am inspired to practice because I think there is always more to play with, more to notice, more to sense, things to learn. Yoga helps me move deeper in a way that resonates with me. 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

I learn a lot through practicing. But I also learn a lot when the meaning of practice changes for me- from a group class, to meditation, to hiking, to running, to swimming- what is that space within stillness and movement that feels grounded and yet fluid?

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

I like to spread awareness through teaching. I like to invite inquiry- what happens when it's not about the shape? What comes up when it's hard? When it feels too easy? What are the things that pop up in a yoga practice that must exist somewhere else too? I also like to spread the message that it can feel really really good to be kind to ourselves, to listen to ourselves like we are helpless children and perhaps be able to hone in on what it means to give ourselves what we need. 

8. Where are you currently teaching? 

I am currently teaching private lessons and at Yoga to the People 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop? 

Yoga has made me a more thoughtful person, greatened my threshold for tolerance or discomfort, and I think enlarged my ability to be compassionate to myself and to others. 

9. What has kept you practicing all these years?

Honestly, I just love it. I am grateful for the practice and for my teachers. I truly don't know what my life would look like without the practice of yoga. 

10. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name? @larasaget 

Larasagetyoga.com

Emmie Danza talks inspiration and motivation.

I have witnessed Emmie Danza become a wonderful teacher. Her metamorphosis inspires me and now let her words inspire you...

1.How long have you been teaching?

It will be 2 years this coming August.

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

The practice motivated me to teach. I was attending classes religiously at Yoga to the People II on 23rd street when I moved back to New York after studying abroad in Denmark. I never thought I was a yogi until I started to come face-to-face with this inherent desire to deepen my practice- probably as a result of all the dance I did growing up. I was incredibly inspired by the teachers I had there and fell in love with the community. I know that it didn’t entirely start as a desire to teach, but it quickly developed into a love for sharing the knowledge I was accumulating and connecting with other students and teachers along the way. What I’ve learned from teaching is that you are never done learning. Ever.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

I am constantly learning new things from fellow teachers (and students!), so much so that it’s hard for me to pinpoint just one thing. What sticks out in my mind currently is the importance of slowing down, especially in New York. If you see me in a yoga class, I tend to move quite quickly- my dance background makes me want to flow. However, after being trained in Yin, I have found that my body yearns for softness and very mindful movement. I am working every day to slow down not only in my own practice but in my teaching as well.  

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

What I have come to understand about humans is that we are all practicing all the time. Whether it’s practicing love with my significant other, meditation with each step I take, or Yin when I choose to slow down for 10 minutes; I am practicing all the time, sometimes it just doesn’t “look” like yoga. I practice asana as often as I can, but I also am constantly reminding myself that the fulfillment of my yoga is not predicated on how often I step onto my mat. I teach quite a bit now and often times that is my yoga for the day. With that being said, I like being active and I love to move. 

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

So many people, things, moments, interactions. Yoga is all around me all the time. 

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

The practice is absolutely necessary in my life because the benefits never cease to amaze me. I feel a deep connection to yoga because of the way we found each other. Yoga and I were introduced during a dark time in my life and it completely pulled me out into the light, both mentally and physically. With that being said, we have also gone through a lot of different phases together too— I was obsessed at the start, compulsively practicing for a minimum of an hour everyday and only then would I feel “successful." After starting to teach full time, I lost sight of my personal practice and I felt very stuck and stagnant in my ability to be creative and spiritual inside of my own personal movement- we hit a rough patch. I've only fairly recently found what I now think is a healthy relationship with my practice-- I don’t squirm with guilt anymore if I am unable to step onto my mat that day because I know it will be there for me tomorrow, the next day, and so on.

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

Appreciation for one’s body and mind, connection that goes beyond your physical body, open mindedness, collective energy, and above all else, love.

 

8. Where are you currently teaching? 

Sweat Yoga in Tribeca, New York Yoga Hot in the Upper East Side, Jewel City Yoga in Brooklyn, and Yoga Herald Square in Midtown. 

 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop? 

Oh boy, this is a loaded question for me! Let's just say I have become more aware of my actions, hopefully in a good way. I'm still changing, adapting, growing, and learning every day. Yoga has taught me that we are all trying our best all the time, and that has changed my character for the better. I work everyday to make sure that I am reminding myself that I'll never know someone's whole story- compassion and empathy come first. 

 

9. What has kept you practicing all these years?

It might sound so contrived but I feel the yoga in my heart. It is part of who I am. It is one of the few things in my life that I am absolutely certain of. 

 

10. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name? 

Instagram: @emmieyoga

Twitter: @emmiedanza

No Facebook for me!

Be inspired by Yancy Scwartz...

There is no doubt that Yancy, who some may know as 'Scotty', Scwartz is a true yogi. By true, I mean that he has learnt to detach the Ego from his teaching and practice. 

Let his inspirational words inspire you:

1. How long have you been teaching?

Since 2008

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

It just kinda fell into place. The more I wanted to practice, the more I wanted to teach. I learned how to be more compassionate to others through teaching. Whatever I teach, I'd better be doing because it makes the teaching authentic. People know and feel what's real and what's not. 

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

I learned how to say less from my Dharma teachers. 

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

My main practice is a specific mantra and pranayama routine sitting in lotus. That happens 5 days a week. Physical asana I do everyday for fun. 

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

My friends, the people around me. 

 

6. Why is it necessary to you to practice?

Because it will help spread consciousness and awareness. With that consciousness and awareness I can walk around more liberated. 

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

Stimulate your sixth sense and tap into your higher self. Operating from your higher self is a peaceful and compassionate place to be. 

 

8. Where are you currently teaching? 

Sweat Yoga, Hot 8 Yoga Santa Monica, Create Yoga and Hollywood Power Yoga 

 

9. How has skateboarding been a part of your yogic journey? 

It's a catalyst because you are constantly using your legs, so that takes care of your lower body. Yoga is a lot of upper body. So you spread awareness, consciousness through your lower body, your upper body. Once you master your body you can go beyond it. To skateboard you must be fully present like in yoga except in skateboarding if you are not present the consequences are a lot greater. 

 

9. Has yoga helped you through something that you struggled with? If so, what and how?

I've broken my wrist and foot skateboarding, and yoga has helped me recover. Yoga has helped me to not feel limited. Little by little yoga can help you rebuild and work past certain injuries. 

 

10. What has kept you practicing?

It's my dharma. I teach, so I must practice so I am always in the students position. Its a prerequisite for the job.

Follow him on Instagram: @yancyscotschartz Visit his website: www.yancyyoga.com

 

 

Sarah Ghilardi inspires us, by sharing her experience of yoga with us.

The first time that I  took Sarahs class, I felt as though my body was burning in my places that I had never imagined. It was an inferno hot pilates class- a pilates class done in surroundings similar to a hot yoga class. Truly, the only thing that kept me going was her bubbly energy and her convncing me that I could make it through. She inspired me that day and inspires many as a yoga and pilates teacher. 

These are some inspirational words from her:

1. How long have you been teaching?

Five years. I teach bikram yoga, vinyasa yoga and inferno hot pilates. 

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

The students, their problems, their willingness to change and willingness to listen. Leadership, command and helping them to change. 

Teaching gives me the ability to learn, command and share positivity with my students.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

Their experience, their passion, their command and there enthusiasms for teaching.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

6 classes a week

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

Actually me, myself, and practitioners around me.

 

6. Why is it necessary to you to practice?

Because it feels good, it inspires me, it gives me clear vision and stability.

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

That health is wealth, your body is your temple. Take care of yourself first before taking care of others. 

 

8. Where are you currently teaching? 

Lighthouse yoga school in Brooklyn 

YOBK in Brooklyn 

Bikram yoga LES in Manhattan 

Yoga Herald Square in Manhattan 

The Yoga Room in LIC

 

9. Has yoga helped you through something that you struggled with? If so, what and how?

  • I was trying to know more about myself-yoga gives me more clarity about myself.
  • I was learning to be a presenter-yoga gives me that presenting capability.
  • I was trying to learn a good diet for me - yoga gives me clarity about what my body want.

 

10. Tell us about Inferno Pilates. Why is it a great compliment to yoga?

It's a practice where students see benefits very fast.The heat makes them sweat even more ( cleansing, detoxing ). The music inspires and motivates them.The moments are fast but secondary. Like in yoga, first the breath and form. You also need a calm mind you get from practicing asanas to practice Inferno hot pilates to keep going and you get the strength to do the posture by practicing Inferno hot pilates. It's a great combination.

Federico DAnna expands on his commitment to the practice

If you have ever taken his class, it is apparent that Federico has a deep passion for yoga. He exudes a thirst for yoga that is inspiring. 

He shares with us his journey as a yogi:

        1. How long have you been teaching?

        I have been teaching for 4 years.

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

When I'm in love with something I wanna talk about it all the time, I wanna share it. I guess becoming  a Yoga teacher was the best way for me to have people listening to me talking about Yoga.I also figured that if Yoga was so exiting to me I would have been a good vehicle, a good vessel.I try my best to be just a vessel.

I learn so much everyday from teaching, one of the thing I'm really focusing in these days is trying not to let my ego get involved.I learned that it's very important to get into a place of clarity with myself, whenever I can. I see my ego trying to get in the way but I can be clear enough not to act or say things from there, when I can be that clear, I can give and help and be of service to the students. I try to constantly recenter myself into that place of clarity. This is  a moment-by-moment practice for me while I teach, it takes a lot of energy and focus but that makes my job very rewarding and keeps me peaceful because I feel I can really give. 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

           I try to take all the classes I can with the teachers I respect more, and if you ask  me what I                learned from them the answer is: EVERYTHING! 

I try to learn always, it's a natural process for me: I try to learn new tricks for a pose, or I try to absorb a specific energy of a teacher I admire, or the subtleties of a brilliant dialogue, I also really love to observe how the best teachers connect with their students cause I think the most important thing in teaching is the ability to connect.

 My classes are always evolving  because I keep taking classes with great teachers, in that way I keep learning new things, I absorb new energies and all I have to do is to share that with my students.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I try to practice every day, but I don't do Asanas everyday. I try to practice Asana at least 5 days a week and keep a daily  Sadhana practice with meditation, Pranayama, Kriyas and recently, some chanting. Pranayama helps me be clear and centered when I teach so I try to practice it at least the days I have to teach before my classes.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

So many people inspire me, besides the well known gurus and texts like the Yoga Sutras, or Yogananda texts, which I've always found inspiring and I always go back to when I feel lost, here in New York. I have many names of good inspiring Yogis: Dharma Mittra Jared McCan, Erin Vaughn, Jason Morris - these are only few names. Also every Yogi that devotes themselves to help others is an inspiration to me. I think you can be a great Yogi without practicing Asanas or Pranayana, a Yogi is someone who search freedom, union knowledge, who is selflessly in service, it doesn't matter how, whenever I find these qualities  in someone, it's very inspiring and beautiful to me, that's Yoga.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

I just feel I need to practice. I have always felt that way.

Even before I met Yoga, I had my Yoga practice. I'll try to explain: even when I had no idea of what Yoga was, I always felt I needed at least an hour or so a day to dedicate myself to something completely and without distractions, something in which I could focus 100 per cent of my attention, I didn't  know what Asana or Meditation was until few years ago, but  when I was a child I recited my prayers every day and I remember I had all sorts of personal weird rituals.Then, in my 20s I was an actor and my Yoga at that point was practicing some relaxation and acting techniques to create physical and emotional realities to create a truthful and vibrant performance. 

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

I want them to know and trust that  we can all find a place inside ourselves where everything is perfect exactly the way it is. That whatever your perceived  limitations are, they are an just an illusion. Everything we need and want is already in us! All OF US. Realizing this on a deep level is not easy; it's the actual goal of YOGA. Its not just an idea, and just thinking about it won't help. It does not come for free, it's a practice and it's a lifelong journey. Of course it might be intense, scary at times, or boring at times, there are many obstacles in the path, but yoga also  gives us the tools to overcome the obstacles, and what else would you spend your energy on? And the cool part of it is that you don't have to wait to be enlightened to experience glimpse of that perfection, knowledge, freedom and bliss. Yoga will help you right away. You'll feel 'peaceful' or 'free' or 'strong' or maybe just generally 'better' right away after your first Asana session. So just go to yoga and something will happen to convince you....trust those feelings and be curious to investigate deeper cause it's worthy.

8. Where do you currently teach?

New York I teach at The Yoga Room, Yogatothepeople, Yoga Herald Square, when I go to Rome to visit my friends and family I teach for Bikram Yoga Rome

9. Has yoga helped you through something that you struggled with? If so, what and how?

It helps immensely with the stepping stone that made me absolutely sure and gave me infinite trust. 

I have always had the feeling I had to achieve something in life, and this obsession, this vortex of my mind has always been so strong in me that for the most part I have always been living in a state of struggle to get somewhere, to demonstrate to the world that I had value, to get recognition, to succeed. So when I felt close to my goals, that would made me happy of course but most of the times I used to live in a state of anxiety, depression, a fear or an actual  feeling of existential failure. There was no space around me just to notice the beauty of nature or people or life, just because that vortex was spinning so thick and fast that I couldn't see behind that.

Alter only a few sessions of yoga , while I was laying in Savasana, I started noticing other things that I wouldn't have noticed before. Maybe just a ray of light coming from the window of the hot room, or the shining of the sweat drops on my skin or the breathing sweaty bodies around me ( I started with Bikram Yoga) and I started to notice all the beauty of those things. I started to enjoy the colors and shapes of nature and things and the people around me. And one day I realized that all this beauty around me was perfectly enough for me to enjoy life right now,  I didn't need to achieve something anymore or demonstrate I'm worthy, or being successful to be happy. The world was suddenly beautiful enough for me to be happy right away, I realize that all I had to do was to keep working on  that clarity. It was like a huge painful weight was taken off my shoulders for the first time in my life, and life was good!!

Then I studied the Yoga Sutras and it was all there:
Yoga is stilling the vortexes ( vrittis ) of the mind and cut through all the illusions.

 

 

Sara Schwartz shares her yogic journey with us

The yoga community is fortunate to have a person as loving, kind and compassionate as Sara in it. Over the few years that I have known her, she has maintained her kindness and yoga practice.

This yogi is an inspiration. She shares with you some inspirational words. 
 

1. How long have you been teaching?

7 years 

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

I started teaching at Yoga to the People in San Francisco. Teaching felt very hard to me, I was painfully shy and had a small voice. Someone, maybe it was Katite, said: In Yoga, if something is hard for you, go towards it. That is the yogic way. So I decided to pursue teaching because I knew it was the most impossible thing for me at the time. I'll tell you within 6 months it became easier. Within 3 years I didn't get nervous anymore. And now, 7 years later, I know teaching yoga is my dharma, my life's purpose. Teaching Yoga I've learned that you never know what someone is going through, so try approach every student as a dear friend. Even the ones on their cellphone and with mean mugs. I've learned tricks and modifications from watching the students. I've learned that if you just stick with something you will get better at it.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

I learned some discipline from Yancy "Scotty" Schwartz. I never liked following the rules. Sometimes in yoga if you follow the rules you will receive the benefits. I watched this work for Yancy and so I tried it out. I found there is a comfort, an anchor, in finding some discipline and sticking to it. Right now for me it's my practice of the Gayatri Mantra.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

The first three years I practiced everyday. Then I noticed my body did well with one day off a week. Now I do a daily mantra practice and for asana just listen to my body. If I feel worn down I take a day off. 

5. Who inspires your practice?

I am super inspired by Erin Kelly. She is strong and flexible and moves very slowly. I'm also inspired by Sri Dharma Mittra, Sadguru, Amma and Shiva (King of the Yogis!). 

6. Why is it necessary to you to practice?

Money comes and goes. Beauty comes and goes. Sadly friends and family come and go. The only thing that is truly with us for life is our consciousness, our mind and spirit. The practice connects me with my spirit, helps me understand the workings of my mind. I believe it is one of life's deepest purposes to practice and come to understand what it means to be human.

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

My original career dream was to be a U.N. Peacekeeper. The quote in the YTTP quotebook about the monk who wanted to change the world, but realized he had to change himself first really inspired me to pursue yoga instead. I always like to share with the classes that by creating a peaceful environment within yourself you are making a big step towards community and world peace.

8. Where are you currently teaching? 

Red Diamond Yoga, Hollywood Power Yoga, YogaWorks, Equinox and Create Yoga Space. All in Los Angeles!

9. How does being married to a yoga help you develop your practice? 

One of the most wonderful things about our marriage is that we can practice together. Sometimes we meditate at the same time and the focus is so much sharper. We share fundamental values and beliefs. I can come to him with my yoga questions and he always has a great answer. 

10. Has yoga helped you through something that you struggled with? If so, what and how?

Oh my gosh I've had anxiety since I was a small child. I used to get these panic attacks where I couldn't eat or sleep. Just sit there with a racing heart and hurting stomach suffering. And I'll be honest, by my 20's I didn't see how I could live in this miserable skin much longer. I wanted to be free of my body. I knew yoga helped but I hadn't committed to the practice- it took a long time. I think going to India was a turning point for me. I remember reciting a mantra on mala beads next to the Ganges River and for the first time in my life peace flooded over me and I thought: here's my life preserver! The next year I was doing Bikram yoga and getting these crazy panic attacks in the room. Not being able to leave I learned how to use my breath and mental focus to overcome the panic rush. Now I feel pretty much comfortable in my own skin, I enjoy life and think the planet is beautiful, and sometimes if a panic attack comes by I can say: oh its just a panic attack. Theres a distance between me and it. I make a cup of tea and breath it away. 

Devoted yogi, Chauncie Parchment lets us in on his practice.

Chauncie Parchment has a practice that indicates his love for the asanas . He is a devoted yogi with a lot of knowledge. Here are some inspirational words from this yogi.

How long have you been teaching?
I began teaching yoga as an appreciation for Yoga to the people. One of the requirements before you get certified as one of their hot yoga instructors is to teach 20 classes for free as an apprenticeship.

What motivated you to teach and what have you learned?
I've always wanted to live as freely as possible and be in control of my time and energy. Wiring a 9-5 job as a city worker or as an employee of a boutique in clothing ,street or health food store did not permit me a life where I can make my own choices. I didn't like the idea of renting my time for 10, 11 or $12 an hour. I knew that my time was priceless, and to me the work I was doing was empty. I needed to find a job where I can do what I love to do. I wanted to help heal other people while I continued to heal myself. Teaching has taught me that every single day I need to clear quiet observant and helpful.

How many days a week do you practice?
I practice every day and my practice changes from day to day. Some days I can't make it to class so I practice at home, this may consist of a full practice or just Tibetans, pranayama and a couple of Sun salutations.

Who inspires yours practice?
My own belief and curiosity to reveal the secrets and benefits of the yoga practice. Along with the stories of ancient Masters who achieved phenomenal abilities through their yoga practice.

Why do you think it is necessary for you to practice?
I believe it is necessary for me to practice so that  I can remove the the physical, emotional and mental trauma that has caused energetic blockages inside of my body. I feel it is necessary for me to practice removing the conditioning that has been done from living on this earth. To help open my being to many realities that exist and reconnect to the ancient ways and lastly to maintain vitality and longevity.

What message are you trying to spread throughout teaching yoga?

To reconnect with your inner highest most powerful self, to reconnect with your brothers and sisters , to reconnect with your ancestors and to reconnect with the ancient ways of living.

Where are you currently teaching?
I currently teach at Lighthouse Yoga School, Yoga Tribe, Brooklyn Urban Asanas and Hot Spot yoga.

Have you been through anything significant in your life and how has yoga played a role in it? I've had a pretty rocky relationship with my mother and my father and other members in my family growing up we've never fully got along and it's always been a push and pull in ideas and values and I never felt like they accept me for the way I wanted to live. Yoga has given me the space to see the issues that I face within  myself and within my mother and my father so that I can catch these things while they're coming up in conversation and so that I can free myself from the fears and insecurities that are holding me hostage and preventing me from loving my own family and I love myself so I thank yoga for clearing me up mentally so that I am able to open up my heart and accept my mother my father and my family for who they are and how they are and have that loving strong family unit that is necessary for each individual on planet Earth.

This yogi, Claudia Givings, reveals her beautiful journey to yoga.

1. How long have you been teaching?
I've been teaching yoga consistently for almost a year but I've been teaching movement for 11 years. 

2. What motivated you to teach and what have you learnt from teaching?
Donation based yoga came into my life when I desperately needed it. Because I was comfortable teaching and choreographing my own movement I thought I'd be good at teaching yoga too. I didn't have the funds to give a big donation so that seemed like a good way to pay it forward. 
I've learned about forgiveness, compassion, self care, my own strength and about how to practice and recognize that I encompass all of those things. Oh yeah and also body alignment in yoga poses. ;-)  Lol. 

3. How many times a week do you practice?
3-5 times a week

4. Who inspires your practice?
I inspire my own practice. I've spent a lot of my life comparing myself to others or doing for others without recognizing my own needs. The first time I remember feeling what it felt like to breathe was during a yoga class. That moment has inspired me to keep searching for what inside me motivates me too keep going. 

5. Why is it necessary to you to practice?
It's a practical way to practice self care. I love movement and have found that it fills my soul like no other. For a long time I wasn't in class because I couldn't afford it and because of my own negative experiences connected to pursuing dance. Yoga provided me with a safe place to move. I then learned about the importance of being aware of breath and experienced it actually centering me. It was pretty significant. Before that I had no concept of doing something healthy to take care of myself for myself. Any other pursuits of "getting better" were to fix relationships with other people or to find a relationship or to please someone else. Practicing yoga was one the first times I could feel the effects of me trying to take care of myself. 

6. What message do you like to spread through teaching? 
That the students are enough. That their experience is enough. That they don't have to change or fix to become better because what they're working with is already golden. That's been a pretty hard lesson for me to learn and I can't say I feel that towards myself all the time but it's something I know is true for us. So I'm hoping spreading that message helps the person who hears it. 

7. Where are you currently teaching? 
I teach at Yoga to the People. 

8. How does taking care of your family coincide with yoga?
My yoga peeps are my family. We're a community. So when I show up for class I show up for my family. These relationships have seeped into my life outside of yoga as well helping me find great support in times of need. I've found that it all works together. 

9. Has yoga helped you through something that you struggled with? If so, what and how?
I've had pretty bad depression for most of my life.  When I was in the throws of my depression it felt like I was being suffocated. During my first yoga class in NY I felt like I could breathe for the first time in a while. Because it felt like my breath was taken away from me for so long, having that moment were I had it back was pretty significant. It definitely didn't take my depression away but it helped in making me feel like it was ok - like the depression was a part of me, not all of me. I, for the most part, experience life in extremes. Yoga has shown me that middle ground providing ways to connect to myself and the present moment. I'm definitely not at a place where I am at peace all time but I now feel that that's ok. This journey I'm going through is enough.