Being in Brian's presence, one feels like there is a deeper meaning to life. Who wouldn't want to be taught by someone who gets it? And by 'IT', I mean the devotional aspect of why we practice.
Please, be inspired!
1. How long have you been teaching?
I've been teaching for a little less than two years.
2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learned from teaching?
A few years ago, I was in a rough place mentally and physically. I started going to yoga classes everyday and not only did these classes leave my body feeling great all day, but the practice gave me a new outlook on my life and helped improve my mood. During the classes, the teachers would announce the upcoming teacher-training. A few of the teachers kept suggesting that I do the teacher-training. Having felt strong benefits from the practice of yoga, I wanted to help show others the benefits of the practice. From teaching others, one thing I’ve learned that currently comes to mind is anatomy and the teacher’s responsibility to protect their students. Students put a lot of trust in their teachers. Because of the power dynamic, students will often do whatever the teacher tells them to do, even if they don’t realize or know that the movements or instructions are harmful to their bodies (whether in the short term or in the long term). Having seen teachers guide students through sequences that I think can be anatomically harmful and say things to students that I feel can be dangerous, I’ve tried to learn more about anatomy, sequencing, and modifications.
3. What is something that you have learned from a fellow teacher?
From Brian Nygard. That you don’t have to be liked by everyone. Having people like you is not necessary. What is important is challenging the students. Benefitting them. Telling them the truth in a supportive and gentle way. Being a teacher isn’t always about being a student’s best friend, but helping them to learn about themselves. Strengths and also weaknesses, so that they can decide what they want to practice.
4. How many times a week do you practice?
Managing and teaching many classes make it challenging to find the time to fit in my personal practice. I get to take 5 or so classes every week, but I try to carve a little bit of time every day for myself to do something. It could be seated meditation for 15 minutes or an hour vipassana sitting. Some days it’s lying down in a supported fish for 15 minutes, some days it’s practicing nauli kriya when I first wake up.
5. Who inspires your practice?
6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?
There are many reasons. In terms of the long term, the health of my spine, hips, and knees are very important to me. Typically though my drive to practice comes from the desire for my body to feel good and opened up all day long. Improved compassion, patience, and mental clarity are all reasons for me to practice as well. And to top it all off, I can sleep better at night.
7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?
That you can be soft. That you can slow down. I feel like many of us go through life at high speeds and with a lot of tension. These things can cause stress and strain on our relationships, and prevent us from experiencing/appreciating all that life has to offer us. Slowing down and softening your body (as well as your mind and breath) can be transformative.
8. Where are you currently teaching?
NP Rock Yoga in New Paltz, New York, and at Jewel City Yoga in Brooklyn.
9. What are the best ways that you have learned of approaching studios that you would like to teach at?
There are a few things that go into approaching a studio that you would like to teach at. At first, evaluating whether you want to teach at that studio is key. Do I like the vibe of this studio? Does this studio’s philosophy on yoga match up with my own? Do I have something I feel like I can offer that would be beneficial to the students? Then, I have found that taking class at the studio is helpful. Especially if you take the manager’s or owner’s classes. Introducing yourself without sounding needy or aggressive is important. Once it feels right, asking if there are any sub opportunities is a good idea.
10. Has yoga helped through some painful? If so, what and how?
Absolutely. I think movement and meditation can be medicinal. Breathing with your feelings (whether it be pain, sorrow, depression, anger), forces you to acknowledge what is going on in your mind. In acknowledging, you’re not pushing these feelings into your subconscious where they can fester. Realizing that these feelings are not only impermanent, but that they don’t have to become you, is huge. Impermanence is a transformative concept that I really got to experience through vipassana meditation. Everything changes. Nothing is permanent.
11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?
12. Is Social Media easy or challenging for you?
I feel like I grew up in a generation where social media is ubiquitous and the skills to use it are almost innate. That notion combined with my comfort with technology makes social media not too challenging for me. I understand it’s importance and how to use it, but sometimes can definitely struggle with broadcasting/marketing myself or putting myself out there.