‘I don't need to protect myself from what I think my limitations are.’

Mary Emfinger is a Yoga Teacher based in Texas.

Mary Emfinger is a Yoga Teacher based in Texas.

1. What style of yoga do you teach?

I teach a smattering of styles. My first love was Yin Yoga and that has allowed to branch out into also teaching classes like Gentle Yoga, Slow Flow, Hot Power Fusion, and Restorative (yep, it's different than Yin).  


2. What is your intention behind teaching?

Keep learning from every-yogi. I want to go into each class with an open mind and the ability to change the sequence I have developed specifically for the yogis that showed up to practice that day. Bodies, in all of their strength and in all of their limitation, should be honored and respected. Therefore, my class should be for the people who show up as opposed to whatever it was that I thought I should teach at that day and time.  


3. Who are your mentors in yoga? 

Rebekah Rivera, every teacher of every yoga class I've ever taken and each yogi I have ever had the honor of teaching. 


4. What have they taught you? 

How do I even begin? Firstly, to be myself. When I am teaching, do not change who I am - and I'm committed to holding fast to that. Although I look up to many yoga teachers, it does not benefit any of us for me to strive to become them. People who gravitate to the classes I teach will be different than the people who gravitate to my teachers, and that is a wonderful thought. 


They have all taught me the importance of language, how to teach to each different yogi, how to honor the strength in every human body. How to laugh during class. How to play.


5. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you? 

Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy by Sadhguru gave me practical ways and often funny anecdotes to practice yoga in the everyday moments. 


6. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice? 

I don't need to protect myself from what I think my limitations are.  


7. How often do you practice? 

I practice a few times a week. I have a very physical lifestyle, I also run, swim, bike and weight train on a regular basis to keep my fitness levels high enough for distance marathon and triathlon races, so asana practice is often my "guilty pleasure" - my coach only approves one yoga class every week or so, so please don't tell her!


8. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana? 

Yama - Integrity is one of my core values. I feel strongly about doing what I say I am going to do. I keep a vegetarian diet, I believe in positive self-affirmation (something I've been practicing during running),  I believe in Asteya not only of belongings but also of thoughts, time, etc. 

Niyama - Self-discipline comes out of me in the ongoing journey of contentment. I honor how I feel, trying to never judging any emotion according to how society has classified it (ie happy, angry, sad, etc) as either good or bad. 


Pranayama - I love practicing and teaching these before or after asana. Square breathing and alternate nostril breathing are the ones I gravitate to most often.


Pratyahara - Do you ever stop for a few minutes and send your thoughts inside your own body? You can feel things moving around - maybe it's energy, or blood, or food digesting... it's pretty rad. Sometimes just placing my hands on myself helps me with this.

Dharana - This one is hard for me. Usually chanting is the best way for me to keep concentration on one thing and let go of my mind chatter. Still working on it to be honest.

Dhyana - I believe a person can meditate anywhere, anyway, any place they want to. It's different for everyone - I'm not usually the sit and meditate in silence kind of gal, although I can get there after an asana practice. If you meditate walking, running, sewing, riding a horse, playing dodgeball I'd have probably sit at that lunch table in high school.


Samadhi - This is a destination and the journey is my life.  


9. Why is being present so important to you? 

If I can stay in the moment, I can avoid feelings of disappointment or depression. Staying in my body and in the moment allows me to spend more time in contentment.  


10. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name?

Please follow me on instagram @marekinss and join my mailing list at maryemfinger.com


‘You can have the most amazing standing bow and eat all the kale, but if you're not kind to others, you're missing something.’

Ksenia Voropaeva is a yoga teacher based in New York City. She is also the Founder of Anaday-   available in our retail section

Ksenia Voropaeva is a yoga teacher based in New York City. She is also the Founder of Anaday- available in our retail section

1. What style of yoga do you teach? 


I teach a mix of lineages that have been taught to me, and that resonate in my personal practice. I believe in teaching what I know. So I combine Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram, Dharma, Kundalini, Mantra, plus incorporate new things that I'm learning and working on myself. I'm forever a student and that keeps me curious and growing. Being a teacher means being a student first.

2. What is your intention behind teaching?

To pass on the teachings and help people feel better.


3. Who are your mentors in yoga? 

So many amazing teachers through the years in NYC! Jared McCann has pushed (and still pushes) my practice to the next level. Erin Rose gives a depth that's like no other. I now notice my kidneys when I practice. Gauri has shifted my life in so many ways through mantra work. My partner, Mario,teaches my everyday how to take the yoga home (om shanti). And I’m always learning so, so much from my yoga community—the amazing humans who I feel like I've known through lifetimes at this point. There's is something so special about deep asana and mediation work with people. You get to know them on another level. It’s like osmosis. These are my mentors.


4. What have they taught you? 

Be present, do the practice every. single. day. (doesn't have to be asana, doesn't have to be on a mat, but it needs to be something), be kind, be of service, love.


5. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you? 

The Science of Breath.


6. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice? 

Big shifts happen in subtle ways.


7. How often do you practice? 

Everyday.


8. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana? 

Through everyday actions. The more I practice and connect with my inner-self, the more I recognize how everything is an extension of my experience—home, health, relationships, career, finances, dreams. Everything is connected. So for me, it's a matter of recognizing my patterns and shifting them. The Yamas and Niyamas are foundation #1. You can have the most amazing standing bow and eat all the kale, but if you're not kind to others, you're missing something. And that something is reflection of our own fears (aka absence of love). Once we start to really confront ourselves and our patterns (of harming, dishonesty, excess, attachment, non-contentment, fill in your Yama/Niyama blank____), we begin to remove the blocks to energy/love/divinity, and the rest of the limbs fall into place. It’s a constant remembering that my home, family, career, everything else in life, has to come from this place of awareness.


9. Why is being present so important to you

They say time is an illusion and the present is all there is. That's tough to wrap my head around. What I do know, is that it's only when I'm fully present that I feel a deep sense of connection. When I'm not worried about the future or analyzing the past, and am just doing my asana, my meditation, or creating, my energy flows. Rather than trying or forcing, I become a channel. Stay receptive, as Dharma says. That's only possible in the present. 


10. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name?

Find me @heyananday!


‘Everything eventually works out as its meant to, the lessons are in how you handle yourself between the gaps.’

Debbie Lash is a yoga teacher and health coach based in Los Angeles, California.

Debbie Lash is a yoga teacher and health coach based in Los Angeles, California.

1. What style of yoga do you teach?

With my clients I teach a collaboration of Vinyasa Flow and Restoration depending on what is needed on the day. My public offerings are various levels of Vinyasa Flow, with some classes in a heated environment. I’m passionate about music so my playlists are super important to setting the tone plus I weave in essential oils for a sensory experience


2. What is your intention behind teaching?

I have many intentions behind my teaching, and they change daily.  But what's important to me is guiding people to connect to their breath by consciously breathing into the whole body, and then once the breath is established, and becomes the voice of their practice, then they're able to cultivate windows of stillness in the mind.


3. Who are your mentors in yoga? 

I did my 500 YogaWorks TT with Carolina Goldberg, this woman changed my life.  Other teachers who inspire me are Joe Kara, Andrea Marcum, David Lynch, Danielle Karuna (to name a few)!  Living in LA is a blessing as I am surrounded by many of the most inspiring yoga teachers in the world - it’s a life long journey with so much to learn.


4. What have they taught you? 

The best advice I was ever given was “just get out there and teach and the rest will fall into place”.  

Other great advice:

 - teach what you practice (meaning don’t teach poses that you are not practicing yourself). 

- be authentic.

- keep showing up & doing the work.

- practice where you want to teach, get to know your community.



5. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you? 

Close to OM - Stretching your yoga from your mat to your life   By Andrea Marcum 

Autobiography of a Yogi - Paramahansa Yogananda

Wherever you go there you are By Jon Kabat-Zinn


6. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice? 

Patience is everything.
Everything eventually works out as its meant to, the lessons are in how you handle yourself between the gaps.Keep showing up, doing the work and the body, mind and soul will unfold and transform.How you do your yoga on the mat is how you live your life off the mat.


7. How often do you practice? 

In an ideal world I practice daily but then sometimes lifes gets in the way and thats ok. 


8. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana? 

Dharana and Dhyana go together like salt and pepper - Daily meditation - even if its 10 mins or Savasana (it all counts).

Pranayama - I teach this with every client and at the start of every single class - the breath is everything.

Pratyahara mainly comes in when I practice yoga - withdrawing from the senses - balancing poses especially facilitate this for me

Yamas - Is a life practice of not wasting peoples time by being punctual, I don’t steal, I speak my truth, I try hard to not get attached to things or outcomes

Niymamas - I’m studying with IIN to be a health coach, self displine and mindfulness is essential. Mental discomfort of what people think of me is a daily check-in and one i’m constantly working on. I’m all about surrendering to the ethos that everything works out as it meant to, I’ve really learnt to trust the process.



9. Why is being present so important to you? 

I used to be so focused on things in the future, whether it be a day, a week, a month or even a year ahead that I totally missed out on what was happening in the right now.  My whole life is now geared to living in the moment, seeing and surrounding myself with like minded people. Listening and looking people in the eyes, saying hi when normally I would keep my head down, giving a compliment when normally I would think it but not say it - that to me is living in the now.


10. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name?

Instagram - debbielashyoga

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/debbie.lash.9

Allowing yourself to learn from both people and experience is a great way to stay humble and leaves room for growth.

IMG-1302.jpeg

Kendra Jean Osborne is a yoga teacher and musician based in Los Angeles.

1. What style of yoga do you teach?

I teach both traditional and contemporary styles of yoga. My first 200hr training was in a traditional based-style, Hot Power Fusion which is similar to Bikrim/26+2. Since my first training I’ve expanded my practice to Vinyasa/Power Yoga now, too.


2. What is your intention behind teaching?

Yoga has always been an outlet for me to explore my inner self and to acknowledge where I can improve in my daily life. When I made the decision to start teaching it was with the intention of bringing a sense of self-understanding and love to those who may need a little extra encouragement, both physically and mentally. Eventually, it grew into a deeply spiritual practice and has fostered some of my strongest relationships. 


3. Who are your mentors in yoga? 

One of my mentors Laura Rebecca is a long time Yogi with many trainings under her belt. What inspired me the most about her practice was the story behind it. After years of practicing martial arts, she developed an injury that forever changed her relationship to her passion and (most importantly) the way she used her body. When I was lucky enough to train under her, she really emphasized the importance of acknowledging that yoga is a great way to rehabilitate the body of injury as well as heal mental and emotional damages from the experience of loss or change. It really opened my eyes to the importance of accessibility and the need to be attentive to the finer details of each student you encounter.


4. What have they taught you? 

Many of my mentors have really helped me gain more confidence in my ability to lead others. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you can be a student and a teacher at the same time. Allowing yourself to learn from both people and experience is a great way to stay humble and leaves room for growth.


5. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you? 

One of my favorite books is “The Science of Self Realization.” It is an interview style read that breaks down the importance of Christ Consciousness in regard to yoga. It puts the teaching of the 8 Limb-Path and Bhagavad Gita in context and in a way that is easy to understand. It has had a huge influence on not just my practice, but my relationship to the creator. 


6. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice? 

I’ve been lucky enough to experience pregnancy and childbirth through the lens of yoga. Since giving birth, even being almost a year postpartum, I’ve really had to humble myself to the changes my body is constantly going through. Sometimes we have to go back to square one and re-learn the things that we used to excel at. I’m learning that it’s okay to be tired and frustrated at my body. I’ve learned to approach my practice with more care towards myself and the slower I move the more I learn.


7. How often do you practice

I currently practice every other day at home and about 2-3 times a week in studio. I try to make as much time for my asana practice as possible. I teach 3 times a week in studio and you can find me on the schedule at Hot8Yoga Koreatown.


8. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana?

 To maintain a healthy Asana I devote a lot of my time to meditation and prayer. A devotion to a higher power is what drives my asana practice. It is what motivates me to wake up and find a deeper sense of purpose in my day to day life. Without that devotion I find myself stuck in an ego driven cycle that glorifies self rather than the creator which I find can be an unhealthy and sometimes selfish way to live. When we look to something higher we can find a stronger connection the environment around us and a sense of selflessness that in turn provides something of substance to each person you encounter.


9. Why is being present so important to you

Being present is a present. It is a gift that overflows into the hands of everyone around you. When we are present we are committing  ourselves to being attentive to others. It is also a great way to feel more connected to the experience of life. I try my best to stay present through all experiences, good and bad. This helps me learn new ways to cope with compromising situations. Each day I become more present and I am able to cultivate more gratitude for all the lessons I am learning. 


10. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name?


You can follow me on Instagram @officialkendrajean

‘Trust the process.’

image1.jpeg

Diana Athena is a yoga teacher based in New York City.

1. What style of yoga do you teach?

I am a certified Vinyasa and Traditional Hot (26+2) Yoga Teacher.


2. What is your intention behind teaching?

My number one intention is to share the gift of yoga, to help people feel good in their body. To share my knowledge and to inspire my students to be their own best teacher.


3. Who are your mentors in yoga?

I have started my yoga journey with Sam Chase and Nikki Carter and am currently studying with Jared McCann.


4. What have they taught you?
It would be hard to describe what they have taught me in just a few sentences. But the most important thing for me was to learn to trust. Trust the process. Trust myself. Trust my universe.


5. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you?

“Freedom & Resolve: The Living Edge of Surrender” by Gangaji


6. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice?

My body is capable of way more than I ever gave it credit for, and most “STOP” signs are in my head, not my body.


7. How often do you practice?

At least 3 times a week, not counting going upside down whenever I have a break or a few minutes to play :)  


8. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana?

Pranayama and meditation are a huge part of my yoga routine, as well as plant-based diet.


9. Why is being present so important to you?

Living in the future creates a lot of fear and anxiety. Living in past is based on attachment. Being present and fully aware is the only way to see the clear picture and to experience things for what they are. None of us truly knows what is going to happen tomorrow, may as well use today’s fullest potential.



10. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name?

Follow my journey on Instagram or FB @DianaAthenaYoga.



‘There is always more to learn.’

image2.jpeg

Lara Saget is a yoga teacher based out of New York City.

1. What style of yoga do you teach?

Power vinyasa, traditional hot, restorative, and yin

2. What is your intention behind teaching?

To encourage clarity, mindfulness, and expand awareness

3. Who are your mentors in yoga? 

All of my teachers, including Amy Matthews and Melissa French. 

4. What have they taught you? 

That there is always more to learn.

5. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you? 

Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews 

6. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice? 

I am learning that plugging the feet into the ground changes the entire body. 

7. How often do you practice? 

Daily

8. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana? 

I am mindful of the way I move through the world and work towards practicing kindness, patience, and gratitude in everything I do. 

9. Why is being present so important to you? 

Each moment is the only moment that we have. 

10. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name?

@larasaget 

‘I am learning that movement is medicine.’

FullSizeRender.jpg

Stephanie Acosta is a yoga teacher based in New York City. 

 

1. What style of yoga do you teach?

I teach Vinyasa, Hot Traditional, Buti Yoga, Yin & Kids Yoga


2. What is your intention behind teaching?

 I really just like to get people out of their heads and more into their bodies. Get them to feel more comfortable with themselves.


3. Who are your mentors in yoga?

Alena Wertalik, Phil Lanzetta, Nikki Carter, Jacob Lacopo, Audrey Lane


4. What have they taught you?

Collectively they have taught me so much about myself. I was not comfortable with my body before becoming a yoga teacher but they have taught me compassion. They’ve taught me so much about body awareness and taught me how to love myself. They all saw something in me before I saw it, like they knew something was in me and waiting to come out. It’s so much more than the asana practice because they are incredibly knowledgeable and I have learned so much from them. 


5. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you? 

Yoga bug and Good Night Yoga are kids books that I bought for my daughter when she was a year old. I was mesmerized at how much she loved them. She’s 4 years old now and loves Yoga. She has a library full of Yoga books that keep her busy. I love that she’s started yoga at an early age its something I wish i would have had the opportunity to do.


6. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice?

I am learning that Movement is Medicine. That moving your body is so powerful. Especially with practicing Buti Yoga, where we are constantly moving and really don’t have time to second guess it. Focusing on what it feels like rather than what it looks like.


7. How often do you practice?

Everyday for the most part, on and off my mat. 


8. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana?

I start with being kind with how I talk to myself. Also being mindful of my speech: the opposite of stealing is giving so I try and give as much as I can, whether it be my time, listening with intent and just not expecting something back in return. Treating myself and others with respect & dignity.


9. Why is being present so important to you?

Because it keeps me focused on the now. We can’t do anything about the past but staying present can help me direct the future.


10. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name?

You find me on IG: @StephanieAcostaYoga

FB: Stephanie Acosta Yoga

 

‘Through the practice of Yoga on the mat, I have connected and aligned my mind, body and heart to the source.’

FullSizeRender.jpg

Image taken by Matthias Hunkeler  

 

Ryan Nance is a Yoga practitioner based in Los Angeles, California.

 

 1. What was your first yoga experience?

My very first experience of yoga was when I was writing a travel story about a resort in Boca Raton, Florida about 12 or 15 years ago, and it was part of the outline my editor had developed for the story. It was outside, on a deck over the water. I don't remember much about it, but feeling awkward in downward dog.


2. What led to you continuing your practice?

A few years later, during a pretty substantial life change, I found Bikram yoga through a friend in Sarasota Florida and started going more regularly, like 2 times a week. I was playing a lot of pickup soccer at the time and the two exercises supported me well.


3. How long have you been practicing yoga? Asana and the other limbs of yoga.

Until this last year, I really only practiced Asana. I then began first brining pranayama into my practice. I had been a smoker for a long time, until about 10 years ago, and found deep breath a challenge, and I very much needed to work on deepening my breathing so that I could manage my stress levels better.


4. How do you incorporate yoga into your life?

Pranayama led very organically into focused attention, Dharana,  and to meditation, Dhyana. As my practice has intensified I found the Yama and Niyama as resonant as I struggled to understand who I was underneath all the other things, particularly Satya (truthfulness), Saucha (cleanliness), and Samtosa (contentment). Just as I need to be truthful with myself when I am in an asana, so I want to be truthful in my actions and words off the mat.


I practice Asana everyday, even if briefly, like if I am traveling or busy. I begin each practice with a period of breathing and contemplation, sometimes turning into a meditation.


5. What’s the biggest change that you have noticed in your life?

The biggest change that this practice has brought to my life is in bringing coherence to my mind and emotions. While there are very obvious changes in my body, fitness and weight, it is the focused, clear and honest energy that I cultivate that has had the greatest impact and benefit to my wellbeing.


6. How do you make time to practice?

As I started to want to make my practice a more regular part of my life, the first thing I did was wake up an hour earlier so I could always count on getting my morning practice in. For the evening classes, it is a bit more challenging, but between protecting the time from other commitments for an evening class, or carving out time from the end of my work day, I have consistently been able to get to both a morning and evening class, nearly every day, since the beginning of the year.


7. What does yoga mean to you, off of your mat?

Through the practice of Yoga on the mat, I have connected and aligned my mind, body and heart to the source. I had struggled with strong emotions, often at war with one another, for most of my life. And through yoga, I have found that my emotions, and the experience of my mind, is even more vibrant and beautiful when they are coherent, aligned and honest. Off the mat, I have found deep stores of compassion for myself and for others as they struggle with their own misalignment. I have found great internal energy in connecting with other people, now clearly asking only to behold them in their own energy. 


8. Do you see yourself practicing in the next ten or more years?

Very much so. I have been envisioning how I will be able to continue to practice all the way through the ages in front of me. I have shed a lot of the burden I had been accumulating as I got older, and can imagine how with this practice of energy hygiene I can keep myself light and clean, aging gracefully, gratefully and with intent.

‘It’s such a waste to not enjoy what’s happening when it happens!’

Arden Goll is a yoga teacher based out of New York City. 

Arden Goll is a yoga teacher based out of New York City. 

 

1. What style of yoga do you teach?

I teach Vinyasa, heated and non heated, Traditional Hot, Hatha, and Restorative Yoga


2. What is your intention behind teaching?

My intention behind teaching is to help people find something in themselves that makes them FEEL. Feel good, empowered, happy, sad, strong, whatever it may be, because when people leave a class feeling this way they’re just a little more present and in tune with themselves and it’s such a wonderful thing to see your students find that.


3. Who are your mentors in yoga?

Victoria Greene. She is a teacher I work with and just finished leading a TT with.


4. What have they taught you?

So much! Too much to list; Her pranayama and anatomy knowledge is amazing and the way she can guide a class and get me to move my body and really feel it and move in a smart way has really altered my physical practice.


5. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you?

Ayurveda (Idiot’s Guide) by Sahara Rose Ketabi. 

This book is great! It makes Ayurveda very easy to understand and apply to your daily life, which in turn has had a great impact on my life but of course my yoga as well.


6. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice?

Patience. I like to move fast and hard and flow through things. I act the same in life. I’m working on holding and breathing and being content within the moment. So practicing that on my mat and then trying to apply it to my life is my current learning situation right now. It’s not easy.


7. How often do you practice?

I practice Yoga asana 3-4 times a week in a class setting. At home I keep up daily with a meditation practice. And I’ve recently added dance classes back into my life, which is what drew me to yoga to begin with: my love of movement. 


8. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana?

I just try my best to be aware of my actions and my imprint on the outer world I’m leaving behind. Be kind to all, be disciplined with myself, keeping my breath calm to keep me from snapping, observe, and meditate to try to reach peace. I just try my best with bringing the other limbs into my life and let things unfold. Sometimes it works out and well (of course) life happens, sometimes it doesn’t.


9. Why is being present so important to you

I feel like I miss out on so much when I’m not present. It’s something I’ve noticed more as I’m getting older. It’s such a waste to not enjoy what’s happening when it happens! It’s way batter then anything going on with your phone , that’s for sure. I want to enjoy the people and things around me at any given moment and when you’re not present you miss that chance.


10. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name?

Instagram: @arden_cicada

FB:   Arden Goll

‘ I strive to always be open and truthful - meaning what I say and saying what I mean.‘

IMG_0020.JPEG

Olivia Dunn is a yoga teacher based out of New York City.  

 

1. What style of yoga do you teach?

I teach mostly power vinyasa, but also slow flow/guided meditation classes. 

 

2. What is your intention behind teaching?

My intention behind teaching is to serve others and spread loving compassion, whether that is as a guide on the yoga path or to just hold space for whatever has brought them to the practice. 

3. Who are your mentors in yoga? At present, I find mentorship in Rose Erin Vaughan and Carlos Vazquez. Both are incredible NYC-based yoga teachers who inspire me and elevate my practice each time I study with them. 

 

4. What have they taught you? Rose Erin has introduced me to the lineage of the Chinese meridian system, and through her incorporation of this knowledge into asana practice, she has given me a new, holistic perspective on my body. Carlos, by leading with the utmost compassion and gentle spirit, has taught me that we practice not only to serve ourselves but to serve and uplift all beings everywhere, with no exceptions. His power yoga classes also put my body into poses I never thought were possible for me, which I find to be a fun aspect of asana practice - facing your fears and surprising yourself with what you’re capable of.

 

5. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you?

One Simple Thing: A New Look at the Science of Yoga and How It Can Transform Your Life by Eddie Stern 

 

6. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice? 

Recently my awareness has really opened up to the powerful tricks the mind plays to distract away from attempts at pointed concentration. One moment you are locked into experiencing your breath and the next second the mind subtly slips into thinking about a conversation from yesterday or playing a song. I am learning that a tactic to corral the mind is to play its own game. As Patanjali implies in the yoga sutras, you can’t throw away all thought and clear the mind all at once; you must throw the mind little bones, so to speak, slowly training it - using intentional thought, such as mantra - to focus, still, and eventually clear thought, if only for a few seconds. When it wanders, as it will, reign it back in with non-judgment. 

 

7. How often do you practice? Nearly every day. If I am unable to do even a short asana practice, I always prioritize finding a little time in the day to sit with my breath and practice my awareness.

 

8. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana? 

I do my best to practice and live by the yamas and niyamas, guidelines for restraints and observances. The most resonant yamas in my life are the practices of truthfulness and nonexcess. I strive to always be open and truthful - meaning what I say and saying what I mean. This is particularly important to me as a teacher. I also value sharing abundance and never taking more than I actually need, restraining from greediness. The most resonant niyamas in my life are the practices of contentment and self-discipline. Contentment has a positive connotation for me - to be content is to rest in the pure peace of your own being, in the abundance of life within you. It is the idea that you already have everything you need; only this form of happiness is sustainable, as it is not based on any external possessions which can come and go, leaving suffering in their wake. This does not mean that you do not engage in the world and strive to achieve goals; it means that you do engage in the world and reach toward goals - but not for yourself, for others. The purpose of everything you do becomes driven by the principle of serving others. How you uniquely can be of service. Self-discipline is also very important to me. Only through self-discipline - staying true to the commitments you make, whatever choices they may be - can you maintain your own peace and live the way that sparks the most joy in your heart, thus sparking joy in all the hearts that you touch. 

 

9. Why is being present so important to you?

As Thich Nhat Hanh says, only this moment is life. 

 

10. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name?

My IG handle is olivia_grace_dunn and my FB name is Olivia Dunn.

‘I believe strongly in upholding integrity.’

IMG_6920.JPG

Nia Batiste is a yoga teacher and artist/musician based out of Los Angeles. 

 

 

1. What style of yoga do you teach?

Yin yoga is my preferred style to teach and my voice is closet to Tantra.

2. What is your intention behind teaching?

To remind people to listen to themselves and their bodies, and to notice the urge to react, or resist. Although, I don’t teach as often. I cycled back into student mode. I think that’s important for any yoga teacher, healer, artist, speaker, or service-provider to step back for a moment and receive what they’re giving, because honestly, we forget to do that sometimes. I personally need that break to ground pretty often, but that’s what makes a great teacher, one who is willing to be taught. I come back to my classes with more wisdom and compassion.

3. Who are your mentors in yoga?

I’m currently working with a Reiki Healer, Sosa. She’s called me out on things I’ve never noticed about myself, or didn’t want to notice before; baggage that I’ve carried with me through certain aspects of my life that would have, or have already caused me to react or resist. 


4. What have they taught you?

To notice the root of my actions, reactions and resistances. Is it coming out of fear or out of love? It’s always one or the other, but sometimes the ego gets in the way of seeing things clearly and intuitively, so it’s been nice to work with someone who can translate my energy, bluntly! She’s pretty raw! I’m my best self around people who don’t sugar coat things, and at the same time, can come from a place of love and support. It inspires me to do the same. From that, I’m learning to accept what’s already been done, to notice how I feel about it now, and to transmute my emotions into more love for myself and others by letting it go. For me, my release happens through art. Over time I’ve learned to watch more closely at myself, and anything that may come out of fear, reveals itself as clear as day, through creative expression. Usually at a time when life wants to make a lesson out of me, throwing me on my ass.


5. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you?

My Reiki healer actually recommended a book to me called A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson. The title says it all. We hold so much in our mind and body from the past, and we don’t realize how easily things can trigger us back into fear. This book broke me down all the way. Sometimes we have to fall apart into bits and pieces so we can transform into something new, and that’s what’s been happening with me lately.



6. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice?

To be slower and allow more. I see the difference in my asana when I’m resisting trust or patience, it becomes upper body focused, strength-focused. That’s why I teach Yin, it reminds me to practice stillness for myself. If I’m going to hold space for others to move slower, then I should hold space for myself too. 

7. How often do you practice?

Everyday, in many ways, not just asana and meditation. Mostly through creative catharsis and healthy living.


8. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana?

Good question, I haven’t thought about the 8 limbs since my Yoga School exam. I honestly just Googled what they were to remember... yikes! I’ve spent my entire life learning how to live by this practice, and didn’t even fully realize it, until now. 

 

I practice Dhyana and Dharana through meditation; turning my focus inward so I can connect more deeply with my intuition. There’s usually one thing going on after another with me. I get distracted easily, and although I’ve found ways around that, without grounding myself, things can get out of control. I practice Pranayama by taking breath-work classes, and as far as the Yamas and Niyamas are concerned, I practice them naturally. I believe very strongly in upholding integrity, and self-study is the most Important to me. I have a Psychology background so I can’t help but to look myself in the mirror at the end of the day. Even if someone does wrong by me, I always see the other side to it... eventually. As an empathic person, I can put myself in anyone’s shoes and acknowledge when I’m behaving in a way that goes against pure love, which is ultimately what I believe in and how I choose to live my life. Even if I were to fall out of alignment with that, self-study keeps me in check. I forgive myself and grow from there. It’s all about self-love. If you love yourself enough, applying the 8 limbs feels more instinctual; unfortunately they’re many ways to ignore instincts in this society. Practice is key.

9. Why is being present so important to you?

Because not being present doesn’t work out in my favor, like ever! Not being present looks more like self-sabotage in my world. I’m more at peace when I’m living in the moment. It’s so hard with social media though! You see everyone’s best selves and you can’t help but to think, “what about me?” “I should be…?” “why can’t I…?” or “I wish I could…” The mind battles itself extensively via Social Media. I’ve learned how manage my time around it and how to stay in my own lane.


10. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name?

instagram: @niaizb

www.niaimaniziaire.com

‘Let go of a destination.’

IMG_6779.JPG

Carl Danielsen is a yoga teacher based out of New York City. He is the founder of his own style of yoga, Carlyoga. 

 

 1. What style of yoga do you teach? Carlyoga. It’s a blend of many different styles: anusara, ashtanga, katonah, vinyasa and common sense


2. What is your intention behind teaching? To keep people from hurting themselves


3. Who are your mentors in yoga? Ivy Ray, Lindsay Dombrowski


4. What have they taught you? Know the purpose of a pose; describe it simply.


5. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you? You Are The Placebo, Dr. Joe Dispenza. It’s about meditation. 


6. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice? Let go of destination (what a pose looks like).


7. How often do you practice? 5 times a week


8. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana? Philosophy is at the root of all my decisions (ahimsa, asteya, etc.); I meditate frequently.


9. Why is being present so important to you? Time is fleeting (and an illusion). This is the only authentic moment. I want to miss as few of these moments as possible.


10. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name? carldanielsen on Instagram and Carl J Danielsen on Facebook

‘We do have control over what is happening right now.’

IMG_6645.JPG

Natalie Costello is a yoga teacher and photographer based out of L.A. 

 

 1. What style of yoga do you teach?

Sculpt and soon to be Yin!

2. What is your intention behind teaching?

To clear the head by staying present, connecting to the mind and body through breath, movement, and holding postures for quite some time.

 

3. What have your mentors taught you?

How to be a smart teacher, create a safe/efficient sequence, walk with intention around the room, have precise cues, modify/adjust clients, create themes for class, have personality, connection with everyone, and how to project the voice over the music. I could go on forever!

 

4. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you?

Eastern Body, Western Mind. It helped me have a deeper understanding of the chakras and how to apply it during practice.

 

5. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice?

Various ways to do one pose or modify. The benefits of each pose along with the meridians they target. 

 

6.How often do you practice?

4-5 days a week.

 

7. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana?

 

I bring Yama by helping others as much as possible, spending time with them and listening. I bring integrity into my work life and want the best for everyone.

I practice Niyama by going on long hikes, meditating, and nourishing myself with food specific for my body and reading books that lead to self improvement. I keep my work and home environment clean so I wake up to a fresh start each morning having a glass of water with my phone off to stay grounded and calm the mind.

I practice Pranayama through yoga especially in a yin class. Here, the teacher constantly reminds me to focus on my breath and to control it while I completely relax my muscles.

I practice Pratyahara by limiting my intake of coffee and learning how to be alone to focus on my inner self.

I practice Dharana by resting without falling asleep. It calms my mind, and allows me to not focus on anything.

I practice Samadhi everyday by doing all the limbs of yoga. It’s a lifelong practice.

 

8. Why is being present so important to you?

Because I am truly living my life in the present. Focusing on the past or future can bring anxiety or depression. We have no control over it. We do have control over what is happening right now. 

 

9. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name?

Natalielcostello. 

‘My life is like a quilt: everything that I thread is a part of a bigger picture.’

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

Hali Tsotetsi is theEditor-in- Chief and Founder of BiologiqueLife. She has been teaching yoga since 2013. Born in New York and raised in South Africa and England, Hali now lives and teaches in Los Angeles.


1. What style of yoga do you teach?


I teach Vinyasa, Traditional Hot Yoga and Yin.


2. What is your intention behind teaching?


To be authentic and spread that authenticity, whatever it may look like.


3. Who are your mentors in yoga?


I had a few mentors when I was living in New York who used to teach at Yoga To The People, one of them owned the Brooklyn studio. As I have progressed a teacher and lost contact of some of my mentors because of life and how it progresses, I have only recently made peace with the fact that some of them won’t be in my life anymore. So, right now, I don’t have a yoga mentor but instead of searching for my mentor outside of myself, I will look within. Like Pattabhi K. Jois famously said, ‘All is coming’, and I believe that about everything. If you stay on the right path, are genuine, stay uplifted and authentic, all is coming. It’s only a matter of time.


4. What have they taught you?


I have learnt so many things from former mentors. One being that I don’t have to like everyone. I took a teacher-training from Jared McCann in January, 2016 and it was internally transformative. He put emphasis on being authentic which I used to struggle with. His guidance has helped me on my path of being genuine.


5. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you?


So many. One on particular is ‘Myths of The Asanas’ by Alanna Kaivalya.

6. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice?


I’m currently learning two lessons right now; Patience and Trust.


I used to be so good at trusting until I became jaded by New York City. I lived in New York for ten years as an adult. Towards the end, I had gone through some of the toughest and almost inhumane experiences that anyone could ever go through. It led me down a path of distrust, particularly towards myself and men. Right now, my practice is reminding me that there is a bigger picture and allowing is better than forcing my outcome. Looking back, God and The Universe have always known what was best for me. When I lie in Savasana, I try to surrender myself to that notion.


7. How often do you practice?


Almost everyday.


8. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana?


As a true Aquarius, I am not the best at following rules. Rules scare me actually. So, the niyamas&yamas are not my forte. I like to live by karma. That my life is like a quilt: everything that I thread is a part of a bigger picture. So, I ask myself, what do I want that picture to look like?


I also practice Dharana  (meditation) twice a day for at least an hour-a-day.


9. Why is being present so important to you?


Because life is happening right now. I have always been an overly driven person. In fact, anyone who knows me well, knows that I am always on-the-go and working a lot. Recently, I decided to be more present than I had been because the future does not exist without presence. I have always looked to the future for happiness and now, I want to look to now for anything I want because now is the only moment that it is feasible.


10. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name?


My IG is @halitsotetsi

Be Inspired by Olivia Dunn!

IMG_6353.JPG

 

Olivia Dunn has an angelic presence about her. Her teaching style is melodic, warm, and passionate. 

Be inspired: 

1. How long have you been teaching? 3 Years.

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


It was during my time in college that I came across yoga - coming to the practice initially for a good, sweaty work out and a skillful complement to my studies in dancing, singing, and acting. But, it didn’t take long for me to fall deeply in love with the practice in its own right. Looking back, I think I was initially motivated to become a yoga teacher not only because I was very passionate about the benefits of the practice but, perhaps more so, because something in me felt that I had potential to be good at it. I had always enjoyed helping and supporting people, whether as a tutor, mentor, or assistant - being a supportive guide for others to shine their brightest made me feel good, as opposed to competing for myself to shine solely in the spotlight. So when yoga entered my life, I got the feeling that it could be my calling to share it with others. Of course on a more practical level as well, I gravitated toward completing my 200-hour training right after graduating from drama school because being a yoga teacher seemed like an enjoyable day job to support me while pursuing a performing arts career.

I have learned and continue to learn so much about myself and human nature from teaching. It is now all I do. At this point in my life, I have put a hold on performing and committed myself fully to being the best teacher I can be. Teaching is so fulfilling to me both because it brings me so much happiness to be with and serve others and because it is a never-ending practice that constantly challenges me to grow and learn and be bold in trying new things. The most powerful lesson that I have gained from my teaching - one that I am still working on to this day - is to not take things personally. It is very easy to travel down the slippery slope of insecurity as a teacher. When we care so much about what we’re doing and give so much of ourselves to students in a class, it can be very hurtful when students appear to be apathetic or displeased. We identify their apparent experience with our worth; though, of course, we must be careful as teachers to believe that we know what people are experiencing, thinking, and feeling solely based on external observation - we don’t know, until we ask and listen. And in that vein, I have learned that more often than not, a person's experience or behavior toward you has infinitely more to do with them and their current state of being, what they may be going through in their life, than it has anything to do with you. We know this from the teachings of yoga - however the mind is colored, so too will the perceptions of the world be colored. Thus, I have also learned that what’s most important in the role of a teacher is to meet people exactly where they are and to hold space for that.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher? Something I have learned from a dear fellow teacher each time I take her class is that, as a teacher, sharing your honest humanity is the most impactful thing you can do. 

 

4. How many times a week do you practice? I do my own self practice, comprised of asana, pranayama, and japa meditation, in the morning nearly everyday.

 

5. Who inspires your practice? Currently, my asana practice and bodywork is very inspired by Rose Erin Vaughan and the workshops and trainings that I’ve done with her. My meditation practice is inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice? What drives me to practice so consistently is two-fold. Firstly, I believe it is essential as a yoga teacher to continue your own personal practice in order to be able to genuinely offer guidance to students. As the saying goes, ‘Practice what you preach’.  Secondly, Yoga as a science and practice has brought so many valuable tools for healing into my life. Through persistent practice, I am more present, available, and compassionate to the world. I feel at my best through practice. The practice asks me to look deep into the root causes of suffering in my life (and that of others) and gives me a path to untangle those knots with the intention of connecting to the pure Self, which is not bound by any identifications or desires. I can’t be certain that I will ever reach self-actualization, absorption into pure consciousness, but it seems that there is no harm in riding along the journey toward its attainment if we humans become more compassionate for each other and all beings in the process. 

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching? I have recently been closing all of my classes with this message, first introduced to me by Rose Erin Vaughan: “We remind ourselves why we come together to practice yoga. We practice to be of service to all beings everywhere, with no exceptions. May this practice be of service.” The deeper meaning of this sentiment is liken to another known saying in our culture - to change the world, you must first change yourself. When we lead with the intention of understanding ourselves more deeply, seeing our pains, our sorrows, our joys, the inner workings of our minds and meeting them with acceptance and love, then we become a participant in creating and connecting to a more conscious, loving world. The way to selfless, sustainable happiness is through serving others. 

 

8. Where are you currently teaching? I currently teach classes in corporate and residential buildings for hOM, a start-up company based in NYC. 

 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop? The practice of yoga has certainly helped me become a more understanding, compassionate person and, on good days, a more patient person (let’s be real, the powerful drive of the urban psyche is hard to let go of). I find myself moving through life and interpersonal relationships with more awareness and less reactiveness. And in particular, the practice of teaching yoga has given me so much confidence in myself. 

 

10.What has kept you practicing all these years? The very fact that yoga is a practice, not something to be mastered in a day. There is always more to unpack, explore, and finesse. I love to play with the possibilities of my human experience, in body, mind, and spirit, and there is quite a joy in doing that with other people

 

11. What would you tell your self when you started teaching yoga? I would tell myself to have fun, remember why I love this practice, and take it one breath, one movement at a time. 

 

12. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio? I think the best way to start teaching at a studio is to invest in its community. Find a studio that vibes with your spirit so that you are inspired to take classes there regularly, make connections with fellow teachers and students, and, perhaps, volunteer (or get paid) to help out with the maintenance and functioning flow of the studio. This shows studio managers and owners that you care and value the community that they are working to create and that YOU would be an asset to it. 

 

13. Why is breath so important in your practice? Breath, as many of us say, is the most immediate, accessible connection between mind and body. When we are working with the breath, we are essentially working with the nervous system, which when tapped into, can give us an experience of the true continuum (not perceived separate entities) of the body and mind. 

14. What is your FB name? IG name and twitter? My FB name is Olivia Dunn. My IG name is olivia_grace_dunn. I do not have a twitter handle.

Be inspired by Nia Batiste!


IMG_5965.JPG

 

 

Nia’s energy and teaching style is soft yet firm. Knowledgeable yet open. Soothing yet endearing.  

Please be inspired by Nia:  

1. How long have you been teaching?

I’ve been teaching yoga for about 4 years.


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

What motivated me the most to start teaching was the transformation within my own practice. I feel like a completely different person from the year’s prior. I created such a deep connection to, and an understanding of my body, which has always been an integral part of my journey. I have previously felt so much shame around the way that I looked and the way I moved in my body that, I didn’t even realize I wasn’t taking care of it. Yoga taught me how to love myself totally and whole-heartedly. Currently, my practice teaches me to continue loving myself, especially during the times I forget that I can.


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

I’ve learned many things, from many teachers. One teacher stands out the most to me is Stella, The owner of Stella Luna Yoga. I didn’t start my practice at that studio, but it was the studio that raised me. I felt home there. It’s where I trained to be a teacher. Stella placed emphasis on breath awareness, and how important it is. It’s common to ignore it and take it for granted, even I do. We get so caught up with everything around us that we forget to acknowledge the one thing that keeps us alive and present. So even though sometimes I forget while running around the city, creating my life (the seed her teachings have planted) is still very much alive and growing.


4. How many times a week do you practice?

I practice at least once a day. If not at home, then I’m definitely taking a class. It’s been a while since I completed a fancy, full hour sequence at home, like what some people may think. Sometimes I do energy work, then break into a cathartic dance. Then, sometimes I power through a good workout, sometimes I’m practicing yin, and lie there in Child’s Pose (or any one pose that feels good) for about 15 mins, or until I can surrender completely; whichever comes first. Then, there are times when I intend to practice, but I’m so caught up in my thinking that no yoga is happening at all. I’d do a couple stretches and move on with my day, then get back to it later.


5. Who inspires your practice?

This is a very vague answer, but life inspires my practice. The connection I’ve made to my body is so intimate, so personal. There’s so much to explore, and so much to release from my day. I’m very much in-tune with my emotions and yoga provides me with an outlet for it. I give myself what I need.


6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

Piggy-backing off the previous answer, practicing is a channel and outlet for my emotions. On a physiological level, it keeps my body aligned. I have “severe” scoliosis, and there’s a lot of physical discomfort and emotional trauma that comes with it. Yoga helps release it all. No one believes me when I say this, but I actually grew an inch! The amount of rehabilitative yoga I’ve done on myself has opened up my body in ways I can’t fully describe. I notice that if I go too long without practicing, my body hates me for it. I slip right back into pain, and my mind spirals out of control. So, I’m very passionate about yoga. It’s a choice that I have to make everyday. Either by keeping up with my practice and continuing to move with freedom. Or, don’t and suffer the consequences. It’s real for me.


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

I like to encourage others to be there for themselves, at the very least. Show up! Maybe sometimes you don’t get anything done but show up everyday on your mat (figuratively speaking), with the intention of good health and awareness. This is how it manifests into your reality. I like to remind my friends, family, students, clients and even myself, that we actually do have that choice.


8. Where are you currently teaching?

I’m currently teaching for Hot8Yoga, specifically at the Pasadena, Manhattan Beach, and Koreatown locations. I’m also available for private lessons.


9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

Self study! LOTS of self study. I know my resistances, flaws, and shadows so well. Even today, I’m growing more and more inspired by my own ordinary, but extraordinary life. I love the lessons that allow me to vibrate higher and higher, and I love how I learn from them. It’s not all pretty, but after I’ve released attachment to it, I fall in love. I can’t help but to have compassion for others. Everyone is dealing with something, and life is taking him or her on a ride too. I respect it. Sometimes you clash with people and other times, you connect. Work is being done on all of us. I only want to show love, even on the days when I can’t, that’s more work for me.


10.What has kept you practicing all these years?

My mind, body and spirit. And, mostly my body. If my body gets the yoga, so does my mind and spirit, and once yoga has reached the spirit, there’s no going back.


11. What would you tell yourself when you started teaching yoga?

Be prepared to shed your old life. It’ll be scary and intense. You’ll resist a lot, but that’s okay, you’ll be okay!


12. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio?

Just go. Show up, show love, and take classes.Have a true interest in the practice. Teaching at a yoga studio isn’t about sending a resume and trying to look the part. It’s good karma; making connections,serving, and being apart of a community.


13. Why is breath so important in your practice?

Something I learned from a Yin-Practitioner that I follow, Bernie Clark. He brought it to my attention that when we’re in our minds, thinking about whatever; we’re not actually breathing: not fully and not to our capacity. We hold onto the breath and when we hold onto the breath, we hold on to tension! Its astounding, the way the mind and body connects. If there’s no balance, what is our spirit to do? We’re all over the place! So with that, I’ve learned that the breath is presence. Remembering and redirecting my attention to my breath and to what I feel in my body ,is my practice.


14. What is your FB name? IG name and twitter?

You can find me on FB under The Subtle Seed, a holistic wellness brand, community and service; I’ve created for artists. You can also follow me on instagram @niaizb.

Be inspired by Stefan Ericsson!

IMG_4801.JPG

 

Stefan is an authentic Yogi. His style is playful yet traditional. He stays grounded, calm and intuitive as a Yogi and as a person.


Please, be inspired by Stefan: 

1. How long have you been teaching?

2 years

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

The bubbling feelings I have about yoga were just spreading beyond my own mat and when I friend asked if I would try teaching a class for him and his family, I couldn't have been more terrified / excited. Also, I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life and holding space for their journey, as I've been far away from where I am today internally.


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

My favorite teacher, now this might be cheesy but true non the less, showed me that LOVE is way. I learned from her that through spreading love to others, when it's from a genuine place, it will circle back around to you. 


4. How many times a week do you practice?

I practice everyday.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

Lately I've been into stronger flows on the mat, and I'd say Dylan Werner is a teacher I'm looking at there. Another, less famous favorite teacher of mine is Chanaka Rukshan, who lives and operates out of Mirissa, Sri Lanka.


6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

I've reached the point where this can no longer be considered a hobby, but my lifestyle. So it's necessary for me to start the day with meditation/yoga because it sets the vibe of the whole day.


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

Playfulness is always an option, try to not be to serious, it's just yoga! Also, it really is for everyone. 


8. Where are you currently teaching?

Stockholm, Sweden

next stop Ko Tao, Thailand.


9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

In all ways, for me it started with a meditation practice and later a simple asana practice was added to that. Bit-by-bit,I was inspired to read about yogic philosophy, eat ayurvedic food, contemplate about the yamas and niyamas. It's like a habit you start out really liking then finding out that this habit grows with you, constantly revealing new exiting sides.


10. What has kept you practicing all these years?

Discipline, and this discipline has created a freedom I now enjoy everyday.


11. What would you tell yourself when you started teaching yoga?

Just remember to meet the people where they're at, it's about them not you.


12. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio?

You gotta get out there, go to a bunch of classes, what kind of yoga does your city offer? Do you feel that it aligns with you? Is something lacking from what's being offered? In what way can you give differently and how will you go about that? Then talk to the people in charge, let them know who you are and why you are what they've been waiting for. If you're serious about teaching, show it and own it!

 

13. Why is breath so important in your practice?

Why is breath important in life? It literary fuels every move and sets the paste of you movement. It's the constant reminder to give/receive, to let go. It's a great teacher because it's one of few things in our body that is both autonomic (self governing) and can be controlled. Much like things in our life, it's a fine balance of knowing when to surrender to what is and sometimes using your fire/agni to make things happen. 


13. What is your FB name? IG name and twitter?

IG Absolutstefan

Christine Matroud exudes inspiration!

IMG_4725.JPG

 

Christine Matroud totally gets ‘The Yoga Thing’. She inspires me with her genuine passion and love for yoga. Let her inspire you too:


1. How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching for a bit over three years.


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

I started practicing Bikram Yoga in 2010. After my second class, I was hooked. Seeing how beneficial it was to my health and well being, I immediately felt the need to share with friends and family. Which quickly extended to anyone and everyone I met. I became so passionate about practicing yoga that I knew that I would be teaching it one day. They say “The best way to learn is to teach". What I have learnt from teaching is that just like how there are infinite ways of learning, there are infinite ways of teaching.


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

When I was teaching in Australia, a fellow teacher, named Kaz, shared true words of wisdom. She said ,“When I started practicing, I would look at teachers that were in the room and admire their perfect or close to perfect looking postures. Today, as a teacher, I see people come in with all types of injuries and problems. And I see them try their best, work hard and get better. And that's what inspires me today". Hearing her say that shifted my perspective on things as a fairly new teacher.


4. How many times a week do you practice?

3 to 5 times a week in a consistent way. Sometimes everyday or almost everyday.


5. Who inspires your practice?

Students do. Seeing people with crazy busy schedules make time for yoga inspires me to practice.


6. Why is it necessary for you to be consistent?

Practicing yoga is the most efficient way for me to take care of myself. It is a science. We get to work all of the systems of our body. When we say “Bikram Yoga is a workout from the inside out, bones to the skin", what we mean is that it works from our skeletal system, all the way through to our integumentary system, passing through the circulatory,  respiratory, muscular, lymphatic, nervous, and digestive systems of the body.


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

It's not about being good in yoga; It's about the yoga being good to you. It's not about what you can or can't do in yoga; It's about what the yoga can do for you.


8. Where are you currently teaching?

I am in Hawaii at the moment and am teaching at Hot Yoga Hilo, and Bikram Yoga Kona, on the big island.


9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

A big part of who I am is being in control of my emotions and not letting anyone or any situation steal my peace. Having some parts of the yoga class be more challenging and raise our heart rate allows us to master our breathing so that we can get through the postures, by slowing down our breath. When we slow down our breath, we get to slow down our heart rate, our thoughts ,our mind. Which allows us to be in control of how we feel, rather than letting our emotions take over us.


10. What has kept you practicing all these years?

I get to feel brand new after every class I take. Over and over again. There is nothing like it.


11. What would you tell yourself when you started teaching yoga?

That I couldn't wait to get good at teaching. I just wanted to give my students the kind of class that I enjoyed practicing.


12. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio?

Reaching out to studios by emails ahead of time is a great way to start teaching somewhereabroad. If it is at a local studio, the best way would be by practicing there.


13. Why is breath so important in your practice?

Breath is everything. Being aware of when we hold our breath allows us to know that we are working with a challenging situation, both on or off the mat. What's great is that when we catch ourselves holding our breath, we can go less deep in a posture by coming out of it just a few degrees, find our breath, and then move forward into the posture, together, with our breath.

14. What is your FB name? IG name and twitter?

FB Chris Matroud IG chrisnodramas Twitter n/a

Be inspired by Meredith Meyer!

IMG_4477.JPG

 Meredith is authentic, energetic and positive. Her classes are welcoming, approachable, and light-hearted; there’s always good tunes playing and some laughs to be had.  She tries not to take things too serious and keeps her instructions simple so her students have the space to explore whatever it is they are working on.



1. How long have you been teaching?

I’ve been practicing yoga consistently for 11 years and teaching for the last 5.5 years.

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

I worked as an advertising executive for almost 18 years and it was about 13 years into my career that I realized I wasn’t fulfilled anymore.  I was already practicing yoga and one day after leaving a yoga class with my husband, I looked over at him with tears in my eyes and said, “I want to be a yoga teacher.  That’s my chapter 2.”  The minute I said it, I knew it to be true.  I didn’t want to be in my 70s, looking back on my life wondering ‘what if?’. I signed up for a teacher -training and, that was that.  Ultimately, it was about finding fulfillment in helping others – giving back. 

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

Wow – so many things from so many teachers (I also want to add that I learn a lot from my students as well)!  Early on in my yoga career, and after teaching a class that I didn’t think went very well, I was talking to my teacher.  After listening to me go on and on about what I did wrong, what I could improve upon, what I thought the students liked or didn’t like – she told me two things that have stuck with me.  First – never assume you know what your students are thinking or how they are feeling.  Second – your teaching style will not be for everyone but your style will be right for a lot of people so stick to being you.  This is true not only for me as a ‘teacher’ but where the magic happens is how this advice really applies to how I interact with the world as a human when I’m at the grocery store, a party, whatever.  Solid advice is solid advice.

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I do my meditation along with breath work every morning and my physical practice 5-to-6 times a week.

5. Who inspires your practice?

A much harder question than it seems. At first, I went through the usual suspects: my son, my husband, me, my students, and so on. While I love them all very much, and despite the guilt in saying this, none of those humans sat right with me as the answer to this question. Yet someone I barely know rests nice and comfortable as the answer. I live in Santa Monica and there’s a man, Ray, who lives down the street from us who sits outside in his wheelchair every morning and every afternoon.  As he sees every biker, car, walker, scooter rider, and skateboarder,Ray smiles and waves.  Some acknowledge him back and some don’t; yet Ray continues to see, smile, and wave at every human.  Ray continues to give to other humans without always receiving anything in return. That’s the yoga and why I keep coming back for more of it.

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

It keeps me connected to myself, to others, and the world at large.

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

Yoga is more than the physical poses – it’s about awareness.  Through yoga, you get to know yourself better and this shapes how you interact with the world.  What we learn about ourselves on the mat during challenges poses or during a choppy meditation has a direct impact on and correlation to how we choose to live our lives off the mat.  But that doesn’t mean it has to be super serious…smiling, laughing, and trying new things is the good stuff of life.  The energy in my classes come from the laughter, the smiles, and the challenge.  Be it public or private sessions, my students venture out into the world with a smile on their face and a spring in their step.

8. Where are you currently teaching?

Hot 8 Yoga (Santa Monica, Koreatown, and Sherman Oaks locations).

Fauve Yoga Club (Santa Monica).

I also work with private clients.

9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

I believe that through yoga we shed the superficial layers that surround who we truly are.  In other words, we get to know ourselves better and we see ourselves with more clarity.  With the clarity, I’ve been able to enhance certain characteristics such as my playfulness and authenticity while strengthening others such as tenacity and compassion.

10. What has kept you practicing all these years?

The great thing about yoga is that it’s always evolving, there’s always somewhere to go, and a bit of fun to be had along the way.  Each experience I have on my mat or in meditation is different because I’m constantly evolving.  So, it’s never the same.

11. What would you tell yourself when you started teaching yoga?

OMG so many things – all the head games – that I needed to be like that teacher I saw on Instagram, that my students weren’t enjoying the practice, that I wasn’t good enough, that my personality wouldn’t resonate.  But I also knew right away teaching is for me and each time I doubted myself, I remembered why teaching yoga sits so securely in my being.  I love helping people, I love the creativity of vinyasa, I love holding space for my students, I love seeing my students faces after they nailed a challenging pose they had been working on, I love being a part of a welcoming community, I love the intimacy of the student/teacher relationship, I love being a part of the magic that happens when a bunch of humans get in a room and flow their bodies while listening to great music. 

12. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio?

From a nuts/bolts perspective, have your teaching certificate, resume, bio, and insurance certificate ready to go so it’s there for you to send off whenever asked.  It’s vital that you want to be at a studio just as much as you want them to want you.  It’s important to spend time at the studio you think you may want to teach at. I take a humble approach and I avoid announcing that I’m a teacher looking for a job…it just becomes transactional then.  Instead fly incognito at first &get a feel for the space, take classes from different teachers, get to know the community, and let them get to know you.  Take classes from the owner or studio Director at least twice so they get to know you.  Once you’ve decided that the studio feels right for you, that’s when you can find the Director or owner of the studio after taking a class (preferably theirs).  Start chatting with them, let them know what about their studio resonates with you, let them know you teach, and that you’d like to submit a resume or teach a free class as an audition.  Many studios offer free weeks, or heavily discounted pricing for new students for a week or two which makes this process more attainable.  Of course, you can certainly send in your resume via email without going to the studio & you can also hand walk your resume in (just call ahead, ask when Director or owner is there and just time it right).  Some studios also offer open auditions or post their jobs on their websites, social media, and through Craigslist.  My more human approach certainly requires more effort but it works.  

13. Why is breath so important in your practice?

Breath is everything in my practice (asana as well as meditation) because that breath is the connector, it’s the tether that keeps me aware of what is happening in my and in my body at any given moment.  And when I’m aware, I’m able to notice the pattern and behaviors as a way to inform what conscious choice to make next.  Breath provides me with a pause so I take notice before reacting/acting. 

14. What is your FB name? IG name and twitter?

Facebook: Meredith Meyer

Instagram: @YogiMeredith

Twitter: N/A

Meet the ever so-inspiring, Meredith Baker.

IMG_4412.JPG

 

Meredith is bursting with inspiration, buoyancy and genuinity. Her teaching style is delicate and a dance between effort and ease. She creates a playful space for people to push themselves to new realms of possibility.




1. How long have you been teaching?

I've been teaching for 3.5 years. First in Oxford, then in London, now in LA!


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

When I first moved to LA, I had never done yoga. I wrote a yoga rap parody, Namaste, Bitches, my 3rd day living here. By the end of the 6 months in LA, I had become my own parody and fell in love with yoga. I wanted to be able to share it as I started grad school at Oxford. I got certified and the rest is history! It's been such a great way to meet new people, hold space for others, and reflect on various other areas of my life that I had previously assumed were unrelated.


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

My teachers there have taught me that it's not necessarily the fancy sequencing that's important. It's about creating a solid and simple foundation, moving slowly and intentionally, and then building on top of that. Before, I used to think that the more 'advanced' the posture, the more 'advanced' the practice. I've learned that it actually takes more mastery to hold and marinate in the simple poses than it does to get into more complicated postures.


4. How many times a week do you practice?

I practice every day. I either practice at Sweat Yoga (where I teach) or at home.


5. Who inspires your practice?

My favorite teachers have been Schuyler Grant  (such smart sequencing that by the time I get to savasana, each muscle is completely relaxed and I drop into an intense full-body slumber!), Layna Daykin (not only are her classes so thorough and fun, but she's also given me feedback that has taken my teaching to the next level), and Bryan Kest (I love how he speaks in rhyme sometimes).


6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

I'm a runner with an overactive mind. If I don't practice, my mind goes crazy and my joints feel much more achy. Practicing grounds me back into my body and makes me feel more open and aware of the magic of the present moment.


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

A lot of people say "oh I can't do yoga because I'm not flexible enough... I'm not patient enough,"... etc. I love yoga because it teaches us that with a little focus and breath, we can get our bodies to do incredible, unimaginable things that push our perception of who we thought we were. I like to remind people in my classes that yoga is truly mind over matter and the more you focus your intention, the more you are able to bring change from dreams to reality.


8. Where are you currently teaching?

I teach at Sweat Yoga on Monday and Wednesday nights in Playa Vista at 8.15. I also occasionally do yoga events. I recently did an event with Bumble where I led a yoga class and then we had a storytelling event after.


9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

It's made me a more patient person. It has reminded me that we are all on a journey to seek happiness and become our best selves. It's helped me treat myself and others with more understanding and compassion.


10. What has kept you practicing all these years?

I continue to practice because it keeps pushing me to evolve into my best self while grounding me and connecting me to others who are also on their journey to become their best selves. 


11. What would you tell your self when you started teaching yoga?

Simplify your sequences. Align people from the ground up. Move slow and don't rush the flow!


12. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio?

Show up at a studio that you love. Learn the teachers there. Ask for their advice on your teaching. Once you're a regular there, ask the studio manager if you can audtion for the sub list. Humility and enthusiasm are key.


13. Why is breath so important in your practice?

Breath is the thing in yoga that keeps my mind from drifting into the stratosphere. It infuses every inch of my body with presence. It makes me feel grounded.


14. What is your FB name? IG name and twitter?

@merclairemethod/ facebook.com/meredithbaker07

@mer.claire