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?
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.