Favorite part of teaching yoga?
So many things! Just the other day, I helped a student who was struggling to balance in headstand because her elbows were splaying out. Once she tried it again, she was totally balanced. I’m constantly reminded that I am always learning as a student and teacher, but I love those moments when you can share something with someone else to help grow their practice.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both my parents grew up there and met in high school. I even had a teacher who taught my mom, if you can imagine. I grew up in a town where everyone knew each other, or knew your parents, or also in my case, your grandparents. It’s been fascinating to watch the one main street downtown transform recently – boarded up businesses have been replaced by restaurants, coffee shops, and even a bar or two! There are definite perks to living in the big city, but I’ll always have a soft spot for small towns.
What are your top 3 hobbies?
Playing guitar would definitely be at the top of my list. I started teaching myself a few years ago and I am totally hooked. I also love going hiking or pretty much anything that gets me outdoors and in nature. And last but not least would be cooking. I picked up a love for good food and cooking from my mom who got both my brother and I into the kitchen at a young age. This comes in handy as a vegetarian because it forces me to get creative!
Favorite yoga pose and why?
My favorite has to be koundinyasana. I was assigned this pose for my final teaching as part of teacher training. At the time, I had only attempted it once or twice and thought that there was no way I would be able to demonstrate this in a few weeks. I started practicing it at home every few days and by the time I had to teach it to my fellow students, I could do the pose! I love this pose because it reminds me that there will always be things that scare you, that you look at and go ‘this is not going to happen.’ Yet, with a little perseverance and a lot of practice, you can get closer than you ever thought you could. Plus, it feels a little like you’re flying on your mat!
Fresh French bread and cheese. Throw in some wine and I’m even happier.
Courage is not the absence of fear; it’s the strength to overcome it. I’ve seen this quote attributed to different people (including Nelson Mandela), but I first saw it in a tiny shop in Australia when I was studying abroad. I’ve often come back to this quote, reminding myself that it’s ok to feel scared (whether it’s a new pose or a new job) as long as you try anyway.
Favorite album or artist?
Can I pick my favorite album for this month? One of my second favorite things about teaching yoga might be getting to create a playlist! Currently on repeat on my itunes is Magic Sam’s ‘West Side Soul’ from 1967. Can I make a blues yoga playlist?
I’m a total bookworm and this makes it incredibly difficult to pick just one. Based on how many times I’ve re-read them, I’d say that Chekhov’s short stories, Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, and Oscar Wilde’s plays make the list.
What inspires you?
People who are passionate about what they do. An empty pot on the stove and a fridge filled with fresh groceries. The East Gallery of the National Museum of Art (and that gorgeous light filled space which would be so cool for a dance performance). Seemingly impossible challenges like climate change and getting people to care about the water they use. An empty room and great music playing. Taking a hike – pretty much anywhere.