Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Teacher Feature: Kate Brigham

Teaching at O2 Since: 2012
Kate’s Thoughts on Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana: “Love love love Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana.  I’m a huge sucker for backbends and heart openers, and when combined with some hip flexor and shoulder opening, I’m in heaven.  It’s such a perfect pose for this time of year when the weather starts to change and things get hectic — we get a little stressed out and tend to subconsciously hunch and turn inward.  This pose helps shift the energy to a more uplifted and external place.”

5pm Sundays – Power
6am Thursdays – Basics

Raise your hand if your first yoga class ever was at 6am.  If you are Kate Brigham, than your hand is most definitely raised.  Not only was her first yoga class at that special, special early time of day, it was lead by our very own Mimi.  We should call that combo the Rise and Shine.  Clearly it charmed Kate enough to come back again — thank goodness!
Before turning her attention to yoga, Kate had spent many years in the ballet and dance world.  What she enjoyed about O2’s fluid, vinyasa practice was that it contained the flexibility and even some element of choreography that she loved in dance but with a chance to channel her energy in a more self-reflective way.  “I loved the lack of mirrors,” Kate said.  “It was a good way to turn inward and just be, as opposed to the intensity of ballet and modern dance where you are constantly competing, comparing, and striving for perfection.”  Yoga doesn’t ask you to be perfect — yoga asks you to be present.  It’s one of the most gratifying parts of having a regular practice:  knowing that simply being in the room, moving and breathing, is enough.
What brought Kate to teaching, though, was her desire to break out of her daily routine and mix things up a bit.  “I wasn’t crazy about my day job, my choreography wasn’t feeling inspired, and I just needed something to shake it all loose, so to speak.  I heard about teacher training at the end of a class and decided I’d apply — it seemed wildly interesting and I figured it would be a good way to learn more about something I’m passionate about,” she said.  With an extensive background as a choreographer, Kate had a propensity for understanding movement and, as she says, “Anyone who has met me would agree I also very much enjoy telling people what I think they should do” (wink wink), so all of those elements blended well with choosing to do Mimi’s 200-hour Teacher Training in 2012.  Kate said, “I realized that here are all the things I love: yoga, helping people, creating interesting movement, and bossing people around.  Maybe I can pursue teaching!”
And pursue teaching she did!  After completing TT, Kate moved on to our Karma program, which is the internship we have for new teachers.  “When I was accepted to the Karma program, I was thrilled, although Sarah [Wolf, Cambridge studio manager & fellow Class of 2012 grad] can attest to my high stress level at my very first class — after she told me we could go out for a drink if no one else came — wh538501_10200288575355830_2087030738_nen Elliott rolled in and I nearly died,” Kate fondly recalled.  But she survived that first Karma teaching experience, post-class Elliott feedback and all, and eventually moved onto the regular schedule.  “I started with the brutally early 6:30am Friday class in the newly opened Cambridge studio where I was initiated into teaching with the only two people motivated to come consistently at that time: [Class of TT grad and current owner of Riverside Yoga and Massage in Newburyport] Rebecca Sisson and Mimi,” Kate said.  Besides that early morning time, she also taught an evening class that was back to back with one taught by Ann.  “She would come and practice and it was invaluable in terms of feedback and helping push myself,” Kate said.
When she’s not teaching yoga these days, she’s spending time with her husband Jordan and their two absolutely adorable children, Riley Winter (3) and Jackson Thomas (nine months) while also working as the assistant to a “mad genius” entrepreneur/CEO in the tech world.  Kate brings such a great air of creativity and humor to everything she does both in the yoga bubble and outside of it.  It’s always music to our ears when she offers up her trademark, “This might be a little bit weird…” cue because we know that whatever will follow will be something absolutely tremendous.  Thank you, Kate, for your generous spirit and for being beautiful light on our teaching staff.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from Mimi?
“There are so many!  I think a big one is that because there are so many ways to do good and make a difference, that you just find the one that is easy for you and do it.  It’s different for everyone, so don’t worry about the ways that are hard for you — just find a way to spread light and do it.  The second is the incredible power of community. Two years ago our family faced some overwhelming medical challenges in relation to our daughter Riley, and the kindness and generosity everyone at O2 showed was just earth shattering and really helped our family power through an intensely horrifying time.”
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from one of our other teachers?
“Impossible to choose just one!  Most recently I am wildly obsessed with Emily Reardon’s super interesting sequencing and unique cuing.  I also love to pull an Annie Kiel and try to work a crazy arm balance into early morning Basics in a way that is (hopefully) accessible.”
What’s your favorite pose to teach?
“Probably hasta vrkasana, camel, or some bizarre variation of half moon (prefaced with ‘this might get a little weird’).”
What’s your favorite pose to do?
“Janu sirsana — I get super tight in the QL and hips due to an old dance injury, and the stretch feels so fabulous.  Also any sort of backbend — they’re so energizing and just make me feel ‘right.'”
What’s your “dream pose?”
“That changes depending on the day, but probably hasta vrkasana to koundinasana and then repeat it again, and then vinyasa.  I watched Michael Alba do it once a few years ago and it was a glorious sight to behold.”
Do you have a mantra or theme song?
“This is not particularly mystical, but I would say my mantra is ‘it’s better to be fabulous’ — a reminder that no matter what is happening, you can find some level of glamour and hilarity in it.  Theme song is clutch, and highly dependent on my mood.  It’s fall, so right now I embrace anything by Josh Ritter or Bob Dylan.”
Do you play music in class?
“I generally don’t.  I love music in class, but I struggle to play it, because I tend to make the movement echo the music.  It’s likely something I should embrace, however!”
Any fun facts?
“I have a very loud cat named The Baron, I love to travel, and I’m a huge Civil War buff who is looking forward to winter so I can binge the Ken Burns documentary without guilt.  I will always go dancing, and I never turn down a glass of tea or wine.”

Teacher Feature: Melissa Aucoin

Teaching at O2 Since: 2015
Melissa’s Thoughts on Bird of Paradise: “In Sanskrit, the pose is called Svarga Dvijasana. Dvija means ‘twice born’ and Svarga means ‘paradise.’ The pose is designed to emulate the shape of the tropical flower Bird of Paradise, fostering a sense of renewal within the body. It’s beautiful to watch a student come into the full expression of this pose. So much is required: stability, focus, balance, flexibility, and strength. Personally, I have to modify as tight shoulders and hips prevent me from binding. This has also changed my approach to teaching the pose. Instead of focusing on the bind, I design my sequences to prepare for the various elements the pose requires. So while my classes honor the Bird of Paradise theme, they do not always include the pose’s full expression. The preparatory work usually involves hip opening, shoulder rotation, lateral stretches, twists, and complimentary asanas like koundinyasana and marichyasana.”

8am Wednesdays – Intermediate
12pm Mondays – Intermediate
5:30pm Mondays – Basics
9:30am Saturdays – Power

a_mathiowetz_somerville-37We’ve been hearing this often lately at the studio:  “I’ve never done yoga — will I be able to do it?”  All of us had that thought at the start of our journeys here at O2, including Melissa who recalled a friend mocking her desire to give yoga a shot back in 2010.  “She laughed, claiming I wouldn’t be able to do it and rattled off a long list of reasons why,” Melissa said.  Well, that didn’t stop her from showing up at O2’s former South End studio location for her very first class ever, which happened to be taught by our fearless leader Mimi.  “Now I can look back and laugh, but at the time I wasn’t sure I’d make it. Yoga was hard! I’d never done a vinyasa before, and what was this Ujjayi she kept talking about?” Melissa said, adding, “After months and months (and months!) of practice, it all started to come together. I fell in love with the feeling I had after a class, the calm that I could channel during stressful moments. I savored how I was learning to move with the breath. I enjoyed the O2 community and the sense of camaraderie among the students and teachers. And then there was the yoga itself: an ideal blend of vinyasa and astanga, playful yet challenging! I’ve practiced at a few other studios, but have yet to find one that connects alignment, movement, and breath as well as O2 does.”  Melissa’s right — yoga is hard!  But O2’s approach to the practice makes those who invest their time here come away with a great reward.  It takes work and dedication to build strength and flexibility ro develop into a solid yogi.  But Melissa didn’t let the difficulty of the practice or her friend’s declaration that she’d never be able to do stop her from working hard and that hard work has paid off — and lead to a yoga-immersed existence.
That yoga-immersion lead to Melissa deciding to take the big leap to do Mimi’s 200-Hour Teacher Training in the fall of 2014.  While it wasn’t something she ever dreamed she’d be able to do at the start of her yoga practice, the more time she spent on her mat at O2, the more she wanted to kick it up a notch.  And while it was an idea she toyed with for a few years before officially signing up for the training, it was a friend reminding her that there’s no time like the present to take this sort of plunge.  “It was one of the best decisions I ever made,” Melissa said.  Being able to share this practice — and this studio where it all happens — with others is one of the most special parts about our Teacher Training program.  And now teaching yoga is what Melissa does for a living!
She is also a regular at our annual retreat to Maya Tulum in Tulum, Mexico, thus combining two of her biggest passions: yoga and travel.  “Tuluma_mathiowetz_somerville-12 feels like coming home, in a way!  There is a familiarity to the beautiful grounds, knowing which sandy path leads down to the beach or the yoga hall or my friends’ villas.  Days are filled with yoga, sunshine, debates between hammocks versus beach chairs, and wondering if there will be guacamole for lunch.  I can stroll into Little Tulum to shop, plan an excursion to see the ruins and a cenote, or just book a second massage and relax.  It is one of the most wonderful trips I’ve ever taken and always look forward to going back,” she said.
Melissa’s classes are playful and creative and chock full of a reminder that it’s just practice — no pressure to be perfect at it or take it too seriously.  No matter if you’re in Power, Intermediate, or Basics, Melissa will make sure you have a great time on your mat, reinforcing that anyone who wants to learn how to do yoga will have that chance in her class.  And while this is true of all of our excellent teachers, there’s something extra special about a teacher who was once laughed at for merely wanting to try this yoga-thing out.  Just goes to show — the sky’s the limit when you put your mind to anything.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from Mimi?
“To let go of attachments. In yoga, the effort to achieve certain poses or binds can lead to injuries as well as frustration. Mimi always reminds us that the bind won’t help us attain enlightenment, and to instead focus on breath and other elements of the pose.  It may take a lifetime of practice to find the full expression of a posture, so work towards it with clarity and patience rather than obsessing over it.  Outside of yoga, we attach ourselves to so much: material things, expectations, judgments, habits. So, the same lesson from Mimi applies. I’m slowly learning that life is much more enjoyable when you let go. It’s a challenge and something to work on everyday—but it can happen.”
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from teaching?
“To find symmetry and balance within my sequences, so students can recognize how the asanas complement one another and build toward a theme or specific pose.”
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from one of our other teachers?
“Be confident and teach what you know.”
What’s your favorite pose to teach?
“Lately I have enjoyed adding Marichyasana E to my sequences. There are several variations (sitting either in half hero, on the heel itself, or on a block) and endless transitions that can follow:  hip flexor stretches like reclined half hero, coming forward into horse or half crane, or stepping the back leg into a lunge/warrior alignment to work toward extended side angle pose or Bird of Paradise (hint hint).”
What’s your favorite pose to do?
“Supported fish, with blocks and a strap.  I love the duality of the pose -grounding the crown of the head, while also opening the throat, heart, and hips. It’s one of my favorite ways to end practice, sometimes resting like that in place of Savasana.”
What’s your “dream pose”?
“Sirsana (headstand) and it’s many variations.  Being upside down creates a euphoric feeling, while there is still a keen awareness of how the body is working to stay balanced. I am “thisclose” to being able to lift up into Baddha (bound) Sirsasana without an assist.”
Do you have a mantra?
“Hamsa, meaning ‘I am/That’ in Sanskrit.  I translate it as ‘I am that consciousness’ or ‘I am that light.’ It reminds me to refocus and slow down my breath, especially in Savasana where my mind tends to wander.   The mantra even sounds like the breath:  inhale ‘ham,’ exhale ‘sa.'”
Do you play music in class? Why or why not?
“I often play music in the background, letting street noise and outside distractions blend together with the song.  If the class is crowded, it’s really lovely to instead listen to the breath.”
Any “Fun Facts” you’d care to share?
“I love live music and see several shows each month. Bands sound much better in person, and I truly enjoy the experience of singing along and dancing with the crowd. Ideally, traveling to a new city for a show is also involved.  I’ve seen my favorite band more than 70 times in at least 8 different states, and am looking forward to their next tour.”

Originally posted on O2 Yoga's website on October 15, 2017.  View it here.

Teacher Feature: Erika Guckenberger

Teaching at O2 Since: 2012
Erika’s Thoughts on Bird of Paradise: “Bird of Paradise is a challenging pose for my body. My hips and shoulders are on the tighter side, so I need a lot of preparatory poses in order to safely get into it. Of course, because it’s hard, it’s exactly the sort of pose I need to incorporate into my practice. Working towards challenging poses helps to push us beyond our comfort zones and make us into better yogis! But at the same time, I understand what needs to be done in terms of sequencing to help students safely reach this peak pose. And I understand from personal experience how exciting it is to progress towards a pose you never thought you’d even be able to approach!”
9:30am Sundays – Basics
6pm Mondays – Power
7:30pm Thursdays – Basics
a_mathiowetz_somerville-26Erika found her way into yoga when she decided she needed to find a form of exercise that was good for her body and not boring for her mind.  O2 Yoga turned out to be just that!  After doing a few yoga sequences on a video, she decided to give this studio with this crazy purple awning right down the street from where she lived a try!  “It was during an Open House.  The class was called ‘Introduction to Primary Series,’ so I assumed it was appropriate for beginners.  It definitely wasn’t!  But I bought my first 10-class card and found my way to some actual Basics classes — and the rest is history!” Erika recalled.
That was thirteen years ago and in that time, her practice not only blossomed, she also got increasingly more involved in the O2-community by joining our stellar workstudy team, working at the desk in Somerville for many years.  It just so happens, we’re hiring workstudy currently in our Cambridge studio — for Erika’s Sunday morning class, no less!  Being part of this close-knit team of dedicated O2 Yogis is a great way to immerse yourself more in our community and help us keep our studios the welcoming, homey, warm places that they are.  Workstudy is a two-hour-per-week commitment in exchange for an unlimited yoga membership.  Interested in learning more?  Ask us about workstudy next time you come for class!  Erika is one of the many wonderful teachers we have who got her active start with us behind the sign in desk.  It’s a great way to get involved.
And for Erika, the decision to get more and more involved was an easy one.  “Yoga was the first type of physical activity that I tried that I actually found myself looking forward to.  I didn’t have to drag myself to a yoga class the way I would drag myself to the gym.  And once I started practicing regularly, I discovered the calming psychological effects as well as the physical ones,” she said.  So while her love of the practice grew, so did her interest in learning the other side of it:  teaching!  2012 was the first year Mimi offered her 200-Hour Teacher Training Program in a weekend format, which made it possible for Erika (and many other studio regulars) to participate at last!  Her “day job” isa_mathiowetz_somerville-25 teaching 7th grade World Geography, so she originally thought she might do TT to create a “yoga club” for her students.  “Once I immersed myself in Teacher Training, I discovered how much I enjoyed creating sequences and teaching within the O2 style and setting. I had already been a part of the O2 community for so long that teaching kind of seemed like a natural next step. And I also found that teaching adults was a nice complement to my ‘day job’ working with twelve- and thirteen-year-olds,” Erika said.  So it was only natural that she decided to do the Karma Program and continue on as a teacher.
Erika’s classes are thoughtful and creative with plenty of opportunity to challenge you, whether it’s your first or nine hundreth class.  There is always somewhere new for students to work towards advanced postures in her Power classes while her Basics classes show the broad scope of how to approach really foundational aspects of the O2-style while getting a solid sneak peek at what newer students can look forward to as their practice progresses.  We are so delighted to have Erika both as one of our more senior teachers as well as such a long-time student.  Treat yourself to one of her stellar classes sometime soon!
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from Mimi?
“It’s not anything explicit, just the example she sets through her way of being and interacting with others. Even when she’s facing challenges, she’s so immensely gracious and full of loving-kindness, in a way that really inspires me.”
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from teaching?
“How to be patient with my own practice. (Sri K. Pattabhi Jois: ‘Practice, practice and all is coming.’) I encourage students to be humble about their own limitations, and I’m constantly reminded to follow that advice myself.”
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from one of our other teachers?
“Honestly, I learn something new—or I’m reminded of something I’d forgotten—every time I take a class at O2. It could be a transition that I’d never thought of before, or a way of cuing or approaching a certain posture. One of the great things about O2 is that we all teach in a consistent style, so we’re constantly drawing inspiration from each other.”
What’s your favorite pose to teach?
“Floppy fish, or sumo steps from second series, or any pose that causes people to take themselves less seriously.”
What’s your favorite pose to do?
“Half moon—it feels like flying!”
What’s your “dream pose”?
“Hopping up into handstand without assistance. I’m definitely closer than I used to be!”
Do you have a mantra?
“It’s not really a mantra, but I keep coming back to this saying: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Some of the most amazing experiences I’ve had were the ones that made me the most apprehensive at the beginning.”
Do you play music in class?
“I do like to play music, but I tend to choose ambient or world music—something where the lyrics aren’t a distraction.”
Any “Fun Facts” you’d care to share?
“I have three cats who are named after characters from the TV show Lost, which gives you an idea of their ages, as well as my level of geekiness. I absolutely love to travel—I’ve been to Cuba, Japan, East Africa, Peru and various other places. I’m planning a trip to Portugal for next summer as a 40th birthday present to myself. And when I have time, I also like to take on knitting and sewing projects.”
Anything else about your teaching or your practice or yourself?
“Just how grateful I am to have landed within this amazing community.”

Originally posted on O2 Yoga's website on October 1, 2017.  View it here.

Teacher Feature: Bett Zamparelli

Teaching at O2 Since: 2015
Bett’s Thoughts on Primary Series: “I LOVE IT! The Ashtanga practice in general is such a growth-oriented series where the fixed sequencing allows the practitioner really to engage mindfully with their own practice and where they are at, both physically and mentally, at that particular moment. Primary Series, in particular, emphasizes the idea of progressive sequencing, where the next pose builds on the previous. The immediate right-left nature per asana (traditionally with a vinyasa in between) allows for an incomparable understanding of the symmetry (or lack there of) in the body, and how this symmetry can vary from day to day. I also love how this sequence jam-packs in the poses, efficiently covering it all– shoulders, chest and hip openers, hamstrings, inversions, etc. etc.!”
Bett’s Current Teaching Schedule:
12:30pm Thursdays – Intermediate
5pm Fridays – Basics

fullsizerenderBett started practicing with us about four years ago and quickly fell in love with all that we had to offer.  “I was in search of a great studio and after a bit of trial and error came across the wonderful stylings of O2. I fell in love with the teachers, the community, and the alignment-oriented sequencing that encourages growth in one’s practice over time without compromising the joints or overstretching the muscles,” she said.  And once Bett decided we were her yoga home, she jumped in full force, even working in VO2 Vegan Cafe and joining the workstudy team before going on to do Mimi’s 200-hour Teacher Training Program.  Just the other day, we were fondly recalling how Bett rolled up to the studio ten minutes before the TT Class of 2014 met for the first time to enroll formally in the program — which only goes to show that even with TT Class of 2017 meeting for the first time at 5pm today, it’s not too late for you to join the fun — especially if you, like Bett, are someone who is already practicing with us, with a deep love for O2 and the itch to learn more about how we “do what we do.”
But we digress…
Bett started her yoga practice in 2011 in a “Yoga and Mindfulness” class at University of Vermont.  By the time she came to O2 in 2013, she was already passionate about the practice and the lifestyle, mindfulness, and peace that comes along with it.  Her decision to kick that up a notch to do TT was related to the desire to further understand and develop her own practice, but she got a bonus result:  “Later, it became the enjoyment I got out of geeking out over yoga poses with other self-proclaimed ‘yoga nerds,'” she said.  Come early the next time you’re taking Bett’s class and you can easily engage her in a discussion about triangle pose or koundinyasana or even something “simple” like ujjayi breath.  While we don’t have leaderboard in this yoga nerdy community, Bett is certainly one of the best of us to get into the nitty gritty of pose sbett-zamparellipecifics and anatomy/alignment and more.
It’s always a treat to see students start coming to the studio…then start coming super regularly…and then get involved in our family-run business in as many ways as possible, eventually landing on our teaching staff.  Part of what makes O2 such a wonderful and unique place to practice yoga is the depth of our staff’s commitment to this dream-come-true studio started so many years ago by Mimi and her family.  Each and every one of us at O2 is here because we love it and that is something you hopefully experience as our students.  You certainly experience it in Bett’s classes!
Bett, your passion for O2 is a bright, warm light on our class schedule and we are so happy to have you as a teacher.

What’s the best lesson you learned from Mimi?
“Do what you can. For example: if your lifestyle doesn’t allow you to fully commit to being vegan, see where you are able to make some conscious adjustments that work for you. Balance is key.  If you’re giving up things that are crucial to your own happiness and well-being, it’s difficult to be a positive light in the greater community and sense of things.”
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from teaching?
“Every body is different, but everybody is one. Physically, we all have different abilities, but at the end of the day, we all hold the common denominator of being human; and it’s this human nature that ties us together, regardless of how different our life paths may be.”
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from another O2 teacher?
“Any and everything that comes out of Ann’s mouth.”
What’s your favorite pose to teach?
“I love teaching standing balances that progress from the back of the mat forward towards the front.”
What’s your favorite pose to do?
“Too hard to choose just one. Lately I’ve been really enjoying the transitions between poses (arm balances, hop backs). I particularly enjoy transitions that deepen the objective of a pose, such as the hip opening and backbending when transitioning from natarajasana to ardha chandrasana (dancer’s pose to half moon [bound then unbound]).”
What’s your “dream pose”?
“Vrischikasana (scorpion pose). Specifically, to touch my head with my toes in forearm stand.”
Do you have a mantra?
Anatta (inhale ‘an’, exhale ‘atta’). This is the Buddhist concept on ‘non-self’ or non-attachment (to internal or external circumstances). One’s self image is not based on their successes nor their failures. There is an acknowledgment and acceptance that everything is impermanent and happiness comes from within, happiness isn’t the result of something else.”
Any “fun facts” to share with the class?
“I’m a twin and my twin brother finally attended his first yoga class (ever!) with me last month, he’s looking forward to many more.”

Friday, September 8, 2017

Teacher Feature: Emily Reardon

Teaching at O2 Since: 2012
Emily’s Thoughts on Primary Series: “I love the Astanga months because they remind us of O2’s roots. I really like Primary’s introverted poses and am in need of them after a hectic summer. For so many of us, summer is fun but scattered and we all need to reel it back in.”

12pm Tuesdays – Basics
12pm Wednesdays – Intermediate

We have two fabulous Emilys on our teaching staff, but today we are getting to know Emily Reardon (herein referred to simply as “Emily) a little bit better.  Emily started practicing yoga back in 2009 as a way to stave off injuries and build strength for her day job.  “I wanted to heal some forearm tendonitis I got in my first year working as a massage therapist and yoga was recommended by my acupuncturist as a great way to strengthen my wrists,” Emily said.  It just so happened that she was in massage school with Heather Stewart, who many of you may remember as a former teacher and former studio manager.  “I thought she was cool,” Emily said, wryly adding, “I remember telling her I did some yoga at home, like standing on my head with my legs up the wall and she very calmly was like, ‘You should take a class sometime.'”  After that, Emily went to one of Heather’s classes in our former South End studio and not only enjoyed it but realized our Somerville location was pretty close to where she lived.  And with that, Emily became an O2 Yogi, all to the benefit of her practice as a massage therapist.
What brought Emily to teaching is the marriage of her love of yoga and her career-previous-to-massage-therapy as an English teacher.  “I missed the classroom setting and saw yoga TT as a way to have students again,” Emily said.  She joined the illustrious O2 Yoga Teacher Training Class of 2012 and the rest, as they say, is history.  With further reflection, Emily added, “What kept me hooked on O2 was the emphasis on building strength along with flexibility and that was something I hadn’t come across since I was a dancer (100 years ago). When I decided to go to college instead of pursuing a professional ballet career, I sort of left my body behind and took my brain off to school. Taking class regularly at O2 was the first time I enjoyed feeling connected to my physical self again. And of course, in a much healthier way. I love classical ballet and I cherish my experience with it but it is harsh on your body. You are in fact, beautifully deforming yourself. In contrast, yoga is nourishing.”  Emily imparts this wisdom to her students through her creative and inspired sequences with the directive always to build flexible strength that will not only empower students on their mats but also to strengthen them for their lives outside of the studio.
In the summer of 2015, Emily’s daughter Vivian was born, yet another incredible game-changer for her.  “I was inspired to get certified in infant massage,” she said, rounding out her practice that includes Swedish/deep tissue and Thai massage, “and hope to do some workshops for new parents and their babes soon.”  And it should also be noted that when we needed someone to volunteer to demo handstand for our YouTube channel, it was a pregnant Emily who went for it.  Talk about gusto!
Emily, we love your bright spirit and your passion and enthusiasm not just for teaching but for the O2 community.  We so love having you on our teaching staff where we not only enjoy your classes but get to pick your brain about nerdy anatomy stuff.  We can’t wait until Viv is old enough to roll a mat out with us, too.  Thanks for always being a sunny spot in our day — we so appreciate you!

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from Mimi?
“Mimi’s recent letter to the O2 community says it all, really. She’s in the midst of teaching us how you continue to be a leader and lover  in the face of something so crushingly difficult.
When I reflect on my TT days, the lesson that comes to mind is that when you pass another human out in the world, you should say hello.
In theory, I was on board right away. What a simple way to be kind! In practice though, I think I lacked confidence for a while and was often looked at like the village idiot. I don’t know…it’s more natural now. Maybe it’s practice or maybe motherhood has softened me. I walk everywhere and usually have Vivian with me. She’s the kind of kid who stops to pick flowers, fashions a hat out of the petals and then lies down on the sidewalk for a spell. So…yeah, we say a lot of hellos. And it really does shape your day for the better, acknowledging the other precious human lives out there.”
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from one of our other teachers?
“I took Carly’s class recently and decided I needed to re-evaluate how I taught Basics! Her class was challenging but uncomplicated. Slower paced but not boring. Wednesday night at 7:30, I’m there-nerding out, trying to soak up how to teach Basics like she does.”
What’s your favorite pose to teach?
What’s your favorite pose to do?
What’s your “dream pose”?
“King Pigeon.”
Anything else about your teaching or your practice or yourself you’d like to share?
“My mom’s a big inspiration to me and since she has been living with Parkinson’s Disease for over a decade, I took a course on teaching yoga to those with PD and other mobility disorders. I have taught some students with PD privately and it has been very rewarding. I did my certification program with RenĂ©e Le Verrrier who is a stroke survivor, person living with PD and a yoga teacher– just a force! If you have s moment, check her out at:www.limyoga.com.  And if you know someone living with PD who is interested in yoga, please put them in touch with me!”
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Originally published on September 1, 2017.  View it on O2 Yoga's website here.