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.”
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 Renée 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!”
To learn more about our fabulous teaching staff, clickhere.
Originally published on September 1, 2017. View it on O2 Yoga's website here.