5 Teachers, 5 Questions

1.   Why do you practice and teach Anusara yoga?

Tiffany – I practice and teach Anusara yoga because it captured my heart from the very first moment. The heart-based alignment spoke to my body and my soul. I poured myself into the study and practice of Anusara Yoga and I have watched my life unfold in beautiful and mysterious ways. I absolutely love walking into a yoga studio anywhere in the world and instantly feeling at home with my fellow yogis on the path of self discovery and joy. I feel connected to that which is larger than me and I continuously return to the knowing that it is me as well. I find deep peace there!

Beatriz – When I took my first Anusara class, like 14 years after being practicing yoga, it felt like something I´ve never experienced. My heart felt really open, and I knew it was something I´d like to experience ever after.

Alessandra – Anusara Yoga has changed my life by making the great teachings of yoga available to me through my body and capable of practicing on my mat and in my life. It keeps reminding me that life is a good thing, even if it is challenging, and that I can enjoy it with a full awareness. So I realized I wanted to share this experience with others…and I found myself wanting to teach Anusara!

Natasha – I have been practicing Anusara Yoga since 1999.  Over the years, I have practiced many other styles of yoga, but Anusara is the style that I keep coming back to and resonate with deeply.  The practice feels like coming home and back into my heart.  I love that all of the Anusara teachers and practitioners that I’ve met over the years around the world share a brightness and love for life.

I love its sophistication and clarity as a method and style to teach and practice.  It provides the perfect platform for me as a teacher to have an inspiring and clear method to refer to  when teaching, and at the same time it allows me be creative in my classes.

With a focus on alignment through the Universal Principles of Alignment, Anusara Yoga gives me the tools to practice in a safe and intelligent way.  As a teacher, it allows me to guide students into poses by honoring their unique body types using the principles of alignment.

Finally, but certainly not last, the fact that the practice is deeply grounded in the Tantric Philosophy is what nourishes my heart and soul.  Without this, the practice would just be physical exercises and I love that in each class the Philosophy is weaved into the sequence in a subtle and inspiring way.

2.    How do you take what you have learned on the mat, off the mat? 

 Beatriz - For me this is one of the most important reasons why I practice yoga EVERY DAY. It change my mood completely and give me a much more serene and connected state of mind.

Tiffany – I recognize that my experiences on my mat mirror my life off the mat. Therefore, I listen to and observe my internal dialog while I’m practicing and that really opens my awareness to how I am feeling in general. This allows me to step into greater compassion, love and patience with myself which absolutely opens my heart when I am in the yoga of life. I am currently looking to see how I can remain in the sweetness equanimity  that I step into while teaching while I am riding the roller coaster of life. Sometimes I find success and other times…..well….I nudge myself back to my own practice to once again see how I can love myself especially when I make huge mistakes.

Natasha  My practice on the mat is an opportunity to tune in, feel, and listen to what’s happening on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level.  Each breathe, movement, asana, intention is a nugget of insight and a chance to develop an intimate relationship with my inner and outer world.

The lessons I learn on the mat feed into my daily life and relationships.  The physical practice has given me the tools to heal myself, my personal relationships, and interaction with my environment.  It has given me the gift of sensitivity, openness, curiosity, wholeness, gratitude, and being able to be fully present with what is.  Every moment on and off the mat is an opportunity to grow and learn…it never stops.

AlessandraI have a very busy life. My practice on the mat is smaller than the one off the mat. So my practice off the mat is applying the 5 UPA during my busy day….When my teenage son makes me lose my temper just before I need to teach a class on the quietness of our deepest Essence, I stop to go back to my intention and I open to the breath, feeling the life force surrounding me that carries the meaning of life. And I try to remember that any challenging pose is just a different way that can bring me to the experience of the Heart! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. No problem, just try again! I’m sure I will have another opportunity !

3.     What are you studying and/or offering in 2014?

Tiffany – I am still blown away by how the conversation of yoga is continuing to deepen even as I step into offering my 6th and 7th teacher trainings in Idaho and Utah! I love how the Immersion curriculum just keeps on expanding within my heart and Being and how teaching teachers is constantly stepping up my game. I am so grateful for all of it! I am also in the beginning phase of creating a 500 hour teacher training so that is radically opening up new doors of what and how I can expand. I love teaching yoga therapy workshops and I am really working hard on a anatomy program that speaks to laymen and those new to the vastly complex human miracle. I am also really looking forward to my annual Mexico Retreat! Its just pure play and radical fun. 

NatashaMy biggest project for 2014 is to become a Certified Anusara Yoga teacher.  The certification process is a great opportunity to refine and grow in my teaching and practice.  I would also like to focus continuing with my own meditation practice and taking time for at least one silent retreat.  This is something that I do once a year.  Meditation is a core practice for me that deeply heals me and influences my teaching.

I would also like to begin to continue to deepen my studies of food and health coaching.  Eating healthy and consciously has been my passion since 9 years.  This past year I offered a “Yoga and Food for the Soul Retreat.”  In 2014 I would like to use this model for one day workshops where the focus will be Yoga Asana, Conscious Living, Movement, and Eating.

I also look forward to collaborating with my friends and colleagues Camilla Maling and Olivia Bryant in their Indie Series Teacher Trainings in Melbourne.  Our intention is to assist aspiring or existing teachers in refining their skills and knowledge so that they can teach and offer from their full potential.

AlessandraThis year I decided to deal with a demanding theme for anyone: “What do I want from my life? I’m the one who is responsible for my future”. In each moment of our life we have the opportunity to decide where we want to go. Of course, we’re not responsible for what happens to us, but we can stop and decide which is the experience of life we want to have…This is a responsibility, this requires that we have a clear vision and that we dare to act on this vision. But the teachings of yoga offer us so many tools that can support us! They help us see ourselves and the reality around us more clearly, so that we can understand our deepest aspirations and act in the most appropriate way. This is what we’re working on now in classes. And my hope is that everybody can feel empowered through the teachings of yoga to be creative in his/her own life, especially in this historical moment in Italy where many people are losing their certainties.

Beatriz - I`m teaching many classes in Cuernavaca and probably some weekend courses next year.

Alessandra – This year I decided to deal with a demanding theme for anyone: “What do I want from my life? I’m the one who is responsible for my future”. In each moment of our life we have the opportunity to decide where we want to go. Of course, we’re not responsible for what happens to us, but we can stop and decide which is the experience of life we want to have…This is a responsibility, this requires that we have a clear vision and that we dare to act on this vision. But the teachings of yoga offer us so many tools that can support us! They help us see ourselves and the reality around us more clearly, so that we can understand our deepest aspirations and act in the most appropriate way. This is what we’re working on now in classes. And my hope is that everybody can feel empowered through the teachings of yoga to be creative in his/her own life, especially in this historical moment in Italy where many people are losing their certainties.

4.   What refinements would you like to see in the future of Anusara Yoga?                                             

Alessandra – I think it would be helpful to keep supporting the teachers in their growth. Yoga has so many aspects to it – there is no end to study and deepening. And this is fantastic….So I would like to see more courses on specific aspects of the yoga tradition and on teaching for the Anusara teachers. By letting the teachers become more skillful we’re supporting the growth of our students!

Tiffany – I really want a standardized 500 hour teacher training! Well, I would love to see a standardized 200 hour teacher training for that matter. I would also really love to have a big gathering, so I hope we are going to get on that plan asap! I am all for the creation of a new structure for license and certification. I want all of the beautiful teachers who want to teach Anusara Yoga to be recognized from the beginning of a 200 hour training and for the structure to promote professionalism and growth.

Beatriz - More efficiency on the certification process and a close communication with us teachers

Natasha  I would love to see the certification process more clear and straightforward, and perhaps a tad less daunting.  I think in the past there was perhaps a bit of confusion of what is “Anusara Yoga” and what isn’t.  I was always under the impression that the foundations for teaching Anusara Yoga were given to the teachers and were very clear (three main elements of an Anusara Yoga class) and it is up to the teacher to add his/her own flavor.  I would like to see Anusara Yoga embrace change and explore, embrace, and integrate new territory while at the same time honouring the foundations on which the system is based.  In a world that is changing so quickly I think it’s important that Anusara Yoga stays fresh and open to change and innovation within the field and other modalities.

5.  What is your passion outside of yoga?

Tiffany - Skiing, most definitely! I live 3 minutes from my chairlift and I absolutely cannot wait until the first day of this season! I am also deeply passionate about walking in the world of awe and wonder.

Beatriz - I´m an architect so I love doing projects and to build. I also love spending time with my children and friends. I love reading too.

Natasha – I love to spend time in nature hiking, biking, walking on the beach, and soaking up the environment.  I also love to dance and am passionate about all genres of music.  Music has always been a very important and influential part of my life.  I love travelling, exploring, and living in different parts of the world.  I grew up moving and living in different countries and I think I will always be a gypsy at heart.   I love to read anything related to yoga, and I also enjoy reading novels, biographies, books about the environment, food and health, and the nature of the universe.

Alessandra – My passion outside yoga…difficult to say…because everything can be brought back for me to a form of yoga. Today I would say…cultivating the ability to see greatness of life by opening myself to nature and deepening the relationships with my friends and family. Another passion that I don’t have the time to cultivate now is to tread the stage! Maybe when the kids get older….