Monday, August 16, 2010

Meet the Teacher of the Month

Michael Gilbert is known for his Basic and All Levels classes at both New York Yoga and New York Yoga Hot.  He is also one of the Directors for New York Yoga’s Teacher Training program and the founder of Language of Intensity. Michael has guided many new yogis and teachers into the world of yoga through his alignment based classes and workshops.  Often, he can be heard encouraging students to “listen to your body” and to “check in, see how it feels” in order to help personalize the poses.

A firm believer in choice, he gives plenty of options or modifications during class; one of them is always “Smile. You’re doing yoga.”

Michael, when did you first discover yoga?
A friend took me to my first class in 1986 and I liked the calming affect yoga had on me. I also had some back pain at the time and realized after the fact that the yoga class had helped. I started teaching on and off that same year.

How long have you been teaching?
Twenty three years all together. I have been at New York Yoga for eight years now – I first got involved leading a workshop for the Teacher Training Program and after that started teaching a regular class.

What makes your class unique?
My aim in class is to get people to change their perspective. I also try not to take yoga too seriously.

What is your favorite pose to teach?
Revolve triangle. Because if there is one pose that alleviates the most conditions - knee pain, sciatica, back pain etc. - this is the pose. Revolve triangle opens up the outer edges of the body better than anything other pose.

What is you favorite pose to practice?
Halasana and shoulder stand – calms you down, gets rid of stress and restraint. I am always interested in inversions because they allow me to see world in a different way.

Best advice for beginners?
Always recognize that you have a choice. I find many beginners come to class and try to force themselves into everything or push to hard. So if you are new to yoga, remember that you have options and don’t over do it.

Best advice for more advanced yogis?
Focus on how a pose feels to your body versus what you think the perfect pose is.

What is your biggest yoga pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve would have to be when students don’t stay for the whole class, because the person leaving early disturbs other students.

Our readers would like to know two things. What are you reading now?
101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick. Someone told me that it is a beautiful book on changing perception related to contradiction – so far that is very true.

And what is your guilty pleasure?
My kids. Not chocolate or sweets or anything like that – definitely my kids.

Well… and maybe red wine.

Michael is Directing the Fall 2010 Teacher Training with Jenny Gammello
and teaches 
Monday 11:00a-12:20p - Vinyasa Basics
Thursday 4:35p-5:50p - Vinyasa All Levels
Thursday 8:15p- 9:30p - 75 Min All Levels Hot Vinyasa
Sunday 9:50a-11:20a - Vinyasa Basics

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