Monday, May 2, 2011

Teacher of the Month: Lisa Goldstein Angerame

By Rebecca Merritt

“I am a very highly trained person,” Lisa laughs. She is not kidding! Lisa initially trained with Baron Baptiste, completing his Level 1 and Level 2 programs; today she is considered a senior Certified Baptiste teacher. She also studied with Jonny Kest and took anatomy training with Paul Grilley. In 2006 she did Prenatal Yoga training at New York Yoga; in 2008 she trained at Jivamukti completing her 300 hour certification. She completed a 500 hour apprenticeship later that same year, and in January received Advanced Certification – and these are just to name the few she could remember while walking her son, Luke, through the park as we spoke on the phone.

All the education comes through in Lisa’s classes. She is a teacher of precision and focus offering a challenging class full of heart. “I only teach what I know and what I do myself. I’m still a student; the more I grow, the more I bring into the class as a teacher.” Lisa’s wide range of experience helps make her classes a space to surrender to your mat and also to evolve your practice. You are guaranteed a headstand and maybe even a forearm stand now that she has conquered the pose herself. Lisa will encourage you to go at your own pace, face your fears and to be a better yogi on and off the mat.
Check out Lisa’s 8:25am classes on Tuesday and Thursdays at New York Yoga Hot.

When did you first discover yoga?
I took my first class in 1999. While I was at the gym I saw there was a class being offered and took it not really knowing what it was. I was very emotional after and thought – what is this, this is not regular exercise, and then just had to know what yoga was all about.

How long have you been teaching?
Since 2005. That’s six years this April!

What makes your class unique?
I think it’s unique because my class is focused and challenging. It’s hard, but there’s a lot of love and gratitude in there. There are also years of my own experience being brought to the table; I really like to give all that to my students.

What is your favorite pose to teach?
Forearm Stand, Pincha Mayurasana. My experience of the pose is very personal, on all levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual. So now I want to give the pose to my students on all of those levels. Forearm Stand is incredibility empowering.

What is you favorite pose to practice?
Forearm stand – it took me many years to accomplish it. I always wanted to know why I couldn’t get into the pose. I wanted to know why I was afraid and what was holding me back. It was a fascinating personal thing for me so I practiced it every day until I had a breakthrough. It actually came while teaching a private student and teaching her Flying Crow. I extended my leg back and had a true awakening about my psoas muscle and moving from my center. This created a new awareness of my body and how I walk through life.

Best advice for beginners?
Listen to the teacher because their insights are invaluable. Allow the whole thing just happen; if you let it, the secret of yoga will unfold before you. Don’t let the practice frustrate you, just let it unfold.

Don’t look at anybody else in the room. Comparing yourself to others in room is the worst thing you can do. The other worst thing is trying to get into a pose without the foundation, the building blocks. It could mean a year of thinking about it and breaking it down and experiencing the different elements of the pose, but you can’t just go for end results without walking the path.

Best advice for more advanced yogis?
Keep challenging yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.

What is your biggest yoga pet peeve?
To me it is very defiant and completely unnecessary when students take their own variations of a pose that the teacher has not called out. It is disrespectful to the teacher, the practice, their own practice, and to other students in the room. If someone surrenders to what is happening in room and around them, the magic will arise. If they refuse to surrender their practice, and their life, will remain the same. They will never move forward, never grow.

Reader questions…

How has being a mom changed your practice?
My biggest challenge was rediscovering my body. I suddenly had to deal with tight hamstrings and getting my mula bandha back. The first day I went back to practice I went to inhale, exhale, fold forward and my body did not do what I thought it was going to do. It was like working with a whole new version of me.

How do you bring yoga into your life off the mat?
I try to stay as focused, conscious, and aware in the present moment with everything that I’m doing so that I don’t miss anything especially things that my son is doing. I work hard not to project into the future and worry. I try to walk the yoga talk.

My husband and I also practice a vegan lifestyle so that we do not contribute to any violence in the world. The first Yama in the Yoga Sutras is Ahimsa, or nonviolence. We do the best we can and that is so important in raising our son too. Oh my goodness, Luke is hugging a tree right now while I’m telling you this! I’m not kidding – I’m going to send you a picture.

Why do you teach headstand every class?
Headstand is one of the most important poses. It is called the king of the asanas. It is calming, anti-aging, great for the circulatory system, and turns your perspective upside down. It is a pose that teaches patience, consciousness, and awareness. Headstand represents the fact, that if you work hard and focus, anything can happen.

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