Thursday, March 15, 2012

Teacher of the Month: Ben Lombardo

By Rebecca Merritt

Ben discovered yoga at a young age and embraced it as his calling right out of college. This early recognition of his path has lead to one embodied yogi and one very talented teacher. Ben’s classes will help you align, deepen, and explore your practice.

He runs the gamut at New York Yoga, teaching: Vinyasa Basics, All Levels Vinyasa, Gentle, and Restorative classes. Here is a list of his classes, all at our York Studio:
  • Vinyasa All Levels: Wednesdays, 9:35-10:55
  • Gentle Yoga: Wednesdays, 11:05-12:20; Thursdays, 12:30-1:45
  • Vinyasa Basics: Saturdays, 4:20-5:35
  • Restorative: Saturdays, 5:45-7
So wherever you find yourself in your practice, Ben will meet you there ever ready to help you strengthen and grow.

When did you first discover yoga?
I first started doing yoga when I was thirteen or fourteen – someone taught me how to do a sun salute. Then my junior year of college I started to practice much more seriously. I had some private instruction early on and it was very transformative, very quickly. I graduated from college and went right into teacher training, at Ishta with Alan Finger, because I know yoga was just it for me.

How long have you been teaching?
I started teaching with my Gentle class at New York Yoga – that was the Fall of 2008.

What makes your class unique?
I like to think that I’m helping students develop a real foundation in their practice, so they can explore yoga without getting hurt or losing sight of their goals. Hopefully I’m also helping them get interested in the deeper limbs of yoga.

What is your favorite pose to teach?
Probably plank pose. It is structurally one of the best posed for your body, it integrates everything and requires a lot of instruction to do safety. So I like to be very detailed when I teach it.

What is your favorite pose to practice?
Uttanasana, legs up the wall, handstand - lots of going upside down in all of those.

Best advice for beginners?
Take it slow. Don’t worry about everybody else. Just try to stay true to yourself and don’t forget to breathe.

Best advice for more advanced yogis?
You are ultimately your own best teacher. So explore. Don’t be afraid to go back to basics every once in awhile. Sometimes less is more.

What is your biggest yoga pet peeve?
When the yogi personality, where everything is bliss and love, gets taken to the extreme. It creates a denial to pain or the difficult realities of a yoga practice, which is very hard work if you really get into it. And yes, it does lead to more love, but it’s a fuller experience of everything.

What is the difference between Gentle and Restorative Yoga?
In my class you may find that gentle yoga is actually pretty challenging, with detailed alignment, lots of movement, breathing and strengthening. I think strengthening should always be a big part of gentle yoga. Where restorative teaches you to release and surrender which are both very important in a different way.

Passions besides yoga?
I have been very passionate about qigong lately and internal alchemy, which is based off of Taoism. I hope to soon be able to teach that. I also like to snowboard and rock climb.

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