Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Teacher of the Month: April Evans

By Rebecca Merritt

April is one of New York Yoga’s home-grown teachers and a rapidly rising star. She began teaching right after graduating from our 200 hour teacher training program and earned her first class just a few months later. April teaches from a deep, genuine place, bringing her personal experiences to the practice. Her passion is apparent in her teaching and her classes will help you look inward to balance your mind, body connection. 

As her student you can expect a vigorous Vinyasa flow with peak poses to push your practice. April’s words will inspire, and her transitions will blow your mind.

 Take April’s class…
     Tuesday, 9:30am Hot Vinyasa
     Tuesday, 6:35pm Hot Vinyasa Basics
     Wednesday, 6:20am Hot Vinyasa
     Sunday, 2:35pm Vinyasa Basics


When did you first discover yoga?
I first found yoga during my freshman year of college while earning my acting degree. A couple of friends were going to a class at a gym on campus. They never went to another, but I went back. It was a lead Ashtanga primary series, so that’s what I did for the first four years of my practice.

How long have you been teaching?
A little bit over a year now. I was certified here at New York Yoga with Jenny Jared and Michael Gilbert and started teaching pretty much right away. I graduated in January and was teaching donation classes by February.

What makes your class unique?
What I think makes anyone’s class special – and what makes everybody’s yoga practice special is what you bring to it. It is about being able to honor where you are at any given moment – what you’re thinking about, what you’re working on. I hope my being able to check in with myself, and then share with my students, makes my class unique.
You can see my meditation reflected in the creativity of my sequence and usual there’s a little dharma talk in the beginning. I try to offer enough for the body and mind to contemplate during class.

What is your favorite pose to teach?
I really like teaching any pose that seems impossible. This is usually the intermediate poses like Bird of Paradise or Crow. I like poses that seemed impossible to me when I first started practicing and then one day just happened. You don’t go back from there. I like bringing people to the edge of their perceived limitation and showing them that they are strong, powerful, and capable.

What is you favorite pose to practice?
I would have to say my favorite things to practice are not the poses themselves but the transitions in between them. I have such joy sequencing my classes because of the creative transitions. I love going from Devotional Warrior to Peaceful Warrior – the bowing in and sweeping open.

And of course I love jumping back from any arm balance. My current goal is Astavakrasana to Eka Pada Koundinyasana – I’m about forty percent there on a good day. Thank goodness it’s a life long practice!

Best advice for beginners?
Honor yourself. Be okay with being uncomfortable. Know that you are not the only person in the room who isn’t sure what’s going on. Know that you are not the only person in the room who thinks chanting Om is uncomfortable. Know that you are not the only person in the room doesn’t know the Sanskrit names for the poses.

It’s a personal practice but you’re never alone.

Best advice for more advanced yogis?
Lately, I’ve been working being able to pull apart the impulse to do something and doing it. It’s my tendency to take the most advanced variations of poses, because I like to and it makes me feel open and strong, but we have to recognize that desire and impulse is not really us. So, being able to pull apart the impulse and decision to act is important.  My practice is: impulse, full breath to observe, and then act. Then the decision is based on what you really need. That way you start to see the difference between who you really are and the experience you’re living.

What is your biggest yoga pet peeve?
When people leave in the middle in Savasana. Just don’t do it. If you can’t stay, just leave before and no one will judge you for that. You may not think Savasana is important, but lots of people do … including your teacher.

How do you incorporate yoga into your daily life?
Well for one thing I live in Hell’s Kitchen and have to walk through Times Square to get to any train. Trying to get through Times Square without being exasperated with everyone is a challenge and part of my daily yoga. I don’t always succeed but I guess that’s the point.

Passions besides yoga?
I am very passionate about theatre. My favorite thing is to do deconstructive pieces based on other works. I do a lot of avant-garde pieces, usually using a lot movement. Music is another passion. You can see that reflected in my playlist.

I am also super passionate about being good to the people in my life - including my students. Lately I’ve realized how many wonderful people are really willing to step up to the plate for me, and I’m passionate in letting them know I appreciate that.

No comments:

Post a Comment