Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Teacher of the Month - Jan Stritzler



Teacher of the Month
November 2012
Jan Stritzler
By April Evans



Join Jan at the York Studio for Gentla Prana Yoga
3:05-4:20pm Mondays

Jan has been a teacher at New York Yoga for over a decade and is adored by loyal and devoted students.  She has been working in the dance and fitness industries for three decades, and teaches to a diverse population of students.  Whether you are a beginner, an advanced yogi, or have sustained an injury, Jan will meet you where you are and help you move forward.  She is passionate about creating an environment where her students can breathe, reflect, and respect the mental and physical states in which they arrive to her class.

When did you first discover yoga?
I discovered yoga as a teenager through the dance.  It was a big part of the dance world in the 1970s, so I’ve known about it for a long time.

How long have you been teaching? 
I did my yoga certification 15 years ago with Prana Yoga, but I’ve been teaching fitness, dance, and combinations of those since I graduated from college in 1982.

What makes your class unique?
My first response is to say that because my training is in Prana Yoga, using sound makes my class unique.  I integrate healing sounds and chakra sounds into vinyasa, which adds a dimension to class that isn’t always there.  The other thing is that while I teach a Gentle class, it is not a beginner’s class.  There is tremendous power in the subtlety of a Gentle class.  I’m interested in consciousness and creating a loving space for people to be loving with themselves.  Everybody comes to class for a different reason, and people hear what they are ready to hear.  In my class you’re really being asking to feel and sense and be with what you need.  That’s not an easy thing.

What is your favorite pose to teach?
I love teaching Tadasana because I feel that it really connects people to their bodies and to their alignment.  It’s a wonderful way of lengthening and opening the body to prepare for everything else.  I also love to teach pranayama and breathing. I like to use sound and breathing within Tadasana. 

What is you favorite pose to practice?
It changes all the time, but this week I've been enjoying Sun Salutations.  I have really been embracing and exploring them for myself.

Best advice for beginners?
Be a beginner and allow yourself not to know, without that being a bad thing! Understand that yoga is not about being able to put your leg behind your head – it is more.  Read a lot from both ancient texts and modern yogis and immerse yourself in it to learn more.

Best advice for more advanced yogis?
Think about where you are in each moment and where your challenge lies.  Maybe your challenge is meditation and stillness.  Maybe your challenge is that headstand you’ve never been totally comfortable with.  Keep questioning, “Where do I go now?” and try not to become complacent.  Understand that yoga is not about being able to put your leg behind your head.

What is your biggest yoga pet peeve?
My pet peeve in general is people thinking you can only do yoga if you are a certain way.  "I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible,” or “I can’t do yoga because I don’t like to move slowly."  It bothers me when people have preconceived notions about something they just don’t understand.
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How do you incorporate yoga into your daily life?
I have my own yoga practice every morning.  It is sometimes longer, sometimes shorter depending on what I'm doing, but I do something every morning.  I also sit and breathe before I go to bed at night

Passions besides yoga?
I adore and use essential oils every day.  I also love and adore cooking.  I have to say my biggest passion in my life would have to be hanging out with my family.


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