Sunday, December 30, 2012

Teacher of the Month - Rachel Page

Teacher of the Month Questionnaire
Rachel Page
By April Evans

Join Rachel at the Hot Studio
Mondays 5:15-6:30pm All Levels

In addition to being one of New York Yoga's stellar class instructors, Rachel is also a member of the Teacher Training staff, responsible for giving the portion on Yogic Philosophy, Ancient Texts, and the Subtle Body.  Her passion for these elements of Yoga is evident in her teaching style, as well as in her gorgeous tattoos.  She has travelled the world and done multiple teacher trainings, making her point of view very inclusive. Rachel is confident in speaking her own voice, but she does so while creating the space for her students to discover and inhabit their own. 

When did you first discover yoga?
I first discovered yoga in 2000 while I was working out at the Y.  I happened to take a class - I had heard of it but never tried it and I thought "I might as well do it."  After the first time I thought "This is something somewhat athletic that I can actually do!"  I tried everything when I was younger; softball, basketball, and was never really good at them.  Yoga was something I could actually do.

How long have you been teaching? 
For about 10 years, a little over 10 years.  I've done several trainings, but my main training has been through Integral Yoga.  I studied at the ashram Yogaville in Virginia.

What makes your class unique?
I don’t find them particularly unique; they're just a blend of everything I’ve learned, everything that’s been passed down from my teachers.  I feel like everything’s already been done in yoga class. What I’m doing is just putting my spin on what my teachers have taught me. I do a blend of all my teachings, based in Integral Yoga and Jivamukti Yoga namely.

What is your favorite pose to teach?
I’d have to say just sitting in sukhasana for meditation.  I feel like that’s the reason we practice yoga: to find a place where we can be comfortable in the body so that we can sit for longer periods of time. Hopefully eventually we can reach the state of yoga, the state of enlightenment.

What is you favorite pose to practice?
I love savasana, because it’s so challenging. It's harder than the inversions or arm balances, it's when you truly get to test how yogic you really are and if your yoga practice is working in the way it’s supposed to work.  I think it’s easy to stand on one leg for a minute or stand upside down for a couple minutes.  I think being able to be still is really challenging.  It’s the most important asana out there in my opinion.

Best advice for beginners?
Just don’t give up, stick with it.  Don’t get frustrated and don’t compare yourself to anyone. Just be open to whatever comes up emotionally, spiritually, physically.  Stay open.

Best advice for more advanced yogis?
Stop considering yourself an advanced yogi.  If you are really truly an advanced yogi you are an enlightened being.  I don’t think too many of us that come to our mat, even on a daily basis have come to that point yet.  There's a Buddhist quote I really like that I'll paraphrase: “A spoon full of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable, but a spoon full of a salt in a lake makes little difference.”  The point is, just keep an open mind.

What is your biggest yoga pet peeve?
I would say leaving in the middle of savasana, but my biggest one has to do with teachers.  That's yoga teachers who don’t practice ahimsa and who eat meat.  I’m sure a lot of people aren’t going to like that answer, but I have to be honest. 
How do you incorporate yoga into your daily life?
Yoga is my daily life.  I live in an ashram and I’ve lived here for over 4 years. So I am on the mat practicing everyday and meditating everyday.  I’m living in a spiritual community so I really can’t separate yoga from my daily life.  It’s part of it.

Passions besides yoga?
Animal rights, riding my bike, spending my time with my friends, and vegan cooking and eating.  I’m really passionate about just working on myself, improving myself everyday and just trying to be a better person, and then accepting if I’m not a good person one day.  Because I'm a work in progress.  I’m not perfect.

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