Thursday, February 14, 2013

Teacher of the Month - February

Teacher of the Month
Peyton Biederman
By April Evans

Peyton's warm and friendly demeanor is sure to make anybody instantly comfortable walking into her class.  She enjoys exercising both body and mind, holding a MFA in Dance Choreography and Performance and a BA in Philosophy, French Literature, and Dance.  For her, yoga allows her to unite the body and mind in a very real way.  She is 500 hour certified, with additional certifications in Prenatal and Restorative Yoga.  It should be noted that as we interviewed she cooked dinner while playing with her cat, and before responding to any of the questions I asked, she giggled before speaking.  If you need a little sunshine, Peyton is sure to help brighten you up.

When did you first discover yoga?
It's a tricky question.  I was a dancer for a very long time and in my modern dance classes we did yoga poses, but it was more just for warming up before the dance combination.  So I was aware that I was doing yoga, but we weren't doing breath awareness or philosophy.  So that's been going on for many many years.  But strictly yoga, it's been about 7 years. 

How long have you been teaching?
It's kind of the same thing.  I taught dance before I taught yoga.  I've been a teacher for 10 years plus, I was teaching dance classes and company classes.  I got my master's in choreography and performance, then I started teaching yoga right after I got certified in 2010.  It was a linear transition from teaching dance to teaching yoga.

What makes your class unique?
Probably what makes everyone's class unique: it's just sort of being yourself.  It's hard to avoid being yourself.  I feel like we all follow certain templates, namaskars, and such.  I teach what I know, but then it's always so different because then it's fused through me.  Even if we were teaching the same exact thing it would be fused through your personality.  I really enjoy giving hands on adjustments.  It's fulfilling to know that I'm giving something back to the student very intimately. 

What is your favorite pose to teach?
I was thinking about this.  You know, actually I like teaching the very beginning if class when you first take your seat.  That centering at the beginning, that settling in.  Sometimes it’s the hardest to turn in and focus on your breath.  It's so difficult but so important and it all comes back throughout class. I often teach alignment cues and breath cues, you touch on the basic fundamentals you're going to come back to over and over again.  I like teaching virasana or supported fish, just getting people to recognize the simple basics like what's in contact with the floor.

What is your favorite pose to practice?
The poses that come easier for me that require flexibility like urdvha danurasana and hanumanasana, but because they come easily I practice the strengthening things like headstand or handstand or inversions.  It's nice to do what comes easily, but when you achieve something that was difficult you feel proud of yourself for pushing yourself.  My favorite thing changes every day: when is it not different?

What advice would you give to beginners?
Just come to class.  We were all beginners at one point and you have to start somewhere.

Advice for advanced yogis?
Take a beginners class.  Coming to class is the bottom line for everyone, but I think it's valuable to take a basic level class.  It can even be more challenging.  You might hold poses for longer,  and if you're coming into it already familiar,  you have the chance to use your perspective to go deeper that way.  I took a basics class today and I was like woo-hoo, I need to do this all the time.

What is your yoga pet peeve?
I try not to have them.  Ideally I want everyone to be on time and stay throughout class, but that's just not realistic.  I try to be open and understanding because we all have stuff going on.

How do you incorporate yoga into your daily life?
I try to use the path of least resistance.  My instinct is to be stressed, you know, riding the subway or something.  Yoga helps me pause before I react, I'm more patient when I'm practicing yoga.  My yoga practice helps me through my commute and I do a daily practice of pranayama for calming and the other many benefits.

What are your passions besides yoga?
Dance and choreography.  I was a dancer since I was 3, and although I don't perform or take class anymore, I still go see performances.  Linked to that, another side note would be music.  I have a lot of friends who are musicians and I like seeing live music.  I like hanging out with my friends, I like going to the beach and going swimming, dancing on the beach. Reading.  I was a writer for a long time because one of my majors was philosophy, one was French literature.  I've loved writing ever since I was a little girl.

Happy valentine's day! Thankful for all my teachers I'm grateful for being part of NYY.  Gotten to be close to some students, it’s a great place.

1 comment:

  1. I am so proud of my beautiful cousin, Peyton. I have not been fortunate enough to attend one of her Yoga classes, but I hope to very soon.
    Lee Gunn