Friday, February 28, 2014

NYY's Pose of the Month: March

mayurasana: peacock pose

The peacock is a symbol of great beauty, pride and confidence. In eastern mythology the peacock is associated with many deities such as Saraswati, the Indian goddess of wisdom, music and poetry. Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and plenty, rides a peacock and Lord Krishna carries the feather of a peacock on his head. The peacock, so closely associated with kings and gods is the perfect symbol for those striving for excellence and success.

In mayurasana strength, balance and confidence are required to execute this beautiful pose. Balancing the torso on the upper arms with palms on the ground and fingers facing the feet, legs are extended long and the crown of the head extends in the opposite direction leaving the body in a parallel position above the earth. Since the gaze is down to the ground below confidence is necessary because the student can’t see where the body is…the student can only feel and visualize the full expression. The pose requires tuning in to feel the balance of the full weight of the body resting on the hands.

First time I took flight in mayurasana was amazing!! Lifting both my head and feet off the ground and feeling the seesaw effect until I fully balanced was challenging and rewarding. This is one of my favorite poses to teach and to practice and watching students evolve into this pose is always gratifying as they learn to shift weight and find the middle.

written by: Stacey Kasselman
Thursday, HOT STUDIO, 4:00-5:00pm
Friday, HOT STUDIO, 9:30-11:00am 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

At the front of the room : Teresa Harris

From Irish Step Dancing to urdhva mukha svanasana, Teresa has delighted many audiences and classes with her folk playlists and sweet, soft voice. By day you will find her in the office, but nothing could keep her away from teaching her students after hours and on the weekends. Her gratitude, passion and creativity always inspires us at New York Yoga. 

How/Why did you decide to become a yoga teacher?
-I started practicing yoga in high school because I wanted to do some sort of physical activity once I stopped Irish Step Dancing. I was never into sports and was over dancing, so yoga seemed like a good alternative. I loved it and eventually began taking classes almost daily at a local studio and gym. I was drawn to yoga first for the physical and mental benefits but after a few years my interest transpired into something much deeper. I realized how smart and complicated (BUT big picture simple) the practice really is. I looked up to all my teachers and wanted to be just like them and share the practice with others. I completed my first yoga teacher training during my second year in college, began teaching right away and 5 years later, this past September, I completed my advanced 500-hour teacher training. The training is great, but I've learned and continue to learn the most from my students and from my own practice. To me, yoga makes a lot of sense and is so much fun – I’m grateful to be teaching what I love.

Did you ever imagine yourself doing something else? What was it and why?
-I always wanted to be an interior designer, but once I got to college, I realized it wasn't for me. I graduated from School of Visual Arts with a BFA degree in Illustration and in addition to teaching yoga I currently work on the creative team for a brand licensing agency developing merchandise lines for existing brands. 

What is the most challenging aspect of teaching?
-TWO things: Knowing left from right. (I didn't THINK I had an issue with this until I started teaching..) AND learning how to relax when someone's cell phone goes off in class. I know, it happens, it's life (and has definitely happened to me before!) but cell phones in yoga class is one of my major pet peeves.

What is your favorite pose and why?
-Urdhva Mukha Svanasana or Upward Facing Dog ("Up Dog"). This pose is so easily forgotten and blown over in Vinyasa classes. It's not a pose to forget about! It's a back bend, heart opener, spine lengthen-er, leg strengthener and arm toner. Sometimes we forget that Upward Facing Dog is an ACTUAL yoga pose and not just a means from A to B during a vinyasa. Hold this pose for a minute and see what happens!

What is the most important thing you have learned from your practice? 
-The most important things I've learned from practicing is to NOT overdo it and to always have at least two blocks available. Blocks are awesome tools for EVERYONE in different ways whether you're a tight athlete, a flexy bendy, in your twenties, in your seventies, male, female, a beginner or experienced practitioner. 

What/who inspires you most?
-I am inspired by MY teachers and of course by my students - their curiosity, engagement and willingness to learn is what keeps me teaching class after class.

You can catch class with Teresa at these times:

Monday, HOT STUDIO: 8:15pm
Tuesday, YORK STUDIO: 9:05pm
Saturday, YORK STUDIO: 9:50am
and Saturday, HOT STUDIO: 1:00pm