Location: Brooklyn, NY
Currently Employed by:
Dance New Amsterdam
New York Sports Club
Could you tell us a little about where and who you teach?
At Dance New Amsterdam the students are a combination of professional dancers and non dancers, from beginner to advanced. The students at my alma mater, Fordham University, are very committed to their practice and open to new challenges. I also teach at New York Sports Club, and it’s amazing how much the clientele there varies. Sometimes a room full of fiery yogis who are ready to be challenged, and other times a grounded group who are looking to de-stress from their week.
What have been your biggest challenges as a yoga teacher? Your biggest accomplishments?
When I think of the challenges of being a teacher, I don’t think of isolated instances or moments. Every class has its puzzles which require mindfulness and quick thinking to solve. My most meaningful challenges are those that develop over time, and which come not from external circumstances, but from my desire to constantly improve my teaching.
In one of my gym classes, a student ran in to class late, seeming really angry and upset, and after class told me that throughout class she’d been able to let all that anger go. In a class at DNA, a student with a neck injury told me that my focus that day (pressing down through the heel when moving into standing poses) helped him understand how to use his leg muscles, rather than straining up with his neck. Those small individual stories are what give me the biggest sense of accomplishment.
Which lessons or skills from your teacher training do you call on most often?
“Find your edge.” It’s the idea that each of us has a comfort zone, and also the capacity to go a bit beyond that comfort zone in order to grow. In yoga, we want to challenge ourselves just to reach our “edge,” but not go past it. By doing so, we grow and develop without pushing so much that we harm ourselves.
What else have you been up to since graduation?
I’ve been enjoying trying out many new (to me) styles of yoga, such as Iyengar, Hatha, Anusara, restorative yoga, Yoga Nidra, etc. This summer, I completed a Pre/Post Natal yoga training in Austin. This fall, I took a Restorative Yoga teacher training at Om with Cyndi Lee. I’m currently researching returning to school for physical therapy or medicine, and am looking forward to starting science pre-requisites for that in the spring.
In the future, what would you like to see happening in the Mind Body Dancer® community?
I would love to see Mind Body Dancer expand to offer classes to different economic populations, in a variety of non-studio settings. Bringing Mind Body Dancer into the workplace (be it a corporate business environment, a community center, or a hospital), would be a wonderful service to people who either wouldn’t think to take yoga, or simply don’t have access to it. (Your wish is coming true, Alice! Stay tuned as we launch our onsite teaching services program for offices, schools, community groups and private clients in 2012.)
What have you been thinking about in your own practice lately?
Patience. They say that “patience is a virtue” – and I am a patient person. It’s an attribute I love, but I’ve been wondering recently: am I too patient? I’ve realized that even as teacher, I sometimes look at a pose and think: “I’m not at that level yet.” And then, I try it, and I realize that I am. In yoga and in life, at a certain point, it takes a little impatience to make important changes. I hate to sound like Carrie Bradshaw here, but lately I’ve been wondering: where is the line between patience, and complacence? I’m exploring places where a little bit of impatience might allow me to move to that next level.
Thank you, Alice. We are so fortunate to have you as a key teacher in our community!