Yoga Retreat Recap

More snow?! Le sigh. Here’s some sun for you.


A month ago, I left for a fantastic opportunity to teach abroad at a yoga retreat.  Mimi Loureiro included me as one of her senior teachers on this amazing trip.  So, this year, my teaching and my learning  began with some dynamite asana on the Maya Riveria in Tulum, Mexico where O2 Yoga holds their annual retreat.

This was the studio’s 14th trip.  I was invited by the founder/owner Mimi to co-teach at this seven day yoga reset.  It was better than I could have imagined. It was an honor to teach alongside my root teacher (Mimi’s teacher training was the first training I took and when I realized I wanted to be a teacher).  The bonus of being invited was that I got  to soak up the sun!

yoga teachers tulum uttita hasta

Being away kept me fresh and constantly thinking how to use that energy back in my weekly classes. Come to class and check out the adventure.  Tonight, after I taught, a student commented, “that was so interesting! We did so many things I’ve never seen before!”  Another student, added “Your classes are always creative, experimental and fun. Thanks for a great class.”  I do experiment but I think he meant exploratory. I strive to practice all the classes I teach and I am constantly asking myself: Why did I choose this order of postures? How else can we approach this asana? If I move this way does the pose feel more integrated?  How can I get this same posture with less force/effort?  Am I learning something?  And, when I ask myself those questions, I have to change it up, I have to keep evolving.


Last week in class I tried a new cue I polled the class to see if they liked it.  I saw the students bodies respond but when I polled them, the success rate was 50%.  There’s a disconnect between the teaching, the practice and their awareness. So, I go back to the drawing board.  I practiced the sequence more this week and changed it a bit and changed my words. Practice is an opportunity for awareness and realization.  It is not abstract.  Moreover, for me, teaching is so much about learning. I am forever a student.  And I am so grateful for the opportunity Mimi gave me to go Mexico. It’s was a difficult year and I was confronted with new challenges right before I jet set. I am just so humbled by my community of teachers and the generosity of small actions. And my students, you, are more inspiring than you know! Thank you!

Ham Sah – Prenatal Yoga

I had the great pleasure of spending last week doing a teacher training to learn about the specific asana (poses) that benefit and alleviate the symptoms of pregnancy. Certainly an art! Imagine 30 new moms staring at you, hanging on your every word.  Some women have taken yoga classes before and some have only recently heard from a physician or friend that it might be good for them.  Humor me. Imagine the energy of 30 loving moms who want to do the right thing for themselves and their new child.  wow. Ham Sah.

That’s how my first prenatal yoga class began.

I took my training with Barrett Reinhorn who is an extraordinary local yogini and prenatal yoga specialist.  (you can check our her website at  Barrett’s taught in the region for more than a decade and as such has built  a community for mother’s who need to relax and reset their ever-changing bodies. Likewise she has perfected a sequence and variation of asana that is empowering, functional and restorative for the pregnant woman.  I learned so much!

The first day of training, we student-teachers watched Barrett teach a room filled with mothers in all weeks of pregnancy.  As the training progressed, we each taught sections of the practice.  As a grand culmination of my training, on Sunday I had the honor of subbing Barrett’s weekly class in Somerville. Like I said, 30 women looking to me. Ham Sah.

The class was packed with 30 women who needed to move.  It went well which is not to say that I didn’t learn from the experience; I certainly have several ideas of how I could have sequenced the class better and even incorporated another standing series.  Given that I couldn’t get the music to work and there was a line out the door waiting to register for class, and I felt frazzled, I began class confident enough that I felt (and conclude) that I offered something to the students.

Teaching is about practice and preparation.  You can’t stand in front of a group and fumble through notes if you want to do it well.  You can’t go spontaneously. You have to practice the yoga, practice speaking, practice directing and practice getting feedback.  And once you’ve perfected it you have to go back and refine.  It’s like a music piece with a typo.  At the end of the section you are to repeat, you keep repeating.  But don’t get careless or you’ll have to begin again!  Practicing for teaching is like practicing for a presentation.  You say it before you go to bed, in front of the mirror and while driving.  At least, I do anyway, I review the sequence.

So I practiced, in training, at home, I wrote out my class. I practiced my class and then.  Deer in headlights! Ham Sah!

There’s a bagful of humbleness needed to teach any group.  Like the little child that enjoys bossing people around to always get her way, she doesn’t realize until much later that it is better to led with fewer commands and more from inspiration, compassion and experience, which at best informs that we are not always right.  Like my Violin teacher always said- slower is faster. In yoga sometimes less is more.  As a yoga teacher, I’m not trying to create following like a church bishop or a politician.  Make your own decisions, find your own yoga. I have no absolute doctrine to promote.  I know some stuff. It works for some people.  But you can’t memorize the yoga exactly because the yoga changes. No fundamentalists here.  I’m a knowledgeable, thoughtful teacher and I teach because watching students learn and delight in the postures and their own experience is a way I feel I can give back.  There are of course moments like last night where I stand in front of a crowd and think about the my second form high school public speaking class where there were also senior boys!!  Last nights class began with some butterflies but ended, I hope, as inspiring and renewing for the students as it was for me and my teaching practice. I am certainly eager to teach more prenatal classes (in the works by October- stay tuned).

I have not experienced stage fright, since I first began teaching yoga.  Last night I was reminded that every word matters and that the breath foremost carries and gives us the yoga: Ham Sah.  Breathe in: Ham; Breathe out: SahHam. Sah. I am that. I am here now.