• Find Out Why These Omstars Teachers Practice Yoga

    “I feel blessed every time I teach that I can be a conduit for the teachings of yoga. I can get out of the way knowing that any transformation that takes place is the grace that happens between the student and their practice.” – Anamargret Sanchez

    We do our best to gather the most amazing yoga teachers in the world to teach Omstars members. They are dedicated to the practice and have so much to share with you. Today we’ve asked Marie Belle Perez Rivera, Shawn J. Moore, Anamargret Sanchez, and Henry Winslow to share some of their yoga experiences. Keep reading to find out why they practice and what advice they have for new yoga students.

    Why do you practice?

    Shawn J. Moore

    I practice to be in alignment with Self. For me, practice is practical, spiritual, and developmental.

    Anamargret Sanchez

    To stay awake to Life.

    Marie Belle Perez Rivera

    I love the connection and processing

    Henry Winslow

    I practice to understand myself, and to realize the best possible version of myself in this lifetime.

    Why do you teach?

    Shawn J. Moore

    Representation matters. I teach so people that look like me know that these practices are for them and beneficial to them.

    Anamargret Sanchez

    Because I love to share the rich beauty of Yoga. And I feel blessed every time I teach that I can be a conduit for the teachings. I can get out of the way knowing that any transformation that takes place is the grace that happens between the student and their practice.

    Marie Belle Perez Rivera

    I love connecting with the community, learning from them, and sharing in the process

    Henry Winslow

    To help others do understand themselves and realize the best possible versions of themselves.

    What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a yoga student?

    Shawn J. Moore

    As a student – just sticking with the practice past some of the microagressions I experienced.

    Anamargret Sanchez

    When my intuition very strongly led me to my Himalayan Tantric lineage. I had never heard that inner voice speak so loudly or clearly.

    Marie Belle Perez Rivera

    The most inspirational moment I’ve experienced as a yoga student was finding my people, those willing to look at themselves, work with what is, and continue to do their work consistently, for a long period of time, with devotion.

    Henry Winslow

    In 2018 I won the World Yoga Asana Championships in Beijing, China. Plenty of people scoff at the idea of competitive yoga, and I think that’s totally fair. But I still point to my experience competing as both a major struggle and a major milestone because of the lessons I learned on stage. I competed for several years at the regional and even national level, and every time I would be well prepared and polished, only to stumble once it was my turn under the spotlight. The year that I progressed all the way to internationals and won first place was the year that I finally allowed myself to relax. I stopped trying to be the absolute best, and simply made my goal to do what was average for me. I’d always heard and understood intellectually that putting undue pressure on oneself wasn’t helpful, but the yoga championships ingrained this knowing in my physical body.

    What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a yoga teacher?

    Shawn J. Moore

    Inspiring my students at Morehouse College (I teach full-time) to get involved in meditation and yoga.

    Anamargret Sanchez

    I’ve had many. But the most recent one was when a student told me that her yoga practice brought her back to her spirituality. That made my heart soar.

    Marie Belle Perez Rivera

    I had an experience in DC once that really shook me to my core and grounded me at the same time. In the city, we are taught to lock all doors at the beginning of class. If someone is late, they can take the next class. For some reason, this day I didn’t lock the door. 10 minutes into class, I had 3 students run in and roll their mats out to practice. I was a bit confused and locked the door after them. Class went as planned. After class, the students stayed after to thank me for leaving the door unlocked. There had been a shooting outside and they ran for cover. Our door was the only one unlocked so they came in to practice. They thanked me for leaving the door unlocked, accepting them, and guiding them into stillness.

    Henry Winslow

    When studios shut down worldwide in response to COVID-19, I was surprised, impressed, and inspired by the yoga community’s adaptability. Studios, teachers, and students rallied, stumbled their way through standing up online classes, and continued to support each other when everyone needed it most.

    What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on their yoga journey?

    Shawn J. Moore

    Approach the practice from a place of exploration.

    Anamargret Sanchez

    Student first. Teacher second. Consistent practice is key. Fill your toolbox. Be the light.

    Marie Belle Perez Rivera

    Practice, explore, listen to your intuition, remain grateful, curious, resilient

    Henry Winslow

    Never compare yourself to others — only to yourself, yesterday.

    By Omstars

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  • An Interview with Melanie C Klein

    Joyful, loving, determined

    Where are you from?

    Santa Monica, CA

    How did yoga come into your life and what has that journey been like for you?

    My sister introduced me to Kundalini yoga in 1996. Shortly thereafter I began practicing with Bryan Kest which also led me to Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka. From the get go, I realized that yoga & meditation coupled with my newly discovered feminist consciousness and social justice work offered a gateway and support for my own personal transformation and my commitment to collective healing and liberation. It’s been profound and deeply humbling. I’m grateful every day.

    How has yoga affected your daily life?

    My yoga and meditation practice offers me the opportunity to pause, listen and make conscious choices that increase my sense of personal empowerment, purposefulness, and living a life that feels meaningful and fulfilling.

    Who were you before you started practicing and how have you changed, evolved, and transformed?

    Before I started practicing I was confused, lost, and felt deflated and adrift. Once I started practicing, I was able to make peace with and forgive myself and others as well and begin to harness the innate wisdom, power, and sense of agency I possessed but had been obscured by the circumstances of living in a society that had socialized me as a woman to question and doubt myself.

    Why do you practice?

    I practice to stay centered and grounded as well as continue to expand and grow.

    What is the single most defining issue facing the global yoga community today?

    The continued dearth of diversity in representation and the issues related to access and ability in all their forms, including the commercialization, commodification, and objectification of yoga practice and yoga practitioners.

    Do you have any recommended yoga reading?

    Meditation with Intention: Quick and Easy Ways to Create Lasting Peace by Anusha Wijeyakumar

    Accessible Yoga: Poses and Practices for Every Body by Jivana Heyman

    Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses For Every Type of Body by Dianne Bondy

    Yoga Where You Are: Customize Your Practice for Your Body and Your Life by Dianne Bondy and Kat Heagberg

    Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery & Loving Your Body by Melanie Klein and Anna Guest – Jelley

    Yoga Rising: 30 Empowering Stories from Yoga Renegades for Every Body by Melanie Klein

    Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance by Jessamyn Stanley

    Peace from Anxiety: Get Grounded, Build Resilience, and Stay Connected Amidst the Chaos by Hala Khouri

    Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change: An Intersectional Feminist Analysis by Beth Berila, Melanie Klein and Chelsea Jackson Roberts

    Embrace Yoga’s Roots: Courageous Ways to Deepen Your Yoga Practice by Susanna Barkataki

    Restorative Yoga for Ethnic and Race-Based Stress and Trauma by Dr. Gail Parker

    Radiant Rest: Yoga Nidra for Deep Relaxation and Awakened Clarity by Tracee Stanley

    Are there any current projects you’re working on that you can tell us about?

    I just published the anthology Embodied Resilience through Yoga: 30 Mindful Essays About Finding Empowerment After Addiction, Trauma, Grief, and Loss with my co-editors.

    What do you like to do for fun that’s non-yoga related?

    Hiking, the beach, movies, and game nights!

    Who is your greatest inspiration?

    My son, Atticus.

    If you were stranded on an island what 3 things would you bring with you?

    My son, chocolate and loads of good books.

    When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

    Believe it or not, a lawyer or an artist! Some serious left brain right brain wanderings.

    What’s your favorite movie?

    Moxie! Great job, Amy Poehler.

    What’s your favorite TV series?

    I’m a big fan of Schitt’s Creek, the Umbrella Academy, The Good Place, WandaVision, The Magicians, Young Sheldon and The Great British Baking Show.

    What is your life’s biggest question?

    How can I be better and do better?

    By Melanie C Klein

    Melanie Klein, M.A., is an empowerment coach, thought leader and influencer in the areas of body confidence, authentic empowerment, and visibility. She is also a successful writer, speaker, and professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies. Her areas of interest and specialty include media literacy education, body image, and the intersectional analysis of systems of power and privilege. She is the co-editor of Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery + Loving Your Body (Llewellyn, 2014) with Anna Guest-Jelley, a contributor in 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics and Practice (Horton & Harvey, 2012), is featured in Conversations with Modern Yogis (Shroff, 2014), a featured writer in Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Mindful Living (Llewellyn, 2016), co-editor of Yoga, the Body and Embodied Social Change: An Intersectional Feminist Analysis with Dr. Beth Berila and Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts (Rowman and Littlefield, 2016) as well as the editor of the new anthology, Yoga Rising: 30 Empowering Stories from Yoga Renegades for Every Body. She co-founded the Yoga and Body Image Coalition in 2014 and is the co-founder of The Joy Revolution. She has been practicing yoga and meditation since 1996 and currently lives in Santa Monica, CA.

    Connect: melaniecklein.comybicoalition.comyogaandbodyimage.orgyogarisingbook.com

    Photo by Sarit Z. Rogers/

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  • An Interview with Allaine Stricklen

    HEART WIDE OPEN

    Where are you from?

    ORIGINALLY FROM LONDON ENGLAND LIVING IN MIAMI CURRENTLY.

    How did yoga come into your life and what has that journey been like for you?

    YOGA CAME INTO MY LIFE WHEN I WAS 7 YEARS YOUNG. I LEARNED FIRSTLY HOW TO MEDITATE AND RELAX THEN THE ASANA PRANAYAMA PRACTICE CAME NEXT. MY VERY FIRST MEDITATION EXPERIENCE I FLOATED AND TRAVELED IN SPACE (ASTRAL REALM).

    How has yoga changed and what do you feel it creates in your daily life?

    YOGA FOR ME IS CONSTANTLY EVOLVING AS I PRACTICE EVERY DAY I HAVE LEARNED TO LISTEN TO WHAT MY BODY MIND AND SPIRIT GUIDE ME TO EXPERIENCE.

    What is yoga to you?

    YOGA FOR ME HAS BEEN SUCH AN INCREDIBLE MAGICAL HEALING MYSTICAL AND HUMBLING PRACTICE. YOGA HAS TAUGHT ME FLEXIBILITY OPENNESS & PATIENCE WHICH I TAKE OFF MY YOGA MAT INTO MY LIFE. SO MUCH GRATITUDE, JOY, LOVE HAVE AND CONTINUE TO MANIFEST IN MY LIFE. THANKS TO THE YOGA PATH.

    How did you feel after your first yoga class and how do you feel this influences or impacts the space you create for your students?

    I ACTUALLY CRIED AND CRIED DURING MY VERY FIRST YOGA CLASS SAVASANA, AND CONTINUED TO SHED LAYERS AND LAYERS OF EMOTION FOR YEARS AFTERWARDS, AS YOGA HELPED ME TO LET GO OF HELD STUCK EMOTION.

    I LOVE TO CREATE A CALM WARM & WELCOMING SPACE FOR EVERYONE WHO JOINS ME TO PRACTICE WITH NO JUDGEMENT JUST ENCOURAGEMENT AND LOVE.

    Who were you before you started practicing and how have you changed, evolved, and transformed?

    I CERTAINLY WAS A VERY ACTIVE CHILD VERY INQUISITIVE INDEED. YOGA BREATHWORK & MEDITATION HAVE CERTAINLY TRANSFORMED ME TO MOVE INTO STILLNESS WITHOUT JUDGEMENT AND LOVE MYSELF MORE AND MORE EVERY DAY.

    What has been your biggest struggle and your biggest milestone in the practice, in teaching, and within the yoga community?

    BEING PATIENT ON EVERY LEVEL LEARNING TO PLANT A SEED AND WATER IT WATCH IT GROW AND HAVING FAITH THAT STUDENTS WILL SHOW UP READY TO GROW EVOLVE AND HEAL.

    What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a yoga student?

    THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL MOMENT AS A STUDENT MEETING BKS IYENGAR IN PUNE INDIA. WHAT AN AMAZING MOMENT. I AM TRULY GRATEFUL.

    What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a yoga teacher?

    THERE ARE SO MANY INSPIRATIONAL MOMENTS I HAVE EXPERIENCED ESPECIALLY WHEN I SEE STUDENTS HEALING THEMSELVES, PURE BLISS FOR MY HEART AND SOUL.

    Why do you practice?

    I FEEL SO MUCH MORE POWERFUL AND VIBRANT WHEN I PRACTICE YOGA.

    Why do you teach?

    I LOVE TO SHARE WISDOM KNOWLEDGE TO HELP SUPPORT NURTURE AND HEAL EVERYONE I MEET WITH A SMILE LOVE AND JOY…. IT FEEDS MY SOUL AND NOURISHES MY HEART.

    Do you have any recommended yoga reading?

    LIGHT ON YOGA BKS IYENGAR
    BREAKING THE HABIT OF BEING YOURSELF DR JOE DISPENZA

    Through your own personal journey, what do you feel is your path and offering to the community- local and global?

    GENTLE THERAPEUTICS YOGA IS A GENTLE HEALING APPROACH TO YOGA USING PROPS SUCH AS CHAIRS, BLOCKS BLANKETS AND BOLSTERS TO FACILITATE THE POSTURES AND SUPPORT THE BODY… I LOVE PROPS AND INVITE MY STUDENTS TO EMBRACE THEM…

    What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on their yoga journey?

    FIND A TEACHER YOU LOVE…. TRY DIFFERENT STYLES OF YOGA …

    Are there any current projects you’re working on that you can tell us about?

    I AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON LEARNING ABOUT THE BRAIN AND STUDYING POLY VAGAL THERAPY AND HAVE BECOME A HEALTH COACH AS WELL.

    What’s your favorite book?

    LIGHT ON YOGA BKS IYENGAR

    What’s your favorite meal at a restaurant?

    I LOVE SOUPS VEGGIE CURRY, SO ASIAN FOOD INDIAN FOOD WITH SPICES I LOVE ALSO.

    What’s your favorite meal to make at home?

    ANYTHING GREEN VEGGIES ESPECIALLY FRESH JUICES SALADS

    What do you like to do for fun that’s non-yoga related?

    ANYTHING THAT IS FOOD-RELATED I LOVE TO COOK AND EAT OF COURSE…

    Who is your greatest inspiration?

    BKS IYENGAR GURY MAYI SIDDHA YOGA MEDITATION DR JOE DISPENZA

    Do you have a favorite podcast?

    I LOVE ANYTHING ON TED TALKS AND ALSO I LOVE HOMEBOUND AND NO TOILET PAPER PODCAST.

    If you were stranded on an island what 3 things would you bring with you?

    WATER, FOOD, YOGA MAT

    When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

    A STOCK BROKER

    What’s your favorite movie?

    DEATH IN VENICE DIRK BOGART

    What’s your favorite TV series?

    DO NOT HAVE A TV.

    Do you have a favorite band/singer?

    EARTH WIND AND FIRE

    Favorite song to dance to?

    HIGHER LOVE BY WHITNEY HOUSTON

    What’s your favorite quote/affirmation/mantra?

    TODAY I WELCOME INFINITE POSSIBILITIES WITH OPEN ARMS, I ACCEPT SUPPORT OF THE UNIVERSE, I KNOW THAT ABUNDANCE OF HEALTH WEALTH AND LOVE ARE AVAILABLE TO ME NOW.

    What is your life’s biggest question?

    HOW DO YOU BECOME A GENIUS????

    By Allaine Stricklen

    By Allaine Stricklen is an accredited Master Yoga Instructor with the Yoga Alliance and IAYT -International Association of Yoga Therapists. Allaine teaches and offers meditation sessions, workshops, and Teacher Training programs all over the world including Miami. Her unique style of teaching derives from her extensive studies in many different styles of Yoga, including Iyengar Yoga. Allaine is the creator of Gentle Therapeutics Yoga, a method utilizing props to restore the body’s balance and vitality. She currently teaches at many studios in the Miami area About Gentle Therapeutics Yoga is the Yoga of non-doing and the core practice underlying the essence of all Yoga. Even those with an active dynamic practice will benefit greatly from the inner peace and deep release of this Restorative class. Gentle Therapeutics Yoga is the practice of entering into Yoga postures using an assortment of props: blankets, bolsters, blocks, straps, walls, chairs, eye pillows etc. Supported and stabilized by various props, one experiences the Yoga postures as profoundly relaxing and deeply rejuvenating, invoking a natural state of healing rest, renewal, and equanimity. Supported and passive yoga postures allow the body to naturally release, letting go of held tension and stress. The results are a balanced state of being from the inside out. Gentle Therapeutics Yoga is a life-enhancing practice and is appropriate for anyone at any age or stage of life and in any physical condition.

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  • An Interview with Anamargret Sanchez

    Funny, Irreverent, Loyal

    Where are you from?

    I’m a Jamaican living in Miami.

    How did yoga come into your life and what has that journey been like for you?

    The profound practices of Yoga helped me get through the grief of losing my elders one year apart. The journey has been deep, magical, and life-changing. Yoga has connected me to so many different people, supported me in joy and sorrow, and brought me to a revolution of consciousness. I’d say it’s been an amazing journey so far with more surprises to come.

    How has yoga changed and what do you feel it creates in your daily life?

    Yoga has taught me to go inward. To uncover the voice of intuition and trust it. To have courage to look at my shadows. To understand that compassion and radical self-love are necessary to be able to offer the same to others. It creates a space for authentic joy.

    What is yoga to you?

    Yoga is my north star. It helps redirect me when I fall off the mindfulness wagon. There is no longer a difference between my Yoga on the mat and off the mat.

    How did you feel after your first yoga class and how do you feel this influences or impacts the space you create for your students?

    I felt so embodied after my first yoga class. Like I had finally arrived home in my body and the space around me. I had never felt so whole before. That feeling is what I try to provide for students. Everyone is welcome. Everyone is seen. Everyone is safe. You are home.

    Why did you decide to start teaching yoga and what qualities do you feel are important to build and work on as a yoga teacher?

    When I experienced the profound healing qualities of Yoga I felt the need to share that with others. It’s important as a teacher to SEE the student in front of you and not the idea of what a pose should look like. It’s the most important to have your own practice so you have something rich and authentic to transmit. You have to do the work before you can teach the work. Remember you are a student before you are a teacher- always.

    What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a yoga student?

    When my intuition very strongly led me to my Himalayan Tantric lineage. I had never heard that inner voice speak so loudly or clearly.

    What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a yoga teacher?

    I’ve had many. But the most recent one was when a student told me that her yoga practice brought her back to her spirituality. That made my heart soar.

    Why do you practice?

    To stay awake to Life.

    Why do you teach?

    Because I love to share the rich beauty of Yoga. And I feel blessed every time I teach that I can be a conduit for the teachings. I can get out of the way knowing that any transformation that takes place is the grace that happens between the student and their practice.

    What is the single most defining issue facing the global yoga community today?

    Holding the space between Namaste and activism.

    Do you have any recommended yoga reading?

    Loving the simple, yet thought-provoking, message of the Yamas & Niyamas by Deborah Adele.

    What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on their yoga journey?

    Student first. Teacher second. Consistent practice is key. Fill your toolbox. Be the light.

    Are there any current projects you’re working on that you can tell us about?

    Bringing the linear and the spiritual together.

    What’s your favorite book?

    Siddhartha

    What’s your favorite meal to make at home?

    Vegetarian Picadillo & Parmesan crisps

    What do you like to do for fun that’s non-yoga related?

    Dance, swim, draw, write poetry, go boating, host dinner parties, read, laugh with friends, go on road trips, be out in nature with Fonzie.

    Who is your greatest inspiration?

    My Grandmothers

    Do you have a favorite podcast?

    Right now I’m listening to Lama Rod.

    If you were stranded on an island what 3 things would you bring with you?

    Books, my dog Fonzie, my favorite knife

    When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

    A teacher- lol

    What’s your favorite movie?

    The Man That Fell to Earth

    What’s your favorite TV series?

    Sense8

    Do you have a favorite band/singer?

    David Bowie

    Favorite song to dance to?

    Salsa music in general

    What’s your favorite quote/affirmation/mantra?

    “Look for the rainbow after the rain.” my personal quote

    What is your life’s biggest question?

    Who is the I?

    By Anamargret Sanchez

    Among Miami’s most experienced and sought-after yoga teachers, Anamargret Sanchez is a global citizen of Jamaican, Cuban, and German heritage. She is a dedicated teacher and student of the yoga tradition, and has been blessed to study with many respected teachers, including Rod Stryker, creator of Para Yoga, Manorama, founder of Sanskrit Studies, T.K.V. Desikachar, Leslie Kaminoff, Marlysa Sullivan, and Judith Lasater. She is Cofounder of the Enhanced Healing Yoga Studio, located in Miami’s Upper East Side, and Cohosts YOGAMI, a podcast originating in Miami and focusing on “yoga and stuff.” As part of her commitment to giving and service through yoga, Anamargret also founded the Legion Park Community Yoga class, East Miami’s most successful and long-running yoga outreach effort. Anamargret’s classes are challenging, fun, compassionate, and create space for students to shine in their own light.

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  • Interview With Erica Mather

    One of the great things about OMstars is that we have a wonderful community of students and teachers from all around the world, with various styles of practice. Want to know more about our amazing teachers? This week, we asked, Forrest Yoga Guardian, Erica Mather several interview style questions about herself, her practice, and her teaching. Get to know a little more about Erica here on the blog, then log in or join OMstars – The Yoga Network to start practicing with her today!

    1. How long have you been practicing yoga and why did you start practicing yoga?

    I’ve been practicing since 2001. I began because I experienced adult-onset migraine headaches, and I was told that yoga could help with that.

    1. What is yoga to you?

    Yoga is a system for getting to know yourself—your body, mind, heart, and spirit—and for learning to live in honor and integrity with that human being you’re getting to know.

    1. How did you feel after your first yoga class and how do you want students to feel after they practice with you?

    I don’t exactly recall how I felt physically after my first practice…sore? Tired? I DO remember being excited and relieved that I found a place where I could rehabilitate my own relationship with my body, independent of a value assumption based on what it looks like, or what it can do.

    I want my students to feel free—in their bodies, in their relationships, in their work lives, and in their spiritual lives. It’s a tall order, but I DO get reports back from my students that they feel expanded through the breath work, and stronger in their bodies and their minds from the ways that I ask them to engage deeply. These are good places to begin.

    1. What impact has yoga had on your life? Who were you before you started practicing and how have you changed, evolved and transformed?

    I’m not sure I could even recognize the person I was before yoga. What I do remember is feeling more anxious about all the things I thought I should be, and as a result experiencing far more doubt, social anxiety, self-recrimination, and self-loathing.

    In terms of transformation and evolution, above all, the practices of connecting with the body as a source of wisdom, exercising compassion for all the ways I mess up, and studying myself—the things I admire AND those I dislike—have brought me into closer relationship with myself. As a result, I’m more aware of the things that I need and long for out of life, and can be brave enough to go after them, or to ask for them from others.

    I’m very proud of so much that I accomplished as a young person, before I began practicing yoga. But, I’m also aware that the person I am becoming is more in alignment with the kind of person I can admire, and THIS is the result of my yoga practice. When we confront our own deaths, THIS is the ultimate judgment, the only one that really matters: are YOU proud of yourself and the life that you lived?

    1. Why did you decide to start teaching yoga and what makes a good yoga teacher?

    I decided to start teaching yoga because it was a natural next progression for my life as a teacher. I’ve been teaching in some capacity since I was 17, and I consider teaching to be my key skill.

    A good yoga teacher knows how to teach. Yoga is the topic. Teaching is the skill. To teach well, you must have an understanding of HOW people learn, and you yourself be curious about learning more and more about people, because each and every student will learn slightly differently than every other student. So, you must be curious about people, even more than you are curious about yoga. This is the foundation of a good teacher.

    1. What style of yoga do you practice and what makes that style most effective? Do you have a teacher in your style of yoga?

    I teach Forrest Yoga. What I think makes Forrest Yoga effective is that it teaches the body is central to the project of self-realization. Instead of the body as a mere stepping-stone ON the path, the body itself IS the path.

    Ana Forrest is my teacher. I am a lineage-holder in her tradition. I am very honored to be of service to the world in this capacity.

    1. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on their yoga journey?

    It’s a lifelong journey. Think of it as the beginning of a new kind of relationship with yourself and with the world. Throw out all expectations, and enjoy the view.

    1. What has been your biggest struggle and your biggest milestone in the practice?  

    Biggest struggle…letting go of the need to feel accomplished.

    Biggest milestone…my goodness. I feel like every day is a milestone!

    1. What is your favorite yoga pose and why? And what’s your least favorite yoga pose and why?

    I really enjoy Bridge Pose—Setu Bhanda. I like the way it frees up my lungs and helps traction my back, which is often quite painful.

    I can’t think of a least favorite. They all are in the running to become a new, unexpected favorite.

    1. What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a yoga student? And how about as a teacher?

    As a yoga student…the most inspiration comes when I have an epiphany on the mat, or make some connection off the mat that improves my relationship with other people or with the world. As a teacher, it’s really as a teacher-trainer. Those are the moments when I really get to engage with a person, knowing that they are all-in and hunting personal transformation and I’m able to say something that touches them in a way that heals their heart.

    1. Why do you practice? Why do you teach?

    I practice because it is a never-ending connection to myself and a forum for getting to know myself. I teach because I love connecting with other humans through the act of teaching, and also because the act of teaching is incredibly creative for me, and through it I learn things that otherwise would not have been available to me.

    1. What’s your favorite yoga quote or mantra?

    “A true contemplative is one who lives with a broken heart. A heart that is open to the world must be willing to be broken at any time. This brokenness produces the kind of grief that expands the heart so that it can love more and more.” ~Stephen Cope Yoga and the Quest for the True Self.

    1. What is the single most defining issue facing the global yoga community today?

    Listening to people with whom we disagree. As “open minded” people we have become very close minded to people who do not view the world in ways that conform to our own. It is exactly the responsibility and the challenge of the modern yogi to remain open-minded and open-hearted to other view-points and other voices. When we stay centered, open, and compassionate to those with whom we disagree, we open a channel for them to relax, feel heard, and therefore, perhaps to be willing to listen to us in exchange. It is our DUTY as modern mystics to tend to the world, and the way forward will call upon us to be the highest versions of ourselves.

    1. What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you as a student and as a teacher?

    Clothing malfunctions. I’ll leave it at that.

    1. Do you have any recommended yoga reading?

    I think that The Heart of Yoga by TKV Desikachar is essential reading for all yoga practitioners and teachers or all lineages. It provides context and history for all that we do now.

    1. What is your dharma, your life mission? 

    My dharma is to heal the broken love lines in my family and all around me. I believe that it is my calling to become a bodhisattva, and to be available to love the world. This is my life mission.

    Interview With Erica Mather

    ERica Mather, Forest Yoga teacher, interview about yoga

    Erica is a Forrest Yoga Guardian, hand-picked by Ana Forrest to become one of a handful of senior teacher in the Forrest Yoga tribe.

    Start Practicing With Erica On OMstars – The Yoga Network