“How you do yoga is how you do everything.” -Sarah Powers
For many years, Emily practiced yoga like a competitive athlete with an eating disorder and history of trauma—which is exactly what she was at that point in her life. After years of using pain as a survival mechanism, Emily was accustomed to ignoring physical sensations and feedback from her body. She was unable to mindfully inhabit her body, which led to injury and relapse. Fortunately, Emily sensed that another path was available to her. She slowly began to connect with something bigger, something universal and outside of herself. Emily felt that she could tap into and be a part of this universal energy through practice, but she wasn’t sure how to harness it. Meeting and training with yoga teacher David Magone changed the course of Emily’s life, and she went on to complete a 500-hour teacher training in PranaVayu Yoga under his tutelage.
The first time Emily practiced Yin yoga, she thought she might leap up and run out of the room or shout at the instructor, “You want me to do what, and for how long?!” She hated it. At the same time, being asked to hold a pose and experience sensations in her body that elicited emotions and intense mind-chatter was so uncomfortable that Emily knew she had to do it. And, moreover, that she wanted to teach it. Through studying Yin with Sarah Powers, Emily came to a greater understanding that she was operating the same way off the mat as she was on the mat.
Yoga is a way to find a connection with ourselves. It gives us the rare opportunity to witness the habits of our minds and thoughts and to understand how they typically overrule the body. Yoga encourages us to begin practicing compassion for ourselves by tolerating the present moment as it unfolds on the mat through the body, the breath, and bringing the mind back to the present moment over and over. It’s not just about feeling good; it’s about how can we exist in a more harmonious relationship with ourselves—our whole selves—by being comfortable with and caring about our limitations rather than ignoring or disavowing pieces of ourselves that we don’t like or that don’t serve us. This leads to disharmony and illness.
Emily’s practice and teaching deepened further through her study of biomechanics and therapeutics with Santosh Karmacharya. With that perspective, Emily began to deeply respect the body and everything it does for us.
Emily has had the privilege of studying with extraordinary teachers and has learned to give herself the space to explore her practice in all its forms and meanings. Each of Emily’s classes reflects what yoga means to her.