Interview Archives

From Inspiration to Effectiveness
Rob Schware, Yoga Teacher Magazine

I came across Rob’s work through his interviews with yoga teachers on the Huffington Post. His resume intrigued me because as someone who regularly talks to people in the field for those interviews, and as Executive Director of the Give Back Yoga Foundation and President of the Yoga Service Council, he seemed uniquely positioned for a fine vantage point on what’s going on in the world of yoga service and activism, and that turned out to be true. Of course, as a veteran interviewer, he began almost immediately to begin interviewing me, asking me about the magazine, our... Read more

Rob Schware is the Executive Director of the Give Back Yoga Foundation http://givebackyoga.org/, President of the Yoga Service Council http://yogaservicecouncil.org/, and Seva Advisor to Hanuman Festival http://www.hanumanfestival.com/. He has been married to Alice Trembour for 29 years, which, like yoga, is in and of itself a regular commitment to a practice. They have three children.

Try Loving Now
Seane Corn in Uganda, Yoga Teacher Magazine

I spoke with Seane on July 8, 2013 by phone. I had attended her YJ workshop in New York City earlier in the year and after the interview I met her again at a workshop at YogaWorks. She is so very gracious; her eminent qualities of straightforwardness, determination and clarity are inspirational.

Yoga Teacher Magazine: So usually I like to start off learning something about background, what brought you to yoga, the back story. But one thing I haven’t seen in other interviews is much about your childhood. We usually pick up the story... Read more

Seane Corn is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher known for her impassioned activism, unique self-expression, and inspirational style of teaching. Featured in commercials, magazines, NPR, and Oprah.com, Seane now utilizes her national platform to bring awareness to global humanitarian issues. In 2005, she was named “National Yoga Ambassador” for YouthAIDS, and in 2013 was given the “Global Green International Environmental Leadership Award.” Since 2007, she has been training leaders of activism through her co-founded organization Off the Mat, Into the World®. Seane has spent time in the US, India, Cambodia, Haiti and Africa working with communities in need- teaching yoga, providing support for child labor and educating people about HIV/AIDS prevention. Seane is also co-founder of the Seva Challenge Humanitarian Tours, which have raised over $4 million since 2007, getting the yoga community involved in fund and awareness raising efforts across the globe. Her self-authored dvds are available through Gaiam, Yoga Journal and Sounds True. www.seanecorn.com

The Beloved in Everyone
Elika Aird, Yoga Teacher Magazine

I spoke with Elika first via Skype and then in online chat. She had had a long day with lots of teaching and other business; nonetheless, she was in fine form. [Ivan Nahem]

Yoga Teacher Magazine: So, tell me a bit about your background, where you grew up, where you're living....

Elika Aird: I grew up in San Jose CA and then moved to Atlanta in 1998 to go to college and ended up staying for 13 years.

YTM: How did you like Atlanta? Well 13 years kind of says it!

EA: Well when I was... Read more

As a lifelong dancer, Elika was naturally inclined toward the fluid and liberating practice of Vinyasa, but has also been greatly influenced by the teachings and alignment principles of Anusara and Iyengar traditions. Her classes encourage students to connect with the wisdom of the body to experience strength, insight, grace and ease on the mat as well as off. After completing a 200-hr certification at Peachtree Yoga Center,  she went on to complete a 500-hr Prana Flow Certification with Shiva Rea.  Elika is trained in the mindfulness based Whole Birth© Yoga system, and is a DONA Birth Doula.   She is passionate about bringing holistic practices to men, women and babies everywhere – incorporating the principles of Ayurveda and Pranic Energy Healing into her classes and workshops. Since a back injury brought her to the practice in 1999, she reminds her students of the body's capacity for deep healing through consciously uniting mind, body and spirit. After years of working in the corporate world, teaching yoga part-time at CNN in Atlanta, Elika is now a full-time yogini.  You can find her teaching at studios throughout the Bay Area and at corporations such as LinkedIN, Google and Stanford University. She especially enjoys working with her clients one-on-one to provide a more therapeutic practice and has clients ranging from pre/post-natal, chair-based and cancer survivors. www.blissfulbodiesyoga.com

Every Class Is All Levels - Part Two
Anna Guest-Jelley, Yoga Teacher Magazine

This is Part Two of my online chat with the superb Anna Guest-Jelley. You may find Part One here.

Ivan Nahem: So to take a step back, can you speak to how you came to yoga and what that has meant for you?

Anna Guest-Jelley: Yes! I started yoga because as a curvy woman, I practiced yoga for about 8 years with very, very rarely seeing another person my size -- and never receiving size-appropriate modifications for my body.

This made me feel like the problem was me, but over time, I began to... Read more

Anna Guest-Jelley, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, is the founder of Curvy Yoga -- a training and inspiration portal for curvy yogis and their teachers. As a writer, teacher and lifelong champion for empowerment and body acceptance, Anna encourages people of every size, age and ability to grab life by the curves. And never let go. Explore Curvy Yoga programs, classes and certification courses online at CurvyYoga.com

Every Class Is All Levels -- Part One
Anna Guest-Jelley, Yoga Teacher Magazine

This is Part One of my online chat with the superb Anna Guest-Jelley. You may find Part Two here.

 

Anna and I Skyped for a while and then switched to Facebook chat. Anna's delight in conversation is charming. Part Two will appear in August.

Ivan Nahem: I want to ask some questions about your background, but let’s first just jump right in to the theme of this issue, which is how not to teach yoga. What does that phrase conjure up for you? How should yoga not be taught?

Anna Guest-Jelley:... Read more

Anna Guest-Jelley, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, is the founder of Curvy Yoga -- a training and inspiration portal for curvy yogis and their teachers. As a writer, teacher and lifelong champion for empowerment and body acceptance, Anna encourages people of every size, age and ability to grab life by the curves. And never let go. Explore Curvy Yoga programs, classes and certification courses online at CurvyYoga.com.

This Amazing Evolution
Mark Stephens, Yoga Teacher Magazine

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to interview Mark Stephens and was able to ask some of the questions I had in regards to sequencing, creating new styles of yoga, and how to teach a really good class. He was an inspiration to speak with and I got a lot out of our chat.  The following highlights our conversation.

 

Gail Hamlin: How have things evolved for you since first publishing your first book, Teaching Yoga?   

Mark Stephens: Having that first book published and do exceptionally well out there inspired me to... Read more

The author of Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques (2010), Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformation Yoga Classes (2012), both published by North Atlantic Books, Mark Stephens has practiced yoga since 1991 and taught since 1996, blending Astanga Vinyasa, Iyengar, Vinyasa Flow, Yoga Therapy and other approaches into an eclectic one that is all about making yoga more accessible, sustainable, and transformational. A member of the Yoga Alliance Standards Working Group, he creates learning resources for yoga teachers and students and is committed to elevating the yoga teaching profession. Mark teaches classes and workshops at his Santa Cruz Yoga studio and worldwide. For more information visit: www.markstephensyoga.com. Mark was interviewed for Yoga Teacher Magazine by Gail Hamlin.

Taking the Brave-Hearted Path
Ana T. Forrest, Yoga Teacher Magazine

The process began with a query from Ana’s wonderful media manager, Charlotte. Of course Ana has a busy schedule, so she was only able to respond to the interview questions via email. However I did travel up to Boston to take one of her workshops, which I would heartily recommend, and she did give me some personal guidance for which I’m grateful.

Ivan Nahem: You are known as the fierce medicine woman of yoga.  In your view, how should we NOT teach yoga?

Ana T. Forrest: NOT’s:
— Not breathing.
— Not seeing students.
— Teaching... Read more

Ana Tiger Forrest has been changing people’s lives for nearly 40 years and is now an internationally recognized pioneer in yoga and emotional healing. Ana created Forrest Yoga, as she worked through her own traumas to find healing. Ana has studied with healers from across the globe. Her extensive studies in Native American Medicine, yoga and the clinical application of healing modalities, including homeopathic and naturopathic remedies, anatomy, reflexology, pressure point therapy, craniosacral therapies, Shiatsu, chiropractic, polarity and hands-on healing, always inform her work. Ana is an ordained practitioner of Native American Medicine, Reiki Master, Certified Regression Therapist, and graduate of Anthony Robbins Master University. She is a Faculty Member at The University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic and sits on the Boards of F.A.R.E. Play (Foundation for Athletic Research and Education) and Earth & Sky Circle (organization for Native American Ceremony). She is the recipient of a Los Angeles Mayoral Commendation recognizing her outstanding teaching and healing work in the community and is a consultant to a number of military programs. She was presented with an award for service to ‘warriors in transition’ and a ‘presented for excellence’ medal for her work with EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal), both at Fort Carson, CO. Her book, Fierce Medicine: Breakthrough Practices to Heal the Body and Ignite the Spirit (HarperOne) was released May 2011. The audio book, read by Ana, is also now available. Ana teaches across the globe; to practice or train with her visit: www.forrestyoga.com/events.

Whatever Terror or Beauty Arises in This Pose
Jillian Pransky, Yoga Teacher Magazine

Jillian met with me at YogaWorks in SoHo, New York City, before her Level 2 Vinyasa Flow class.

 

INTERVIEW PART ONE

 

YOGA TEACHER MAGAZINE: So tell me something about yourself, where are you from…?

JILLIAN PRANSKY: You mean literally?

YTM: Sure.

JP: That’s funny, in all the interviews no one ever asked me literally where I’m from. I grew up in Hillsdale New Jersey, then spent 18 years in Hoboken before moving to Montclair NJ where I’ve been now since 2007.

... Read more

Jillian Pransky has been teaching yoga since 1995; she leads programs at Kripalu, Omega and Mohonk, as well as many other venues across the country. Her “Relaxmore” CD has garnered excellent reviews from many including Dr. Memhet Oz. She is National Director of Restorative Yoga Training for YogaWorks and co-director of the Bright Spirit Yoga Teacher Training, and has been featured in many magazines including Yoga Journal, Self Magazine and Family Circle. She writes for YogaDork Ed and has appeared on CNN. As a student of Pema Chödrön since 1998, Jillian’s yoga is infused with mindfulness practices, steadfastness, and ease.  Her teaching and practice combine Traditional and Therapeutic Yoga, Ayurveda, Developmental Somatic Movement Therapy, Thai Massage, and Hands-On Healing. Find out more at www.jillianpransky.com.

Just Stay With It
Cyndi Lee, Yoga Teacher Magazine

After a few near misses in getting together, Cyndi and I Skyped in February. We started off talking about her dog Leroy, whom she had taken to the vet earlier for a trachea problem, and then she talked about living temporarily in Ohio, which she said was pretty boring but there were lessons to be learned.  In any case she’s moving to Virginia in July. We started talking about stress, and I asked her if she thought there were any beneficial aspects to it.

 

INTERVIEW PART ONE

 

CYNDI LEE: Well, this might be a little bit of a silly example... Read more

Cyndi Lee is the first female Western yoga teacher to fully integrate yoga asana and Tibetan Buddhism in her practice and teaching. Founder of NYC’s OM Yoga Center (1998-2012) she now teaches workshops and teacher trainings worldwide. One of the most influential teachers in the U.S., Cyndi is known for her dynamic and contemplative classes; creative, safe and sane sequencing; smart and soulful teachings -- all offered in a non-competitive environment of goodness. Author of the classic Yoga Body Buddha Mind, Cyndi's newest book is the The New York Times critically acclaimed May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga and Changing My Mind.

Cyndi holds an MFA in Dance from UC Irvine and is a longtime student of Gelek Rimpoche. Her new website, being constructed, soon to launch, will be CyndiLee.com.
 
It's Okay, You're Here Now
Pete Lee, Yoga Teacher Magazine

YOGA TEACHER MAGAZINE: So let's start with you telling me a bit about your background. Where did you grow up and what was that like, and how did you first start practicing yoga?

PETE LEE: I was born and raised in Los Angeles. Born in the late Seventies. I've been into healing, meditation and spirituality pretty much all my life.

YTM: Were your parents into that sort of thing?

PL: No, my parents were not into yoga at all. I'm of Chinese heritage and they're immigrant parents who owned and operated a Chinese restaurant in El Segundo that... Read more

Pete Lee is an IKYTA-certified and Yoga Alliance-registered Kundalini and Restorative Yoga instructor, certified Co-Active Life Coach, Reconnective Healing Practitioner and Energy Healer. Pete is passionate and committed to empower and guide individuals in deeply honoring, nourishing and loving themselves beyond measure. He is a graduate of the 200-hour Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training at Golden Bridge Yoga, having studied with Gurmukh, Tej and Harijiwan. He is also a graduate of Yogaworks’ Restorative Teacher Training, led by Jillian Pransky. Pete teaches regularly at YogaWorks, Golden Bridge Yoga, and Equinox Fitness Centers throughout Los Angeles. Bringing lots of warmth, humor, and compassion, Pete’s classes are uplifting, grounding, healing, and gentle yet challenging. His website in progress is www.cpetelee.com and his email address is - yogipetelee@gmail.com. "Sat Nam. Namaste."

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