Yoga combines physical movement, conscious breath work, active relaxation of tension prone areas, and alignment awareness to achieve physical and physiological benefits. Modern culture, especially in New York City, creates non-stop stimulation of the nervous system so that we live in a “fight or flight” state, which heightens anxiety and suppresses mental clarity. Students suffer from over-stimulation and live in a constant state of anxiety that affects sleep, depresses the immune system, creates fatigue, and dampens self-esteem. Yoga soothes the nervous system by reducing levels of the stress-hormone cortisol and boosting levels of certain mood-elevating neurotransmitters. Students who do not possess the tools to cope with a stressful lifestyle can get caught in a negative feedback loop that inhibits success. Yoga combined with academic coaching, is a formula for success. Stress management is an important life skill.
Often I will start a tutoring session by asking a student where they have pain in their body and do a pose or stretch to help alleviate that pain. Most students choose the neck, shoulders or upper back, but some have pain in their hands from intensive keyboard work, or pain in their jaw from unconscious clenching. I teach them postures, stretches and movements they can do on their own to ease physical discomfort originated from stress. I utilize different breathing techniques to help clear the mind. When students are tired, I put them in energizing poses. I am aware of and strive to prevent bad habits from forming, such as hunching shoulders over a keyboard for extended periods of time.
Yoga has enriched my own life more than words can ever describe. It has soothed pain in my upper back from holding unnecessary tension, provided an outlet for emotional stress, and taught me to use breathing techniques to immediately reduce my anxiety levels. I am honored to share this gift with my students.
I have been fortunate to study under extremely talented and gifted teachers. I am a graduate of the Ana Forrest Foundation and Advanced Teacher Training Programs. Additionally, I have practiced for many years with Stephanie Snyder and Les Leventhal. Absorbing some of their endless wisdom has been a blessing.