Email’s the best way: BriaYoga4Soul@gmail.com
Also, I’m on Twitter: @BriasWorldYoga
Plus, Instagram: @BriasWorldYoga
And I’m LinkedIn
Archives of my blog about food, random stuff, and a bit about yoga, too on: WestofPersia.com
Read on for a bit of my story:
Being active comes naturally to me. Yoga, on the other hand, didn’t always come naturally, at least not at first. In fact, I tried Yoga many times before finding a style that works for me. Honestly, I was either bored by Yoga or just bewildered. This continued off and on for a few years. It’s a good thing I’m stubborn. I’d circle back into dabbling into Yoga from time to time because I knew it was “supposed to be” good for me.
From Texas Cheerleader to Angry New Yorker
A former athlete with a bit of grade school dance training, years of practice in sports like soccer, track, cross-country, volleyball, and cheerleading (forgive me, I did it for the outfit, and hey, it was Texas!), created a craving for movement, flow, and focus in both body and mind. This varied background also gave me a strong, flexible body with a mean turnout. Yet such advantages can only do a girl so much good, and even an ivy league degree from Columbia couldn’t feed the deeper hunger within me. An unhappy, tense time in my life made me realize that I needed more than a post-workout endorphin high or another work-related milestone. I needed serious chillaxing and to find a way to cultivate a deeper peace and a calmer state of mind and heart, to find that pure loving energy inside of me, especially while living in the bustle of New York City. Besides, being athletic and an over-achiever, gratifying as it can feel, can cause damage, wear, tear, and stress on the body and mind. Over time, the very movements of mind, body, and emotions that create such joy can become the source of pain and anguish. We must heal from within. Yoga was the answer for me.
And Now, the Teachings of Yoga
I remember one Yoga class in particular,. My stressed and exhausted body, mind, and spirit were all enlivened afterwards—buzzing with something I hadn’t felt in years—harmony and a peaceful, blissful energy. That night I slept so deeply, and so much tension seemed to have drained out of me from a simple hour’s worth of work. It was like being let in on some big secret. From that moment on, I was hooked.
Soon thereafter, I found my Yoga mentor, Charles Jojo Tyler, who has pioneered a vigorous and dynamic style of Vinyasa Yoga called Yoga4Soul. Linking breath to flowing movements, it’s an all-in-one practice. Students build cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, strength, and relieve stress while exploring the soulful side of themselves. It also didn’t hurt that my arms were toning up nicely within two weeks of beginning to take Jojo’s class regularly. “This really stuff works,” I remember thinking, and not just on the mental and spiritual level.
Ongoing Evolution: Yoga Teacher, Retreat Leader
Some time later, I completed Tyler’s teacher training program with the vague idea that I might pick up part-time teaching work, maybe even lead a yoga retreat someday. An unexpected loss of a lackluster day job was a blessing in disguise–it pushed me towards a full-time teaching schedule very soon after completing teacher training. I began leading retreats in 2009 and host several retreats per year, in locations like St. Lucia, Colorado, Vermont, and the Hudson Valley in New York. I teach in an athletic, yet mindful and accessible style within the Yoga4Soul Vinyasa format. My classes also draw from other influences of movement, energy, and the mind, including belly dance, ballet, Pilates, philosophy, and nature.
Beginner’s Mind Forever
I’m always seeking to to deepen the well of skills and knowledge I have to draw from, plus, I’m kind of a bookish nerd at heart. My love affair with continuing ed has led me to Pilates mat certification and also to certs in general group fitness/personal training. Yoga, of course, remains my primary focus.
My goal is to make every session fun and challenging to all levels, incorporating music, sometimes a touch of humor, and perhaps a bit of (light-handed) philosophy as well. Seeing students grow, learn, and make positive changes in their lives is an honor and a blessing, as is being able to live, work, and practice in New York City, and to lead life-changing retreats globally.