Instructor Spotlight: Amy Caldwell

Get off the mat this month with Amy Caldwell, Yoga One co-founder, co-owner and head instructor. She also co-teaches the annual Yoga One Teacher Training.

Mike_Amy-160Amy’s classes distill years of teaching experience and yogic knowledge into a light-hearted, often playful flow. Her personal warmth and clear, concise guidance will keep you coming back for more. Catch up with her on Mondays at noon and Fridays at 5:45pm (starting 1/24). You can find our full schedule here.

1. What is your favorite style of yoga?

“Quality” yoga 🙂 and by that I mean a well-balanced practice that emphasizes present moment awareness through equal parts conscious participation and peaceful abiding. I love alignment-based practices, slow flow and challenging vinyasa depending on the day.

2. What first attracted you to yoga when you began your practice?

With my second exposure to yoga, like so many practitioners, I experienced a deep feeling of contentment. Having exercised regularly throughout my life, I also enjoyed the weaving together of philosophical inquiry along with the physical practice.

The first time I took an 8-week yoga class in college, however, I fell asleep in savasana and didn’t return to the practice until 5 or so years later. Just like so many things in life, there is an element of timing. I still often tell students not to give up if they don’t resonate with their first yoga class or teacher or studio. We are blessed with many choices that sometimes it’s hard to narrow them down and find your niche.

3. What is your favorite yoga pose right now?

I’ve recently been going back to the basics of plain old backbends, handstands and splits. If I had to pick one this month, I guess I would say backbend. I’ve been contemplating doing 44 on my next birthday in August in honor of my age. I feel that urdhva dhanurasana (upward facing bow) beautifully counterbalances our lives which are filled with so much forward bending like sitting and so much visual stimulation! Accessing the back body helps connect us with the other facets of our being beyond what we see on a day to day basis. Plus, it’s energizing and empowering.

4. What pose is still the most challenging?

I practiced pigeon in Sarah’s class yesterday and she reminded us to allow the exhale to be complete and to let the tongue fall off the roof of the mouth at the end of the inhale. It amazes me how challenging it is to truly stay in a place of conscious participation and peaceful abiding in this pose – even after so many years. Some days are easier than others!

5. If you were an animal, you would be:

A dolphin – although I recently heard sometimes they aren’t so nice to porpoises, so I may have to rethink that. I grew up swimming and love the water (although San Diego ocean water is a bit cold for me!!) I believe my dosha tends toward pitta and recently read that being in nature and in or near the water helps balance my energy – I feel that to be true every time I’m at the beach!

Mike_Amy-1786. Describe what yoga means in your life using just 6 words: Tools for learning, loving and being.

7. What might your students be surprised to learn about you?

Well, the secret came out a few months ago at Rachel Krenztman’s going away party, but I truly love dancing and take cardio hip hop classes whenever I can (: Other than that, I am a pretty open book.

8. Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for new students?

As I mentioned in question #2 above, know that there are MANY styles, approaches and teachers of yoga – so the first, most important step is to find a studio and teacher where you feel comfortable, safe and taken care of.

The next thing I would remind new students is that yoga isn’t about being “good” or “flexible” or “strong” – it’s about meeting yourself where you are at this time in the present, being non-competitive and non-judgmental. Our 9 year old daughter explained to our 5 year old son last week, “you can see that glass as half empty, but just as easily you can see it as half full.”

Let’s all keep on practicing how to see the good in ourselves and each other. And when we forget, no judgement!, simply begin again. Happy practicing 🙂

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