1- In less than a minute, tell us who you are and why we keep hearing good things about you.
I’m the founder of Earth YogaNYC which was an award-winning hot power vinyasa studio I started in 2008. We had over a decade of amazing success with a highly respected Yoga Teacher Training program & a schedule of classes taught by the Big Apple’s best. Selling the studio in 2019 allowed me to travel more & to continue my passion for helping instructors uplevel their teaching & leadership skills through mentorship & zoom trainings.
Now that I’m back in New York after a hiatus in England over Covid, I’ve established a new little studio (Yanti YogaNYC) offering a schedule of asana & co-teaching classes. I’m super excited to collaborate with local teachers on a calendar of upcoming workshops, retreats & courses. Throughout Covid over zoom I continued to teach yoga to a strong Weill Cornell community of scientists & doctors. It’s amazing to now teach them in person after 22 months speaking to them in little boxes over the internet. I’m so in awe of the bonds possible through the use of tech & despite the miles.
2- What inspired you, if any, to join the Warrior Flow 200-Hour Yoga Training’s faculty?
I had the honor of working with Adrian & the Warrior Flow team at the beginning of Covid and I saw that everything about what they do is about substance and "being the change". In this day and age you see a lot of performative behavior in social responsibility programs. Adrian and his team are true disruptors and innovators. It takes get-up-and-go and a lot of courage to do what they do. I relate and teach my students that despite setbacks and challenges it's with this persistent mental fortitude that we can create social change.
3- In simple words, what does yoga mean to you?
Yoga is what helps me manage the ups and downs of the human condition. I can't look at yoga without looking at both the asana and the philosophy. As such, it's my way of blending movement with mental health management. The result is that my default is the state of being calmly energized.
4- What is the main difference between learning yoga now and when you took your first yoga training?
This current age of learning yoga is so liberating. Everything goes and everything is so much closer to tolerance and authenticity. It's an exciting time.
5- In your opinion, why is this a key moment in time to learn yoga?
We have been put through the crucible during Covid and now is the time to forge the landscape we want to live in. After this introspective time of determining true "meaning" on a social systems level and on a personal level, we are in the throes of creating a new age.
6- Who would you be without yoga?
That's a great question. That is something I ask myself whenever I interact with friends and family who have not yet had the chance to discover yoga at a deeper level. It makes me think I would be a very materialistic ambitious and intolerant person who prizes work over all else. I would not be likable but I wouldn't really care. I would be the opposite of compassionate, tolerant and kind. I would not really understand the concept of seva because I would be obsessed with outward expressions of ego, image, prestige and status.
I used to be that way!
7- Who were your role models? And what pushed you to learn and become who you are today?
My main model is Radhanath Swami whose book "The Journey Home" transformed my whole mindset. I consider one of my yoga life highlights the time I met him in person in my 200 Hour YTT. I can't believe I quoted a mantra from the Gita and tried to show off in front of him. He was so patient with me and he asked me to give him the meaning of the mantra word for word. I was embarrassed and in complete awe at the same time. Complete fan girl with no words. Lol.
8- What were the pivotal roadblocks and challenges you encountered along the way that helped you define your path?
My big struggles would have to be moving 3 times to different continents for my work when I was still a lawyer, and adapting to different languages and cultures. It taught me so much humility, resilience and patience. The other big challenges which defined me would have to be a big sporting accident which ultimately led me to yoga rehab and then my divorce- big existential crises which led me to a clearer path towards yoga and ultimately making it my life's work.
I guess these days you can’t talk about struggles without mentioning Covid. During this difficult time away from New York I helped close family work through issues of senior care & Alzheimers. Again a truly humbling & sobering experience.
9- What can we all do right now to make this world a better place?
The rituals and practices which make up our self-care routine or sadhana are key. It might comprise of journalling or meditation but whatever it is, it connects us back to the heart and to gratitude. I know it's cliche but it's true that if we put on our own oxygen mask first, then we can more readily look outside ourselves with a sense of love, hope and optimism. This way we can give more freely of our compassion and generosity.
Lack of self-care builds resentment, anger and rage.
In my daily interactions these days I am working on patience and the acceptance that everyone has something going on we don't know about. So before jumping to attack, I offer up patience and consideration. A wise person once reminded me that Kadampa Buddhism considers the path to enlightenment a collective community journey, not an individual personal one. I try to keep that concept in my heart always.