After discovering the joys of asanas and alternate nostril breathing at a YMCA in Somerville, Massachusetts, Gwendolyn moved to Brooklyn, where the fast-pace of the city kept her away from a regular practice. In 2007, the stresses of grad school led her back to her mat, and she credits breath techniques, meditation, and asana practice not only for helping her finish her PhD, but with quieting her mind in this city that never sleeps. Her desire to help spread that feeling to others led her to the Laughing Lotus teacher training program in 2011, and to a prenatal yoga training under Mia Borgatta in 2012. She offers much gratitude to her many wonderful teachers on the mat and off, especially Jyll Hubbard-Salk and her Free School Yoga collaborators and students, from whom she learns so much every day.
Christina learned yoga from her mother while she was still in high school, and in the years since, she has continued to practice and deepen her practice. Yoga profoundly impacted her ability to manage her thoughts and emotions, recover from 5 broken bones in the same year, and generally become a more sane human being. Christina believes yoga is for everyone, and that yoga is a practice that lives in the modern day, encompassing the many things that make us human: stress and joy, tranquility and craziness, purity and inelegance. Through practicing yoga, we can bring all these elements into clarity, and make the best of them. Yoga has been around for 5000 years for a reason, but we have to make it our own for it to work its magic. Her first priority is always to teach from her own practice and provide a safe environment for her students. She recognizes her Mother as a continuous inspiration, as well as Brooklyn and its people for the energy, life and love that blossom here every day.
Heather spent her childhood acting on stage or hidden deep in a book, avoiding most forms of physical activity. Then one day, she found yoga. She left her first yoga class with sore, shocked muscles and a rich, persistent glow that kept her coming back to the mat for years afterward. Yoga continually delights and fascinates Heather as it reveals the body’s infinite capacity for transformation. She wishes to ignite a similar passion in her students. Heather also practices and teaches Thai Massage, a natural complement to any yoga practice. She is grateful for the community of teachers she has learned from over the years, and for her perpetual connection to her breath.
Priya’s parents have been teaching her yoga, in some form or another, for all her life, but she didn’t realize this until she took her first public yoga class on the Lower East Side 11 years ago. The physical practice has provided relief from chronic neck and back problems while revealing to her the connection between mind, body, and breath. With a background in economics, Priya believes that the devil is in the details and loves to focus on precision and alignment as much as movement and flow. She is grateful to her parents, her first and greatest gurus, as well as many other wonderful teachers over the years. She received her teaching certificate from Laughing Lotus in New York City, where she was lucky to have met her fellow FSY collaborators.
Laura Fortinsky (Sub)
Laura’s asana practice began 10 years ago at a small studio in Connecticut. Yoga continued to show up in her life, on and off, amidst extensive travel and volunteering, especially in Tanzania, and an overall wild existence. Finding herself once again in Connecticut after years of roaming, she returned to the studio where she began. Her teacher, Ava Tyler, helped her realize she had to continually show up for yoga, not wait for it to show up. She arrived at Laughing Lotus for her 200-hour teacher training in 2011 to deepen her practice and enliven her Self. Yoga has helped her learn that you can be wild and free in every moment of every day, no matter where you are. Laura is happy to call New York City her home, although she now believes home is wherever her mat and her loved ones are nearby. Jai Ganesha!