Check out our teacher feature. It’s all about Emily Star! She currently teaches at extendYoga on Sundays, Mondays and Fridays. Her playful classes feature dynamic postures that are accessible to all participants!
Tell me a little bit about yourself (something we might not know)
I’m pretty introverted – one of the reasons I started practicing yoga in my teens was that it was a way to stay active without having to play a team sport (a.k.a. talk to people). Getting up in front of a room full of people and speaking from the heart takes me out of my comfort zone every day – in a good way.
Tell me what students can expect in your classes
I aim to teach classes that provide students with a well-rounded practice – a mix of breathing exercises and/or meditation, standing poses, shoulder/hip opening and integration, core and balance work, and relaxation. We’ll find key actions that will help us explore a family of asanas (poses that share similar structure) and often build towards a challenging pose. I generally leave the last few minutes of class for open practice, so if there’s a pose or inversion that you are working on that we didn’t get to in our group practice, you’ll have some time for it (or you can take a longer savasana!).
What is your current favorite yoga
pose and why?
I’m learning a lot from forearm stand and handstand. Inversions are extremely challenging for me, but I look back to a few years ago when I hated and could barely do any arm balances and remember to have hope. I think it’s important to practice poses that keep me humble, engaged, and eager to learn. I also find that I want to take better care of myself (eating better, getting enough sleep) when I have an elusive goal pose.
Where/to who do you look to for inspiration (yoga and/or non-yoga related)?
The teachers that I’ve trained with (Stacey Latus, April Puciata, and Anna Guest-Jelley) have written tomes that I turn to again and again, and the books that they’ve recommended fill my bookshelves/bedside table/trunk of my car. I love taking classes from extendYoga and D.C. area yoga teachers, and have learned most of what I know about progressive sequencing from practicing with Kat Kuzner, who teaches in D.C. and has wonderful audio files that I use for my home practice. I am always seeking out book recommendations from friends and fellow teachers – currently reading The Radiance Sutras as translated by Lorin Roche and A Life Worth Breathing by Max Strom.
For cooking inspiration, I spend way too much time looking at the New York Times and Washington Post food sections, food52.com and smittenkitchen.com, and I listen to The Splendid Table podcast. I try to adapt the flavor profiles of recipes they post to work with my vegetarian diet and tiny kitchen.
For music inspiration, I use soundcloud, spotify and facebook to keep track of releases by artists I love. Pandora, pitchfork and soundcloud also help me find new music. I also subscribe to music podcasts such as Hometown Sounds, Morning Becomes Eclectic, and the KEXP Song of the Day.
Other than yoga, what are your passions/favorites?
I like to browse used record stores, hike, sing, cook, sketch, doodle and paint. Andrea Creel is teaching me to blues dance.
What’s on your iPod?
Everything you hear in class, plus a lot of music that I love deeply, but is too wordy/fast/loud for Vinyasa, and a bunch of guided meditations from Tara Brach. And my podcasts! I drive a lot for work and This American Life is one of the highlights of my week.