Claudia is a Senior Ashtanga and Rocket Yoga instructor at Yoga District. She teaches at YD’s Dupont, H-Street, and Glover studios. Read on to know more about Claudia’s personal history, philosophy, and inspiration.
What is your favorite style of class to teach, and why?
I love to teach Ashtanga and Rocket Yoga. I teach Ashtanga because it brings the beauty and discipline of a set sequence while not only challenging the body, but likewise the mind. And, Rocket Yoga, because it adds creativity to that set sequence where there are no limits… there is just the freedom to play around, modify, and add as many variations as the teacher wants; which makes it a fun, invigorating, and empowering practice.
Describe your personal circumstances or experiences that made you want to share yoga.
I came to Yoga looking for balance and inner peace during a time in my life where I was very unhappy with myself. I was a seeker for happiness in all the wrong places; and all I wanted was to find a practice that could help me heal from the inside out so as to become happy and content with who O was. So, I reconnected with Yoga. And, with years of practice, it changed my life completely!
What advice do you have to others sharing or seeking to share yoga with others?
I would say: Live your Yoga and share it from that space within you so it becomes authentic. The world needs more Yoga! Share the Love!
Please describe a challenging moment that you have experienced teaching, how you faced that challenge, and what you learned from it.
I have learned through teaching Yoga not to take things personally. I have learned that there is a style of Yoga for every person in this world. And, every style of Yoga has its own beauty. Not one style is better than the other. Instead, as long as they serve the community of students in their own way, it is beautiful that there are all these different options the student can choose from. It is all YOGA!
What pose or practice do you like to teach to help students feel empowered? To relieve stress? Please describe how you saw this practice work with an individual or group.
A pose that I have found where students discover that they are actually stronger than they think they are is Plank Pose. In class, just by holding this pose for a few breaths, helps students feel their bodies, their strength, and their inner core…empowering them for the rest of the practice.
A pose that I teach for students to relieve stress is Standing Forward Fold. By staying here for a few breaths holding opposite elbows while just letting the torso dangle over the legs and connecting to the ground through their feet, helps students connect with the visualization of dropping any weight that they may be carrying on their shoulders. Thus, helping alleviate any stress that they may be experiencing.
Describe a yoga posture, breath or meditation practice for which your students taught you a practical application.
I once had a student tell me that practicing Metta Meditation (Loving Kindness Meditation) whenever she felt angry with the world, helped her see things from a different perspective. Up to date, I remember her words clearly. And, they have served me greatly when I had needed them.
How has sharing yoga affected you?
I love the way students connect with one of the last poses in the Ashtanga Sequence called Padmasana. This is actually a breathing pose. And, here is ask students to take a few deep full Ujjayi breaths while holding a comfortable siting position and a hand mudra. I have found that the placement of this pose towards the end of the sequence is actually strategic since it helps students reconnect with their inner-selves through the breath right before taking rest.
Could you describe any best practices in sharing yoga that you apply regularly in your classes?
I teach without any complicated philosophies. I believe that using simple and clear teaching language in class has higher chances of reaching students’ hearts and meeting the students where they are in their practice.
What is your favorite thing to do around town?
I love to go to the Meridian Hill Park on Sundays and do some Acro-Yoga and dance to the beats of the drummers playing in the Drum Circle that takes place on Spring/Summer days.
What is your favorite thing about the DC yoga community?
I love the DC Yoga Community. Everyone is friendly, welcoming, open, eager to learn more and to integrate Yoga in their daily lives, and very supportive of each other. I don’t think I have ever been part of such a cool and supportive Yoga community.
If you had to describe your life in the form of a yoga pose, which pose would it be?
I say I live from the Heart and I am always striving to reach to the stars in everything that I do. So, I say that Upward Facing Dog would be a great description of my Life since I am a constant seeker for grounding, heart opening, as well the freedom to fly high.
How long have you been in DC?
I moved to DC on December of 2010. It will be my 5th year living in Washington DC.
We are happy to support Claudia as she continues sharing the beautiful Ashtanga and Rocket practice with our yoga community. Check out Claudia’s class schedule..
The Yoga District 200 and 500 hour teacher training certification programs, registered by the Yoga Alliance are unique in their emphasis on diversity of teaching styles studied, personal attention, and trauma sensitive yoga. It's no coincidence that Yoga District is regularly voted the leading studio in the nation's capital, and that most of its classes are taught by graduates of its training program. As a full time yoga school, small group trainings are led up to eight times a year by a dedicated faculty including Jasmine Chehrazi, contributor to the Harvard Karma Yoga Project teacher training, teacher training faculty at George Washington University, Yoga Alliance Standards Committee Advisory Board Member, Yoga Activist Founder, and Yoga Service Council Advisory Board Member. So take your practice and community involvement to the next level by joining a training. There's a reason why our graduates call the training "transformative."
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