Fitness at the Web: Meet Your Yoga Instructor
“Yoga means addition – addition of energy, strength and beauty to body, mind and soul.” ― Amit Ray
YOU ASKED. WE LISTENED!
Webster is excited to announce our NEW event series, Fitness at the Web! The new series of events, exclusive to Webster guests, will be held right here in our building and will include a variety of fitness classes lead by certified instructors!
To kick-off fitness series, we will be holding two yoga classes led by certified yoga instructor, Stephanie Steiger, on February 13th and 27th in the Reception Hall. Get to know more about Stephanie, and see why she wants to share her love of yoga with you!
Stephanie Steiger, Certified Yoga Instructor
When and how did you originally get involved in the practice of yoga?
When I was nineteen, I bought an MTV Yoga VHS tape to try at home. My cousin and I followed along on the living room floor and giggled the whole time because the poses felt funny. We kept practicing, though, and before long, it became a great source of exercise and an effective way to relieve stress. What started as a fun video to keep us moving soon turned into a powerful and transformative tool that I knew I needed in my life.
What are some tips for someone who has never done yoga?
The most important advice is also the simplest: yoga is about being aware of your breath and your body, while respecting your abilities. You challenge yourself in yoga not by forcing yourself into a pose, but by steadily letting your body move into the pose through the awareness of what you are feeling. First timers always warn me that they don’t think they’re flexible – it doesn’t matter at all. It’s a practice of being patient with yourself and flexibility is gained over time.
What kind of yoga do you love the most? Do you practice various kinds of yoga?
I love all styles of yoga. Whether it’s hot, restorative, or yin, I come away feeling centered. I teach Vinyasa yoga, which is a nice blend of flowing through the movements and holding the poses. As much as I practice all styles, there is a special place in my heart for Ashtanga yoga. It uses a set sequence that you follow on your own, which makes it very meditative. I hope to teach the girls at Webster a taste of all types.
What are some of the benefits of yoga? We live in busy NYC, working hard and having fun with busy schedules! Why should someone do yoga?
Yoga can help you in so many ways, from burning through calories to chasing away stress to calming your mind. You’ll find studies describing how yoga can lower your blood pressure, improve cardiovascular activity, ease pain, help insomnia, improve your emotional well-being, and much more. It brings a special benefit to those of us here in NYC. While everyone else is hustling and bustling, you’ll come out of your practice with razor sharp focus and a steadfast serenity that will carry you effortlessly throughout your day amidst the buzz of the rest of the city.
What is one move or breathing practice that someone can do no matter where they are?
Wherever you are, you can always just observe your breath. It is totally simply, yet very powerful. Once you bring your awareness to your breathing, it naturally starts to deepen and lengthen. You can then work on expanding the breath by directing the inhalation into the belly and then into the upper chest, feeling how it balloons and deflates with every cycle.
What are some of your nutrition rules and go-to foods?
The general rules are to avoid eating for two hours before your practice and to stay hydrated. You’ll be doing lots of twisting and folding, putting pressure on your stomach, so give yourself time to digest. Drinking plenty of water will keep your body operating optimally.
You don’t need a specific diet to practice yoga, but you will always do well to eat simple foods whose ingredients you recognize. I eat steamed vegetables and lots of soups. Home-cooked meals will beat takeout every time.
Where is the coolest place you have practiced yoga?
One of the coolest places I’ve done yoga is out on the Long Island sound on my stand-up paddle board. With the wind blowing and the board rocking, you have a whole new perspective on what it takes to balance.
Do you have a mantra?
I have two: one I use on the mat and one to get me to it. When I’m practicing, I use the mantra Let Go – saying “let” on the inhale and “go” on the exhale. I feel myself releasing tension I often didn’t even realize I was holding. The other gets me going on the mornings when my bed feels too comfortable to leave: Don’t think, just do. I only have to tell myself once and I’m off and running.
For more information and to register, visit the front desk. Hurry! Spaces are limited! We hope to see you this weekend!