“When is she coming back?” asked many of Amy Ippoliti’s Seattle workshop participants from last year. The answer: Amy Ippoliti is coming to Seattle for a weekend workshop sponsored by Yogalab Northwest on February 19-21, 2016 at the Century Ballroom.
Yogalab Northwest initially invited Amy here because of her strong commitment to community, as well as her unique blend of traditional and contemporary approaches in her yoga teaching. Seattle students commented that they felt breakthroughs from her instruction and felt joy in previously difficult poses due to her modifications.
Amy is an international level yoga teacher and trainer, a writer, a philanthropist and an activist. She is known for using innovative teaching techniques to help students to “turn up the volume”! How fun! She is often called a pioneer in advanced yoga education. She co-founded 90 Monkeys.com, an online professional development offering for enhancing yoga teachers’ skills. She has taught and presented at Esalen, Kripalu, Omega and Yoga Journal Conferences. Spirituality and Health magazine, January 2016, named Amy among their top 100 trailblazers in Yoga and Ayurveda for building awareness and affecting change through dedication and creativity.
Cathy Geier: Amy, you began yoga at an early age and immersed yourself in the practice. What fueled this immersion?
Amy Ippoliti: Yes, I was 16 when I started practicing yoga. I think what fueled me was the desire to know myself, to understand the mystery of being alive, and to discover my purpose on earth. The stretching and postures felt great too, but there was something about the practice that held the answers to all my questions about life, so I kept studying.
Cathy Geier: Please talk about your mission statement “to help students in our worldwide community to achieve breakthroughs on and off the mat.”
Amy Ippoliti: It seems so strange to bend around on a sticky mat and then suddenly start living a more skillful, happy life, but that’s what I enjoy most about teaching – I love showing a student how to get out of pain through yoga or to get into poses that eluded them for so long, and then watch their confidence soar as they go into their lives with more grace and competency.
Cathy Geier: What tips and suggestions do you have for new and experienced yoga teachers to increase their effectiveness while keeping their classes safe and interesting?
Amy Ippoliti: Being a yoga teacher – at least a great one – is no easy feat. Yoga teachers need to know about the human body, how to articulate getting into totally bizarre shapes, how to work with people, yoga philosophy and history, and to guide their students in a spiritually oriented practice. It’s like a fitness professional, a historian, people person and a spiritual teacher all wrapped up in one. Realize that when you teach yoga, you are neither one of these things, but all of them is what makes you a yoga educator. So the best tip I can give you is study, study, study.
Cathy Geier: Tell us about the format of the workshops you will be presenting in Seattle; how much time is in lecture, demonstration and how much time in yoga practice?
Amy Ippoliti: I’ll be teaching a series of four different workshops in Seattle when I am there. We will start each practice with a super brief lecture, then get into a healthy yoga practice pausing to demonstrate where needed. We’ll be on our mats moving about 80-85% of the time.
Cathy Geier: What routines and rituals do you embody to keep you grounded and centered with your busy teaching and travel schedule?
Amy Ippoliti: The biggest thing for me to stay grounded is my morning meditation practice. I also have an app called “Streak” which I adore – it reminds me to stay on top of my health and life habits. I get a reminder every day to take my supplements, practice and do my stability training!
Cathy Geier: What are some of your favorite experiences traveling to teach and present all over the world?
Amy Ippoliti: Well, teaching in Seattle of course!! One of my favorites was the time my students oriented me to all the amazing, crazy fruits that grow in South East Asia, and more importantly, the inside tricks on how to open them! I also thoroughly enjoyed touring the Galapagos islands with a group of my yoga students one winter in between trainings in Ecuador and Argentina.
Cathy Geier: Anything else you would like us to know?
Amy Ippoliti: Just before I taught in Seattle the last time, I have to admit I was having one of those moments lamenting the state of yoga these days. It seemed as though people were more interested in the physical aspects of yoga with little or no enthusiasm for the depth of the practice or the infinity of teachings available to them. But after the first night of teaching in Seattle, my mind was totally changed!!
This weekend in Seattle is worth being part of because this community is alive, engaged and on fire about both asana and where the journey of yoga can take them. They are one of the few tribes that have restored my faith that there are students who want the real goods of yoga. A weekend of practice is a rare gift and one that will touch you for a lifetime.
Cathy Geier: I want to thank Amy Ippoliti for taking time from her busy schedule to connect with her Seattle yoga friends and students. Also thanks to Summer, Amy’s assistant and to Lara Ederer of Yogalab Northwest for their assistance. This is going to be a great weekend workshop. I hope to see you there.
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