Seattle Yoga News is on a mission to find and highlight all of the hidden, and maybe not so hidden, gems in our yoga community and beyond. We want you to learn about their experiences and perspectives, but also a bit more about their personalities, so we have a few fun questions for them. This week’s spotlight is turned towards Vanessa Garibaldi.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A YOGA TEACHER?

Vanessa-Garibaldi

Vanessa Garibaldi:

I started practicing yoga when I was 16. For the first 8 years of practicing, I didn’t think I wanted to be a yoga teacher because I thought I would have to give up my own practice occasionally to teach. In 2010, I walked in to Be Luminous, I felt something special in the space and knew I wanted to become a yoga teacher and teach there. I did their first yoga teacher training in 2011 and Michel Spruance, Tina Templeman, and Scott Francis taught and still remind me to be confident in who I am, that I am enough, and the power to stand proudly in my own unique self.

WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU ALWAYS GIVE YOUR STUDENTS?

Vanessa-Garibaldi

Vanessa Garibaldi:

People often hear me say that it is the journey, not the destination. I think it is critical to experience, whether it is enjoyable or not, each part of the of the journey in to a desirable pose, one breathe at a time.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR YOGA PHILOSOPHY?

Vanessa-Garibaldi

Vanessa Garibaldi:

I am inspired by Troy Lucero and he taught me that yoga begins with listening. This philosophy has greatly impacted my home practice and helped me to rest when I need to and push when I need to, in addition, this philosophy has helped me become a better yoga teacher because rather than trying to find answers for others I help others listen and hear the answers within themselves.

IF YOU COULD PRACTICE WITH ANYONE DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD THAT BE AND WHY?

Vanessa-Garibaldi

Vanessa Garibaldi:

Right now, Pattabhi Jois, I have a desire to explore the roots of Ashtanga yoga in India, going there to see, learn, and practice with him is a dream that I did not fulfill while he was alive.

HOW LUCKY ARE YOU AND WHY?

Vanessa-Garibaldi

Vanessa Garibaldi:

I am so lucky to have found yoga very early in life, to practice with my entire family regularly and to have found a soul mate, Kevin Payne, that I will marry in October.

IF YOU COULD BE AN ANIMAL, A PLANT OR AN INGREDIENT, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?

Vanessa-Garibaldi

Vanessa Garibaldi:

As much as I love elephants, it seems challenging to be an elephant. I would want to be a bald eagle, they exude such grace, ease and power while soaring and observing.

WHAT IS YOUR LATEST FAVORITE THING ABOUT HUMANITY?

Vanessa-Garibaldi

Vanessa Garibaldi:

My favorite thing about humanity is that I think each person wants to be heard, seen and loved however, I think each person’s interpretation of those feelings is different. With that, I think that humanity is so unique because, if we are willing, we are constantly striving to understand how to love and be loved.

WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO NOMINATE NEXT FOR THE YOGA TEACHER SPOTLIGHT?

Vanessa-Garibaldi

Vanessa Garibaldi:

                                                                               Troy Lucero.

Vanessa Garibaldi’s Bio: In high school I was very committed to being a phenomenal basketball player, at the time my mom was doing yoga a few times a week, I was curious and giggled through a class with her. In my junior year, a classmate, handed me a flyer about a yoga studio she and her mom go to about 20 minutes north of where I was living. She told me how great it was. I brought it home, showed my mom, we drove by the studio a couple of times and then finally on Aug. 13th 2003 we decided to take our first Bikram Yoga class. My mom committed to a daily practice then. With school, basketball and social events I did not start a regular practice for a few months, when I did, I quit basketball completely and I went after high school each day to the 4:30 class. My classmates thought I was a nut. At the time, I couldn’t touch my toes, sit Indian style and could barely grab my foot for dancer’s pose. A couple of years later, I moved to Madrid, Spain and practiced Bikram daily there too (in Spanish). When I returned from Spain, a year later, to Sacramento, I got involved in vinyasa yoga. I loved it. At the time, I had to hoist my foot from downward dog to warrior I. A couple years later, my fiance (now), and I moved to Seattle, where I fell in love with yoga on a different level at Be Luminous, and became a teacher. During my training, Troy Lucero, came and did a workshop. I loved the way he spoke and taught and I started going to Mysore a couple of years ago. Because of scheduling and life events I don’t go to Mysore as much as I’d like to but each time I go I bring home another nugget to integrate into my personal practice or the inspiring classes I take at Be Luminous or with Troy. Since I began Mysore I feel more freedom because I don’t rely on anyone else to maintain my asana practice. I am so grateful to be a part of communities that help me thrive, I hope that I contribute as much love and joy in the yoga communities I am a part of as I feel in return. Remember, ‘yoga begins with listening’ -Troy