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 Tessa Pilz.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH YOGA?

Tessa Pilz

Tessa Pilz:

Years ago my sister had a friend who taught hot yoga in Seattle. She didn’t want to go alone so she invited me to come along. This was the beginning of an intense love story. While not adoring the heat and humidity, I loved how I felt after class; accomplished and clear-headed with a newfound sense of calm. For the next handful of years Hot Yoga and I had this crazy on-again off-again relationship. I was a college student who didn’t want to use my free time to go to yoga and for a 20 something gal in the city I found it to be pretty expensive. So, I would buy different coupon/ class-pass deals from different studios around the city, hopping around to get some practice in when I could and continued that habit even after college. Fast forward a few years and we arrive at post-college me, practicing maybe twice a month… Then bam! A beyond-traumatic experience hit and I was left torn into a million tiny pieces. That’s when yoga stepped in and helped put me back together. From that moment forward I chose to stick with it, turning it into a real life practice and never looked back.

WHAT KIND OF TRAININGS HAVE YOU PURSUED?

Tessa Pilz

Tessa Pilz:

Beyond my 200 HR training I continue my training with me, myself and the internet. There are so many incredible free manuals and trainings out there on the internet my friends. Yes, workshops and continuing education programs are wonderful, but most of the time they cost a hefty penny. I promise you when I say that I have learned so many valuable things from simple online yoga resources. Don’t be afraid to learn from accredited websites.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TEACHING METHOD?

Tessa Pilz

Tessa Pilz:

Thematic? I’m not sure if that’s the correct use of the word here but I think it makes sense. I always have a theme for my classes; whether it’s something I’ve experienced personally that I think my students can relate to, a song with lyrics that sparked an emotion or a thought provoking quote. As a student, my favorite classes have always been the ones where the teacher provides me with something to reflect upon, so I choose to use that in my own classes.

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

Tessa Pilz

Tessa Pilz:

Engage your “whatever” muscle. You can obviously insert the correct muscle there in relation to a specific posture but goodness, that is something that is so important in certain poses! I sustained an overuse injury just this year because I had been practicing downward facing dog for 9 years without engaging my serratus anterior. If you are continuing to practice the same postures multiple times, over multiple days in a row like down dog, then please, please, please engage your muscles in order to move through your body safely. Yes, alignment is key but so is strength. And for those of you thinking, wait I thought down dog was a resting pose? Let’s grab a cup of coffee or golden milk; I’d love to chat with you on that.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AND YOUR GREATEST PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT?

Tessa Pilz

Tessa Pilz:

For those of you in touch with Ayurveda, my biggest challenge is balancing my Pitta. I am fiery, I am driven, I am motivated and I am competitive. And those things are reallllly hard to deal with when you’re practicing yoga. Especially when you consider that like generally attracts like, so obviously I trend towards Vinyasa classes because they are also fiery, quick and heating. With that, I would say my greatest personal accomplishment this year has been learning more about how to center my out of balance Pitta. Taking more yin and gentle classes, practicing more self-care and doing my best to slow down. I wouldn’t say I’ve accomplished this, and I’m not sure if I ever truly will; but the fact that I have acknowledged it is a single accomplishment I can be proud of.

WHAT HELPS YOU GET BACK ON YOUR YOGA MAT WHEN YOU ARE FEELING UNMOTIVATED?

Tessa Pilz

Tessa Pilz:

I have come to recognize that the days I am feeling most unmotivated to get on my mat are the days that I need to get on my mat the most. So funny enough, I guess my demotivation is what motivates me.

WHAT YOGA RELATED BOOKS HAVE MOST INFLUENCED YOU?

Tessa Pilz

Tessa Pilz:

Bringing Yoga to Life -Donna Farhi. I won’t explain the book but I will share with you a few of my favorite quotes.
“The only ideal practice is the one that works for you.”
“Every day we have choices about who we are becoming.”
“Finding our natural rhythm happens through inquiry that is marked by curiosity, innocence, and playfulness.”
“Am I becoming the world in which I wish to live?”
“We are not only breathing this life, it is also breathing us.”

Bringing Yoga to Life by Donna Farhi

OTHER THAN PRACTICING YOGA, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME OF YOUR WELLNESS AND SELF-CARE HABITS?

Tessa Pilz

Tessa Pilz:

Getting a full 8 hours of sleep every single night. I know that I need a full night’s sleep and cannot function through my day without at least 8 hours. I make my sleep a priority no matter what and am always happy with my decision to choose sleep.

WHAT IS ONE THING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

Tessa Pilz

Tessa Pilz:

Most people don’t truly understand my relationship with yoga and why I chose to become an instructor. Most people don’t know that 2 years ago I lost a loved one that was completely unexpected. My world came crashing down and I didn’t know which way was up, I no longer understood who I was meant to be and I was left completely empty; broken. A few weeks had gone by and my significant other pulled me out of the house to get some sun on my face and get back into the moving world again. As we were walking outside in Edmonds we just happened to walk by a yoga studio. He stopped, looked at me and said, “I think you should try going back to yoga. You always talked about how much you loved it and how great you felt after class.” I was hesitant, but decided to give it a shot. Over the next year I spent at least 5 hours on my mat each week and those moments allowed me to cry, to feel, and heal in ways that never would have been possible. That was when I decided I wanted to teach. The healing powers I received from the practice are what I want to share with others. We are all going through something and we all deserve a place to feel and heal.

WHO IS THE YOGI WE SHOULD FEATURE NEXT AND WHY?

Tessa Pilz

Tessa Pilz:

Michele Hauseman. As my 200 hour instructor, Michele holds a special place in my heart. She is the most kind, sweet and special soul I have ever met. Honestly, I have never met someone so full of love. Michele radiates warmth and kindness, wanting only the best for her students. Beyond her character, her asanas are incredible and she teaches her classes with laser focus on safety and alignment.

Tessa Pilz’s Bio: Tessa met her first yoga mat 9 years ago in a downtown Seattle studio. After an intense and sweaty 90 minute session, she knew she needed to go back again, and again, and again. Today she practices and teaches a variety of styles including Hatha, Vinayasa and Gentle Yoga. She approaches each class with an intention to support her students, shaping each class carefully with a theme to follow and a playlist that matches. Tessa believes that yoga is more than just the asanas we practice on the mat but that yoga is a way of carrying oneself through the world. Yoga is union, bringing us all closer to our divine light. You can follow her journey on IG or read her Seattle based Pacific Northwest Lifestyle Blog.


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