I love when someone walks into a room and they just “have it”. When they look in your eyes and you sense them really seeing or when they talk to you and you feel them really speaking. Elena Brower is a walking example of that.
Elena’s an internationally respected yoga teacher and NYC studio owner whom, again, my trusty yoga source Syd introduced me to (via Yogaglo). I sometimes subscribe to online Yogaglo as a cheap way to do great classes and Elena’s make me feel so centered, open and at ease. Now after taking classes with her in person at the Yoga Journal Conference I can see exactly why that is: SHE is centered, open and at ease with HERSELF and that energy flows through her teaching and into everyone around her, even when the classes are virtual.
The past year I’ve been reading tons of Elena’s thoughts on the Huffington Post and her blog, and can always connect with what she’s writing. She has a special way of getting through to people in an intelligent, graceful, relatable fashion that makes us question our own relationships and lives to make changes for the better – this leaks into her teaching style as well. She’s real and not afraid to talk about the challenges in her own life too.
In her first class of the weekend she encouraged us to, “take the negativity you’re feeling and use it as a landmark”. We should move toward feelings of frustration, hurt, fear, anger and/or anxiety – both on the mat and in our personal lives – and breathe space into those places so that we can make mindful, aligned changes. She had us close our eyes through much of the class and smile closed-mouth, content smiles. It’s amazing what that can do for postures that feel so tense and trying (and let me tell you, this woman may be gentle and chilled out with her energy and teachings, but the yoga is not easy!)
The entire weekend I was in la la land being in live classes and communication with this wonderful woman who’s played such an integral part in helping deepen my practice (which I told her after, against my mind telling me to shy off). Thankfully I said something, because it opened an opportunity for me to continue being in her presence doing Reiki in some of her NYC classes. Had I decided not to tell her my true feelings, I never would have manifested this connection with her in my life or had the chance to share & explore a new interest…it all feels right.
She said in one of her YJNYC classes (roughly quoted), “We can all create change in the world through yoga, but not necessarily through talking about it. We need to show it through our actions”. Elena truly lives up to that challenge every day, and I can’t wait to learn more from her in the coming months – so blessed and fortunate!
Similar reading: An article by Elena via The Chalkboard about the benefits of technology and her virtual yoga classes.