September is National Yoga month and in honor of this month, I wanted to honor my favorite yoga teachers that inspire me to get bendy everyday. I’ve been practicing yoga since high-school and while you won’t find me chanting mantras around town, I do believe everyone should yogi it up for overall mental happiness. Could you imagine if ISIS practiced yoga instead of hateful propaganda?! The world would be a better place!
If you are new to Miami, visiting, or just thinking about taking up yoga you are in luck because there are many studios and free events where you can try your moves on the mat. I personally like to check out different classes and teachers. Each time I learn something new. After visiting various studios and practicing alongside many yogis, I keep coming back to my favorite three teachers. And here they are ladies and gents in no particular order, my favorite yoga teachers in Miami.
Where: Exhale at the EPIC, the Standard Hotel Miami, and 1111VIBES
Style of Yoga: Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga
Mantra: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure” -Marianne Williamson
Why I love Jodi:
I first attended Jodi’s class at Lululemon in South Miami for one of their Sunday morning community classes. I had just moved to the MIA and I was looking to start up my practice locally. Jodi taught a class that I just clicked with. As you know, my dear reader, there are many forms of yoga, but Jodi’s was the one for me.
Jodi pushes her students not only physically but mentally. She always has a daily reminder to all of us that our growth begins with our soul and each class taps into new ways for personal growth – and that growth begins by giving back. Jodi’s classes are always jam packed and she has a huge following in Miami, so its no wonder she made it to my top 3.
Bio: After a 5 year career as a lead performing artist in a Broadway show, Jodi Carey immersed herself in the study of yoga and healing with various masters. A leading yoga teacher now for 12 years, Jodi has worked with diverse populations ranging from at-risk teenagers in inner cities to Olympic athletes and celebrities. She is a founding member of the prestigious Trauma Center’s Professional Training Institute in Boston where she engaged in cutting edge research on trauma.
Jodi has helped implement yoga classes at unaccompanied minor shelters and clinical settings, and has been recognized as a community ambassador for positive change here in Miami. She continues to share her passion for living a balanced, healthy life through daily yoga classes and seminars around the city.
Where: Exhale at the Epic Hotel and private classes
Style of Yoga: ANSA YOGA is a practice that uniquely combines Jennifer Pansa’s extensive experience in Vinyasa yoga, Power yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Therapeutic yoga, and Budokon yoga to create an accessible, personalized, and empowering yoga flow.
Mantra: Create strength where there is weakness, create length where there is tightness, create balance where there is imbalance, not only in the body, but also in the mind and therefore in life
Why I love Jennifer:
I first met Jennifer at Exhale when she took over for another teacher. I liked Jennifer immediately because she is so comfortable in her own skin -BTW she is gorgeous! She is playful in class and encourages her students to have fun and embrace their practice as their time to “let loose.” Jennifer uses words like “rad” and gives everyone a high-five after her class.
After twisting and balancing in her intense class – it’s pretty cool to be rewarded with a congratulatory “you are awesome” high-five! So high-five girl – you totes made it to my top 3! And thanks for kicking my butt on the mat.
Jennifer found her way to yoga in college after a long backpacking trip in Patagonia. She suffered from severe tendonitis in her feet. Every step was searing pain, similar to being burned on the arch of the foot, making walking nearly impossible. For the first time, she did not have access to healthy exercise and fresh air. Being restricted from activities that she loved left her mentally frustrated and emotionally blocked with no outlets.
Now she sees that time of reflection and rebirth as the biggest blessing of her life, since after she finished physical therapy she began a very enthusiastic yoga practice, eager to gain insight on healing herself, and others.
Where: Bala Vinyasa Yoga Studio
Styles of Yoga: Power vinyasa, Resorative yoga, and Yoga for alignment
Mantra: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Attributed to M. Mead
Why I love Megan:
Megan and I were actually sorority sisters and she was my yoga buddy when I first moved to Miami. Without Megan there essentially would not be Lululemon, Green Monkey or Jodi (read above) in my life. But that’s not why she is featured. Nope.
Megan is actually an amazing teacher. She guides her students through a challenging class all while reminding you that even though it’s a hectic world in Miami, your mat is the time to slow down. I am not sure if she preaches this during class because she knows I’m always darting around town at events, working, blogging, etc, but, regardless it hits home.
She understands that most young professionals have full plates and it’s nice to take one hour to slow down… and work up a sweat with her Power Vinyasa.
Megan’s yoga practice started in 2007 as a curiosity for the physical benefits. She soon became aware of the holistic level of which yoga encourages you to feel, and could no longer contain the demand to my physical body. She started becoming aware of that demand in her mental, emotional, and spiritual body as well.
Having experienced an opening and newness through the practice, she was inspired to pay it forward, and passionate about sharing this gift with others.
So what inspires you to get fit? Is it a favorite teacher or exercise? Do you do it for health reasons or because you like to move around? Drop me a line and let me know!