Some people "have it" -- an indescribable presence and energy that can captivate an entire room. And Elena Brower definitely "has it." At her Saturday morning classes at Virayoga in SoHo, 70+ uber-conscious and successful New Yorkers positioned mat-to-mat are all listening and watching Elena's every word and movement.
Elena is one of the most famous and well-respected yoga instructors in the world today. She is a Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher and is the founder and co-owner of Virayoga in New York City. As a student of John Friend, Dr. Douglas Brooks, and Hugo Cory, she's been teaching 12+ years. Elena's been featured in the New York Times, Yoga Journal, FitYoga, and the series of Element Yoga Beginner DVDs. Elena is the Global Yoga Trainer for adidas, teaching the methodology of Anusara yoga to their instructors globally.
MindBodyGreen: When did you begin practicing yoga?
Elena Brower: In 1993 I took my first class, at the first Yoga Zone in NYC on 56th Street. Although at Cornell during freshman year, I took a kung fu class that had some yoga in it. Then I found Cyndi Lee in 1997 and I was hooked on her and OM Yoga.
MBG: How did you discover Anusara yoga? Why is it a fit for you? How would someone know if it’s the right fit for them?
EB: In 1999, after teaching OM Yoga for a couple of years, Cyndi had begun studying a bit with John Friend, the founder of Anusara yoga, and introduced us to his Universal Principles of Alignment. Another colleague of mine, Amy Ippoliti was beginning to study with him and she led me more strongly in his direction. In the summer of 2000 I headed up to Gurumayi's ashram in upstate New York and took my first class with John.
I wasn't sure it was a fit immediately, but the way he knew everyone's name and was so connected to everyone and their capacities was impressive to me. I was able to do yoga poses in ways I'd never experienced before. After a few more classes I realized I had some learning to do, and was hooked on the challenge of Anusara, as well as the obvious heart emphasis of the method.
To know if it's right for you, try a few different teachers. The underlying method is the same, but each teacher has a distinct voice and brings other understandings to the instruction.