December Teacher of the Month – Hannah Seiden

1) How did you start practicing Pilates? Tell us about your early pilates experiences.

I started practicing Pilates in middle school. My dance studio back in CO required us to take an hour once a week on mat, and once we got older at least an hour a month on reformer. I quickly fell in love with the changes I felt in my body both as a human, and dancer so began to schedule more frequent reformer privates. I owe my magical Pilates awakening to my ballet teacher, Ms. Luba Takamoto.

2) How did you know you wanted to start teaching Pilates – what was journey to becoming a teacher?

Well in college I started to realize that I needed to make money to supplement my career as a dancer (that artist hustle!). With my passion for Pilates, and already my passion for teaching dance, I knew that Pilates would be a perfect side hustle. And it would help me stay in shape for dancing. I also had a not so good Pilates teacher that fellow classmates and I did not vibe with her class, and that lit a fire within me to teach classes that are comfortable and good for each and every student in the room.

3) What is your favorite and least favorite Pilates move and why?

My favorite Pilates move is what I call my 3 plank blitz, and any one of my students can attest! It is an awesome ab and arm and total body exercise that consists of 3 different planks. I do it to warm up for rehearsal and right before I get on stage, or when I am feeling like getting a little fire going in my belly. Least favorite? Ah that is a tough question because I honestly either love them all or know that I will love the benefit of them all. I guess if I had to choose one it would be crab because sometimes it feels awkward and my head is so big I hit it on the mat a little too hard?

4) Other than Pilates, what practices do you use to feel more energized, connected, and centered?

I am also an avid yogi, and my poison of choice is hot vinyasa! I also am a crazy busy bee, so sometimes just taking moments to reflect and breathe and look up at the sky really brings me back into my body. And of course my bloodline is dance, keeps me energized, connected, centered, happy, strong.

5) This month we are focused on the theme of Karma Yoga – which is the path of action or selfless service towards others. What does selfless service mean to you, and how do you practice Karma Yoga in your life?

Selfless service is sharing help and love and light to people without any expectation for anything in return. I practice Karma Yoga every day, my favorite is connecting with strangers in my every day life and trying to make them smile; especially if are working hard in service etc. because everyone deserves to laugh and smile! And then hopefully, in turn, they will do the same for someone else and it goes on and on.

6) Tell us something about teaching at Harlem Yoga Studio

My students at HYS are some of my favorite in the city! We usually have a small and intimate class early in the morning, and I have truly connected with my students on a personal level instead of just as strangers on the mat. I feel like I have helped people with injuries and have witnessed a lot of A HA! moments particularly at this studio, and as a teacher you could never ask for more. Love my HYS loves <3