January Teacher of the Month – Aracelis Sosa

1) How did you start practicing Yoga? Tell us about your early yoga experiences.

I started practicing yoga in 2005 when I landed a reception gig at an exclusive gym in the West Village. I took advantage of their fitness classes with the incentive that they were complimentary and developed a special liking towards yoga. During those days, I had a slew of health concerns that yoga improved, and that was when my wellness journey began.

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

I knew I really wanted to teach when I couldn’t stop spreading the good word about all I was learning as a student and people would ask me if I was a teacher. When I graduated college and started to teach prekindergarten nutrition, I observed a co-worker substitute for the fitness instructor with yoga. It was so beautiful to me, I yearned to do it one day. Then I became a nanny- and looking for winter activities, I attended a family class at Harlem Yoga Studio that catapulted me to train there.

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

My favorite yoga move is dancers/ standing bow. It’s a pose that means a lot to me because I’ve worked really hard on it and my body loves the back bend and alignment it features- not to mention, it is absolutely gorgeous. My least fave is standing head to knee because it is challenging for my body to get into and I feel tremendous discomfort in it. 

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

Eating nutritiously and being mindful are definite practices I use to feel more energized. To keep me centered, I pray and meditate as often as I can summon. I reflect and envision and read up. I also do social runs with We Run Uptown- a run club that meets weekly for a support filled three miles. Doing this is ground work for my goal to run a marathon one day. It also keeps me connected to the Washington Heights and Inwood community I was born and bred in.

5)  This month we are focused on the theme of Sankalpa  – practice of resolve and intention.  What does Sankalpa mean to you, and how do you practice it in your life? 

To me, Sankalpa means setting a goal for how you want to feel and committing to it no matter what. I practice this in my life by anchoring myself to activities that support my intention. Work studying at Bikram Yoga Harlem for example, helps me with my desire remain aligned with what serves my highest good, eg. to hold a regular practice- especially now that I am living deep in the Bronx. 

6) Tell us something about teaching at Harlem Yoga Studio 

Harlem Yoga Studio is truly a special place. Ultra easy going, with cozy authentic good vibes. I feel incredibly grateful to be a part of this amazing team of nurturing folks and that I get to help families experience insight on how they can practice with children. Needless to say, HYS does a phenomenal job with their mission to include every body and I hope they expand because it’s a much needed resource. Students are traveling from the Bronx like me because there are no such classes being offered in their neighborhoods.