May Teacher of the Month – Rena Unger

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

My first experiences with yoga, were practicing with Rodney Yee VHS tapes (yes VHS!!!) twenty years ago. Like many, it was part of my “workout” routine. I knew I enjoyed yoga, and didn’t know why, other than I felt great when I practiced. I never aspired to be a yoga teacher. Over time, yoga continued to call me in bigger and bigger ways.

2) When was the moment you knew that Yoga was different or special – more than just another “exercise” or way to be physical?

There have been many moments, with epiphanies on multiple levels over the past twenty years. The most profound moment was in 2011 when I experienced great loss on many levels and ended the year faithless. A friend recommended I go to Laughing Lotus’ NYE yoga celebration. Something clicked on that night, as we transitioned into the New Year. I found the calm knowing that faith is the springboard from darkness. I felt faith as the sweet space of unwavering trust and surrender to a higher power, where nothing more is needed than taking the next breath. I also found that night, nothing is truly lost, everything transforms, and all that exists is change. In that moment, I touched the precious truth of oneness and connection.

 

3) What is your favorite and least favorite pose, and why?  

My least favorite asanas are my favorite, because I know those are the ones I need most. Yoga is wholeness and the greatness of yoga is in the sum of the many parts. The healing is in embracing all of life/yoga, and learning to love the moments that create struggle and bring up the lower emotions. Yoga is the alchemist that transforms the struggle and emotions that do not serve us, into the beauty that delights us.

4) What practices do you use to feel more peaceful, present and content? 

I am enamored with bhakti yoga – the deep devotion and love of the sacredness of yoga and our human form. I could spend hours chanting, diving into the scriptures, reading poems and collecting inspiration. Nothing feels more complete to me than walking in love and devotion.

5) What Yama or Niyama do your find most helpful in your daily life, and why?  (Yamas are “observances” that are recommended for relating to the outside world, and Niyamas are observances for dealing with internal struggles) 

My favorite Yama is Satya, Truthfulness. When we are anchored in truth, the other Yamas and Niyamas seem to naturally fall into place. Truth is the root for all we desire and hold dear – love, presence, joy, connection. When we create in truth we have something real and authentic to share with others.

6) Question of the Month! May = Gratitude  

How do you incorporate  Gratitude  into your Personal  Yoga Practice?  Into your daily  life ? Into your classes with children? 

It’s an unfathomable thought to imagine where I would be without yoga. I am grateful every day to have been called to this practice and honored to serve yoga as a teacher. It is truly a gift to be someone’s yoga teacher (especially their first!), creating the opportunity to offer guidance in seeing life through a new lens. We live in an increasingly modern world. The overstimulation is hard for adults to process, let alone children who are filled with wonderment and excitement about taking in everything around them. I am so grateful to be in a position to help them sort through the activity and find their truth. I am even more grateful for what they teach me. Children are deeply connected to truth and wisdom, and have yet to take on the many layers of judgment and editing that prevent us from sharing our truth sweetly in adulthood.