Elizabeth Gallo’s Learning Story My learning story is also about teaching. After spending some years teaching high school English, I took a break to raise my two babies. During my pregnancies, I rediscovered and rededicated myself to my yoga practice. Yoga was one of those things that didn’t come naturally to me but that I loved somehow, and pre-natal classes allowed for a gentle, welcoming reintroduction. After giving birth to two babies in two years, I found myself back on the mat. One of my teachers, Anna Winkler, provided me with just the nurturing and challenge that I needed. In fact, she encouraged me so much that I joined her teacher training program. Anna saw through my big body, questioning mind, and not-so-strong yoga practice to my heart, which loved yoga enough to want to share it with others. Through an intensive yoga teacher training program, my practice strengthened as my interest in and faith to the philosophy deepened. I was given a gift to be guided by someone who believes that yoga is for everyone ‘ that there is a variation of every pose for every body, that yogis come in all shapes and sizes ‘ and that they all arrive on the mat at different times for different reasons. As a newly-minted yoga teacher, I am reminded of why I began my teaching career through the New York City Teaching Fellows. Fundamentally, I believe ‘ no ‘ I feel — that education is for all ‘ whether it is high school English or yoga or anything else. Anyone who is curious deserves to be taught in a thoughtful, meaningful way. I wanted to teach in the places in New York where others didn’t want to teach and reach the kids others had given up trying to reach. Likewise, on the yoga mat, I relish the opportunity to honor my teacher by teaching in her spirit. By nurturing and challenging everyone who comes to my classes, by welcoming those who might not normally feel welcomed by yoga ‘ people whose bodies might not be the ones you see on yoga DVDs, people with physical challenges and injuries, pregnant moms-to-be, teens living in stressful conditions in tough urban areas ‘I will carry on the lineage from Shakti to Swami Sivananda to Mr. Iyengar to my teacher to me. Integrating my personal experiences, the fruits of my studies and whatever props I can get my hands on, I will make yoga accessible to anyone who wants to experience its benefits so their yoga lights can shine forth, too.

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