Teacher Feature: Jess Emilfarb

1. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOGA?

For me, yoga is a physical practice that allows me to be completely focused and present within my own body on a daily basis and also a mental practice of patience, calm and understanding. I am still a human, and absolutely have days in which I’m certainly not being the best/kindest version of myself (to myself or others), but through my yoga I try to take the phrase “practice is practice” with me off the mat. I won’t always be 100% but I try to move through my daily life with the understanding that I can always do better, I can always be kinder/more patient/etc. And when I’m not, it doesn’t mean I’ve failed, it means there is room for growth.

 

2. HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR WAY TO YOGA?

Like many, I was trying to find an exercise routine that I enjoyed and I happened across a studio in my neighborhood at the time. I decided I would take a class…the first one I went to was sold out and the staff there asked if I would be willing to come back for the later class. Because I am generally an impatient person, it could be assumed that I didn’t end up making it to the later class, but for whatever reason, that day I decided I would come back. It was one of the best classes of my life, and I remember leaving the room being totally bewildered at the experience I just had. I began going to the studio on a regular basis and the rest is history.

3. WHO IS YOUR PRIMARY TEACHER RIGHT NOW?

Having just moved from Boston, it has been a fun journey to find new teachers and spaces that I really enjoy here in Portland. Recently, I have been extremely grateful for Stephen Kirsch’s classes, as well as, Elizabeth April who is both a yoga and barre teacher.

4. WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO KEEP TEACHING?

The moment in class that I LOVE is when something really subtle happens. It’s not a huge arm balance or inversion, but instead this tiny moment of recognition, when an alignment cue hits home with someone and there is that “A-HA” moment. The entire pose changes, and there is a different experience in a shape they may have taken thousands of times before. I love having that shared experience with people.

5. WHAT IS YOUR PRACTICE LIKE OFF THE MAT? HOW WOULD YOU SAY YOU LIVE YOUR YOGA?

My practice off the mat is patience. I am a fast-paced person and I love multi-tasking and getting everything done. It confuses me when other people don’t move as fast as I do and often my (really wonderful) husband and other people I care about, bear the grunt of it. My practice is hardest in those moments, stepping back, trying not to be snappy or cutting in my response. Just like on the mat, there needs to be patience, with yourself and with others. If a pose doesn’t come to you right away, its so easy to get angry and fired up, but what’s the purpose in that? It’s not going to make it happen any faster. Off the mat, the same holds true. If my to-do list isn’t accomplished as quickly as I imagined it in my head, it’s not going to help if Im angry or mean to myself or someone else.

6. DO YOU HAVE A ROUTINE OR RITUALISTIC WAY TO START EACH DAY? IF SO, PLEASE DESCRIBE.

My morning routine is COFFEE:) If I have time in the morning, I like to stay in bed for a little longer, snuggle with my dogs and then get up and enjoy some coffee while I sit on the couch with the doggos. If I have an early morning class, that timeline gets sped up a touch but I still need to have my morning coffee (depending on my mood, I’ll enjoy a good cup of tea instead). It’s not necessarily the best habit in the world to be completely addicted to a morning jolt of caffeine but I suppose it could me worse? 😉

7. WHAT ARE SOME NON-NEGOTIABLES YOU HAVE IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW TO MAINTAIN BALANCE AND HEALTH IN EVERYDAY LIVING?

This one doesn’t change too often. I am a homebody. I need some time at home with the dogs and my husband. Doesn’t really matter what we are doing but I need that time where we are all just hanging out. I also LOVE when our home is clean and smells fresh, so it’s pretty non-negotiable that things are kept tidy and we do some deep cleaning on a weekly basis. I’m obsessed with plants, so being able to stop, look at, and care for all the plants flourishing throughout our home helps me slow down on a day-to-day basis.

8. WHAT DRAW YOU TO THE LILA COMMUNITY?

First off, coming from Boston, I am used to bigger studios that can fit a ton more people into each class. One thing I have really enjoyed about the Portland yoga community in general, are these smaller studios that feel a bit more intimate and homey. Lila in particular is one the most stunning spaces I’ve seen. I love how friendly everyone is and how easy it is to feel like you’re part of the community versus just coming in to take a class and then leaving. I also LOVE the set-up where everyone ends up facing each other and its more a shared space and practice (gets a little confusing for me when everyone is facing opposite directions though haha!)

9. IF YOU WOULD SUGGEST ONE BOOK TO THE COMMUNITY TO READ AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEEPEN THEIR LEARNING ON LIFE, YOGA, AND ALL THINGS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I don’t have one specific book that I think will change everyone’s life, but what I can recommend, is to read some books on human anatomy. Get interested in your body and its mechanisms. Learn about your different bones and muscles we use all day, every day. I assume most of us want to continue practicing throughout our lifetime and in order to do that safely, we have to use our bodies in sustainable ways. Having a basic knowledge of anatomy and how the human body works is an incredible place to start!

2018-03-06T18:24:47+00:00 March 6th, 2018|Teacher Feature|0 Comments

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