We are delighted to share Emily Tsay’s final blog post finishing her yoga teacher training at Equinox. Emily is one of our 2011 Grace of Giving of Scholarship recipients. We are honored to be a part of and follow her journey through this life-changing process.
Thank you for sharing your “wisdoms” with us, Emily. Namaste.
Congratulations to Sylvia Baedorf Kassis, our final 2011 Grace of Giving Scholarship recipient. Stay tuned as Sylvia shares her training experience with us this Fall.
This week, we are sharing a diary post from Emily Tsay, Grace of Giving Scholarship recipient, from her second 2 weeks of yoga teacher training. Zobha awarded the Grace of Giving Scholarship to Emily Tsay to study in the Pure Yoga Teacher Training at Equinox in Summer 2011. Over the next several weeks, Emily will be sharing her experiences with us.
A few months ago, I thought I would be spending the next year traveling between the mountains and cities of Taiwan. I would be doing research on the various tribes of the Taiwanese Indigenous People (TIP) and working with a non-profit to provide support for these people, who face many economic and social barriers. I was so excited to receive the Zobha scholarship because I wanted to share with the TIP everything I could, especially yoga. I was a finalist for the Fulbright Scholarship, which would have allowed me to carryout this mission, and when I passed the US selection round, I really hoped Taiwan would choose me too. I just felt so passionate about it and there was a real sense of urgency in providing support for this marginalized group.
The day I found out I was not chosen for the program was also around the first day of yoga training. I had spent a year planning what I would be doing in Taiwan and organizing ways to channel aid from the US to Taiwan, so when I walked into the first day of yoga training, I had such mixed emotions. I was incredibly excited to start the yoga program, yet I was feeling a little bummed about the news of the Fulbright Scholarship. The first day of yoga training, my teachers gave me something that helped me release this mental uneasiness I was feeling. I felt this incredible sense of connectedness to be part of such a long lineage of yoga teachers of this ancient practice. Also, my teachers taught us about the 5 yamas or abstentions, which is part of the 8 limbs of yoga. It was a good reminder of my own ethics code, which gave me confidence to continue on my journey despite setbacks. The 5 yamas include:
Brahmacharya: abstinence or moderation in intimate relationships
Aparigraha: non-hoarding or letting go
I had been so invested in working in Taiwan that remembering aparigraha, letting go, helped me move on to the next page in my life. So I started thinking about what I would do next, which I am incredibly excited about! Since I had been a high school teacher through Teach for America and am also passionate about teaching and working in under served communities, I thought it would be great if I could share yoga with these students. My students faced a lot of stressors in their life, which definitely affected their academics, so yoga could help them with their physical and mental well-being to reduce the affect of the stressors. I remembered seeing on Zobha’s website an organization that was a perfect combination of these passions of mine. Headstand, founded by Katherine Priore, is a non-profit organization that integrates yoga into the classrooms of economically-disadvantaged communities. Currently, Katherine and I are working on raising money to start a yoga program at a school in Los Angeles for the 2011-2012 school year. If we can manage to raise enough money, these students in LA will be doing downward dogs and pigeon poses along with solving math problems and writing stories (not at the same time of course, they will have their own special yoga classroom!). What I love about Headstand is their belief that just as important as it is for the students to learn how to solve math problems and write grammatically correct sentences, teaching them how to do asanas and to calm their minds can truly give them a holistic educational experience.
For more information on Headstand, please go here.
Zobha also supports Headstand with 10% of sales from the Zobha Grace Tank. Buy a tank and send a child to yoga!
Zobha is now accepting applications for candidates in the Pure Yoga Teacher Training program this Fall at any participating Equinox or Pure Yoga through August 5, 2011.
This week, we are sharing a video diary from Emily Tsay, Grace of Giving Scholarship winner, from her first 2 weeks of yoga teacher training. Zobha awarded the Grace of Giving Scholarship to Emily Tsay to study in the Pure Yoga Teacher Training at Equinox in Summer 2011. Over the next several weeks, Emily will be sharing her experiences with us.
We are now accepting applications for candidates in the Pure Yoga Teacher Training program this Fall at any participating Equinox or Pure Yoga through August 5, 2011. To apply, go here:
Zobha awards the Grace of Giving Scholarship to Emily Tsay, based in Los Angeles, CA to study in the Pure Yoga Teacher Training at Equinox in Summer 2011. We are incredibly grateful to introduce Emily. Here she shares her passion for yoga and aspirations to provide yoga to under-served communities.
Posted by Emily Tsay.
On What Grace Means To You
I think grace is something that we continuously develop throughout our lives. It comes from developing confidence, being in-tune with the love for oneself and the love for others, and maintaining a mindset of self-efficacy. When these components are in harmony with each other, grace will naturally emanate from our spirit.
On Finding Yoga
When I was younger, yoga helped me build confidence, since it is so empowering and strengthening to the spirit. Yoga has always been an important and influential part of my life. Becoming a yoga teacher will help me to share this passion with others.
On Emily’s Involvement with non-profit organizations
I love empowering people to be “agents of change” in their lives, to develop self-esteem, self- efficacy, and demonstrating they have the tools to achieve their goals. Teaching has been an outlet for this desire to instill change, to love, to create, to empower.
It has invigorated me so much that I spent a summer in Tanzania teaching at a school for orphans. As a pre-med student, I was aware of the need for health education in Africa. I taught orphans about disease transmission and prevention.
In September 2011, I will be moving to Taipei, Taiwan to work with a non-profit organization to help the Taiwanese Indigenous People (TIP), who have long been a marginalized group in Taiwan society.
Since yoga has been a panacea for physical, spiritual, and mental health in my life, this has always been something I have wanted to share with other people. When I go to Taiwan next year, I would like to provide free yoga classes for the Taiwanese Indigenous People, to share yoga as a tool to counteract some of their stressors in their life.
On Receiving Grace of Giving Scholarship
I am super excited about receiving the Zobha Grace of Giving Scholarship!!! It has been a dream of mine to share my passion for yoga, and I am so thankful to Zobha for helping me realize this dream. I also feel honored to be part of the Zobha community. I admire all the work the Zobha Foundation has done in bringing yoga to under-resourced communities. I’m glad I can be an extension of Zobha’s mission when I share the benefits of yoga with the Taiwanese Indigenous People.
Stay connected with Emily on her teacher training journey as we share her experiences at Pure Yoga Teacher Training at Equinox in Los Angeles on the Zobha Blog.
Teacher training has come to an end and wow, what an amazing three months it has been for me. Looking back, I cannot believe how much we accomplished during training, and how much I grew both personally and in my practice.
In the end, everything I suspected I would gain from teacher training proved to be true. I have a much deeper understanding of the alignment and mechanics of the yoga asanas. I have deepened my meditation practice and my understanding of yoga philosophy. I have learned how to sequence a class, I developed a daily yoga practice and I stepped outside of my comfort zone of Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga exploring different types of yoga such as Iyengar and Kundalini. I studied yoga anatomy, and learned adjustments and modifications to help my students avoid injury and deepen their poses. I was introduced to mantras, and even attended my first (very blissful) Kirtan.
But something much more surprising and important happened over those 13 weeks. I truly experienced a transformation, and began living the “san kulpa”, or intention, I set during the initiation ceremony on the first day of training. I learned to trust myself, surrender, and be fearless.
There were many times when training got challenging, and we were given gentle reminders by our teachers to “go into the fire” or find pleasure in going outside our comfort zone. I quickly realized that the most challenging moments were also the greatest learning experiences. One of the scariest moments for me was when I was asked to teach plank pose to the entire group on the second day of training. I didn’t know if I could find the words or the courage to stand up in front of the class but I remembered my promise to let go of my fear took a deep breath and miraculously the words came streaming from my mouth. Over and over again during the 13 weeks, I reminded myself of my intention, and over and over again I surprised myself in my achievements.
The first of all the Yoga Sutras says, “Now the practice of yoga begins.” I couldn’t find a better way of summarizing the completion of teacher training. Now, the practice of yoga is truly beginning for me. When I started Pure Yoga Teacher Training, I had a love and passion for my practice but I was unsure whether I would have the courage to actually teach yoga. Now, I am confident I want to spread the joy of yoga onto others and pass the knowledge that was given to me over the past three months. I am currently teaching yoga to preschool children once a week, and I feel honored to have the privilege of opening their eyes to the beauty of yoga. The children get so excited about class, and I am amazed to here feedback from the parents like “he talks about yoga all week”- or “she came home and told me all about the meaning of “namaste”.
I hope to continue to find ways I can help the community through yoga. My hope is to follow in the footsteps of other yogis and yoginis who are making a difference in our community and are passionate about using yoga as a healing tool. For example, one of my teachers Jennifer Pastiloff, recently started an organization called Gifts and Miracles Everyday (GAME ) Yoga to give free yoga classes to children with disabilities. I am humbled by her efforts, and excited to continue to explore ways to bring yoga to people who might not otherwise have access to it, or might not seek it out themselves.
I am eternally grateful to Zobha for this amazing opportunity. Without the Grace of Giving Scholarship, teacher training would have been out of my reach. Now I have the tools to spread my love of yoga onto others and begin to repay this wonderful gift I was given.
Sending love and light to everyone at Zobha and to you, my readers. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.
The Zobha Grace of Giving Scholarship not only includes a full scholarship for yoga teacher training but also includes a full Zobha yoga outfit of the recipient’s choice. Our 2010 scholarship recipient Rima Thierry shares her favorite Zobha items with us.
Posted by Rima Thierry.
I absolutely love the Zobha Yoga Flared Pant. They feel amazing during yoga practice. they move with me and I never have to worry about adjusting them while I am practicing. Plus, they are flattering and great to wear everyday when running errands or just lounging around.
The Marilyn Tank in Tangier Pink is one of my favorite Yoga tops. It is so comfortable to practice in, and I absolutely love the 360 shelf bra. It provides great support, and performs even in the sweatiest classes. Plus the Tangier Pink is so vibrant, it instantly makes me happy when I put it on.
The layering piece I cannot live without is the Asymmetrical Ruched Pullover. The cotton is unbelievably soft, and feels amazing on my skin. On top of that, it is incredibly flattering. I receive compliments on it every time I wear it. The greatest thing about this yoga top is that it is light enough to practice in, and versatile enough to pair with jeans and wear out on date night. I wish I had one in every color!!
This week, we are sharing Misa Nuccio, Grace of Giving Scholarship winner 2009. After a year of teaching and wearing Zobha, hear what she has to say about her favorite Zobha items.
Favorite Pant: Zobha’s high-rise fold-over legging is my favorite pair of pants to wear while practicing yoga. They fit snugly and I never have to adjust them in my practice. This allows me to be more wholly focused on my asana, and not on rearranging my clothes.
Favorite Tank: Zobha’s Marilyn tank top allows my shoulders and arms to move without restriction while practicing yoga. I adore the fabric as well because it soaks up the sweat and dries quickly!
Favorite Lounge Wear: Capped sleeve tee! The wide-neck line beautifully accentuates the collar bones, and the snugness at the hips makes it flattering on many body types and easily wearable with jeans, skirts, and shorts.
Stay tuned – next week we will share more favorites from Rima our 2010 Yoga Grace of Giving Scholarship recipient!
Posted by Rima Thierry, Zobha Grace of Giving Scholarship Recipient
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” – Basho, “Narrow Road to the Interior”
With my first week of Pure Yoga Teacher Training under my belt, I feel more grateful than ever to be on this amazing journey to becoming a yoga teacher. We began our first day of class as many classes often begin, with introductions. It was inspirational to hear what brought many of the students to yoga- “yoga saved my life” someone said. Another student described how her practice has helped her cope with her debilitating disease, and how she was hoping to ultimately teach yoga to other people with this disease. As each person spoke it became clear that I was surrounded by remarkable classmates and teachers who shared one common thread, their love and dedication to yoga.
As the evening progressed we were asked to consider and create two lists; the first was a list of things that were holding us back in our life, and the second was a list of our “intentions” for our teacher training. After narrowing our lists down to one or two words, we each lit a candle and stated what we were letting go of and what our intention was for the next 10 weeks. It was through this exercise that I determined I was letting go of my fear, and approaching my practice and my life with courage, selflessness, and compassion.
The rest of our weekend was just as inspiring. We delved into yoga philosophy, began breaking down asanas, and even started teaching. Each day has been filled with several “ah-hah” moments, and I am quickly realizing just how much I have to learn. While I am only one week into my ten week journey I can already tell that my practice is blossoming, and my inner teacher is beginning to emerge. Very exciting!!
Rima Thierry based in Los Angeles, CA has been awarded the Grace of Giving Scholarship to study in the Pure Teacher Training at Equinox in Fall 2010. We are incredibly grateful to introduce Rima. Here she shares her life experiences through her video and touching essay:
On Finding Yoga
“I often tell my friends and family that I figure out my life on my yoga mat. For some reason, just unrolling my mat – the sound of it unsticking, the smell of my yoga studio – helps me come to my breath and realize that everything is as it should be. I hold my practice close to my heart, and feel most myself when in my yoga clothes, barefoot, on my mat, with beads of sweat dripping down my nose. It is hard for me to choose a favorite asana, because as I’m sure many yogis experience, my body craves different poses depending on the day. One of the asanas that connects me most to my inner grace is King Dancer Pose, or Natarajasana. Natarajasana allows me to feel tall and graceful, and with my chest expanded and my heart open I find that it creates an amazing amount of space for my breath. At the same time, being a balancing pose, King Dancer demands an immense amount of focus. As it is often the case with balancing poses, the pose allows me to truly assess the condition of my mind and my body on that particular day. Natarajasana will always check me if I am pushing too hard, or thinking about what to cook for dinner during my practice. It demands me to slow my practice down, and soak in all the goodness yoga has to offer. In King Dancer I am long and graceful, and my heart is open the world and all its opportunities.”
On Rima’s Involvement with Medical Relief Work
“I have been involved in medical relief work for the last five years, coordinating treatment for sick children who cannot afford and/or do not have access to health care. I am planning on incorporate my yoga training in my volunteer/ not-for-profit work and using my teacher training to bring yoga to people that may not otherwise have access to it, or may not seek it out themselves. I am especially interested in providing sick children and their caregivers the tools to overcome their challenges through the mindfulness and wellness practices grounded in yoga.”
On Receiving Grace of Giving Scholarship
“I am incredibly honored and grateful to have received the Zobha Grace of Giving Scholarship. My yoga practice means so much to me, and I am excited to finally be able to pass the gift of yoga on to others. I hope to approach my teacher training as I approach my practice- with patience and non-judgment, a quiet mind, and an open heart.”
Stay connected with Rima on her teacher training journey as we share her experiences at Pure Yoga Teacher Training at Equinox in Los Angeles, CA.