Meet Deanna Velazquez, one of the newest certified Sage Yoga for Athletes teachers. Deanna has a deep well of expertise in fitness. She has worked as a group fitness instructor, a personal trainer, and of course a yoga teacher. She’s lived in a range of interesting places, too, from Alaska to Austin to, briefly, Raleigh, which meant I had the pleasure of having her in my Monday class in Carrboro.
Deanna has just settled in Eatontown, New Jersey, so if you’re in Monmouth County or along the Jersey shore you can check out her wonderful teaching. As you can deduce from her experience, she’s confident and warm and really understands the needs of an athlete in yoga class. Her sweet sense of humor shines through in her teaching. You can tell she understands that athletes can find surprising challenges in both the mental and the physical practice of yoga. As a bonus, she isn’t just good with grownups, she teaches yoga for toddlers—and that’s a whole different skill set from teaching tightly wound athletes!
If you’re in or near the Piedmont Triad, please join Alexandra DeSiato and me at Greensboro Bound on May 19. We’ll be talking about our cowriting process and our latest book, Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses, and we will lead some street-clothes-friendly, mat-free yoga for festivalgoers. No tickets required, but if you want to see Zadie Smith, Ani DiFranco, and Rhiannon Giddens, you’ll want to get yourself some tickets.
Where: Upstage Cabaret, Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro, NC
Please join Alexandra DeSiato and me on Tuesday, May 14, to celebrate the release of our book Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses. We will be at our favorite local bookstore, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill. Starting at 7:00 p.m., we’ll talk about our cowriting process, discuss ways to add depth to movement classes, and offer some friendly yoga sequences you can do in street clothes. And, of course, Flyleaf will have copies of the book for you to buy and for us to sign!
We hope to see you then.
When: Tuesday, May 14, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Flyleaf Books, 752 Marking Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel HIll, NC
In association with our forthcoming book, Alexandra DeSiato and I are offering a weekend workshop/retreat for teachers of every level and background to learn to lead movement classes with inspiring themes. Join us this autumn at Kripalu—you’ll leave excited to take your teaching to the next level in support of your students.
Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses: Create Inspiring Classes for All Students
Friday–Sunday, November 22–24
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Lenox, MA
For yoga teachers of any background
A well-themed yoga class uplifts students and shows them the true connection to heart that yoga offers. Learn to integrate themes, ideas, and inspiration into your class to help your students feel more connected. Whether you’re a new teacher who now feels comfortable with poses and is ready to weave in more, or an experienced teacher who feels like your classes have hit the doldrums, you’ll get all you need to uplift your students.
In led classes, journaling, and group exercises, we will explore mindful themes to elevate any class for every student in a way that feels individually authentic. You’ll leave with a host of ideas that will keep you and your students inspired every day.
If you’ve been teaching for a while and haven’t made the space and time for continuing education and fellowship with colleagues, this is a great opportunity for you to enrich your teaching and your students’ experience. Think of it as summer camp for you.
Our summer training is especially designed to be friendly to travelers. We offer our core curriculum in chunks interspersed with some of the other requirements, so you can best learn with a rotation of teachers.
This summer includes
Sequencing Yoga Classes and Teaching Yoga to Athletes with me
Core Curriculum with Mira Shani: Alignment 1 & 2, Assists 1 & 2, Theme Integration, and Language Refinement
Here, Core Curriculum teacher Mira explains her offerings.
How do I get there?
Carrboro/Chapel Hill is two and a half hours’ drive from Charlotte, Richmond, and Wilmington. You can fly to Raleigh/Durham International Airport (RDU) and, if you stay downtown in Carrboro, get by without a car.
No! If there’s a particular module that interests you, come for that. (Obviously, you’ll need to do Alignment, part 1, before Alignment, part 2, and the same for Assists.)
Yoga and Positive Psychology and Teaching Yoga to Athletes both welcome non–yoga teachers. My Teaching Yoga to Athletes intensive regularly has gym teachers, personal trainers, physical therapists, coaches, and interested yogis enrolled.
What if I decide later I want more?
You can sign up for the entire training at any point and retroactively receive credit for the modules you’ve already completed.
Cristina lives in Oakville, Ontario, where she participates in many sports, with a special interest in rock climbing. Her background includes everything from synchronized skating to league volleyball, so she is especially sympathetic to athletes in all sports, and she has seen the huge benefits yoga has brought to her body and mind.
As you can deduce from Cristina’s diverse background in sport, she is also comfortable teaching in many different styles, from yin to slow flow to faster flow classes. She really shines in her classes for athletes, where her authenticity makes her a kind and understanding teacher as her students find tightnesses. Her sweet voice and presence give her students the chance to meet their bodies where they are, instead of feeling the need to push to achieve some arbitrary external shape. This is really critical for athletes in yoga class: they need someone who will encourage them while dissuading them from their more competitive urges. Cristina is just the teacher to do this.
If you’re in Ontario, lucky you: Cristina is moving deeper into her speciality working with athletes of all sports. See her beautiful website at Conquer the Crux.
It’s always a treat to give podcast interviews, but it’s especially fun to do with a once-and-future student like Elicia, with whom I spoke for her Mindful Musings podcast. We discussed yoga as a means to mindful presence, and I hope you’ll enjoy listening! Click here for the podcast—we spoke on episode four. And find Elicia’s full website here.
If you’ve been thinking you’d like to try my online classes, or yoga in general, but feel unsure where to start, check out this excellent resource from Yoga Vibes. They have created a channel with week-by-week suggestions to get you started using yoga to balance your training or whatever else you do with your body.
I’m happy to share some good news. First, to catch you up on the bad news: Carrboro Yoga Company was forced out of its iconic Paper Lantern Room at the end of February, so for now we are holding all classes in our also-iconic Gold Circle Room, down the hall. If you plan to come for class, please sign up in advance—it smooths the check-in process immensely. (See you there every Monday at 6 p.m. for Yoga for Athletic Balance)
Now the good news: we’ve just signed a lease for a new two-room studio at South Green at 501 South Greensboro Street, just down the road at the new roundabout.
South Green is new construction, which means that we’ll have lots of say in the design and buildout—and also that the timeline for the move is fluid. This hard-hat picture is from our initial visit. If you’re considering coming for any of the wonderful advanced studies teacher training modules this summer (please do!), they will be held at our Hillsborough location until the new place is ready, sometime this summer. Hillsborough is a pretty fifteen-minute drive up a country road, and our Hillsborough studio shares the building with Hillsborough Spa and Day Retreat, to sweeten the deal. If you’re traveling from out of town and want to stay car-free (Carrboro is quite walkable, with free public buses), I’ll help get you a ride with a classmate or drive you myself. I’ll be teaching two modules this summer:
We are excited about this move for a number of reasons:
LOCATION: The new spot is half a mile from Carr Mill, but it will feel way more accessible to everyone who comes off of Highway 54 and points south. It’s central and walkable/bikeable without bringing students into the morass of downtown Carrboro stoplights and parking woes.
PARKING: There will be dozens and dozens of spaces of pervious parking, which means it’s as green as can be.
SAFETY: We’ll be on the first floor—no more staircase.
CLEANLINESS: There’ll be a level, smooth, nail-free floor, and bathrooms of our very own. There’ll be brand-new, quiet HVAC!
NEIGHBORS: Other tenants are Coronato Pizza, which will be a great spot for snacks after class (the rumor is they will have prosecco on tap!!!); Gimghoul Brewery; and Nailz, a locally owned, female-owned nail salon featuring low-VOC polishes. Have you ever been in class and realized you need a pedicure stat? Now you’ll be able to get one.
My business partner and I have most of the design choices made, but if there’s something you have seen at a yoga studio that really enhanced your experience, or something you’ve always wished you could find, please do let me know!
I’ll be sure to post here as construction continues and the timeline for the move becomes clear.