Sara Strother

 

How did you get into yoga? What aspect of yoga got you on the mat in the beginning?

I was smitten with yoga after reading some eastern philosophy books of my deceased brother’s while in high school. Then Madonna’s Ray of Light album came out with the Ashtanga invocation on it. It drew me into a world of lore, contemplation and deep self reflection. After high school I had no ambition to continue my education but the summer of 1999 was a time of transition and my parents enrolled me in community college. I saw I could get credit for a yoga class and was intrigued. My original mat was an entire room. Class took place in the wrestling room so the whole studio was a mat top to bottom and we were not asked to bring anything other than a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. My formal introduction to yoga was meditation, mudra, mantra and philosophy based. It took me a little while to discover asana.

 

What would you consider your yoga style and who were a few teachers that influenced you the most?

Alignment focused flow yoga is my style. However, the true alignment students struggle with the flow and music and the vinyasa students would prefer I instruct less or offer less feedback so they can just flow. That makes my classes are an acquired taste but there are indeed people who like the blend, myself included since it’s reflective of my own self practice style.

The most influential teachers I’ve had are Sarah Richelle Starnes, Sianna Sherman, Darren Rhodes, Noah Mazé and Todd Howell.

 

If you could change one aspect of the modern yoga world, what would that be?

Yoga isn’t sexy. It’s gritty work deconstructing the ego. Unfortunately modern yoga aims to boost consumerism, perpetuate notions of women as objects and celebrate physical prowess. However, there are plenty of modern yogis who are just as turned off as I am by this and don’t subscribe.

 

Why do you love teaching students at yogaview?   Why do you love teaching teachers and soon-to-be teachers at yogaview?

Yogaview was the first studio I practiced at after moving here in 2007. Many students that I teach practiced alongside of me 11 years ago! Many have been with me as an Anusara teacher, a pregnant teacher and a teacher transitioning out of Anusara which reflects their dedication to the practice and open attitudes towards yoga. Teaching students, teachers and soon-to-be teachers at Yogaview feels like an extension of home and that’s a privilege.

 

Within the 8 limbs of yoga, the experience of Samadhi is often described as the top rung of the ladder. It's considered by many to be indescribable, yet it is often described as such and more. Can you please describe your personal experience of this state or what the concept represents to you?

Samadhi isn’t a state I’ve arrived at yet. Kinda like the Buddha- if you can name it it’s not it. However, the depths of Sadhana have revealed to me a magic that exists in nature and people. Yoga has taken my mind to a place of understanding the essence of the forms we can name in the material world (namarupa).

 

What was one of the funniest or most humbling moments you've had while teaching a class?

My itanpura app , which sounds like humming, was an intoxicating lure for a ton of wasps to attend an introduction to restorative yoga class that kicked off my first led retreat. The studio was affectionately called the “greenhouse” and in the heat of a Mexican afternoon it sure lived up to its name. Wasps stung me several times while teaching and I tried to keep going as if it wasn’t happening. Class was unbelievably hot, the props were not appropriate for restorative yoga and there was a lot of undoing and redoing of these props to try to make it work. My co-teacher ran to get help and when help came he asked what the heck music I was playing because the humming of it and our sweet sweat must’ve been attracting them. At the time it was horrifying to begin my retreat on such a low note but I laugh now years later.

 

In less than 140 characters, describe your inner experience going about daily life pre vs. post developing a regular yoga or meditation practice.

20 years ago feels so far away to recall. I’ve always been curious of why we exist and what the point of life is. I have a clear memory of being 4 and drawing at the kitchen table while my mom was cooking. I asked her “what is this?” and tried to explain the this as everything from me, the air I saw colored pixels in all the time (still)  to the spatula in her hand. “What is it really, ma?”. She gave me a very catholic response. In my early teens I imbibed a lot of psychedelic substances searching for answers. When I found meditation, mantra and yoga philosophy I knew I found healthy way to keep exploring. Today I’m slightly less baffled. Aside from 20 years of maturing things are probably very similar pre and post yoga.

 

If there was one spiritual teacher or guru that you would desire to study under (dead or alive) who would it be?

Carl Sagan, Rachel Carson and Jerry Garcia.

 

What is your favorite non yoga activity?

Yoga is a lifestyle that doesn’t stop once you embark on it and take it seriously. That means every activity is a yoga. However, off the mat I like to spend time with family and friends. I hike as much as possible in the forest preserves and lakefront.

 

What yoga poses are essential to your home practice?

Ardha uttanasana, ardha parsvottanasana, adho mukha svanasana, prasarita padottanasana a, an inversion, supta virasana and urdhva dhanurasana. I also cross train with lunges and squats and power walks.

 

Sara's Schedule

Monday       6:15 - 7:30 pm           Level 2      Chicago

Wednesday 9:30 - 11:00 pm         All Levels  Wilmette

Friday          11:15 - 12:30pm        Level 2-3   Wilmette

Saturday      10:15 - 11:45am        Level 2      Chicago

Sunday        10:00 - 11:30am        Level 2      Chicago