FEATURED TEACHER OF THE MONTH
Interview by Sarah McElwain
Amṡumati/Michele Simo, LCSW, RYT, has practiced Integral Yoga since 1999 and is drawn the most to its gentle, healing aspects. A Level I teacher at IYINY since 2013, Amṡumati/Michele is a registered Yoga teacher through the Yoga Alliance and a licensed psychotherapist trained in hypnotherapy, energy work, and therapeutic Yoga.
What is your definition of Yoga?
Yoga is a multidimensional guide to a sense of peace and connectedness with all that is, a glimpse into the truest version of the self. Practice can provide a sensory map to a clearer awareness and a profound sense of well-being.
What do you love about Yoga?
What I love about Integral Yoga is its emphasis on bringing awareness inward and on the breath; its message of non-judgment and inclusivity; and its intention of creating an easeful body, a peaceful mind, and a useful life.
Yoga can truly be a doorway to sensing within, increasing self-awareness, and creating space and openness in your body, mind, heart, life…if even for just a moment…through a barely audible breath.
T.K.V. Desikachar says, “The mastery of Yoga…does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and how it enhances our relationships.”
Why do you teach Yoga?
As a licensed clinical social worker, I find that sharing Yoga with its many health benefits makes for a natural fusion. In my experience of Integral Yoga, the teacher gently communicates a quiet acceptance and guides in the most nurturing way, always respecting self-determination.
In my first months of practicing at IYI, what I immediately noticed was how I found the teacher’s verbal cues to be very grounding while at the same time facilitating an inward and peaceful experience.
Yoga has been for me an effective template in developing self-compassion; both practicing and teaching are an integral part of my own self-care. Yoga is with me always: a lifesaver, an inner resource whenever I am ready to reach in.
What are the particular areas of Yoga you are teaching in now or in which you have created your own, special offerings? What attracted you to those areas?
I’ve led classes (in English and Spanish) for employee wellness in a health care setting, for parent/child groups, and for adults diagnosed with a chronic illness. I especially appreciate introducing Yoga to new students who may have had some misperceptions about the practice. I’ve enjoyed hearing later from some that they’re now practicing regularly, whether it’s in a studio, at school, or at home.
After Level I TT at IYINY, I trained in Life Force Yoga for Depression and Anxiety with Amy Weintraub at Yogaville. I’m very interested in the neuroscience of Yoga and am always seeking to learn more about how this meditative practice can help create neural pathways toward greater happiness and ease.
I’ll be attending the Accessible Yoga training this May at IYI and hope to expand my ability to share Yoga with every body and mind.
What do you hope students will receive from you as a teacher, and what do you hope students will get out of your coming offerings and workshops?
My intention is for students to receive what has kept me connected to Integral Yoga for so many years: a nurturing experience, where the message of acceptance, of who we are, is abundantly clear throughout.
Sensing the body, moving the breath, stilling the mind, and connecting to the present moment are in a meta-space where teacher and student meet to co-create a truly perspective-altering experience.
Do you have a favorite book or Yoga mat or product that you like, something you sincerely enjoy and wish to share with the teacher sangha?
Another thing I love about Yoga: it doesn’t require any product. I especially benefit from bed Yoga each morning, and every so often a little Yoga right on the grass, if I can find some.
Ongoing classes at IYI: Level I, alternating Saturdays at 2:15 p.m. Next class: May 19