FEATURED TEACHER OF THE MONTH
Anna Anamaya Savran
Interview by Sarah McElwain
Anna Anamaya Savran, RYT 500, is certified to teach Integral Yoga Levels I, II, and III. As a computer programmer she is part of corporate America during the day and, the rest of the time, a constant Yoga student and evening and weekend Yoga instructor. Anamaya started practicing asana in 2000 to strengthen her back muscles, as suggested by her chiropractor. In 2006 she came to IYI for Teacher Training and since then has been in a process of discovery and endless awe of Yoga, thanks to her great Integral Yoga teachers Swami Ramananda, Kali, and the rest of the IYI sangha. Anamaya enjoys her family and her tiny Yoga studio in a walk-in apartment of their house, where Swami Satchidananda’s yantra is the main attraction.
What is your definition of Yoga?
Yoga is a guided tour of the beautiful reality of peace and union of one with all. The eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga describe it step by step: start with being good and doing good (yama and niyama), tone and cleanse the body (asana), discover inner energy (pranayama), control the senses (pratyahara), control the mind (dharana), transcend the mind (dhyana), and reunite with yourself (samadhi).
That’s all! Easy to say, hard to do, but once you’ve signed up for this tour, you gain awareness of your actions, your body, your breath, and your mind at every step of the way.
My shortcut to Yoga is the breath: common and miraculous at the same time. Just start watching your breath, and you’ll find yourself in a state of Yoga: reunited with yourself and the world.
What do you love about Yoga?
Yoga is accessible to all of us as long as we are looking for peace and balance inside and out. Prayer or chant, vigorous asana or deep relaxation, and serving others without expecting reward brings us to Yoga. We just need to do it.
Why do you teach Yoga?
I love teaching Yoga and Integral specifically because I see the process of transformation and discovery of the peaceful center deep inside us. People leaving the class are different from when they came in 90 minutes earlier, and that includes me.
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 always had an interest in advanced asana practice: to find steadiness and comfort in the most challenging positions, which take the mind deeper into the body and into the breath. I like to share my findings with my students by giving helpful tips or manual corrections to support them in their discoveries.
Also, in my home studio I teach Hatha Yoga in Russian (translated from a transcript of Swami Satchidananda’s Integral class).I was prompted to do so by Nina Priya Ma David back in 2004. She said, “Take TT at Integral, adapt the script to your language, and bring Yoga to your community.” It was quite a challenge, since Russian words are longer in general: for example, the term hip in Russian has two words with 19 letters!
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?
Having lived in New York City for 25 years, I realize that we all need extra energy to keep up with it. I hope that I am helping my students to find that energy within by coordinating the body and the breath in ten rounds of sun salutations, or to draw on Earth energy by holding uddiyana bandha, or to reset themselves in a gentle, supported form of mayurasana (peacock pose). Then I hope that 5-hour ENERGY® or five cups of coffee are not needed anymore!
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?
I enjoy Awaken: Inside Yoga Meditation, by Reverend Jaganath Carrera.
Ongoing class at IYI: Tuesdays 6:15 p.m., Level II/III