Where do you teach?: Metairie Country Club, as well as private sessions and a Yoga Alliance certified teacher gaining program
What style of yoga teach?: Centered Yoga System
While Tara was born in San Francisco, she spent most of her formative years on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain and in New Orleans. She considers herself fortunate to have grown up with a mother who practiced Pilates and yoga for their physical, mental, and rejuvenating qualities. Tara absorbed some of her mother’s approach to yoga, while also gaining her own perspective through years of practice. She has traveled twice a year since 2003 to study with her renowned teacher in Italy, Dona Holleman. Tara also holds a BA in Sociology with minors in psych and creative writing, is registered through Yoga Alliance as a 500 hour ERYT, and is certified in Pilates mat, which she blends with her creative vinyasa classes. Tara is certified in energy work and uses this modality to teach unique meditations that allow her students to feel peace, clarity, openness, and more confidence. She relishes yoga as a healing art that truly balances the individual. As Tara says “It is not a pill, nor an extra quick fix, but a path to take to bring into your everyday life for longevity.”
What inspired you to teach yoga? I was inspired to teach yoga because it has been such a wonderful way for myself to become stronger mentally, emotionally and physically. I wanted to share this gift with others.
As a child, I watched my mother practice Kundalini yoga. She knew the secret to needing a practice to keep the nervous system strong and healthy.
When I was 17, my mother passed away and then I travelled. I went to France for a summer to be with friends and family, then moved to Manhattan to study textile design. I began practicing yoga while attending art school in the late 80′s. It helped me deal with the reality of losing my mom and the stresses of living in the city. Then I deepened my practice in the mid 90′s with many respected, well known teachers and a variety of systems.
I practiced yoga through all of my pregnancies and it kept me calm, strong, and happy in so many ways. So I knew I would want to teach others this way to feel wonderful… especially with the busy life of being a mother to three children, taking care of a home, being involved with family, and my community. Most women are happy balancing one or two of these, but to create a synergy with them all is about being Centered; then from there we can move forward with elegance and grace… as we hope anyway. That is what inspired me.
You are certified in the Centered Yoga System. How is a yoga class taught under this system distinct from other styles of yoga? This system, by Dona Holleman, is different from other yoga styles in that she created “The Eight Vital Principles” from which one learns to move with lightness in postures. The principles came from the kinesiology of the body-mind studies with Mabel Todd. Dona deepened her yoga and created a more feminine energy with movement. Her study of centered horse riding, the postures she learned through BKS Iyengar in the 60’s, and the zen philosophy of wu-wei all helped her develop her style. She also received guidance in the meditative state of mind espoused by Krishnamurti, who was a family friend. As well as Vanda Scarvelli, a friend and mentor who helped her with the piano.
The Centered Yoga System has a feminine vibe. We learn to move from a place of wu-wei (doing without doing). Then the intent guides us and we move from lightness, rather than struggling or forcing the postures. Also the sequencing is very special with the counter posing and the build up into more advanced postures. Where I think I am gifted as a teacher, and what I have learned from Dona, is how to help others move into the postures in a particular way to avoid strain on the body and creative, safe sequencing.
What do you hope students leave your classes with? I always hope my students leave my class with an inner glow and a sense of balance and with what they needed. For example, if they were less focused when they came in – to be more focused, or with more energy, or calmness. Yoga is homeopathic. The body, mind, and heart will get what is needed through a balanced practice. Also with my background in health and wellness, I really like to share special antidotes for anti-aging and energy… be it in food, vitamin-mineral blends, aromatherapy, or beauty tips/products.
What is the most inspiring type of class or student that you have taught? There have been many inspiring classes I have taught, but one student that I think about who really inspired me and so many others in the class, was a student in Mandeville who was about 6 months pregnant. Her doctor told her that she could not have a natural child birth because she had a “C” section before. But for herself, in her heart, it was important to deliver naturally. So I recommended a Dula and I taught her a special yoga practice to do regularly…and she did. We added special breath work and meditations to help with the fears that were put on her. She saw herself having a normal birth. She became fearless, changed to a doctor who was open to her decision, and at nine months her beautiful healthy baby girl was born naturally. It was her connection with her body and moving through the “can nots and should nots” of everyone around her that created her own powerful experience. Her experience…Awesome.
Where is the most unusual place you have practiced? The most unusual place I have done yoga, hum? I love to practice yoga outside and feel the connection with nature. I have practiced on large rocks in Capri, which is not really unusual just tough on your toes. I have practiced in a huge oak tree. Again maybe not too unusual…handstands in the kitchen while cooking for the children. I suppose finding the spot in the air plane… you know where there is about 18 inches between two walls by the powder rooms and your hips and legs need to move. That’s a great place for standing twists. And well, making love is a beautiful yoga posture in its own way.
I would sat the yoga practice comes through as the golden gift that it is, when you are able to deal with situation in your everyday life that can bring so much stress – but through patience, deep breaths, and finding new ways to move – one is able to deal with it all and let go.
As a mother of three and finding myself living in a new area and home, my children in anew schools, a wonderful relationship and new family there to grow with… it is all a leap of faith. As Dona Holleman says “look at all experiences with eyes of innocence.” If we take the experience in the present and don’t put any past residue on it or expectation, then it can be new and fresh.