Leah: What is yogiberi and what lead you to become a yoga instructor?
Erika: Growing up I was into sports and I’m not naturally flexible at all! I never stretched and was barely even able to touch my toes. After college, I lived out west in Colorado where I found that yoga was the perfect balance to my active lifestyle. It was also super popular and all of the locals were doing it. When I first started out, I just followed what the other people around me were doing because I didn’t know the names of the poses. A year after living in CO, I moved to NYC, started working in the fashion industry and found that I needed to practice yoga daily for my mental wellbeing. After living in a ski town surrounded by fresh air and mountains, I was totally overwhelmed by the fast pace of NYC. Yoga completely helped me acclimate to the hecticness of NYC.
After a few years of living in NYC, I felt the urge to deepen my yoga practice and began to research different yoga teacher training programs. Initially when I signed up for the yoga teacher training, I wanted to deepen my practice, open a yoga studio down the line, but not necessarily become a yoga teacher. I was petrified of public speaking! I kept putting off doing a training because of various life events. I finally pulled the trigger and started my 200 hour yoga teacher training in September 2015 and never looked back! Ironically, I don’t want to open a yoga studio anymore and I ended up switching careers. I work full time as a yoga teacher and am happier than ever!
As far as the name yogiberi, as a kid, my family & closest friends nicknamed me Eri, Eriberi or Beri. I also love berries and eat them every single day. So yogiberi stems moreso from my nicknames and a little bit from my love for berries :).
Leah: Although I’m a dietitian, I really don’t know much about yoga. People swear by the benefits, so I’d love to know more about them!
Erika: There are a million positive benefits from doing yoga. In yoga, we examine both the physical and subtle bodies. The “subtle” body being the mind. Yoga helps calm the nervous system, it gives a sense of community, increases energy, increases flexibility, strengthens muscles and the list goes on. Personally, I’ve gotten so much more flexible, strong in my core and arms, am more body aware and I feel so much more relaxed after I practice.
Leah: To be honest, I very rarely do yoga (SO guilty), how do I even start? P.S. I’m NOT naturally flexible.
Erika: Yoga is for EVERYONE! Anyone can do yoga at any age, at any stage of life, in any place, flexible or not! I would start by taking a beginner’s class at your local studio where they really break down the fundamentals of each pose. Or I highly recommend scheduling private sessions where I can give you my undivided attention. Private yoga is the best way to deepen and personalize your practice! One of my biggest tips is that your breath is EVERYTHING in yoga.
Leah: Is there any food/beverage that you eat or drink, either pre or post yoga? And why?
Erika: You’re not really supposed to eat before yoga. I wouldn’t recommend eating a full meal right before practicing because you’re more likely to feel lethargic and heavy during practice. If I’m feeling low energy, usually right when I wake up, I just have a banana and a cup of hot water with lemon beforehand. The banana because I like to have a little something in my stomach and the hot water with lemon because it cleanses the entire body. Post yoga I usually have a smoothie - with berries of course.
Leah: Where can I catch your next class?
Erika: I’m back and forth between NYC & Philly (primarily Philly), but catch me in NYC every Monday & Tuesday! I teach on Mondays at Yoga Vida (TriBeCa) at 6am in NYC, on Thursdays at Priya Hot Yoga at 4:30pm in Philadelphia and sub regularly at their studios as well.
MAJOR BONUS: If you email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Tovita for Yoga," you are eligible to receive 15% off a private session! This offer expires after 12/31/16, so make sure to schedule your next session ASAP!