Svia Rothstein, Open Space Founder
Over the years, people have asked what ‘kind’ of yoga I teach. My response: I teach what I know and in every class, I learn.
“There is a lifetime of learning in Yoga and no deadlines,” I wrote in a 2004 article for a grassroots paper, The Local, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I was enjoying one last season there after falling under the spell of Alaska. After re-reading that piece, which intended to dispel some of the mystery and confusion surrounding a very full field of Yoga interpretations, I found that phrase spoke the loudest to me today.
Over 25 years into my yoga exploration, I find myself still scraping the surface and I am humbled daily by all the great teachings, teachers, and practices yet unexplored. Since I began practicing Yoga, I graduated college, had the privilege to roam as a shoe-string traveler in distant lands (the real university), wandered up to Alaska intrigued and challenged by the world of “bush flying”, co-created and ran Laughing Lotus for 6 years, became a Mom (twice) and founded Open Space, which I truly believe is a center for community. Throughout that adventurous half of my life, yoga in her many forms, has been a constant and grounding force.
By chance, the exacting alignment principles and therapeutic applications of Iyengar Yoga set a good foundation early on in my education. The focus on body in those classes was perfect for my gymnastic background and college mindset. After graduation from CU Boulder in 1994, my love of yoga and mountains took me to the Himalayas and India. At the Bihar School of Yoga, I quickly realized that the body was just one layer of the multi-dimensional self. In ashram life, asana (physical postures) were practiced in the sunrise hours only and the rest of the day was dedicated to other profound and spirited yoga practices. From Karma (selfless service) to bhakti (the yoga of devotion) to Yoga Nidra (guided relaxation) and meditation, a veil was lifted and there was no turning back.
For years to follow, I devoured a diversity of trainings, workshops and practices, learning from each and every teacher (even those I did not resonate with). From heat building and fluid styles of Ashtanga Vinyasa and “flow” to grounding and restorative Yin yoga to the cleansing Kriyas, breath-work and meditations of Kundalini, I feel blessed to have such a vast and eclectic well-spring to draw from in both personal practice and teaching.
In February, 2009 I attended the Khalsa Way Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training with renowned Kundalini teacher Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa in Hollywood, CA. One year later, I experienced the greatest lessons of all when I gave birth to my beautiful daughter and daily guru, Stella Pilar. Four and a half years on and a huge shift in lifestyle (moving from individual to parent), we invited another little teacher into our lives, Evan Zev. It is with great love and respect for all women that I teach both Prenatal Yoga and Baby & You classes.
More recently, I have turned my sights on the enriching poetry of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Discussion and chanting of the Sutras brings them to life in a very personal way. This led me to the Level 5 Maya Yoga training in the summer of 2010. Through a traditional and multi-layered practice, Maya has developed the “un-system” of yoga where the “practice is the teacher” and the individual is encouraged to connect with spirit through self exploration. For more than 15 years I have trained and hosted Nicki Doane, co-founder of Maya yoga in Huelo, Maui.
Seven years ago, I finally had the opportunity to open a door to the wonders and yumminess of Thai Bodywork, which happens to be the perfect complement to a life of yoga practice and teaching. So far, I have completed 3 levels of training with my dear friend and co-teacher, Lindsey Britt and 45 hours with Sukha Wong, director of the renowned Lotus Palm school of Thai in Montreal, Quebec.
You can find me at Open Space teaching drop-in Yoga classes, teacher trainings, progressive workshops, retreats, private yoga and, of course, giving Thai Bodywork. Please feel free to call or email with your questions or to book a session.
One breath at a time,