Stephanie Paz is currently a teacher at Sacred Sounds Yoga in Manhattan. She received her 200 hour Yoga certification in June of 2014 at Sacred Sounds Yoga and she recieved her Unnata® Aerial Yoga certification in February of 2015. Stephanie is also a practicing visual artist. You can read more about her as well as see her teaching schedule at www.stephaniepaz.com
Firstly, I must tell you how significant and life changing this style of yoga has been for me and others I am close with. Michelle’s class was the first group yoga class I’d ever gone to, back in 2009. Prior to that, I did yoga along with videos to help my chronic low back pain. The asanas in the silks, along with the chanting, meditation and pranayama Michelle integrated into this class changed everything for me. It healed me in so many ways. Without the physical release from pain I would not have been able to open my heart, soul, and mind in the ways I have. Unnata has been a true blessing in my life.
The impetus for me to teach came out of a feeling that I’ve felt for some time, that this practice is too significant to be deemed a ‘trend’ or ‘fad’. I wanted to teach and spread the Unnata style of yoga to show others its yogic integrity. An integrity which is often lost in most aerial yoga classes out there today. I truly believe it is my dharma to share what Michelle has so lovingly taught me over the years.
The 200 hr. YTT prerequisite that Michelle has placed on this course is brilliant. Even though I had taken so many of her classes and knew how to get in/out of the aerial asanas quite expertly, without it, I could have never been able to teach in the informed way in which yoga is to be taught. As well, the emphasis on the chakra system enlightened everything about the sequencing in the silk. I started to realize, “Oh, that’s why that feels so good!”.
As Unnata teachers we are able to be dynamic because we are Yoga teachers first, paired with an amazing prop that holds and supports our students through their practice so they can achieve release. Release which can be daunting and often take a very long time to find in a floor practice. But once experienced, helps unlock many floor asanas.
As a teacher you understand and honor that every-body is different. So actually seeing people move through the silk and watching their subtle energies bubble to the surface (because they probably have never moved that way in their life) is profound and your understanding of humanity infinitely grows. I appreciate that safety always comes first in Unnata and that the training course really prepares you for that experience. Whether it is the: rigging, assisting, alignment queues, or fearful / tense energy, you learn what to look for, what that may mean, and how you can shift the energy of the room to help people relax and be safe.
Learning the intricacies of what goes into teaching this style blew me away. I wouldn’t have known it just from taking class. That, coupled with the experience of teaching brought me full circle and has greatly illuminated my personal life and practice.
I am looking forward to teaching this style for the rest of my days. Thank you, Michelle!
Om shanti ~ Stephanie Paz