Liz Vartanian of Yoga Betty and Yoga Mama: TGBTS Featured Teacher

Teachers.

Don’t you just love them?

I know I do.

There are those that inspire me and those that make me laugh. Some help me solve problems in my classroom and others that help me solve problems in my life.

I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite teachers here.

Teachers in studios, classrooms and in the world at large. These are the folks you will see featured in my series of teacher interviews here at Teacher Goes Back to School.

I hope you enjoy these teachers as much as I do!

+++++

tgbts featured teacher liz vartanian

Have you met Liz yet? She’s been in my Twitter feed for years and we’ve become friends via social media. We both have babies and teach restorative yoga, so instant connection.

Here’s my interview.

When did you start practicing?

I started practicing in 1996, while I was in massage school, I did yoga from a Video Tape. I wore that tape out, but I learned so much! It wasn’t until I moved to Austin, TX in 2004 that I found a studio I loved and started going religiously.

Why did you start?

At first, it was a great way to get centered before doing a massage. Then it became more about a new way to learn how my body works. It really is amazing what our bodies can do.

Where did you practice?

My living room floor! Which was carpeted, but when you are watching a video there’s not a lot of options. Soon after I got comfortable with some of the poses, I practiced outside on my deck. Unfortunately, the little studio I eventually went to closed a few years ago.

How has your practice evolved over time?

I’ve gone from Hatha to Flow to vinyasa to prenatal. Now, I have found a balance of restorative (which I started while I was pregnant) and flow. I love the practice of moving with the breath, but I also know how much my body really needs to sit still and just be. Even when I flow or do vinyasa, I take a long savasana to make sure I let my body recuperate.

How long have you been a teacher?

I’ve been teaching almost 3 years now. Time really does fly when you are having fun!

liz

Why did you start Yoga Betty/Yoga Momma?

I started Yoga Betty as a way to learn more about yoga. It sounds silly, but there is an amazing amount of knowledge in experiencing life. And really yoga is as much off the mat as it is on.

Yoga Momma was started after the birth of my son. If Yoga Betty is about a laid back yogini, Yoga Momma is about how that laid back yogini handles life with a baby guru!! Of course, now that the sweet little baby guru is almost a year old, I’ve realized that I’m both Betty and Momma so I’ve decided to combine the two blogs. After all, no person is just ONE aspect of themselves. We all evolve and change, it’s just time for me to embrace I am Betty, momma, yogini, partner, woman, and so much more. Now if I can just get kiddo to nap longer again, so I can finish combining the two!!

What are your classes like?

Currently, I teach restorative, prenatal, and post-natal. My pre and post-natal classes are all about breathing, building strength, and finding peace within. After all as a new momma or as a momma to be, knowing how to find some inner peace can be a life saver!

Do you have a home practice? What is it like? How often? Where? How’d you start and how do you keep at it?

Yes!! Home practice is all I have these days. Sometimes it is 15 minutes, sometimes I can get an hour, although right now that isn’t as often since baby guru is almost walking.

I practice every day. Nap time is a my practice time. I usually get in some cat/cow, puppy pose, thread the needle, and 5 minutes of meditation. If I have the time or really need it, I start with this and add as feels good. There is a lot of shoulder openers, bridge pose to get my heart open, and core. I keep it up because frankly getting to take a class is tough. My daily practice keeps me same, so if I don’t do it, I feel all put of whack.

mama baby

What’s your favorite pose? Why?

My current favorite pose is a tie between puppy pose (because it is easier on my wrists while giving me the same feeling down dog does) and forearm plank (because hot-damn if it doesn’t stoke the internal fire and get my core working!).

What’s your least favorite pose?

Hm, there isn’t a pose I don’t like, I can say that the one I’m finding challenging right now is crow. Finding the right muscles to use along with some wrist aches seem to be what makes this pose sooo tough on me right now.

Do you have a meditation practice?

I started meditation right after Aiden was born. I used the time I spent nursing to breathe and clear my mind. Although, I usually only get 5-10 minutes of meditation in, that is better than none!

What is your blog/s about? When did you start? Why did you start? What is your purpose?

Currently, my blogging is more about finding practice OFF the mat, since I’m starting to realize my “free time” is valuable which can make it hard to commit to an hour long asana practice (especially when nap times are sometimes 45 minutes!!). Plus Aiden really has become my little baby guru, he keeps me present and mindful of all I do and soon enough what I say (I know the parroting phase is coming up). Not everyone has kids and some people may not want to have kids, but that doesn’t mean our life lessons are any different. Any practitioner of yoga is working towards peace, presence of mind and body, and ultimately living our yoga. I just happen to think having kids speeds up the process!!

What is your favorite post? Why?

I have TWO!! One titled “Hips don’t lie” which talks about my ability to cry EVERY TIME I’m in pigeon pose and the fact that what comes up when we do hip openers can really show us what we are clinging to, what emotions we are storing, and what stuff we can let go of, by crying or by breathing.

The other is a article I wrote for Mind Body Green about “Rediscovering Yoga After Having a Baby”. There is this thing about having a baby, you’re body isn’t “yours” for 9 months of pregnancy and then it’s not really yours after baby shows up. So the importance of coming back to the practice is SO important.

Both of these pieces I wrote are raw and I think remind people that it is ok when we cry or feel “betrayed” by our bodies. That yoga is there because we are there, our mats will hold us. They will be the mirror we need to see what is happening. And they will help us let go and rebuild.

cup of liz

What other blogs do your read? Why?

The two blogs I am really digging these days are: SahajaMomma & Cup of Jo.

Sahaja Momma is a Austin Yoga Goddess and new momma, she has fabulous recipes and often has some great share on self-care or helpful momma items.

A Cup of Jo is one of my guilty pleasures, I read this blog daily!! I love the fashion (in hopes I one day will be stylish again and not just prepared for feeding 24/7), the food, and this New Yorkers great shares.

Who and what inspires you?

This is probably the best question ever! My loves, my family, specifically the man because he supports me and is a great person to talk to about any thing. Even when it is yoga related (he is NOT a yogi), baby guru is of course right there with his daddy. Mother Nature has her spot too, the ocean inspires me even though I’m so far away. The trees, the sunrise, and the sunset all play a part in my practice, in my teaching, and in my day. Sometimes songs can be inspiring, written words, and those spoken all seem to brighten my day too. I can pretty much find inspiration in anything and everything!

If you enjoyed this post, get email updates (it’s FREE).

One thought on “Liz Vartanian of Yoga Betty and Yoga Mama: TGBTS Featured Teacher

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s