Sara Ivanhoe

Sara Ivanhoe

As a yoga teacher, Sara Ivanhoe is less concerned with a perfect handstand and much more interested in guiding you toward a place of self-acceptance and love. Find out what can happen when your goal is love.

What is unique about your teaching style?

I have done five full teacher trainings and am committed to not having a style. The biggest influence on my teaching has been Erich Schiffmann. Instead of giving a direction to a class, Erich skillfully asks just the right question of the group, which leads students to find the answers for themselves. For instance, instead of directing "lift the sternum, drop the shoulders," Erich would ask the group, "Where in the body can you relax without collapsing?" Watching the students play around and find the pose is teaching the students how to fish, rather than handing them one. I will never compare to the brilliance of Erich, but if someone said that my style resembled his, I would be honored.

My main practice is Bhakti, the yoga of unconditional love. I was raised in an overachieving culture and grew up as a competitive swimmer, so having love be the goal is confusing and beautiful. It is not always easy, but anything we practice gets easier – and this is something that is worth getting good at.

 

What do you hope your students take away from your classes?

I hope that students feel unconditional love and an acceptance of where they are right now. Somehow we yogis in the west have turned our asana practice into another to accomplish list, which can lead to the cycle of attachment/aversion – I am happy when I can do a pose, I am mad at myself when I can't. The goal of yoga isn't to get on your mat every day or to perfect a pose.

I don't say to students, "If you stay at this consistently your hips will eventually open," or, "If you keep at it, one day you will be able to do a handstand in the middle of the room." Really – who cares? The biggest challenge is to love our practice as it is right now. What if the worst was true and our hips never opened? What if we never perfect a handstand? We are still radiant, extraordinary beings. When we practice unconditional love of ourselves, we are more pleasant to be around and it encourages others to accept themselves as they are.

 

Where do you tell others to seek inspiration?

My favorite class that I teach is a Sunday night Yin Yang practice almost always accompanied by live music. We use the Sunday night practice to plant a seed for the week to come. Inspiration can come from anywhere, but I encourage students to develop a relationship with their inner guidance. So, every Sunday night towards the end of class as we are getting quiet, we take time to sit with the questions, "Is there anything I need to know?" "Is there something I should be aware of for the week to come?" Beginning the week with a question, telling the universe that we are open to guidance, open to inspiration somehow wakes people up. Students have been receiving some wild guidance. It has been a fun adventure to embark on.

Comments

The Funny Thing is you're alot like me

Hi Sara, I bought the Candlelight Yoga in 20 05. I thought to offer this good DVD to my students . But after I got hurt teaching, I starting using it to get rid of neck pain. It does that you know. And the Love

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