Steven Espinosa continues to grace the Los Angeles yoga scene with his warm presence and exceptional knowledge of the practice. This dancer-turned-yogi’s classes at YogaGlo and Liberation Yoga hold you in the safety of alignment coupled with a whole lot of heart. In our Q&A, Steven opens up about what he does on days he doesn’t feel like teaching, and why it’s never to late to join the proverbial yoga party.
What makes your style of teaching unique?
I didn’t start teaching yoga until I was 38. I am 52 years old now. So one of the things I bring to the party is some life experience. I also try to keep the yoga practical yet universal. Practical in the sense it presents the basic fundamentals of a safe and invigorating practice through solid alignment principles. Universal in that it offers a sacred space to examine and explore your own personal journey through the ancient art of yoga. Ultimately however, my highest hope is that students both new and experienced walk away thinking, “That was fun!”
What’s the most frequently asked question you get being a yoga teacher?
There are so many. But the most common one is, “When will I start seeing results?” In our goal-oriented society, getting immediate results is a high priority for many people. So I try to remind newer students to be patient, enjoy the experience and trust the yoga. When that answer doesn’t go over well with them, I usually say 6-8 weeks. And then they walk away happy because now they have a goal!
What’s the strangest thing a student of yours did, said or wore in your class?
Okay. True story. A celebrity actress was in class with her purse next to her mat. Mid-way through, the phone rings, she takes the call and starts talking to her agent about an audition. So there I am, trying to figure out what to do. When she rolls up her mat, walks out of the room while still on the phone. After she left, I made a joke saying, “I guess the part was more important than the yoga.” Everybody laughed out loud and we had a great class. Like I said, true story.
What’s the most yogically incorrect, or stereotypical thing you do as a yoga teacher?
I love a great steak. I love a good martini. And I love reading great crime novels – preferably, with all three happening at the same time.
Which profession would your alter ego choose and why?
My alter ego would love to be a back up singer in a 70’s soul band like The Spinners, The O’Jays or Earth Wind and Fire. We would all be wearing platform shoes, skin tight polyester pants with bell bottoms and long sleeve satin shirts. Every song and every step would be staged and choreographed like in the good old days! Now that would be COOL!
Who or what inspires your practice and your teaching?
I suppose it’s rather cliché to say but it’s the students who inspire me the most. As any instructor knows, there are days when you just don’t feel like teaching. And then, you walk into the yoga room and see all these people who are smiling and happy to be there and to see you. And it’s at that moment you remember, oh yeah, teaching yoga is fun! And then to watch and witness the transformations which occur during the practice also reminds you what an honor and a privilege it is to do this amazing work.