Sheri Celentano is a lover of breath and movement. What an incredible gift to share this love, what connects us to our own spirit! A Brooklyn Native Sheri has been teaching since the age of 15. From the NYC Public Schools to European Yoga Centers .... There was no escaping this calling! She holds an undergraduate degree in Dance from the University at Buffalo and was certified at her home, Laughing Lotus NY in 2005 under the guidance of her teachers Dana Flynn and Jasmine Tarkeshi. Sheri has also been inspired by her studies with Ana Forrest and Raghunath Cappo. At present she is a Creative Director and Senior Teacher at Laughing Lotus NY where she leads Teacher Trainer Programs and Retreats around the world. Many heartfelt thanks to ALL of the teachers that weave in and out of this incredible human life! Questions and Answers with Sheri Celentano 1. What does yoga mean to you? What a huge question! Right now I answer this as... Yoga means action. Taking action to self love and heal as well as offer it back out to the world. Yoga means putting effort into increasing my knowledge and easing my mind. It means love, art, science and beauty! 2. What impact has yoga had on your life? Yoga is a life changer. It has allowed me to be courageous and strong and take a path with heart. Following the heart dreams and spirit dreams... Not always easy. Yoga helps to shine the light in the darkness. When I did my first teacher training I was teaching in the public schools, dancing and choreographing as well as working in a restaurant! Yoga helped me to crest more SPACE to do what I love and love what I do! 3. In what ways does yoga help you off the mat? I believe it helps me in all of my relationships. Not saying there aren't struggles... Because as humans we all have some struggles in our lives. But it has given me insight and tools to use while in the midst of struggle. It also has helped me to keep the lightness. It keeps me smiling. 4. What do you recommend to people that are brand new to yoga? I recommend that they remain as open minded as possible to that which is new and may seem foreign to their bodies and minds. I recommend that they try a few different styles of yoga so that they may find one that feels healthy in their body. I think it is important to honor the beginners body... Which means take absolute basics classes to start. Let the body learn from the ground level. It is so important to go to a teacher that will teach you the basics. Even take some private classes at first to get real good insight on proper alignment. This will help you avoid injury and to not walk away with a bad taste in your mouth about yoga. Being a beginner is a beautiful thing... In fact we should all try to keep a beginners mind! 5. What yoga tips can you share with people? Don't try to fit into a box that does not fit. Listen closely to your body... It is highly intelligent. Don't run away from discomfort, DO walk away from pain! Get curious about the practice and find teachers who both challenge and inspire you. Try to cultivate a home practice. Even if it is just a few moments daily to light a candle, do sun salutations or put your legs up the wall. Do something for YOU! 6. What drew you to teach the particular style that you teach now? I am currently on the Creative Team and a Senior Teacher at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in NYC. I trained with Dana Flynn and Jasmine Tarkeshi who are the Co Founders of Laughing Lotus in 2005... I am inspired by the lotus Flow and the abundance of creativity that is in this practice. It truly speaks to my choreographers heart to have freedom to create a sequence that is designed for the body intelligence as well as the creative spirit. The sequencing of a Lotus Flow class feels greets in my body and I love teaching it, from beginners to advanced! I also did an Advanced Teacher Training with Ana Forrest in 2010, her strength and courage to look demons in the face as well as her Native American Spirit inspire me greatly as well. Dana Flynn and Raghunath Cappo have influenced my LOVE for the inversion practice which is currently one of the styles that I am teaching. There is a lot to be gained from facing fears by turning things upside down. It takes a lot of concentration. When i am upside down my mind gets super quiet.