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Cinzia Lombardo

How did you begin your yoga practice: While I had tried yoga at a studio almost 20 years ago, and then dabbled with a beginners DVD about 10 years ago, my yogic journey did not really take root until 2016 when a near fatal allergic reaction to an antibiotic severely damaged my lungs. At the time, I was working towards my black belt in Judo (I have a brown belt) and teaching beginners classes to students at Bryn Mawr College. My health issues not only prevented me from continuing with judo, but also rendered most forms of exercise outside of my pulmonary capabilities. Looking for a way to keep my body moving, I again tried yoga (a 26 & 2 class) and found that the heat, support of both the teacher and the community of the students, helped me to work and grow within my capabilities. I have been practicing ever since.

Why do you practice yoga: Yoga has become a journey of listening to and honoring the needs of my body, as well as a form of moving meditation. Formerly, exercise had always been driven by my need to compete, whereas I have found that yoga brings me into myself in a way that is healthy and singular to my own needs versus an external impetus (including not just the physical, but the mental as well).

Where did you receive your training/when: In 2018 I completed my RYT-200 at Soul Yoga Studio under the direction of Eva Whipple.

Why do you teach yoga: I believe in the various adages that assert teaching is a form of learning. There is reciprocal growth that both a teacher and her students can provide for each other. For example, as a teacher I grow each time I practice non-attachment with my yoga sequencing, opting to allow the needs of my students to influence the flow of a days' class versus rigidly sticking to what I had preconceived. Likewise, the communicated joys and frustrations of students provide critical feedback to various aspects of a class, including teaching style and asana queuing. To teach one must continue to evolve and a large part of that education is one's students - it is a beautiful symbiotic relationship.

What else do you do with your time: I am currently taking a sabbatical from my professional career and have been traveling, volunteering, and evaluating what my next life's adventure will be.

What is your favorite pose and why: Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon) is always on my favorite list for it's hip opening and gluteus stretching awesomeness (though it challenges my tendonosis), but lately I've been evolving in what I had thought was a simple posture: Uttanasana (Forward Fold). It is humbling and concurrently exhilarating when you notice changes in a posture that you mistakenly thought was mastered (or at least maximized for your body). This kind of self knowledge brings a new awareness and appreciation for the entire yogic practice.

How would you describe your classes: As a teacher, my goal is to encourage students of all skill levels, mobility, age, gender, and backgrounds to safely explore their own personal yogic journey. In doing so, it is my hope that students discover how yoga can impact their physical, mental and spiritual lives so that they can navigate their lives with resiliency, empowerment, and vigor. During class I often utilize props and offer modifications to accommodate for the various needs of students, as well as focusing on the proper alignment within postures. Typically my classes are paced to savor each posture and allow one to process how their body is showing up on the mat, but that doesn't mean that I won't throw in challenges or mix things up with with cardio-inducing flows!

Is there anything else you'd like to tell your students: My favorite thing about yoga is that it is literally for EVERYONE! It doesn't matter your age, level of flexibility, athletic propensity, religion/life philosophy, etc. A yoga practice is as unique as the individual, and it it beautiful to see people honor that which they bring (mind, body, and spirit) to their mat each practice.