Sandy Gola has been practicing yoga since 1998 and completed her teacher training in 2006 with Raji Thron. She is known for her creative sequencing and down to earth teaching style.
She teachers Chandra Luna Flow Yoga every Tuesday, 7:45-9 p.m.
1. How did you get started with Yoga?
I started doing yoga in 1998 because of an injury. At the time I was teaching several high impact aerobic classes per week and my shins were really feeling it. I took time off from fitness teaching and searched for something else I could do with no impact.
2. What got you hooked?
I came across some Vinyasa Yoga videos by Bryan Kest. I started practicing with them every day and shortly after I attended a yoga workshop with Paula Tepedino, held in western NJ. I noticed a black and white one-page flyer there for Raji Thron and he was teaching right near me in Montclair at Starseed. I didn’t know anything about yoga schools but he seemed to be offering something quite similar to the videos I was using. He became my main teacher and I went through teacher training with him in 2006.
3. What’s one of your favorite poses and why?
Well, who doesn’t like a good Shavasana? There’s a trick question that goes, “what’s the most difficult yoga pose?” And the answer is “Shavasana,” because it’s not that easy for most people to let go and just be.
4. What makes a private studio different/better than a yoga class at the gym?
It’s easier to have a peaceful vibe and ambiance at a dedicated yoga studio. You can feel the owner’s intention and energy in setting up the studio and the intentions and energy of all the people practicing there. It may have a more coherent purpose than in a gym, where there are a lot of other activities performed. I don’t have anything against gyms though. I’ve been teaching at my Y for many years and there are a lot of things I love about it.
5. For someone who’s never tried yoga before, what are the main benefits they may gain from practicing it?
New practitioners transitioning to seasoned practitioners have reported to me of a renewed sense of peace, an ability to better handle life’s ups and downs, greater balance, flexibility, and a sense of strength that comes from within.
6. What styles of Yoga do you teach? Besides the style you teach, is there any other you enjoy?
I teach mostly Vinyasa flow classes. I appreciate Iyengar and alignment based classes as well as yin yoga and classical hatha yoga and most other styles. I am also looking forward to teaching SUP yoga, and just got certified in it last year.
7. Do you do anything else to stay in shape?
Stand up paddle boarding, sailboat racing, and ballroom dancing are some of my other favorite physical activities.
8. Who inspires you to stay motivated? How often do you practice when you are not teaching?
At this point, I think most practices and daily disciplines need to be self-motivated to succeed. But I can also say that I am motivated by my family, my Mom in particular. She is a good example of someone who just keeps on going, no matter what. I do sometimes struggle, like everyone else, to fit everything in that I set out to do during the course of one day. When that happens, I try to go gentle on myself and allow things to be as they are, without judgment.
9. How seriously do you take nutrition?
I believe in balance, across the board. I had been a strict vegetarian for 28 years but now I eat other things as well.
10. What’s an interesting fact about yourself that others may not know?
During the summer after high school (a long time ago!), I hitchhiked from NJ to British Columbia and back. While I wouldn’t recommend this form of travel now, the trip certainly provided me with a wealth of remarkable experiences. I have a Native American brother, Willie Black Car, who is Oglala Lakota Sioux. He “adopted” me as his Hunka sister about 15 years ago.
11. Please tell us more about the class you teach at Studio 108.
It’s pretty much what I put on the description – can’t say much else about it at this point.