By Mary Moscarello

Last Sunday I headed to church, like I typically do. A member of the St. Philip the Apostle Church’s Adult Choir for several years now, I attend mass from the soprano section in the choir loft – accompanied by a massive pipe organ – during the 10 am service.

Locals to Clifton, NJ will know that located directly across from St. Philip’s is St. George’s Greek Orthodox church. On Sundays – because of coinciding service times, it is pretty common to see drivers in cars facing each other on opposite sides of Valley Road, waiting for each other to make their left turn to head either up the hill to St. George’s or (coming from the other direction) turn left to enter St. Philip’s Drive. The cars cross paths and move away from one another.

Though I see this on a weekly basis, for some reason, I observed this regular occurrence last Sunday with a new sense of awareness. At the moment it dawned on me that this “meeting on the road” but taking different paths, ostensibly to take the same time out to worship, connect with a higher presence, find community and seek guidance is so very like what happens in a yoga studio.

I don’t suggest that yoga studios are houses of worship. However, I do know that there have been times I’ve retreated to the sanctuary offered by the studios I have come to know. I am able to find peace and community within their walls, much in the same way I can find peace in the church.

My choir group is an important part of my church community. Together we serve our church family, lifting the congregation in song, helping them celebrate Mass and holy days. I would surmise that the congregation at St. George’s has similar musical additions to their services – and those members probably feel that same connection to one another.

Whether in a yoga studio, temple, mosque, church or natural setting, the truth is that we’re on different paths. Yet, I believe, we’re taking the same journey. The form in which we find ourselves coming together in community to pray, sing, seek comfort or connection matters not. It is the journey itself that matters.

Last night as I led an enthusiastic group of students through a sequence that would reach its peak with a challenging arm balance, I cautioned them against frustration with the outcome and to absolutely avoid comparison to anyone else in the room. I offered the idea that they find joy just being on the journey – knowing that they have company, community and a safe place to gather.

Theresa Conlon

Theresa is a Yoga Alliance certified instructor (200-hour RYT) who has been teaching since 2013. She is skilled in various yoga styles including Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative, and Meditation. Theresa also brings an extensive dance background to her yoga practice, which includes teaching both modern dance and ballet. She has over 40 years of dance/theater performing experience and currently showcases her choreography as part of Bergen Dance Makers, a dance collective in northern New Jersey. Theresa’s yoga classes offer a calming mix of traditional asana postures and creative movement flows, supported by energy-moving breath. Students of all skill levels are invited to find ease and peace in their bodies/minds/spirits through the joyful bliss of yoga movement.

Carrie Parker Gastelu

Carrie Parker Gastelu, E-500 RYT, has been teaching yoga since 1993. Carrie began her journey when Yogi Raj Mani Finger initiated Carrie into the ISHTA Yoga lineage after training with Mani’s son, Yogi Raj Alan Finger. In addition, she has studied many other yoga traditions as well as anatomy, physiology, movement, and awareness practices to create an eclectic style all her own. She is known for her honest, non-dogmatic yet passionate approach.

Carrie is a regular speaker and contributor at conferences, websites, and print publications and has been featured in Fit Magazine, the Yoga Zone Book, and in the Yoga Zone Video, “Flexibility and Stress Release.”

Lisa Podesta-Coombs

When Lisa found yoga in 2008, she started to find herself again and it set her on a path of health and healing. She received her 200HR RYT certification from Raji Thron of Yoga Synthesis, and her 30HR Chakra Yoga Teacher Training certificate with Anodea Judith and holds a Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) certification. She is also a Holistic Health Coach (certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition). Lisa believes we’re all on a journey of learning how to trust ourselves; she helps her clients build that trust by supporting them in creating better habits for a better life through various functional movement modalities like yoga, barre, Pilates & strength training, mindset, and whole food nutrition.

Forever a student with a passion for people, holistic health, and self-actualization, Lisa is always embracing opportunities to advance her education to better serve; Ayurveda workshops & immersions have been of particular interest as she continues to deepen her knowledge of and experience with food as medicine and she recently completed Unleash Her Power Within, a transformational program of rediscovering our truest selves, powered by Tony Robbins.  

As she continues to give herself space and grace to nourish her natural self and actualize her potential, Lisa continues to share the gift of movement as medicine to inspire authenticity & health in body, mind, and spirit. You can expect mindful, accessible, dynamic, playful, and uplifting classes from Lisa.

Tanisha Sutton

Tanisha’s yoga journey began when she was an undergraduate student studying at university. Changes in her health coupled with anxiety over grades, relationships, and life in general, forced her to search for healthy lifestyle choices she could implement to help manage the stress that she was experiencing as a new adult. A friend of hers suggested that she attend some community yoga classes to help with the anxiety and increase her daily physical activity. Initially, she was reluctant and filled with all these false ideas about yoga and the people who practiced yoga. Like many others, she was concerned that her body type and lack of flexibility automatically excluded her from being a student. Curiously yet hesitantly, she journeyed on to her first class and began laying the foundation for a home and public practice that has supported her over the years.

On this journey, she has discovered that yoga has nothing to do with appearances nor is there anything, but an open mind needed to begin. She intends to provide you with a gentle yoga session that is safe, inclusive, and accessible. Her classes are an expression of self-love and are a deliberate choice to tend to ALL the parts of our being that are neglected, ignored, or disregarded during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Through meditation, deep breathing, and gentle movement we will collectively share space to observe, rest and re-set. Tanisha is honored to share her practice with you and looks forward to seeing you on the mat!