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Blog post by Mary Moscarello Gutierrez

Mary trying a variation of Warror I

“You are one Yoga class away from a good mood…”

This is a phrase I’ve shared and seen on social media too many times to count. It is simple and funny and sends the message that taking a yoga class will improve your mood. As if it were that easy. It is rare for me to feel worse after yoga than when I went in – but the truth is, I’ve always done the work asked of me in each and every yoga class I’ve taken. If we dig deeper into this casual implication that the mere act of going to a yoga class does the trick, it ignores the part that the yogi plays in the class.

Warrior II

Let me backtrack a little bit.

This morning I noticed a tube of lotion that we keep on our bathroom vanity. It is called “Stress Relief” lotion. It is infused with eucalyptus and spearmint – purportedly to provide aromatherapy via the essential oils in the lotion to help you relax. Let’s be real though, if stress relief came in a tube, there’d be no stress in the world any more.

Look closely at the label. It says “Relax and Think Clearly” – those are tasks, meaning the person applying the lotion has a role to play – just like the yogi in the class does – in order for the stress to be relieved or the mood to be made good. It doesn’t just happen by smearing product onto your skin. That act is superficial and no one with good common sense would believe it, right?

Simply being in a yoga class will not affect your mood, unless you go beyond the superficial. Each yogi (teacher included) enters the room with a choice to move beyond the physical act of sitting in a room of people on mats with your legs crossed, breathing in synchronicity or moving into a yoga pose (an asana).

So how do you fully commit to making the class work for you, if – let’s say – your goal is to improve your mood? What is your task? (or tasks) If I asked 100 yogis this question, I’d get 100 different responses. There is no one correct answer. However there is this advice from me.

Surrender to the breath. Move with your breath. Stay connected to your breath no matter what happens in the class. Be open to what may or may not happen.

The good mood may come, it may not, but it is rare for you to feel worse after a yoga class. Trust me.

You’ll feel a difference when class is over.


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!