Blog post by Mary Moscarello. To read more of Mary’s work, click here.

Photo credit: Mary Moscarello. Banner image by Love the Wind.


Spells FEAR.

How often do we let fear keep us from doing what we really want to do?

In the months leading up to the moment when I decided to apply for yoga teacher training, I had a lot of crippling doubts.

The doubts centered around stories I told myself about myself, about my yoga practice, about my age, about my weight, about my body, about my ability to learn and remember new things.

These doubts created a sense of fear. As I overcame the fear, I realized the farce that had contributed to their presence in my head. We all do this. Our perception becomes cloudy from time to time, we trick ourselves into believe false stories about our selves, our community, our environment.

In Vedantic philosophy, which is based on the most ancient scriptures of India called the Vedas – there lies a story about how we can be fooled by this cloudy perception.

A man walking along a path in the dark of night sees a poisonous snake alongside his way. Frightened, he immediately turns and runs to safety. The next morning, he takes that same path and in the bright sunlight, sees that what he thought was a snake was actually a bit of coiled rope.

This parable is so full of symbolism about how we can sometimes live our lives. Often in darkness of ignorance, prejudgment or cultural conditioning, we fail to take the time to let situations play out to their full clarity. Had the man walking along the path perhaps been more calm and able to study what he thought was the snake and see if it were even moving – he may have eventually realized it posed him no threat. He believed the story in his head, the false evidence of a snake kept him from continuing on his journey.

Going back to my own doubt-filled mind prior to beginning my journey to become a yoga teacher, I told myself many times, I am too old to become a yoga teacher. I’m too weak physically to really be able to subject my body to the rigors of a 200 hour training. I believed that story of not being able to handstand or practice certain asanas meant that I wasn’t good enough to stand in front of a room full of yogis and guide them through a practice.

How wrong I was.

How grateful I am that I had the support of my family, my friends and of course, my teacher training group to help me see clearly that all those stories were just that, stories.

As of now, the availability of in-person classes at yoga studios is uncertain. When the threat of spreading COVID-19 has passed, I will teach my first class at the studio where I trained. I’m officially on the schedule. Every Monday morning, I will be on the schedule at 6:15 am.

I might never have reached this milestone on my journey had I not ceased to believe the stories I told myself. And so a new story begins.

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!