TEACHER SPOTLIGHT: ATHENA ENGELMAN
Q: What initially brought you to yoga?
A: Yoga has always been a part of my life. We grew up moving around a lot and my mother practiced Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. When I was 19 years old I was taking yoga classes at the local gym and saw a VHS of Bryan Kest's Power Yoga. I was an avid runner throughout college and yoga was another way to get to a quiet place. When I moved to Los Angeles I finally took Bryan Kest’s classes in person and was exposed to my teacher and mentor, Erika Faith of Cloud Nine Yoga School. I went on to become a yoga teacher and trainer with CNY.
Q: How long have you been practicing and how has it evolved over time?
A: Yoga was always a mainstay through my many moves but it wasn’t until I was living in LA and was exposed to the plethora of teachers all with different styles that I became serious. So many teachers, so many styles. I loved Ashtanga in the beginning and moved on to a more organic and slower Vinyasa style. It's been 30 years and my body has changed physically and my needs have changed emotionally. In 2006 an injury introduced Pilates rehab into to daily regime. I fell in love with the Pilates Method and became certified to teach Pilates while living in Costa Rica in 2012.
Q: How does Yoga affect your day to day?
A: I feel that yoga has brought an added element to my life through practicing mindfulness. It helps me be present in my interactions with others. On any given day there is either a physical or psychological effect whether it’s incorporating the Yamas and Niyamas or breathing deeply while moving mindfully.
Q: How do you incorporate your practice off the mat?
A: Awareness, compassion and patience, this is my daily practice. I aspire to be a good person, be kind, honest and truthful. Life is precious we must remember why we’re here.
Q: What else brings you joy off the mat?
A: I love to swim, surf and paddle. Anything that involves water you’ll find me there. When i lived in North Carolina and Colorado i learned to love the mountains. I have turned my love of travel into a career. I’ve lived to several states and a couple countries. For the past 15 years I’ve been hosting international retreats 2-3 times per year so I can share the experiences with friends and students who became friends.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: I wear many hats in a day. An average day starts with teaching Barre Class on the Beach, a private Yoga Client, a Private Pilates Client, a group Yoga Class or Pilates Mat Class, Pilates at Skechers Corporate, and then Online Pilates, Yoga, Fitness and Meditation Classes. I do teach a lot but I do have weekends off to play. I have been blessed to have this career path for almost 20 years now.
Q: Anything else you'd like to share about yourself?
A: In my downtime you’ll find me at the beach in a chair with my boyfriend in the water, listening to music, relaxing. This year I took my learning to a new level and am learning to play guitar.