“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back — concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."
Amy is a yoga teacher, writer, and philanthropist. She is known for her innovative methods to bridge the gap between ancient yoga wisdom and modern day life, helping yoga students “turn up their own volume.” When she was 16, her mother asked if she’d like to try yoga for the first time with her and she said yes. The rest was history! She continued to study yoga with various teachers based in the Sivananda tradition through out high school and college.
Amy graduated with a B.A. in Studio Art from Oberlin College and spent the first part of her 20′s teaching fitness and self-defense & empowerment trainings for women, men and teens. She did this all while working in an eco department boutique in Soho, NYC, care-taking her baby sister, and continuing her study of yoga with Cyndi Lee.
She graduated from Cyndi’s first yoga teacher training in 1997 and began teaching at spas, Crunch Fitness, Equinox Fitness and at the newly opened OM Yoga Center in New York City. During this time, Amy was part of a number of start up yoga studios including OM Yoga Center, Laughing Lotus, VIRAYOGA, and Yoga People in Brooklyn, NY. She taught to corporate executives at Bear Sterns, Pfizer and Atlantic Records and maintained a clientele of private yoga students while leading several teacher trainings in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
A pioneer for advanced yoga education, serving both students as well as fellow yoga teachers, in 2012 she co-founded 90Monkeys, an online professional development school that has enhanced the skills of yoga teachers and studios in 43 countries around the globe.
Amy is a faculty member at the Omega Institute, Esalen and Kripalu. A regular presenter at the Yoga Journal Conferences, Omega Institute Conference, Wanderlust Festivals, and The Hanuman Festival, Amy represents prAna clothing and Boardworks Surf as a yoga ambassador.
What are your goals for 2016 and beyond?
My goal for 2015 is to move into a net-zero (energy efficient) home with my partner, swim and do yoga with marine animals to help promote marine conservation, and publish our first book. Oh! And play with Claudine and Honza as often as humanly possible. Beyond that, my goal is always to be happy, grateful, and savor every moment of being alive.
How would you describe your first yoga experience?
So eighties…but here goes:
My mom asked me if I wanted to go with her to see what yoga was all about at our fitness studio. I said yes. The teacher, Oonaja, was not at all like the other fitness teachers I’d worked with. To me, she was super cosmic, mystical looking, and way mellow. I was intrigued. Back then in the 80’s, most yoga was all “flow n’ glo,” meaning you would be instructed to come into something like warrior 1 pose, hold it (flow), and then immediately drop into child’s pose (glow) to rest from the “effort”.
At the end of the practice, Oonaja lead us through a guided body scan for savasana. I was lying next to my mom on a towel (this was before sticky mats!) and drifting off to the soothing sound of her voice, as she meticulously encouraged us to relax each part of the body.
“Relax your jaw…relax your neck….relax your shoulders…relax your solar plexus, relax your abdomen….”
And then…“Relax your genitals…”I woke up. And more, “Relax your anus…” Oh my God.
I opened my eyes and turned to look at my mom. I mean I was 16, so in my head I was doing the Beavis and Butthead thing: “She said anus, heh heh heh…”. And my mom was holding back laughter. We got such a kick out of it after class, (and to this day actually) having never heard anything like that in our fitness classes before! Needless to say, we loved Oonaja, and loved yoga, and I kept going to her classes, eating up all the asanas, the self-inquiry, and mostly the feeling of engaging in a connection to something bigger than myself, which was helping me make sense of who I was in the world.
Who has influenced you the most in your life?
My grandmother, Ernestine Perrie.
If you had one super power, what would it be?
Bi-location. Airplanes are so old school - they use up far too many fossil fuels and I’ve been on way too many of them!
What is your favourite yoga pose and why?
Right now, padmasana and padmasana variations. They’re making my sometimes creaky hips feel much better.