Trailblazer: Schuyler Grant
It's only appropriate that on the day that we announce our "Yoga In the City" series for 2013, we feature a Trailblazer who teaches not only at Yoga In the City NYC, but at three of our four summer festivals this year (WLVT, WLCA and WLBC). Schuyler Grant, however, is more than just a teacher, she's a Wanderlust Festival co-founder and a big reason that all of these events exist! Further to this, she founded Kula Yoga Project in Tribeca over ten years ago and burgeoning business meant a Williamsburg location came next. Did we mention she's a mother of three as well? That's right, this busy mama of more-than-just-Wanderlust answered our five Trailblazer questions so that you can get to know her teaching style and personality better.
WL: What aspects of yoga / meditation / spirituality do you bring into your work?
SG: I primarily teach asana, but I also try to bring a healthy dose of pranayama and bandha awareness to my classes. I also firmly believe that asana and pranayama should ultimately be leading us (as teachers and practitioners) toward a deeper connection/commitment to a meditation practice - as well as a clearer understanding of own personal spirituality - but since I'm still a baby on that path, I don't like to lead from behind.
WL: How did you get involved with yoga?
SG: My parents always did yoga around the house while I was growing up (and they still do), but it was the 'wake up, do a few stretches, then sit down and meditate and belch a lot' old skool way. I wanted nothing to do with it for a long time. Then when I started an ashtanga practice in my early 20s (in an effort to mitigate some crushing back pain), I clearly remember my mom watching me do sun salutations and saying something like, "You're going to hurt yourself crashing around like that." Of course she was right, but it took me a decade or so to admit it, and find a more refined approach to the practice.
WL: What's your favorite pose?
SG: Happy mommy pose.
WL: What's feeding your wanderlust today?
SG: Wanderlust is! Seriously, we do so much traveling with this festival, there's not much room left over for figuring out where I would wander if given the chance. But I always make time at least once a year to visit the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica for a little surf therapy - there's nowhere else that that helps me remember how much I love to be in the flow of nature than that place. And as for very local exploration: my recent favorite terrain is exploring the painful nooks and crannies of my own body with the aid of a lacrosse ball (preferably while lounging in a sauna). Seriously - it's a good adventure.
WL: If you could leave one legacy for your community what would it be?
SG: A more sane approach to parenting our children and stewardship for our planet. Lofty goals. I'm constantly humbled by my own failings in both departments, but my hope is that by helping people to develop a healthier, happier relationship to their own bodies and psyches, the result will be better parents and citizens of the world. Baby steps, baby.
If anyone can do it, we think it's Schuyler! Check out this beautiful slow motion video of her immaculate practice below, and then come experience her teaching at Yoga in the City NYC, Wanderlust Vermont, Wanderlust California and Wanderlust Whistler. Follow Kula Yoga Project on Facebook here.