Meet some of our students and teachers here on our community page, and get a feel for the place and the people, and why we love what we do. If you aren’t already part of all the great stuff that goes on here at The Yoga Loft, we hope you will join us!
Stephanie Tade (student) & Jessica Vaughn (teacher)
Robin Dillon (student) & Carrie Morgan (teacher)
I’ve been practicing yoga officially, for about 14 years. I remember it as a kid though (which was a long time ago), practicing with this book called Youth, Yoga and Reincarnation (this was early 70’s) and doing a LOT of Halasana (plough pose) at about 11 years old. Since the Yoga Loft started the 7:30 class has been my “go-to” class. It helps me greet my day with a completely different attitude and to feel a little taller, a little stronger as I head out. And Jessica is such a thoughtful, inspiring teacher! Through her instruction and her demonstration, she helps me to feel what a pose can be even if it’s a little out of my range – did I say it’s a challenging class? It is! But never in a way that I feel like I’m going to get hurt – she is really a beautiful teacher.
I practice yoga for so many reasons, but an important one is that it helps me to build a relationship with my body from the inside out – you learn things about yourself in yoga that you can not learn from looking in a mirror or even doing different kinds of exercise. It’s like lighting up intelligence in the cells of your body, not just your brain. I am 56 years old, and I’m strong and flexible and have a lot of energy, and I know that I would be experiencing a very different 56 years old if I didn’t practice yoga. Also as a Buddhist practitioner with a daily meditation practice, yoga is such a tremendous support – it goes hand in hand. One opens space in my body and the other opens space in my mind – it’s very good!
By watching Stephanie on her mat, it is clear to see she has a radiant, joyful and self-assured personality. She brings a lighthearted, but seriousness to her practice and to the energy of the class. When things get challenging, Stephanie mentally steps up to analyze whatever is in her path but does not let the challenge confront her in such a way that she is stopped by the obstacle. The obstacle becomes a puzzle for her to mull over. She takes the time to assess what is being requested of her and what is happening in her body. If the final conclusion is that this isn’t the day for her body to try a new pose then she will rest, or stay in an earlier stage of the pose. If not, she’ll go for it, in such a way that she is unattached to the outcome of her attempt. It’s not uncommon to hear Stephanie laugh at herself during these moments of class. At the same time, she has a seriousness to her practice, asking questions and then taking the work we do at the studio back home to practice on her own. I think her devoted meditation practice has served her Asana practice well. It’s been a pleasure working with Stephanie and watching her get both mentally and physically stronger over the past year.
Carrie is a wonderful teacher–I have learned any number of things about teaching from her. I enjoy her humor and enthusiasm; I am in awe of her physical strength and the way she can say the longest Sanskrit pose names without stumbling; I am grateful for her patience and encouragement; I appreciate her manifest interest in and concern for everyone; I admire her depth of knowledge–her know-that as well as her know-how. But most of all I value her attention to detail and her focus on alignment. The best classes for me are the ones where we concentrate on the mechanics of poses. Second, I like the camaraderie of the group–some of us come all the time, others are regulars, and although I am not an extroverted person, I find comfort in the presence of friendly people who are familiar to me, who I know are not judging or competing with me, who are as interested in this way of doing yoga as I am.
I am a professor of philosophy at Lehigh University, coming up on my 30th year there. My research and teaching are in the area of ethics, and I am finishing up a book about arrogance. I love to travel; I am obsessed with learning about (and drinking) wine; I read constantly (mysteries at night); I have an acre of Japanese-inspired landscaping that I designed and that needs to be weeded every week; I have a 19-year-old grandson to whom I send links to New York Times articles on science-y topics nearly every day; I enjoy cooking (the “fancier” and more complicated, the better). This summer, having been inspired by binge-watching “The Great British Bake-Off,” I decided to improve my baking skills by learning to make croissants from scratch (I tried this last summer without any success). I took me a couple of weeks of research and two weeks of baking every day, but I finally produced a batch of chocolate croissants and pain aux raisins that were pretty darn good. I don’t bake them to eat them (there’s a half pound of butter in each batch!); I just wanted to learn to do something difficult–rather like doing yoga precisely because it is challenging.
Robin has been coming to my Tuesday and Thursday classes for about a year now. I am always excited when she walks in the door because her dedication to the practice is inspiring! Robin never walks away from a challenge. She works hard and methodically and if she is not sure, she has the courage to ask. I love the amount of questions and comments that I get from my Tuesday-Thursday classes. We are on a journey of learning together and through that there is a level of camaraderie that is warm and welcoming. I stress “foundation” in my classes. Both from a physical perspective and through the lens of the chakras. As a group, my Tuesday and Thursday students trust the foundation of the practice, trust in my teaching and in themselves, and from this stable platform we all have an opportunity to soar. I have watched Robin get stronger physically. and more importantly to me, I have witnessed her base of knowledge about all aspects of yoga grow exponentially in this past year. I am so grateful that she comes regularly to share her intellect, energy (sweat) and great sense of humor with all of us.