Featured ANYA Teacher: Shannon SwiftBy Studio Anya / January 6, 2017 / News / 0 Comments
What is your movement history?
From a very young age I expressed myself through dance and participated in various sports. I had dabbled in yoga, taking my first yoga class with my mom when I was 4 years old. However, I didn’t start a routine practice of yoga and pilates until I came to ANYA, where I fell in love with learning more about myself and practicing self-care.
What’s your yoga story?
Yoga connects me to my inner wisdom and has been a means for me to become closer to myself. Rather than seeking out external remedies or stimuli for fulfillment, it encourages me to search for answers, comfort and strength within.
What inspired you to teach ANYA Pilates Equipment?
Even though I had already taken all of the method-based trainings at ANYA (Pilates Mat, Yoga, Rest), I just couldn’t resist more! I love the structured and fast-paced rhythm of the ANYA Pilates Equipment class. It keeps you moving, builds strength and encourages optimal alignment along with the opportunity to connect the mind, body and spirit.
What are your favorite ANYA techniques (and why)?
Empty and body scanning are a couple of my favorite ANYA techniques. The “Empty” technique draws your focus and energy to your innermost abdominal muscles. It is less about the six-pack abs and more about building a strong center to initiate and support all of your movement. Body scanning is a really simple and accessible way to connect your mind and body, bringing mental consciousness to your physical self. It’s a tool that enables you to become present and find your breath, even while in stressful or chaotic moments. I use both of these techniques all the time!
What Pilates exercises are your faves?
I enjoy movements with repetitive sequences, such as the step-up lunges on the Chair. At first, these were challenging for me, but I stayed curious and determined, and now I really enjoy them! Each time you do something, there is another opportunity to learn something more about yourself and your movement habits. Repetition allows you to get deeper into the mechanics, explore the intricacies and improve. Sometimes, movement that seems mundane from an outside perspective can be extremely captivating and complex underneath the surface.
How would you describe your teaching style?
My style can vary, depending on the class I’m teaching, but in general, my teaching style is a blend of structure and curiosity. I challenge my students to work hard and push themselves, but also to find the subtleties and moments of rest. I enjoy being the encouraging, supportive coach, helping students reach their fullest capacity while feeling supported.
Simply put, I want people to find a deeper connection with themselves. I want my students to come to know their bodies as a resource for comfort and knowledge. I believe the classes I teach help others to appreciate the profound benefits of mindfulness, body awareness and conscious movement. I want to get people hooked on the power of self care and for this new obsession to continue on after class, permeating out and creating more inspiration, peace and happiness in their lives.
What do you love about ANYA?
I love that ANYA supports and embraces the coexistence of polarities. It demonstrates, in a very physical way, how opposites can work simultaneously through push and pull. This concept translates into other aspects of life, encouraging coexistence among opposing views, opinions, and ways of life. It proves that cooperation between seemingly contradicting forces can create something beautiful. For myself personally, it enables my analytical self to work in conjunction with my creative self, producing a new strategy and perspective that one side couldn’t see without the other.