TUESDAY TEACHER TALK: Anna Luciano
We sat down with our teacher Anna Luciano to talk about her path to yoga, her practice, and why she became a yoga teacher.
When did you start teaching for Yoga 4 Change?
My first experience with Yoga 4 Change was June of last year. Kathryn, our fearless leader, was about to have another round of foot surgeries, and she asked me if I’d be interested in teaching while she was laid up. I accompanied her to the Community Transition Center for a few weeks prior to her surgery, and I’ve been teaching there ever since.
What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?
First off, I’d like to say that in my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d teach yoga! Of course that’s because I had no idea what yoga actually was. What inspired me to teach were a couple things… 1) Yoga transformed my life. Period. Doing yoga 3-4 times a week made me peaceful, optimistic, courageous, strong and happy again. The practice reconnected me to my life, my physical body and cleared my mind. In my mind, I couldn’t NOT teach. 2) I teach Baptiste Power Yoga and was so fortunte to have had some absolutely incredible yoga teachers who taught this style. It’s a powerful and dynamic form of yoga, and the teachers were inspiring, hard-working and incredible leaders in the community. They were also real people living real lives. Again, not at all what I thought about yoga! So if they could do it, why not me?!
Why do you choose to work for Y4C?
Every Friday when I teach at the Transition Center, these guys walk in with all different kinds of energy. Some are sad, some angry, some excited, every single one of them choose to take this class, it isn’t mandatory. When class is over, I see a shift in each of them. When they sit up from the final resting poses, they are peaceful, happy even. Creating peace and happiness with inmates in jail, who in under 6 months are going to be our neighbors again, I can’t NOT teach! I feel like I say that alot! 😉 But seriously, it’s incredibly inspiring stuff! These guys look forward to this class every week, and all it takes is 1 class. The new guys that come in are shocked at how physically challenging the practice is, and after class a lot of them say that it’s the calmest and most peaceful they’ve ever felt!
Share with us a funny, sad, or memorable story about your teaching.
There are way too many to share!!! Though I’ll never forget when one of the high school kids I taught told me at the end of class that it was the safest and happiest she’s ever felt.
What is your favorite drink?
I don’t do well without my morning cup of coffee!!
What’s your favorite yoga pose and why?
This changes for me constantly… Right now I’d have to say, Rag Doll. It’s pretty simple, spread your feet to hip width distance, drive the 4 corners of your feet into the ground , fold over, drop your head and let your entire upper body hang. It’s a hamstring stretch and inversion all in one. I do this pose all the time… when I’m blow-drying my hair, when I’m stressed, if I’m bored, etc. I feel refreshed and a little light headed when I come up. It’s like, whatever just happened the second before, its suddenly gone.
Cat or Cow?
Really both. In my mind, one doesn’t exist without the other. I love cow, the lifting of my head and tailbone, the stretch in my spine, but it is made better because of the opposite movement of cat, it feels good to press my spine to the sky!
How can yoga help people change their lives?
Yoga doesn’t do the life changing. People do the life changing. If you do yoga, your life isn’t going to magically change! However, I can only really speak for myself with this. Yoga cleared my head, made me peaceful, calm and less reactive. The breathing part of yoga is the biggest part! What it taught me was that with just one breath, my entire perspective can shift. If I was in a tough pose for what seemed like forever, instead of getting mad (which I sometimes did!), when I focused on breathing, I got through it. This shows up in my life all the time, someone pulls in front of me in my car and then goes at a slow speed, I take a breath and smile and realize that even though it feels like it’s happening to me, it’s just happening. I have the power to choose how I react, or if I let it get to me. Yoga has given me the tools to be a more happy and mindful person. I believe everyone wants to be happy and peaceful… I found it, like so many others, through yoga.
Why should people support Y4C?
We make yoga accessible to ALL people. We teach to people who might never have done yoga, or be able to afford to do yoga. We are simply teachers who want this world to be a better place. We want for others what yoga has given us and we need the support of our community to help make this happen. Being of service to my community shows me every week how lucky and fortunate I am and to never sweat the little stuff. I am grateful for the opportunity that Yoga 4 Change has given me to teach, and I hope that I’m always able to give back in this way.
As a former Division 1 Pole-Vaulter, Anna Luciano was instantly drawn to the physicality of Baptiste Power Yoga. As she quickly came to find out, Baptiste Yoga is more than just the physical practice. By adding inquiry and meditation to a regular yoga practice, she uncovered the Anna that was hiding out under layers of worry and self doubt. Today she stands in what’s possible from her commitment to self discovery and growth and her commitment to being of service to others.Through this commitment, she is a proud mentor of an Africa Yoga Project Teacher/Leader.She teaches to inspire the lives of inmates in a Correctional Facility and teaches yoga to men, women, boys and girls who are wheelchair bound. Through all of this she has learned and is constantly reminded that every single day is precious.