Sometimes it’s the younger, fresh teachers that often remind me of how special this practice of yoga is. They remind me of how lucky I am to have such an amazing job that is not only a career but a rich and multi-layered way of living. This is the way Goldie Kaufenberg makes me feel. Her boundless enthusiasm and creativity that she approaches her yoga practice and teaching with is infectious. We are so excited for her to come teach at La Jolla Yoga Center this Saturday, June 30th. I sat down to talk with her so you could get to know her like I have:
How did you become a yoga teacher and who were your biggest influences and inspirations?
In 2008 I moved to San Francisco with a plan to further my career in medicine. I stepped onto my yoga mat at Yoga Tree in the Mission District without much of a thought. I had only taken a few dozen classes before this one and was doing it to heal my body post injuries/racing. Les Leventhal ignited a spark deep within me which I never knew existed. Within hours of leaving his class, I withdrew from Berkeley and began yoga teacher training. When you turn your thinking mind off and feel a bit more, everything falls into place because the answers are so much clearer. I think we should all think less.
Definitely! What brought you to Boston? How is the yoga scene there?
Boston is INCREDIBLE for so many reasons. I am absolutely in love with this city and it only took a couple of months for me to fall hard. I moved to Boston in 2006 after graduating from The University of Florida. Yes, I’m a Gator – but not of the crazy orange and blue wearing type. My sister, Zoe, was completing her preliminary year of residency here in Boston and I wanted to leave Florida and move to a city. Boston made the most sense since my sister was here, and so I packed up and shipped out!
Boston is small enough to build a community in which you are constantly seeing your peers throughout the city on a daily basis, but also big enough where you feel the urban, street vibe and can hide out incognito in a movie theater or on a dock on the Charles River Esplanade. The various neighborhoods provide a different scene, so no matter what mood you are in, there is a hood waiting to take care of you and satiate your every need for the time being. Have I mentioned I heart Boston so much?! The “yoga scene” here is a dedicated one. Like any city, there are tons of yoga studios, and if you practice yoga on a regular basis, chances are your worlds start to collide and your community circles start to get bigger. It’s a beautiful thing to watch and feel. Because we are so close to NYC, we get to practice with some of the best visiting east coast teachers and are constantly being inspired by our fellow teachers and students alike.
Describe the style of yoga you teach, the music you play and how it adds to the experience of your class.
My teaching has been influenced by Ana Forrest, Ashtanga, and Iyengar. I teach what is known as “Hip Hop Yoga” which is vinyasa with a hip hop play list carefully crafted to blow your mind. The loud music is there to inspire you to get out of your head and serves as reminder not to take yourself or your practice too seriously. My goal as a teacher is to inspire others to get to know themselves through motion. Going to yoga is not enough. So often we arrive on our mat and are going through the motions like a game of Simon Says. Ninety minutes later we find that we learned and remember nothing, and the act of feeling what it was we were trying to ignite is impossible because we’re numb to the present, and instead are just trying to check our “workout” off the to-do list. By tuning in and being interested in your own body we are able to shelve the stuff the monkey mind chatter carries – even if just for 90 minutes. We all want to better our asanas (postures) and learn to enhance our physical abilities both on and off the mat. But to pause for a moment of stillness during and after a class and truly feel the effects of the practice, might be enough to inspire you to return with the intention of being less about nailing the perfect handstand or getting your workout in, and more about getting to know yourself a little better.
We are so excited to have you at La Jolla Yoga Center on June 30th. What is the focus of your workshop and for whom is it appropriate?
I’m so excited to be teaching at La Jolla Yoga Center and can’t wait to share the love I have for Flow Down (commonly called Hip Hop Yoga on the east coast.) My classes are for every level of practitioner. I always give multiple kramas (stages) to choose from, so if you’re not advanced, but also not a beginner, you’re still in the right place and have somewhere to be. With that said, if you’re brand new to yoga, there is no better way to introduce yourself to yoga than to take this type of class. In my opinion, it’s the best way to start a practice with less self dialogue that often sounds like, “ OMG. What is going on? I have no clue what I’m doing!” and instead have fun being a novice while learning. What makes vinyasa so unique is that we can all practice in a room together, regardless of the varying level of practitioners. There is a place for everyone, amongst everyone.
One of the fun parts of being a yoga teacher is the comfortable and stylish clothes we get to wear. What is your go-to fav head-to-toe yoga outfit?
Oh yes! I couldn’t agree more. Who doesn’t love to wear yoga pants every day, all day?! I am currently a Lululemon ambassador and can just about seven days a week be found at some point in the day wearing Lululemon Wunder Unders, a Cool-Racer Back Tank, funky high tops or boots, and of course my accessories. I love to accessorize my wrists/hands, so I’m often seen wearing my favorite rings, malas and lots of bracelets. As for colors, it all depends on the season and my mood. When I need to ground, I wear black. When I’m feeling feisty and pitta, I tend to wear a lot of bright pinks, purples, and teals. I guess you could assume my mood by what I’m wearing! Should I keep this part a secret?
What else is coming up with you that we can look forward to?
I have a retreat in Belize coming up, a teacher training next summer, and also a workshop in Syracuse, NY in September.
For more of Goldie, check out her website: www.GoldieYoga.com
Connect with Goldie on Facebook