Resolutions, anyone? What are you reading? What does emotional fulfillment mean to you? It’s been awhile since I’ve just written an off-the-cuff post. And the sun is out. I’m still reflecting on 2022. It was a good year. As the year ended, I read a …
Dr. Dio Lewis’s School for Young Ladies, The American Phrenological Journal and Life Illustrated, Fowler & Wells Company, 1867. Reflections on Jan Todd’s Physical Culture and the Body Beautiful: Purposive Exercise in the Lives of American Women, 1800-1870: Part V (of V). Dio Lewis and …
All images are from M.’s A Course of Calisthenics for Young Ladies, in Schools and Families, 1831. I particularly love this illustration. We have used “science-based training” since (at least) 1832. Always so cutting edge, aren’t we? Further reflections on Jan Todd’s Physical Culture and …
Anastasia’s yoga classes have changed my life—and I’m no fan of hyperbole! She is an attentive and energetic teacher, committed to helping her students become aware of our bodies and feelings in ways that spill over into other parts of our lives in powerful ways. I used to be a very impatient, results-oriented person who panicked at any sign of not making headway. Through Anastasia’s classes, where she helps us become aware of our physical and emotional limitations and capacities, I’ve started to really enjoy paying more attention to process and less to results, both inside and outside the yoga studio. I can’t believe how much happier this has made me in my everyday life. It’s been liberating.
I also really appreciate that Anastasia’s instructions in class are always very precise and detailed, allowing me to feel the same pose in many different ways each time I practice. She has a fun and informed but no-new-age-nonsense approach to yoga, which I love. It makes for down-to-earth classes that strike a great balance between being relaxed and challenging. I’m also always impressed at the consistency of her energy level. Even after she’s been teaching multiple classes in a row, she remains dynamic and invested in every single student until the very end.
Yumi K. Assistant Professor of History
Anastasia really knows her stuff and is super down to earth. I’ve been doing yoga for several decades all over the country and even made a film about it and always find myself returning to her no-nonsense approach. I practiced with her as an actress keeping myself balanced while auditioning in town and continue to practice now as a mom to a toddler who keeps me on my toes. Anastasia has a keen eye and gently offers adjustments with her hands or verbally. She gets to know you immediately and her style works well both with beginners and seasoned practitioners. Her low-key vibe is really refreshing and stands in stark contrast to many NYC-based studios (where I feel a strong competitive undercurrent). If you want to improve your yoga practice and feel great and only feel a supportive camaraderie amongst the other students, Anastasia’s the one!
Anastasia is the rare kind of yoga teacher who actually teaches and corrects and insures that students are challenged while remaining injury free. Her classes are fun, upbeat, and not competitive though quite challenging. The atmosphere generated is so full of camaraderie that students become friendly with their yoga mat neighbors and the end of class is usually a bustle of enthusiastic chatter despite students coming from different generations and backgrounds. Anastasia makes a remarkable effort to know every student’s name and encourages students with positive reinforcement and also by encouraging them to persist and to accept falling over and inability to achieve a posture as a natural and important part of the learning process. She uses hands on adjustments generously adapting to the skills and needs of the diverse student population. Few students opt out of having adjustments as they really help one to better understand the goals of the poses and are given in a supportive and encouraging manner. Anastasia’s classes are always very full and often ‘sell-out’ which is a testimony to her widely appreciated skills. Her students commonly arrive early just to stand in line in order to try to get into her class, with many of her students rearranging their work/study/social lives to attend her classes. The music is partially contributed by students who volunteer playlists further encouraging an open and democratic feel.
Manuela Orjuela, M.D., ScM.
Doctor and researcher
Anastasia teaches yoga without being weird, touchy feely, or culturally appropriative. Never thought I would love yoga with a white lady so much!
Diya Jost Medical school student
Being at an age where the years that lie ahead of me are fewer than those already passed, me and my body became like two separate entities. My body became like a used old car. Occasionally it had some problem, and every now and then it would require some repair. Hidden parts of it, probably, degraded and even stopped functioning. This happened in spite of the fact that all my life I was physically active: going to the gym, swimming, and biking.
In fact, it was even worse. It was as if my body started to develop its own personality which, alas, confronted mine. I would order him to do something (such as bending, or reaching my toes in order to cut the nails) but he, quite occasionally, would simply refuse. At the same time he required some more attention, but I did not want to listen or, maybe, did not understand his language.
All of this changed, dramatically, when I joined Anastasia’s yoga class. Her classes reconnected me back to my body. It happened by slowly learning this special language of stretches, twists, balance postures, breathings, strengthening of the core muscles, and meditation. Anastasia is a very wise and sensitive teacher who gives special attention to each one of her students. It was a real pleasure to attend her classes.
Oded Agam Professor of Physics, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
I was drawn to Anastasia’s frank and straightforward style of teaching from the very first time I practiced with her. She provides thoughtful adjustments and modifications for yogis of all levels and fosters a warm and witty community in her classes. Anastasia is authentic and articulate, intelligent and insightful. With her guidance I’ve gone on to pursue my 200-hour teacher training and been able to navigate the Wild West of NYC yoga with patience, perspective, and humor.
Writer & Curator
I just moved back to New York at the beginning of the year, and have been meaning to get in touch. In the three years since I graduated from Columbia, I haven’t been able to find any class as good as Anastasia’s. And I’ve looked—in London, San Francisco, and New York. I’ve taken a few decent classes in Greenpoint over the past few months, but I still prefer Anastasia.
Stella Tan 20-something writer and assistant editor
Anastasia is approachable, knowledgeable and genuinely enthusiastic about the practice of yoga. Instead of overwrought mysticism or affected pep, she takes a pragmatic hands-on approach which I find refreshing. You get an experienced instructor who will get to know you and your progress, willing to deploy both patience and a prodding wit to keep your practice at its peak. Everyone I introduced to her became a quick convert.
Kapil T. 30-something linguistic engineer
Anastasia is a brilliant instructor. Having practiced with her on and off for the past three years, and trying out other studios in the process, I feel the most comfortable working at my edge, strengthening and expanding my practice within her class. Her deep knowledge and expertise in melding both the physical and mental components of yoga will immediately put you at ease. She’s also got an excellent sense of humor—always good comfort in the midst of grueling half-moon pose sequences!
Remi Onabanjo Senior at Columbia College, African Studies
Anastasia is my favorite yoga instructor by far. I was nervous on my start—Anastasia sensed this and was able to not just ease any anxieties I had, but make me fully invested in the practice, as something positive to partake in. She creates the right conditions for class—sensing when there’s a need to lighten the mood, to bring us back to focus, and assessing the appropriate time to convey the specific workings of our bodies in relation to the positions practiced. Anastasia’s practice is more than just a 1 hour distraction from our daily ‘realities.’ Her class has become an integral part of those realities. This is not a superficial yoga experience and there is no separation of means and ends. She is a dedicated, truly inspirational teacher and a sensitive human being to boot. Her way of being percolates through the class and with a little effort on the part of students, class can be a truly transformational experience. It has been for me and I look forward of more to come.
Ph.D. candidate, Anthropology, Columbia
I have practiced yoga off and on for ten years but my practice has become more “on” than “off and on” since taking Anastasia’s classes. Yoga with Anastasia means honestly observing and connecting with your mind and your body. Sometimes you may discover that you have sat at a computer for too many hours straight (tight hamstrings) and sometimes you may realize that your mind is all over the place—in either event, having the time and space to just observe where my body and mind is invaluable to my physical and mental health.
Jen S. Assistant Professor of psychology/neuroscience
I’ve been practicing with Anastasia for about 4 years, after bouncing around for a while trying to find something that worked for me. I immediately appreciated the solid practice and advice, but what’s kept me loyal is the mix of down-to-earth realism and sincerity. I feel like we get Anastasia unfiltered—something that requires some bravery—and that matters to me.
Dan 40-something engineering professional
Anastasia’s private lessons are great for beginning yoga and for exploring more advanced levels. She is extremely knowledgeable about the mindbody and her straightforward approach is a welcome alternative to woo.
Nina Lukina Business Analyst
8+ years and still here
When I started my PhD at Columbia in NYC, I’d done little yoga. I started taking classes with Anastasia, and 8 years later, I am still here. I’ve tried plenty of studios in NYC, France and elsewhere, but what I love about Anastasia is her attention to alignment, her wonderful adjustments, the great atmosphere in her classes, but mostly her uttermost focus and devotion to the breath and the body without getting lost in confusing rhetoric (such as: “feel your third chakra expand”….!)
Coherent, solid, and profoundly honest—this is how I would describe her yoga classes. And that is why they are so powerful and inspiring.
Giulia Paoletti Assistant Professor of Art History
Anastasia’s yoga classes are great! She gives a lot of supportive, hands-on advice and attention, and has helped me see a lot of improvement in my strength and ability to do poses that seemed impossible when I was starting yoga two years ago. Her classes follow a consistent sequence of poses with a little variation, which gives them a soothing predictability, and lets you work on specific poses from week to week. She’s very attentive to the level the student is at, and will help you push yourself to learn new things if you’re ready for it, but she also makes it clear that everyone has different strengths, and doesn’t encourage anyone to force poses that could cause injury or strain. I also really appreciate Anastasia’s no-bullshit approach to teaching yoga. She avoids the wishy-washy yoga platitudes that make me roll my eyes in other classes, but still runs a focused, thoughtful yoga practice that isn’t just a yoga-inspired gym workout.
Jayne Assistant Professor of English
Anastasia was my first yoga teacher and I credit her with the fact that I’m now a serious practitioner over five years later. I was a skeptical new student totally uninterested in a New Age approach, but Anastasia doesn’t preach. She is logical, matter-of-fact, and brings a welcome dose of humor and reality to teaching. Through her concise, down-to-earth instruction and precise adjustments, I learned to use asana and breathing as powerful tools for relaxation, introspection, and at base level, feeling really good—I’m incredibly grateful.
Zoe Schaeffer Photographer and editor
Anastasia provides no nonsense yoga. She offers sound instruction for common sense, safe yoga practice that one can take into other aspects of life. No matter how tired or stressed I sometimes feel going in, I always leave feeling better. She is sometimes, though, very pre-popomo.
Anastasia is a true teacher of yoga. Though her classes always have variety, she also teaches a regular flow that can be practiced at home, and she encourages and provides guidance to her students that help make yoga a practice that can enrich life day to day. Not just a great hour of practice, but a down payment on long term flexibility, balance and serenity.