Tanya Farmer calls herself an "upbeat Brooklyn-based yoga teacher" who has instructed every grade from Pre-K to high school in the New York public school system. "In each class, my intention is to show up big and hold space for my students to do the same," she said. "I think yoga can and should be a playful exploration of our bodies and minds." This vigorous vinyasa instructor, who also teaches adults, is a Wanderlust Stratton Ambassador who will lead a free #FindYourTrueNorth event 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30 at Sacred Studio. Here she is under the blossoms, breaking down dancer's pose in a three-part waltz dedicated to spring:
YogaCity NYC: What pose did you choose and why do you like it?
Tanya Farmer: Natarajasana (dancer’s pose) is my favorite pose! It makes me feel powerful and graceful on my mat and I love to see my yoga students connect with their power and grace within this shape. I also chose natarajasana because it is a challenging pose that requires a focused relaxed mind and gaze as well as steadiness in the standing leg and ease in the spine to achieve the backward bend.
YCNYC: Describe the anatomy of the first pose and body parts engaged.
TF: In the first pose, dancer’s prep, find your ground by pressing into all four corners of your standing foot allowing your toes to spread on the mat. Next bend your opposite leg and press your heel towards your glut accessing your power as you stretch your quadriceps. It is important in this pose and the two poses that follow to focus your drishti, or gazing point out in front of you.
YCNYC: What body parts are engaged in the second pose?
TF: The second pose is traditional dancer’s pose. Building a strong foundation once more in the standing leg reach back for the inner arch of the foot on your bent leg. Back-bends come through the strength of the legs so as you reach the opposite hand up press your bound foot up and into your hand guiding your heart skyward.
YCNYC: What is the overall effect of the third pose on the body, and what does this one add to the understanding of the pose?
TF: The third pose, mermaid dancer, is the most advanced of the three and builds directly on the foundation set by the previous two. Press down into all four corners of your standing foot, engage your standing leg, and activate your shoulders. You can add an extra challenge by slipping your bound foot into your elbow crease as you reach your extended arm back and down to create a bind. When we get into a bind oftentimes we feel stuck. Within this shape however there is openness and freedom, a lesson for when we encounter binds off the mat. Dancer’s pose and its variations embody what Patanjali mentions in 2.46 of The Yoga Sutras: Sthira Sukkham Asanam. The posture is firm, stable, steady and easy, comfortable, joyful.
To take a hot power class with Farmer, show up 8 a.m. on Saturdays or 12 p.m. on Sundays at Sacred Studio. You can also catch her 9 a.m., Sunday, May 1 at Brooklyn Lululemon for a free class. To inquire about privates, family yoga, and small group instruction, go to her website or follow her on Facebook.