Birthplace: Lewiston, NY

When & how did you start practicing yoga: I began practicing yoga in early 2000, to help with chronic muscles tightness and soreness related to years of weight lifting and injuries from my days as a college football player.  My focus shifted when I learned about the other limbs and benefits of yoga.  It was the combination of spiritual, mental, emotional, philosophical and physical that ultimately made yoga a life-long practice and journey for me (and I can even touch my toes now).

How has it helped you off the mat: First and foremost, yoga reminds me to stay mindful in everything aspect of my life.  It also helps keep me present (as much as one can stay present – ‘what was I just talking about…oh, yeah’), allows me to be patient, brings me contentment, creates more awareness in regard to my life’s experiences and has allowed me to adopt a lifestyle of mindful simplicity.

When did you decide you wanted to teach yoga and where/with whom did you do teacher training?  I remember the exact moment I decided to teach – it was during the fall of 2006.  I was in a forward fold (my mat was purple) at a Tuesday, 5:30 a.m., vinyasa class at the Ballentyne Village YMCA in Charlotte, NC.  The instructor was Dolly Stavros.  I was at a crossroads during that time and remembered thinking in that forward fold, “This is the only place I feel good these days.  I’m going to teach this.”  That week I signed up for Dolly’s teacher training program and graduated in June of 2007.

Styles most influenced by:  Dolly Stavros.  Whenever I teach, whatever style (vinyasa, slow-flow, basics) I remember what Dolly shared so passionately during my training – “Be authentic and teach from that place.”

Favorite yoga related books: The Heart of Yoga – Desikachar; The Simple Living Guide – Janet Luhrs; The Laws of Spirit – Dan Millman; and some fiction with ‘yoga-like’ messages and journeys: The Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula LeGuin; Face of the Waters – Robert Silverberg; Kingdoms of the Wall – Robert Silverberg.

What do you like to do when you’re not doing yoga?  Spend time with my wife, Jackie, and my dogs, Kibo and Shira.  I also love music and play guitar, a variety of bamboo flutes and the steel handpan.

 

Greg LaBarbera Yoga

Wednesdays at Carmel at 9:30, exercise physiologist Greg sequences in mandala style-and there’s sometimes a bonus handpan or flute savasana!

Michelle E.