This month, I’m happy to share my fourth interview with one of several of my gurus. There are many that challenge us to understand ourselves, grow our spiritual practices and cultivate our lives. This series is to share with you a few of my own personal mentors that whether they are aware of it or not, have made a huge imprint on my life, love and world.
gu·ru : teacher and especially intellectual guide in matters of fundamental concern.
First, a little bit about what led me to Sherry. This Winter, I went away to Martha’s Vineyard for an amazing intensive Yoga Teacher Training. Yoga came to me just right out of college, even though I had taken a yoga course (for credits) in college. I had just lost my father, living in Boston, in my Dietetic Internship and looking for connection, self-growth and reflection. There were several people that came into my life that inspired me to get into yoga classes. Once I was there, I understood its power (for me). I was so grateful. While I was visiting Martha (the island), I connected with a friend from college that had completed the Fly Yoga School 200-hour Teacher Training. The feelings that percolated during our conversation gave me the powerful impulsion to call Sherry the next day.
Sherry teaches a soulful, fluid and dynamic yoga. We link our breath to our movement, stack poses from basic to more complex, move towards balance between our active and receptive selves, and seek compassion, truth, and acceptance in body mind and spirit. Sherry weaves in the spirit, magic and integrity of the yoga teachings, shamanism and the practice of self-awareness without taking it all too seriously. Each practice is a celebration of life itself.
Sherry is particularly drawn to the change that is experienced through yoga – the “play” within the body; to use breath and movement, to get to know her Self and her divine nature better; and to purify the body and mind so that true spirit has a place to call home. She is humbled by the process of unfolding – peeling through layers – and is stricken by the sweet power of quiet mind and seat.
Sherry returns people to the earth. She wants to “go there” and urges her students to go with her. She is a true teachers teacher, a leader and a mirror into fearlessness, moving people to move- out of their comfort zones and into the fire for healing. She does so with the heart of a warrior, and the touch of the mother. Reminding us every step of the way that we are already Whole, and that everyone is the Guru.
What has been your journey into what you do?
Although I had already taken some yoga classes, yoga truly found me during my pregnancy. I discovered I was pregnant the evening of September 10th, 2001. As you can imagine, waking up the next morning (as a New Yorker) to watch the twin towers go down on the first morning as a future mom was quite alarming. To combat the anxiety of bringing up a child in this time, I decided to go to Prenatal Yoga class, which truly changed my life. The twice weekly classes throughout my pregnancy was a HOME I had not yet felt before in my life. Thus, my first yoga teacher was clearly my son Miles.
When Miles was 4 months old my then-husband and I moved the family to Martha’s Vineyard. I quickly discovered there were no prenatal classes offered on Island, and thus I knew what my dharma was- to be the one to teach. I started offering prenatal yoga when Miles was 8 months old, and created a beautiful community of women in this important life threshold. I can remember clear as day the first woman broke water in class!
Those babies were born and the moms asked me to teach baby & mommy yoga, and then they grew even more and started preschool, and the moms wanted to continue without the babies, so i began to offer Hatha yoga classes open to the public.
My true step-in to sharing yoga as a sacred science happened after I had an injury in my spine. Forced to sit, as it was the only position comfortable to me, I had no choice but to transform my yoga practice from a physical, to a whole science. My meditation practice and study of the teachings through sacred text and subtle body science took hold, landed in me and a new purpose was revealed. In these years of injury, I was able to take the time to create FLY Yoga school.
What have you cultivated along the way?
Deep respect, all around. Gratitude that the teachings have found me and move through me in a relatable way for others. Respect for whatever is showing up in my life and the ability to sit with others as they feel through there own life happenings. Community and deep sharing with individuals and groups. Self-realization and actualization. SO MUCH MORE!
What inspires you?
My son Miles and all the ways he shape-shifts through his life, and the learning I gain through mothering. I am inspired by people awakening to their truth and so grateful that I am able to share that space with others.
What are the biggest things you’ve learned?
Not to run away from my feelings and chase happiness. Seeing the beauty in this sometimes ugly yet beautiful mystery of life. Getting excited about all the ways life presents itself and having a sacred science with an incredible toolbox of practices to guide my way on.
What are your intentions?
To play whatever part I can in bringing others back HOME to themselves.
How do you feel about your energy?
I have a lot of energy, and I am continually learning how to contain, grow and harvest it for the “Greater Good of All.”
What is your relationship with food?
It waivers, but I’d say its’ overall a healthy relationship. Sometimes I pay little attention, other than enjoying that I’m blessed to have it. Then I have sparks of excitement around it at times too. I’m not much of a Chef, but i enjoy eating.
What’s your favorite meal to create for yourself or others or both?
I eat simply and fairly clean. My favorite meal is a big salad with everything in it. Fresh greens, brown rice, toasted sunflower seeds, beets, kale, whatever other yummy things I can add to make it a meal.
Who are your favorite teachers? why?
My son Miles, all the beautiful people who come to practice with me, and my spiritual teachers Saul David Raye and Miguel Angel Vergara. All of these people open doors for me, and remind me of who I am in my essence.
What is your vision board for 2016?
To scale back a bit to gain insight and take a breather (from travel-teaching, specifically). To continually be re-inspired to practice and share yoga in new platforms. To write more. To enjoy my time in the moment of NOW and spend lots of it in nature.
What’s your favorite book and why?
Light on Life by BKS Iyengar. Such a life affirming memoir on the yogic teachings. I can read it over and over (and I do!)
How do you balance your life?
I’ve gotten really good at the mantra “just because I can, doesn’t mean I should”. So Ive learned to say “no, thank you” more so that my “yes” is a “hell-yes!”
How do you practice mindfulness?
I try to do this in all my relations, not always successful, but its a practice. I am learning to listen more than I speak and track my feelings and sensations in the moment of the experiences instead of only in hindsight.
What are some thoughts you’d love to share with others?
We are already Whole. And Everyone is the Guru.
Connect with Sherry:
Thank you for letting us Spread the Love with this month’s inspirational interview. Look forward to next month’s interview with love from, Bridget Pasalacqua, my best friend. Let’s learn to love and be ourselves with the help of each other!