Yoga has been a compliment to my life for nearly ten years. Originally drawn to the practice for stress relief, I quickly discovered it was the only form of ‘exercise’ that I really enjoyed.
The physical practice transformed me; I was healthier and more fit than ever, and found that I craved the feeling of complete release I felt after a vigorous class and lengthy savasana.
Compelled to share what I had grown to love with others, I received my 200-hour teaching certification from Lotus Gardens Yoga School in 2010. I had been teaching for just under two years when I began experiencing health problems – swollen joints and muscular pain that was eventually diagnosed as inflammatory autoimmune arthritis. As my body began to develop severe imbalances, I struggled with even the gentlest yoga practice.
Today, I am still seeking balance and healing; I have learned – slowly, and not always easily – how to evolve my physical asana practice to support the ever-changing needs of my body.
I wish to give students more than exercise and relaxation, but to impart a greater understanding of how to listen to, work with, and nourish our one human body. I encourage students to embrace imperfections and let go of any preconceived notions of what yoga should be, and rather let it unfold as an evolving dialogue between body and mind – a tool that opens us up to a better understanding of who we are, what we need, and – eventually – our greater purpose is in this life.
My yoga journey is not the typical “I was searching for inner peace” sort of story. I honestly began my practice because I was drawn to the strength and beauty of the advanced poses (most of which I have yet to attempt, let alone master) and I wanted to be able to do them. I wanted to be that strong.
I practiced sporadically for a few years, drifting away for a while, but always coming back to it. I think I was, at that time, in love with the idea of yoga more so than the actual practice.
Near the end of 2007 my life was turned on it’s head by a very serious car accident where my car rolled multiple time and left me in pretty bad shape. I was lucky to be alive and miraculously had no broken bones, but my entire body had been shaken and bruised. I turned to yoga at that time because it was all I could manage and it took a long time before I didn’t ache all the time.
Fast forward to January 2013; I found Sunstone Yoga in Dallas Texas through a friend who taught for them and fell absolutely head over heels in love with my practice. I joined immediately after my first class and simply could not get enough yoga in my life. that same friend who brought me to my first Sunstone class told me about their teacher training program, and while I had entertained the idea of becoming certified to teach yoga off and on for years, it had never seriously been an option. I was terrified to leave my stable office job for something that was so “unconventional”.
It took a tragic and sudden death of a coworker in my office to give me the push I needed to leave corporate America for good. I quit in May 2013 and started my training in June. Going through Sunstone’s 8 week Intensive 500 hour program. It was by far the greatest experience of my life, I learned more about myself in those 8 weeks than I would have thought possible and I came out of it with a much deeper practice and the desire to help guide others to find strength, peace and joy in their own practice.
In the year and a half I have been teaching I have tried to find the balance between a class that challenges but also relaxes. It is a goal of mine, as a teach to try to meet each student where ever they are in their practice, teaching not only to the room, but specifically to them. I hope to empower each student to realize the strength and joy that can come from their practice.
My teaching style tends to be light and fun.
The Light in me honors the Light in you; Namaste
Troy-Yoga was founded in 2006 by Joely Johnson Mork, and over the years it has been passed on from teacher to teacher. We’re honored to recognize the diverse, inspiring yogis who have made Troy-Yoga what it is today:
Martha practiced yoga since her teen years in Western Massachusetts, where her first yoga-love was Kripalu. Always a fan of exertion, she was drawn to the more fiery side of practice through vinyasa-based approaches, but still cares very much about pausing, analyzing, and letting individual poses evolve with the breath. She completed her 200-hour teacher training in March of 2011 at Bliss Yoga in Woodstock, NY, where her teachers came from the Jivamukti and Om schools. Martha continues her efforts to reach past the athleticism of yoga and into the energy and consciousness of the Self.
You can continue to enjoy Martha’s excellent classes at Heartspace in Albany.
Ali received her doctorate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and began practicing yoga to help with back pain and stress. Yoga not only changed her life, but transformed her research as well. Learn more about Ali here: www.alikenner.com
Andrew and Elizabeth Kasius
Andrew currently is the owner and manager of Heartspace Yoga & Healing Arts. He continues to offer a blend of asana, pranayama and meditation to help strengthen mental focus and awareness, a sense of peacefulness, enhance physical and energetic vitality, and foster an improved sense of connection within ourselves and with the world around us.
Elizabeth loved teaching beginners and her yogic focal point was stress relief and well-being. A musician and composer, Elizabeth is a Creative Arts Therapy faculty member at Russell Sage College in Troy. She also helps run Heartspace Yoga & Healing Arts along with her husband, Andrew.
Joely Johnson Mork
The founder of Troy-Yoga, Joely has been teaching for nearly 20 years and her style and personal practice are strongly influenced by the Sivananda and Integral schools of yoga. She currently resides in Washington state.