Looking for inspiration? Read this interview! Erin is a multi-talented yoga teacher who found her path combining her love of yoga and travel. Since 2011 she’s been leading yoga retreats around the Mediterranean, from Italy to Morocco.
Tell us a little bit about yourself… Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up in Florida and currently live in New York City. My life has taken many directions leading me to today. I played piano and studied music growing up through to college, and then studied Business, Advertising, Graphic design, and Fine Arts in my college careers before working in design, real estate, and fashion. Finally after moving to Italy for a year to enjoy and learn from a different culture, I decided to do something I was passionate about and thus began the steps to share yoga and eventually combining travel into my dream.
Where and what types of yoga do you currently teach?
My initial training was in Ashtanga, but since then I’ve trained in various methods to expand my own practice, and thus what I help to pass on to others. I currently teach at Strala Yoga in Manhattan, Sangha Yoga Shala in Williamsburg, and of course on my EAT.PRAY.MOVE Retreats throughout the Mediterranean. I combine structure, challenge, ease and overall an openness to explore your own body, level, and feelings for each day and each class!
How many years have you been teaching?
After developing my love for the practice since 1998, I finally decided it was something I wanted to more officially incorporate into other aspects of my life in 2008 which led me to finishing up my initial teacher training in Florence, Italy and beginning to teach at a studio in Florida by the following year.
What is a typical day like for you?
It’s hard to say as most of my days are so different, but if I had to sum it up, a typical day for me while at home in New York consists of enjoying the morning with my husband (usually a coffee on the porch) before the workday starts then doing a home practice or hitting up a class at a studio sometime in the day. I spend quite a bit of time online catching up on all the details for the upcoming retreats. Usually a walk through Central Park is on the agenda and some days it’s off to a studio to lead a class, or to a cafe for a French lesson, or to one of the myriads of special events or exhibitions that this city has to offer!
What is your favorite thing to do – aside from yoga?
This may come as no surprise, but I love to travel – but not only travel, but also the entire process of dreaming about traveling somewhere new (or returning to a place I love), exploring all the possibilities for future trips, and planning some of the details. I love doing this so much in my personal life, that it’s helped me in planning out full retreat holidays for guests.
Who were you mostly influenced by?
This is a tough one – as I feel through my life I’ve been so blessed to be surrounded by amazing community – of loving, creative, and passionate people doing what they love in many subjects and projects. I’ve been supported throughout my growth by my husband, friends and family and have had amazing teachers during my years in yoga. I’m fortunate to have trained under teachers who are humble, practice what they teach and teach what they practice.
You have several retreats coming up, tell us a little about them.
2013 is an exciting year for EAT.PRAY.MOVE and I’m so excited about the retreats coming up – both at reoccurring locations and new. In March we have two back to back weeks in Marrakesh, then in May we’re happy to be heading to a new location in Provence, France for what’s shaping up to be an amazing week (only a couple of spots left!). The first week of June brings us back to Tuscany, Italy which is always a fun week – and one of our smaller groups so it always feels like a family! Then in September it’s back to Italy – this time to my personal favorite place on the planet – an island near the Amalfi coast, Ischia! We’ll hike dormant volcanoes, visit castles in the sea, enjoy a thermal spa and a boat trip around the island stopping at hidden grottos. Then it’s a return to Marrakesh, but with an entirely new *luxury* itinerary. We’ve had guests come to Marrakesh before and looking to return but do something new – so this week will be a dive into pure sensory and pleasure overload!
When and where did you lead your first retreat? Any fun/humbling anecdote?
My first retreat was in Tuscany, Italy in 2011. I’d picked this location to kick off EAT.PRAY.MOVE as it was an area I was familiar with, loved, and considered my second home as I’d lived in Florence. Plus my great friends had restored a villa there where they run art retreats throughout the year, so we decided to start a yoga retreat there as well, and it was an immediate hit! We ended up having to double up that very first trip for back-to-back weeks as it sold out so quickly. It’s just amazing to meet all the guests from around the world that come, and so many become great friends. There was a group who met in Marrakesh and had a mini reunion in Tuscany last summer – it was like a family from day one! We ended up having a spontaneous dance party during dinner on the last night!
Why do you lead retreats?
It’s the perfect match of two of the things I’m passionate about and love to share with others – yoga and travel. Now, since I repeat the locations each year, the thing I look forward to the most each retreat, isn’t the new sites and experiences of the day trips, spas, food, etc – it’s the new faces, friends, and relationships that come out of every single retreat.
What advice do you give your students looking for transformation through Yoga?
The best and most truthful thing I can say to this is to be themselves. You hear all the time that ‘everyone is different’, ‘listen to your body’, etc but so many times we don’t take it to heart. Your yoga won’t, and doesn’t have to, look like someone else – your “teacher’s”, your mat neighbor’s, or that person on YouTube. Actually I think it’s probably helpful to cut out a lot of the ‘yoga’ stuff that’s bombarding us everyday. It’s so much fluff and, honestly, completely unneeded. Turn off, unplug, find a good guide that practices what they teach, then listen to your body, be honest and open. If doing something on the mat can’t help you live better and be an improved person (trying to hit that “perfect pose” which just makes you frustrated and static), then change what you’re doing to help bring your practice off the mat (allowing yourself to break away from the “perfect” pose to something that brings ease and a smile).
How do you remind yourself to be grateful?
I wrote a piece for MindBodyGreen last year that talked about thinking instead of “what do I have to do today?”, thinking “what do I have *the opportunity* to do today?” Just the addition of those two extra words changes everything. Living in NYC, it’s easy to get run over by the hustle and bustle and making each day a checklist of to-dos. So I’ve found that looking at the things in my day, even the mundane like grocery shopping, is really an opportunity. One that I can be thankful for as many people don’t have this opportunity to even eat, buy food, live in a vibrant city, do what they love!
For more information about Erin’s retreats go to: