Mandy’s goal is to encourage and empower you through your practice on and off the mat. Working with alignment and plenty of modification options, Mandy’s warm and welcoming classes are always sweet and sweaty celebrations of life that meet you where you are. No need for perfection, you get permission to show up perfectly imperfect.
gy: Why do you teach yoga?
mr: I teach yoga to share my love of life and learning.
gy: What first brought you to the mat? Give us a short story of your first yoga experience.
mr: It really took me years to find the right teacher for where I was, for me to get on my mat and stay. But my first experience with yoga came from a tv show that used to be on called Exhale with Steve Ross. Steve made yoga feel accessible and fun, something I feel is still missing in the general yoga community.
gy: What yoga teacher(s) has most influenced your practice and teaching?
mr: Great question. I am influenced by many teachers. Kathryn Budig for her playful nature and her strong leadership. Mitchel Bleier for his constant studentship and love for connecting the mind/body/soul with the art of life. Christina Sell for her breaking down of the asana into alignment and engagement. Seane Corn for her humanitarianism and global outlook. Lorin and Maurine Roche for their intimate outlook on the philosophy of meditation. There are many non-asana (but vey yogic) teachers who have strongly influenced me as well such as Brene’ Brown, Cheryl Strayed, Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Willimason, Elizabeth Gilbert, Scott Peck and so many more.
gy: How would you describe your teaching style?
mr: Playful. Fun. Life Centered. Alignment based. Open. Accessible.
gy: What is your go-to yoga pose when you only have a few minutes? Why?
mr: Downward Facing Dog with bent knees and a lifted tail, because it feels good!
gy: Where do you most tap into inspiration? Any resources you could share with us? (yoga, life, place, website…anything!)
mr: Ahh! EVERYTHING gives me inspiration. Sometimes it’s an old memory or something I noticed that day. Life is the greatest form of art.
gy: What would the soundtrack of your life sound like? (Feel free to share a spotify creation if you’d like!)
mr: Perfect, I love music and use it extensively in my classes. Here is a playlist of my life. It’s full of beauty, sadness, humor, playfulness and depth. My Life in Song
Photo by Ross Knight
gy: Describe your life ten years from now. Where are you living? What are you doing?
mr: Mmmm. Life is full of space, love, laughter and friendships. I live close to the beach or travel to the beach very often leading Women’s Retreats.
gy: What is your favorite tradition or ritual?
mr: A long warm bath with essential oils and a glass of wine.
gy: You have a Sunday all to yourself. How do you spend it?
mr: Yipee! Coffee in bed reading until I am ready to rise. A great yoga class that is sweaty, fun and inspiring. A lingering lunch with friends on a patio. A nap. A generous home cooked dinner and fine wine followed by the most blissful night’s sleep.
gy: What do you value most in your relationships?
mr: Integrity, honesty, humor, authenticity.
gy: Tell us about your first love. Five words or less.
mr: Scott, a second grade crush.
gy: What’s the picture on your phone’s background? Why did you choose it?
mr: Great question. My screensaver is a tarot card I pulled called the Queen of Air. She is a fierce, gypsy like woman that is witty, experienced, independent and realistic yet gazing into a crystal ball at the future that is filled with a unicorn (MAGIC). I’m pretty sure that card was sent to me by the Divine.
gy: When you’re gone, what do you hope people remember about you?
mr: That I loved well.
gy: Any particular yama, niyama or sutra that speaks to you right now? Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
mr: Mmmm, they are all jewels but if I had to pick just one probably Brahmacharya. Brahmacharya is often known as non-excess but it literally translates into “walking with God”. I feel all moments are sacred, every breath, every relationship, every struggle is a ultimate learning opportunity gifted to us from the Divine. Sometimes those learning opportunities are shitty and tough, and sometimes it takes years to see the hidden learning opportunity.
gy: In your parallel life, what are you doing? Any other callings that have taken the backseat to yoga that we should know about?
mr: In addition to being a yoga teacher I am also a single mom and yoga studio owner. I adore gardening and landscape design, but wouldn’t you know I live in a home without outdoor space to play in the dirt.
Photo by Ross Knight
gy: If neither time nor money were a concern, what would you do?
mr: Read and travel more.
gy: What is your astrological sign? What do you most identify with about it?
mr: I’m an Aquarius, and I fit the sign pretty darn well.
gy: What’s your spirit animal?
mr: I have no idea! I like otters, does that count? Oh and puppies. Who doesn’t like a cute puppy? And I think snakes are cool, but still scary in a reverent kind of way.
gy: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
mr: Don’t be an asshole. – Jennifer Pastiloff
Feature image by Robert Sturman.