20 Questions with Theresa Conroy

Theresa is the kind of Yoga Therapist who clearly does not come from a long Yoga background but, instead, from 26 years as a crime reporter at a sassy big-city newspaper. The way she teaches—avoiding many of the soft, sweet vocabulary of Yoga—resonates most with those who need Yoga for healing, and not for the beauty of their Instagram account. She knows her stuff—anatomy, Yoga Therapy—but she’s not heavy or dogmatic. You will laugh in her classes. Always. Without further adieu, meet Theresa Conroy!

gy: Why do you teach yoga?

tc: I almost feel like I HAVE to teach yoga. Once I found it and realized how life-changing it was, I couldn’t keep that a secret, now could I? I had to share it.

gy: What first brought you to the mat? Give us a short story of your first yoga experience.

tc: It was 2000. I had just quit smoking. (At that time, I was a pretty hard-boiled, hard-smoking newspaper reporter with a major potty mouth!) I was about as anxious and stressed as I’ve ever been. My husband was on his way to Home Depot and I asked him to go somewhere, anywhere, to find me a beginner’s yoga tape (VCR days). He came back with an Iyengar class with Patricia Walden. I rolled out a towel on my basement floor, popped Patricia’s class in the VCR and was hooked. I knew–although at that time I didn’t have the experience to completely understand–that if I practiced yoga I would never smoke again.

gy: What yoga teacher(s) has most influenced your practice and teaching?

tc: How can I not acknowledge Patricia Walden, after she helped me quit smoking? I was tremendously moved by studying with Matthew Sanford, in Minnesota. Also, the Pain Care teachings of Neil Pearson blew my mind. Michael Lee, the creator of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy.  I, also, will always be indebted to the late Joan Arnold, who trained me to apply the Alexander Technique to Yoga.

tc2gy: How would you describe your teaching style?

tc: It’s like a stew. You know how you put all these different ingredients into a stew–your Iyengar and anatomy studies, your Adaptive Yoga training, your work with chronic Pain, your two Yoga Therapy certifications, your first 200-hour training–and then stick that mess into the fridge for a couple days and all the ingredients meld into this one savory flavor? That’s my teaching style It is heavy on anatomy and alignment, science and neurology–kind of the meat and potatoes of the stew–but also flavored with a desire to help students to feel the practice in a subtle, more emotional way.

gy: What is your go-to yoga pose when you only have a few minutes? Why?

tc: Seated spinal twist, because it resets my spine. I need it every day–and you can do it anywhere.

gy: Where do you most tap into inspiration? Any resources you could share with us? (yoga, life, place, website…anything!)

tc: When my well runs dry, I go to a yoga class. I try to avoid classes at my own studio, because I always become distracted by work. So I go to a neighboring studio and suck up the inspiration from a new teacher.

gy: What would the soundtrack of your life sound like? (Feel free to share a spotify creation if you’d like!)

tc: A combination of the soundtrack from Amelie, Alice Russell, The Rolling Stones and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

gy: Describe your life ten years from now. Where are you living? What are you doing? tc1

tc: I am teaching Yoga Therapy sessions from the apartment I share with my husband in France. It has been a long-time dream of ours to retire there. We love Paris, but are open to other locations, like Bordeaux.

gy: What is your favorite tradition or ritual?

tc: Opening Christmas presents with my husband on Christmas night, in front of the fire, while tasting the special Christmas beer he has saved.

gy: You have a Sunday all to yourself. How do you spend it?

tc: Going out to Brunch. I teach long days every Sunday and never, never get to go out to Brunch. I have Brunch envy.

gy: What do you value most in your relationships?

tc: Loyalty.

gy: Tell us about your first love. Five words or less.

tc: Daddy smelled like gray flannel.

gy: What’s the picture on your phone’s background? Why did you choose it?

tc: My Siberian Husky, Karma. Because I love her furry little ears so much!tc4

gy: When you’re gone, what do you hope people remember about you?

tc: That I made them laugh and feel good about themselves.  

gy: Any particular yama, niyama or sutra that speaks to you right now? Can you elaborate on that a little bit?

tc: Santosha. I remember when I first realized–much to my relief–that being a happy person did not mean being Christmas-Day giddy all the time, but that it really meant being comfortable and at ease and content with your life. I failed miserably at being giddy so I thought I was unhappy. Then I realized I wasn’t.

gy: In your parallel life, what are you doing? Any other callings that have taken the backseat to yoga that we should know about?

tc: I am a Neurologist with a home in Paris.

gy: If neither time nor money were a concern, what would you do?

tc: Move to Paris!

gy: What is your astrological sign? What do you most identify with about it?

tc: Taurus. I don’t follow astrology or believe it has an meaning in my life so I’m not sure what the qualities of my sign are.

gy: What’s your spirit animal?

tc: A dog.

gy: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

tc: My dad used to tell me, “Don’t worry, it may never happen.”

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