I’ve mentioned Yoga in one of my previous posts. I wholeheartedly believe Yoga benefits your mind and body and is an invaluable practice to add to your life. It is with great honor to have the opportunity to interview Valeria Costa, a yoga instructor and co-founder of AttaDippa Yoga. Valeria has been teaching Yoga for seven years and firmly believes in the healing and restorative benefits of Yoga.
Come join me on my interview with Valeria
How did Yoga come into your life, and what has that journey been like for you?
Over ten years ago, I studied Science and Nutrition. I took Anatomy and Physiology as one of my classes, and I fell in love with the human body. After I gained 15lbs trying to study and work full time, I decided to get involved in Fitness. I became a Group Fitness Instructor and taught high-intensity cardio classes. One of those classes was a format called PiYo, a fusion of Pilates and Yoga paired with upbeat music and a lot of movement.
After teaching PiYo for some time I wanted to improve as an instructor. I tried Yoga classes, but sitting and breathing at the beginning of each class would make me restless. For my type-A brain, that was a waste of time. I needed to move, to get things done and burn calories.
Still, I wanted to refine my teaching, so I took a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. I trained with Mastani Arts Yoga School; registered with the Yoga Alliance.
In school, I learned why I struggled with the relaxation part of Yoga. My mind was on all the time. I began to practice being a witness to my thoughts and mind. Realizing I needed to learn more about the depths of my being, the working of my mind, and the effects of breath on both, led me to start my yoga journey.
What made you become a Yoga teacher?
It was never my intention to teach Yoga. I trained in Yoga to better understand the Yoga poses I was teaching in my PiYo classes. Upon completion of my training, I felt better with my new skills and wanted to share this discovery. I started teaching Yoga right away, covering only the basics I worked on in my practice.
My Yoga career launched when my students noticed an improvement in my PiYo instruction.
What is your Yoga philosophy?
My yoga philosophy is to empower people to listen to their bodies and their inner teacher. Two years ago, I partnered with my teacher, Fernanda Suarez, to open a Yoga Studio. We named it AttaDippa, which means You Are Light. We both believe as Instructors; our job is to show you that the true teacher is within.
How has Yoga changed your life?
Yoga changed my life. It introduced me to breathing techniques and the power of breath on your body and mind. It allowed me to take my practice off the mat. I started to develop a relationship with silence; I observed my mind and identified the vast world within.
How do you stay up to date in the Yoga industry?
To stay certified as a fitness instructor, I have to take 15 continuing education credits every two years and re-certify for first aid and CPR. I have broadened my yoga training to include Injury Prevention, Midlife Fitness for Women, Pre-Post Natal Fitness, and Yoga Kids Training. This year I will be completing a BreathWork Certification with Yoga College.
On occasion, I take Yoga classes with different teachers; it allows me to continue to be a student and grow in my journey.
What style of Yoga do you enjoy teaching and practicing?
I enjoy teaching Hatha and Vinyasa classes. Over the years, I learned to warm up the body gently, move slowly, and allow time to listen to our breath as we move, which is how I teach my classes. I am very detail-oriented. My instructions tend to be step by step most of the time.
Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and Kundalini Yoga are my other favorites.
Do you teach Prenatal Yoga?
I do not teach as of now. There are always pregnant women that take my classes. I feel confident showing them the proper modifications depending on their stage of pregnancy and previous experience.
Do you prefer to instruct small groups, large groups, or one on one?
I love working with all three options, and thankfully I have experience with all of them.
It is challenging with large groups to keep an eye on everyone and see which people need more guided instruction. Yet the energy from the group fills the room.
Small groups allow for a more intimate group experience.
And with one-on-one, I can guide students on their posture and help them achieve their goals for their practice.
What has helped you improve your classes throughout the years?
My experience as a Group Fitness Instructor and Yoga Instructor helped me to expand my knowledge and improve how I teach my classes.
Yet what helped me the most, was to value what I had to offer as a new teacher and teach what I had worked on myself as a yoga student. Most great teachings come from our own experiences. I can have all the knowledge on the instructions of a pose and may very well instruct it. It just will never be the same as if I had never had my own journey with a pose. And I have to tell you that I feel these journeys never end.
Your practice changes and your body changes. The way you breathe changes and your awareness changes. The way you feel in a pose will always be different.
How has Yoga affected your daily life?
It helped me strengthen my back and improve my posture. The tightness in my chest muscles and my weak shoulder muscles left me unable to reach over my head with my arms. Now, I’m able to move around on my own. I used to have to request assistance for tasks around the house and at work. In recent years it helped me deal with chronic pain from Lyme disease.
Yoga offers so much for many different situations in life.
Tell me more about your yoga classes.
As of now, I’m teaching Yoga at Lincoln Park in Jersey City on Sundays. These classes are free for the community and sponsored by Hudson County Parks and the Farmers Market. Below is the class schedule.
- 9 am Gentle Stretch. (Gentle movements focused on warming up the joints and light stretches).
- 10:30 am Hatha/Vinyasa. (A little more focus and strength-oriented practice).
I have a Virtual Yoga Studio where we offer classes online, live, and on-demand. You can check out our free weekly Monday Movement (30-minute class) at 7 am.
I teach Yoga at Secaucus High School in New Jersey. I enjoy seeing how much the kids get out of it.
Tell me about your yoga teacher training for teaching other future yogis.
We run a Yoga Teacher training every year, and the next one will start in January 2022. Our training is a 200 hours Yoga Teacher Training, registered with Yoga Alliance. We cover 62 Yoga poses, the history of Yoga, the chakra system, the eight limbs of Yoga, anatomy, nutrition and Ayurveda principles, and more.
If you want to check out more on it, visit this link.
Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog
For free outdoor Attadippa Yoga Classes, you can find us at Hudson Parks, Jersey City, New Jersey.
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