Updated: Feb 15, 2018
In our very first 'Inside the studio' we talk to Charlotte Alimanestianu, a Boston (MA) - based Vinyasa and Heated Vinyasa yoga teacher. We ask what inspired her journey to become a Yoga teacher, where she finds day-to-day inspiration and her top songs to practice to.
Thank you Charlotte, for taking the time for this interview.
How long have you been doing yoga?
I started doing yoga when I was 17 years old, during my senior year of high school. However, it took me a while to become really invested in my yoga practice; it wasn’t until I turned 20 that I started to use yoga as a mental and emotional practice in addition to a physical practice.
What is it that inspired you to become an instructor?
In college, I began to utilize yoga to manage my stress and anxiety, as well as a way to enhance my mind-body connection. I was amazed at the mental and emotional benefits of my yoga practice, and was inspired to become a teacher to help other people experience similar benefits. I also wanted to complete my training to deepen my own practice and and increase my understanding of alignment and anatomy.
Where did you train to teach yoga?
I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training at Kripalu Center in the Berkshires.
Do you teach privately or at a studio?
I teach Vinyasa and Heated Vinyasa at a studio.
Is there anyone in particular that inspires you to teach/practice?
Taking yoga classes and having my own practice inspires me to teach more than any one individual. I often feel the most inspired after taking a yoga class – this inspiration could have come from the teacher, the class sequence, the music, the energy in the studio, etc. When I feel mentally, physically, and emotionally better after yoga, I get excited about being able to share this experience with my students.
Is music a key part of your practice? If yes, what are your top 5 songs to practice to?
The kind of music I listen to during my practice is very dependent on both my environment and the mood I’m in. On rainy or grey days, I love to listen to slower, jazzy artists like Leon Bridges, Norah Jones, and Alabama Shakes. In the morning or on days where I have more energy, I like to listen to more upbeat electronic music like Odesza, DJ Drez, or Hippie Sabatoge. If I’ve had a busy day or am feeling stressed, I prefer to practice to music without lyrics – this enables me to go deeper inward and achieve more stillness in my practice.
My top five favorite songs to practice to are:
1. Bridges – Koresma
2. River – Leon Bridges
3. Open - Rhye
4. Shanti (Peace Out) – MC Yogi
5. OM – Hippie Sabatoge
Where is your favourite space to practice yoga?
When I’m doing my own practice, I prefer to practice in my apartment or the studio where I teach and experiment on my mat. I always end up finding the most creative and feel-good sequences when I’m moving organically and in ways that feel natural. I also love taking classes, and have learned so much from being a student. I practice in many studios across Boston including Beacon Hill Yoga (my studio!), Yogaworks, and North End Yoga.
What items do you like to use to enhance your practice?
I love using blocks. No matter how comfortable I feel in a pose, I always feel more strength, length, and stability with a block. My favorite poses to use a block in are triangle, side angle, and half-moon.
What is your favourite quote?
I don’t have one favorite quote, but in my classes I really try to encourage my students to be present in their bodies and on their mats. One of my teachers at Kripalu used to say: “you have nowhere to be but here and nothing to do but be”, and this really resonated with me. Our daily lives are so hectic and when people carve out the time to attend a yoga class, it’s so important to honor that time and be as present as possible.