Laura Cabrera is our April Teacher of the Month! You can find her teaching our Bilingual classes from time to time!
Hi there, Laura! Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do in the city.
I was born in Dominican Republic. Became a resident of NYC when I was 15, a decade and a half ago. Washington Heights has been my home ever since. I have a full-time job as a Higher Ed. professional and being both a student and guide in Yoga is where I Invest the rest of my time. My other passions include empowering young women and traveling. I enjoy supporting local shops and markets in the neighborhood — you can catch me strolling for a walk along St.Nicholas avenue any day! Astrology and Spirituality are also in my everyday practice. Finally, I am currently completing an herbal apprenticeship in Brooklyn at sacred vibes apothecary.
How did you come to yoga, and by extension, Bread and Yoga?
Yoga showed up in my path when I was in transition to a more mindful lifestyle. I’ve always enjoyed high intensity workouts, mostly boxing. Slowly, I began to educate myself on healthy eating and picking up new habits of self-care. I then took a yoga class where I felt challenged in a different way. My mental and physical body (temple) were mindfully connected. Years later, I fell in LOVE more and more. I knew I wanted more than just family and friends to experience the joy yoga brought to me, but also my community, my culture. I knew from the beginning that once I completed my yoga certification, my offering as a guide to this practice would be in Washington Heights. This is also how I ended up teaching at B&Y. At the earlier years of my teaching career, B&Y was one of two spaces that offered yoga and I knew I wanted to be part of that. Plus, my first ever bilingual class that I took as a student was by B&Y’s very own Judi Checo :-).
You teach our bilingual classes. How is that dynamic different? What do you love about that?
I feel at home teaching bilingual yoga. The accessibility purpose behind this offering in a community that has a strong Latino representation is powerful. I love that the fellow yogi that is in the same room is also someone that perhaps you saw at your local supermarket, but because they look different than you or don’t speak the language, they don’t even look each other eye to eye. Now you share something so special with that stranger. That special moment was the bilingual class they took together and there they began to speak the same language.
How would you describe your teaching style?
My classes reflect warmth, openness & kindheartedness. As a passionate instructor with an open level audience, I seeks to promote accessibility & understanding in my teaching.
How has yoga impacted you both physically and mentally?
Physically, learning to love and accept my body in a positive, gentle way. Mentally, aligning my thoughts to accept my body in a positive, gentle, loving way.
Do you have any stories you can tell about that journey?
This journey of body positivity and acceptance is still happening. It is a practice, my practice. Accepting the the fluctuations as they come and connecting to those feelings when I allow myself to be vulnerable. One of my favorite quotes is “being comfortable with the uncomfortable…”- Luvvie Ajayi
What is the most impactful way yoga has enhanced your life? Best lesson learned?
I practice yoga to check my EGO. There it happens on the mat. Teaching me lessons, spending intimate time with my experience of connection. Yoga has enhanced my life by giving me a sense of community. I know that the BREATH we take together in that class is the most healing breath, as it reinforces we are having this human experience together. I also learn from my students 🙂
What do you hope to impart to students?
To SHOW up! I always remind my students that they’ve done the hardest part of their practice by getting to class. I let them know that I care about them (hold space). I remind them about the challenge of letting go of expectations and attachments. I encourage my students to honor whatever their practice feels like each and every time, and that it’ll be different each and every time.
What’s your favorite pose or posture?
I don’t have one. My favorite is allowing my breath to flow.
How do you stay balanced and centered living in a place like NYC?
Self Care appointments. Making time for myself to do nothing. Staying in some form of contact with nature. Getting out of NYC when I can to travel to a new place. Making herbal medicine is my new fav now. 🙂