May Student of the Month: Tom Roepke

Posted May 14, 2019


We love celebrating our students! Tom is our May student of the month. Checkout our interview together below!

Hi there! Tell me a bit about yourself.

Thanks for asking! Tough question to answer in depth…

I moved to NYC in 1989 and just retired this year after 37 years of teaching, the last 21 of them at an early childhood public school in East Harlem. Before that I was a Waldorf teacher for 7 years at the Rudolf Steiner School here in New York.

So far retirement for me has been a long needed reunion with mySelf. Lots of qigong & yoga etc, and, for the first time in decades , 30 minutes of cardio on a good day! I’m playing more music than ever, taking pictures, traveling a bit and meeting some mighty interesting people, again thanks to the gift of leisure. Also preparing my own food more often now and loving that. Lots of reading, mostly about nature, spirituality and aging!  Lots of time in the parks, here in Inwood and around the city. I enjoy communing with trees and appreciate their companionship. I’ve been writing a bit this year about imagination, wonder, reverence and life in general. It seems to be a helpful tool as I transition into a new life phase.

I’m  currently a member of an advisory group that supports the Center for Education, Imagination, and the Natural World (CEINW) near Greensboro, NC. The center is developing the work of Thomas Berry, creating ways for children and adults to deepen their relationships with the natural world – learning to be in the world, beholding nature and experiencing a sense of belonging. I’m also taking a two year course at the center called The Inner Life of the Child in Nature: Presence and Practice. (

Tom sent me these beautiful nature photos, so of course I thought it would be appropriate to post them here!

Wow, that’s really fascinating…the joy that leisure has brought into your life. What specifically brought you to yoga?

I’ve had many good experiences with yoga in the past. When the vista of retirement opened up before me I knew it would include time for a regular practice, a time when yoga could be  experienced as a primary activity rather than something squeezed into an already over programmed life.

And how did you come to Bread and Yoga?

I’ve been living in Inwood for 8 years and have enjoyed a few B&Y summer sessions in the park, but only found my way into the studio this year. Last July I started an unlimited membership and fell into a comfortable schedule, usually attending a class Mondays through Thursdays and then qigong on Fridays down the street at Inwood Movement. The teachers at B&Y are excellent- highly skilled, light hearted and inspiring! They consistently support my individual needs as a learner, even when the room is full.

I’m so glad to hear that! How would you say yoga has impacted your life, physically and mentally?

I’m confident there’s no need to convince anyone about the benefits of a regular yoga practice! In addition to increased strength and flexibility, I’ve felt a growing sense of community life as a member of the studio. The free mediations MWF are a precious gift to the neighborhood!

And how would you say your practice has evolved over time, from the beginning until now?

In the beginning…I was too hard on myself.
Then I gave up and never developed a practice.
Now I’m easier on myself and a regular practice has formed.

What a lesson in what it is to be human :). What is your favorite yoga pose?

The corpse pose is the one I feel most competent to demonstrate!

Hahah! That’s a tricky one. How do you maintain balance and joy living in NYC?

Basic prescription is some combination of the following:

Daily mediation and prayer
Time in the parks
Some form of artistic work
Some time with friends
Community service
Leaving NYC once in a while
And of course…yoga

Thank you so, so much Tom. I can’t wait for the community to read this!


Bread and Yoga
5000 Broadway, Suite A
(Entrance on 212th St.)
New York, NY 10034