Amy Soucy is our September Teacher of the Month and she is also leading the March 2019 Bread and Yoga Retreat to Tulum!
A little bit about Amy:
A yoga and movement junkie, meditator, singer-songwriter, and devout student of the mindbody connection, Amy is a NYC and Hudson Valley-based instructor known for her authentic and accessible approach to the art of awareness.
With extensive training in both the Integral and Anusara methods of hatha yoga, she continues to study asana, meditation and philosophy under the guidance of teachers like Elena Brower, Ellen Saltonstall, Catherine Ingram and Sally Kempton. Amy is also devoted to studying a range of movement modalities and meditation practices, such as Feldenkrais, functional movement, and Vispassana and Mindfulness meditation.
Committed to offering accessible and transformative yoga to curious students at all levels, Amy’s classes are an invitation to come as you are and explore your moment-to-moment experience through skillful physical alignment, kinesthetic awareness, and practical wisdom. A holistic blend of asana (yoga poses), breathing, restorative postures, mindfulness and meditation to guide you deeper into the framework of your being, and steer you toward calm, clarity, strength, and radiant health.
How long have you been with Bread and Yoga?
I began teaching at Bread & Yoga in it’s original home on 207th & Broadway. I started teaching there in 2011.
How special! How did you start practicing yoga?
I began practicing yoga at home in the late 90’s (or early 00’s?), when a friend gifted me some VHS tapes (remember those?) with Rodney Yee and Alan Finger. Soon after, I ventured beyond the VHS tapes and began taking classes at Integral Yoga Institute, where I eventually took my first 200-hour Teacher training in 2004.
How has that journey and your teaching evolved over time?
That’s a big question! I often describe myself as a lifelong student, and I get excited and so lit up when I am in student mode. So my teaching has evolved through a continual process of learning – whether that be anatomy, different styles of yoga asana, breathing practices, etc. – and then adapting my practice and teaching to incorporate the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired.
Over the last few years I’ve intentionally sought out different mindful movement modalities like functional movement, Qi Gong, and various styles of dance, along with Vipassana meditation. Exploring these different modalities, and studying a more formal meditation technique with Buddhist origins, has actually deepened my yoga practice and as a teacher allowed me to share a broader perspective on awareness.
How lovely and diverse! How would you describe your approach to classes and educating?
I approach all of my classes with curiosity, and by asking how I can best serve those I’m working with, whether I’m sitting with adults at a yoga studio, in a high school classroom, or with a private client. I’ve also taken to heart the lesson I’ve had to learn over and over when teaching mindfulness to young people – that my primary job is to show up, hold space and be present, and how I show up is more important than the words I speak, or the sequence I’ve planned!
You’re also passionate about working with youth it seems. Tell me a bit about that and why you think that’s important.
My personal journey in yoga has been one of self-empowerment and self-actualization. I truly believe that I found my way to the yogic path because I desperately needed to grow up and become the agent of my own life. Yoga also gave me the tools to manage and alleviate depression, which I struggled with throughout my 20’s and early 30’s.
If I’m able to transmit even the tiniest bit of that to them – help them manage the roller coaster of their emotions and the storms of life, and hopefully experience the truth that everything they need is already within them – then I feel like I’m fulfilling a big part of my purpose here. And the fact that I’ve learned a ton and received so much joy from THEM? That is the icing on the cake!
Absolutely incredible. So, you’re leading a retreat to Tulum in March. How did that that come about and what do you hope to cultivate from it.
I want to say I manifested this dream retreat because Tulum has been on my radar for years, but the truth is that Marcela called me up and asked me to teach in Tulum, lol. Lucky me!
My hope is that a group of wonderful, thoughtful yogis come together to slow down, practice, feel supported by the exquisite beauty of the culture and the natural world, and take excellent care of themselves and one another… maybe visioning a kinder, more sane world in the process. Tall order, but I think we can make it happen 😉
Oh, definitely. It’s going to be an amazing group. 🙂 What’s your favorite pose?
I’m loving bridge pose right now, and using several arm variations. Poses that allow spine and hip extension feel so good because there is generally so much forward folding and flexion in yoga classes.
Nice! How do you maintain joy and balance living in NYC and how has yoga helped you with that?
Living up north in Beacon four days a week actually helps a lot with the balance part, lol… And when I am in NYC the other 3 days, working and teaching, I practice “off the mat” – checking in with my breath, trying to stay present to my experience (subways and buses are great laboratories), and practicing gratitude and kindness whenever possible… I’ve recently adopted this phrase I spotted in Maine – “Be kinder than necessary.”
I love that! Thank you so much, Amy and we look forward to your retreat in March.