February Teacher Spotlight: Lisa Benner
When I was quite young, I created a mission statement for myself: “To improve my own and other people’s quality of life”. Much later, it occurred to me that this perspective was founded on an assumption of lack. I wondered, “How would this look if I was moving from a place of abundance? fullness? perfection?
So often, on the road to health, we believe we have to only seek the light, to clean up the mess, to only be peaceful or happy. The mess is beautiful. It is art. It is part of who we are. We are the darkness and the light. We are it all — in fullness and vibrancy.
In a similar way, fire is often seen as destructive, but, classically, ash is considered to be seed. It is digestion and transformation. It is the catalyst for alchemy. It gives us light and warmth. It is vitality.
My question to you is: what makes you feel vibrantly alive? what makes your soul sing? Let’s build that! I’d like to support you in creating your own artist’s studio, in making the space and learning the tools and gathering the mediums to forge the magnificent masterpiece of your life.
For me, the mediums have been yoga and a holistic approach to wellness, melding western and eastern techniques. I have spent over a decade learning and practicing, and I remain in ongoing study. I graduated from Sonic Yoga’s 200 hour Teacher Training program, Hathavidya’s 1000 hour program, and continue to study in a traditional one-to-one setting. I am a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, E-RYT 500 as well as Pre-Natal RYT, a certified Holistic Health Coach, and the director of 200 hour Teacher Training for Hathavidya in addition to running Wellness Programs through Lisa Benner Living. I teach at various locations and in yoga teacher trainings around New York and internationally.
Private sessions are carefully crafted to serve the goals and needs of the individual. In public classes, I teach from the Hatha philosophy in the Vinyasa style, creating each class on a theme, and incorporating pranayama, mantra and meditation. Strong attention is given to alignment. I am greatly honored to be able to share the transformations that yoga brings, to coach individuals towards their vibrancy, to teach and to continue to learn.
Lisa’s February Offering:
February 1st was Vasant Panchami, Saraswati’s birthday. Saraswati — the goddess of the arts, creativity, and knowledge. Not just the knowledge that comes from education, though. Divine knowledge.
I love that her name can be broken down into three words:
sara, meaning essence
swa, meaning self
wati, meaning one who has
Thus, when Saraswati brings us divine knowledge, we become one who has the essence of the self/Self.
In yoga, there is also the teaching of the pancha koshas, the five sheaths of being. We start with annamaya kosha, the physical sheath, the body — that which gives us the impression of being separate, our illusory proof of individuation. But as we move through the sheaths, as we journey from the physical through the energetic, the mental, the intellect, and even beyond the bliss body, we come to jiva atman, the “thumb print at the center of the chest’. We arrive at the seat of the soul, that space where the individual divine touches the universal divine.
And so we learn, that this science of yoga which takes us on the journey of involution, which gives us the tools to profoundly understand the self, leads us to the divine knowledge of the Self and teaches us how we touch the divine in each other, how we connect, how we overlap.