An interview with Brittany Benedetto

March 4th, 2013 in Uncategorized

Brittany teaches hot power yoga classes Sundays at 6:00 pm.

What made you first step into a yoga class?
I  used to compete in Physique/Figure competitions; a sport that fueled my inner desire to push, push, push, and never (ever) relax. After retiring from the bodybuilding world, I didn’t know how to “not” workout all the time. I found that my physical body began to break down due to overuse and hormonal imbalances.

Someone recommended that I try a yoga class. I resisted, stating that I would not be able to get anything out of it, it would be too “slow” for me, and that I am not the “yoga-type.” But my friend pleaded with me to just try it once before I judged. So I did. The class I took was empowering. It was vigorous, yet it had an element of surrender to it that caught my attention. I liked it. I went back the next day… and the next. The rest is history!

What was your biggest struggle with the practice when you first began?
Coming from my background of Physique Competitions, and before that, a gymnast, I struggled at first with the judgments I placed on myself during the asana practice. Having been “judged,” for most of my athletic life, I found that in yoga class, it was the first time I did not have to perform, or reach a certain level or standard. Even though I realized that the teachers in my yoga classes were not judging me, I still struggled with judging myself… It wasn’t until I went through my Teacher Training program that I really learned to let go of the expectations I had of myself in the poses. I started to be okay with taking a Child’s Pose while everyone else was holding Warrior 3. I learned that my physical body did not need to be the focus of my attention, nor how I looked in the poses, but rather, how I handled myself, my thoughts, and my breath while in the poses. I still struggle with attaining a “perfect” shape from time to time, but in the end, I breathe into the pose I’ve created in my body, and  am grateful that I am capable of moving and breathing, regardless of the shape.

What is your favorite pose and why?
My favorite pose, by far, is Handstand.  I think it goes back to my childhood, and having been a gymnast my whole life. My sisters, dad, and I used to have handstand contests in the backyard when I was growing up. Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived a good percentage of my life upside down! When I do Handstand, I feel very young, very child-like, but very strong as well. People always ask me for advice on how to learn Handstand, or how to maintain a free-standing Handstand. I tell them, PRACTICE it every single day… EVERY DAY! That’s what I do! I love to kick up into  handstand anywhere and everywhere (you’ll see me doing it in public places, in the middle of my kitchen, randomly while walking to downtown, at the airport!!!… ) Just practice! Every day you’ll get a little better and be able to hold it a little longer. For me, Handstand is so fun!

What made you first want to be a teacher?
I am a teacher at heart. I was a gymnastics coach for nine years. From there, I got my college degree and Teaching Credential and became a school teacher in Orinda, where I taught 3rd and 4th grade for eight years. When I felt the winds sweeping me in a different direction, I knew I  wanted to teach, but in a different arena. Yoga had spoken so deeply to me, and had changed my life. I wanted to be able to pay it forward. So I took my teaching experience into the yoga studio. My yoga students often tell me that they can hear the voice of a school teacher come through during my yoga classes.  I love that. All paths have led to this, and I’m so incredibly blessed to have had the experiences I have had to lead me here. I am grateful to all those who had a hand in helping me along in this journey.

 

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