Updated: Jan 31, 2019
Dr. Ariele Foster (E-RYT 500) is a physical therapist, yoga teacher, anatomy faculty for yoga trainings, and environmentalist with a passion for intelligent, creative instruction. Ariele grew up practicing with her grandmother (who still teaches yoga in her late 80s!), and started teaching yoga in 2001. Her interdisciplinary classes (trained in Kripalu, Anusara, Vinyasa, and Therapeutics) are enriched by biomechanical smarts, great playlists and humor. Dr. Foster specializes in manual and orthopedic physical therapy, incorporating yoga into rehabilitation plans. She treats patients in Washington, DC.
SS: What was the moment for you when you knew you wanted to be a yoga teacher and why?
I am not sure I did at first. I kind of fell into teaching. Just after finishing college, I was in a small yoga class with a teacher who was a friend of mine. I showed her a simple alternative way to do a pose, when I saw some students struggling. She invited me to take a teacher training with her later that summer and asked me to sub for her.
SS: How did you get started on your yoga journey?
Unusual for a childhood in Virginia in the 80s, I had many yoga teachers in my life growing up: first and foremost, my grandmother (an amazing gem of a being who also is a Holocaust survivor) with whom I have always been close, my music teacher Carlos Pozzi (Integral yoga teacher), my high school English teacher Rebecca Jones (where I got PE credit for taking her yoga class) and others.
SS: What has yoga taught you about yourself and about life?
This answer is impossible to summarize. However, generally, I think any introspective practice -- like yoga -- that puts you in the studentship of graceful mentors and a kind community will lead to deep self-acceptance and growth. That is part of what yoga has done for me.
SS: How do you use yoga to overcome challenges?
One of the reasons that I believe asana can be an effective tool for growth is because it is challenging. The idea is that while we are practicing these challenging shapes, we cultivate the inner witness. That witness watches our minds wander, judge, tense, and revert into cruder tendencies when the going gets tough. We learn via the practice, sadhana, to see the reactive mind for what it is, laugh at it (or with it). It is this consistent, purposeful PRACTICE of challenge that maybe allows us to be less reactive, more purposeful in our actions and emotional alignment when we face challenges off the mat.
SS: What’s one thing you know for sure about yoga?
You can start from anywhere. But if you don't start, nothing shifts.
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