A good teacher is like a
candle – it consumes
itself to light the way
– Author Unknown
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WE’RE ALL ABOUT OUR PEOPLE
The heart of Yoga for Life is our people. Please take a minute to get to know us. If you have any questions or need to learn more about what makes us special please contact us or just stop by to say hi!
My name is Salvatore Chillemi, and I am the co-director of Yoga for Life. Although, when you are at Yoga for Life you will most likely feel like everyone owns it. The truth is, everyone loves the studio as if it was their own and that is what makes it home to many. I feel like Yoga for Life is my home away from home.
I am there many days alone doing my own yoga practice and meditation. My kids often call and say, “Dad where are you?” I tell them that I’m at Yoga for Life and they reply, “Again!!” I might add, that is often after a 24 hour shift at the firehouse. Yes, I am a fireman with the New York City Fire Department, since 1988. I serve in the community where I was raised and it is my honor to do so with great pride and dedication.
I started to practice Hatha yoga in the spring of 1998 at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts. Through this practice I learned techniques for relaxation, meditation and breath control. I used these techniques on the horrific day of September 11, 2001 when my firehouse responded to Ground Zero before Tower Two collapsed. My firefighting training and my practice of yoga allowed me to maintain a steady breath and a steady mind. Everyday I thank my practice of yoga for the gift of life, because I know without it, the outcome could have been different that day.
I’m telling you this story, because it is the reason I opened Yoga for Life! I wanted to share with the world what yoga can do for you on and off the mat. My plan was to wait until I retired to open a yoga studio, but I learned quickly on September 11th NOT TO WAIT TO DO THE IMPORTANT THINGS! DO THEM IN THE NOW! So that is what I try to do… be in the present moment. That is yoga for me!
With the desire to deepen my practice I committed to a 200 hour yoga teacher Training. Being a yoga teacher continues to provide contentment to my mind, body and soul. With this balance I am a husband, father, yogi, and a fireman. Taken a yoga teacher traning has helped me deal with the emotional side of firefighting, as well as the sad and painful memories of september 11th. I try to be positive, mindful and to always look on the brighter side of life.
I am truly fortunate to share Yoga for Life Studio with teachers that are dedicated Yogis. EACH OF THEM IS A BLESSING AND THEY ARE AUTHENTIC YOGIS THAT SHARE LIFE WITH THIER STUDENTS. The teachers at Yoga for Life are always expanding their education. They go on retreats, to ashrams and they donate their services to causes in our world. They have all studied with renowned teachers, and you will find that they are renowned in their own right! Not because they work at yoga for life, but because of who they are as people. Our teachers share their wisdom and help to enrich the lives of their students on the mat in physical practice and off the mat in mindful practice. Each teacher has his/her own unique way of sharing their yoga journey… some with humor, some with flow of energy, some in gentleness and some with intensity. One even teaches the stillness in a pose!
As a student at Yoga for Life, you might not meet me in front of the room as your teacher, but you may meet me beside you on my yoga mat, or perhaps sharing yoga off the mat with our yoga community. The wisdom of yoga shared with each other off the mat is just as important as asana(postures) As a student you might meet me at the front window congratulating you on your decision to practice yoga, or at meditation, which I love!
As a forever yoga student, I appreciate the diversity of yoga and I try to offer our community the joy of yogic choices both on and off the mat. Yoga holds no age, no size, no creed. Just the willingness to keep an open mind and an open heart. I can not bend like a pretzel or be a wheel, and truthfully you do not need to. ALL YOU NEED TO PRACTICE YOGA IS YOUR BREATH, A SOFT SMILE AND TO LEAVE YOUR EGO HOME. I hope, as the owner of the studio, I have shared enough to encourage you to try a few classes. Yes, a few classes, not just one! I urge you to keep trying until you meet the teacher and the style of yoga that resonates with you. Hey, if it was ice cream you would try more than one flavor! So give yoga the same chance!
My wife, Sita, and I are still trying to get our children to practice yoga. In 2007 my daughter was certified in children’s yoga. My daughter always prints beautiful certificates for the studio and helps us with schedules. That is her yoga off the mat. My son helped me put up the ceiling in the studio, so every time I look up I know he was practicing yoga off the mat. But, my ultimate dream is for them to cultivate a regular practice. I know they will eventually, because they have been raised by two yogis and it’s already a part of them. It was great when they use to run all over Kripalu in Massachusetts giggling at us. YES, we Yogis get giggled at but at least we are putting smiles on the gigglers’ faces and not frowns.
Well, I certainly have tried to convince you that yoga is wonderful. Speaking of wonderful, I hope you get to meet my wife, Sita. She is a yogi and is always practicing seva (selfless service) at Yoga for Life. She believes the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. With that said, I hope you will allow all of us at Yoga for Life to be of service to your mind, body and soul.
I look forward to meeting you there!
SAT NAM, NAMASTE, JAI BHAGWAN,