New energy

Tamara Standard

Photo By Kevin fiscus

Yoga instructor Tamara Standard is great at motivating her students. So even if your body wants to collapse after one too many downward-facing dogs, her cheerful attitude gets you through the pain with a smile on your face. And when you meet her at Asha Yoga (1050 20th Street, Suite 110), you wonder what the hell you can you do in your life that would make you as content and happy. The answer must be: Practice yoga, early and often.

Your class was great, but it pretty much killed me.

I think my classes are intense, but I do offer modifications. I like to challenge people to go to their edge, but I also like to make people feel safe. Had I known that you were still a beginner, I would have helped more. … It’s a vibrant class, it’s a challenging class, and it’s one that helps you burn away the toxins. So kinda sweat out the impurities … using internal heat to wring out the organs and remove all the excess that you don’t need, physically and mentally.

What advice can you give to people that are new to yoga?

To drink lots of water, to let the instructor know, to have a positive attitude about it and to know that if you’re brand-new, you might not be able to do all of the poses. So just to be gentle with yourself and know that you’re always going to learn more. Even if you’ve been practicing for many years, there’s always more to learn, so you’ll never get bored and, you know, just begin! … Just try it, and have fun. Most of all, have fun; so what if you can’t do a pose? It doesn’t mean you’re more enlightened if you can do the splits, you know, that’s not what yoga’s about. It’s about you having the experience, the divinity within yourself.

You teach at Asha Yoga now, correct?

I got asked to work there by Cori; she’s the owner, Cori Martinez. She also teaches Dynamic Yogi and Balanced Yogi. She asked me to work there, and I took it on because I love the location, the studio is beautiful and I love the population that comes to Asha Yoga.

[And] I felt I could reach a more diverse population. I have been teaching all over town for the last two years and to many different populations, but here I felt like I was kinda getting a more diverse population in one spot, so you get the whole Midtown crew. So you get working people, but you also get students and all ages.

How many hours of training does it take to become a yoga instructor?

Well, there [are] trainings that are 200-hour trainings, or there [are] 500-hour trainings, and I’ve actually completed, like, three trainings. So I’ve actually done thousands of hours of training. … It’s about a month, or you can break it up in increments; some places do it in increments.

Why is yoga rewarding?

Assisting people to freedom, assisting people to transform their lives, getting to be a part of watching them grow and change … and sometimes we forget, so when we practice yoga, we get a chance to remember that actually everything is fine, I have everything I need within me, I don’t need anybody outside of me, I can access this power, right here, right now, within my own being.

What do you think are the most challenging aspects?

Your ego gets challenged a lot, and it’s a good practice because it has to strip away a lot of your vanity, as a teacher [too], because you’ll have students that challenge you in different ways with their personalities, you know, and so that is challenging.

What are the benefits of a live class vs. using a home video?

Attending a live class is excellent because you feel the energy of the group. There’s an actual group aura that is created when people come together to practice yoga, so you actually get lifted up by the other practitioners, and it can help your practice.

When you watch a video, you don’t have the benefit of the teacher getting to see you and correct you if, by chance, you’re not quite doing it right. You also don’t the benefit of the teacher getting to adjust you physically, which is nice to have the human touch, but video is good for folks that are nervous to go to a studio.

That makes sense.

My personal experience with yoga has been that it’s radically changed my life, my outlook on life, my way of reacting to stress. Yoga’s given me a foundation so that I can handle the problems that arise in life and it’s also given me a platform for elevation.

It’s given me a platform so that my spirit can soar, and that I’ve felt like I’ve been able to come into my true nature, which is to be a teacher, you know, a leader and a healer. And without yoga, I wouldn’t be able to do any of that, ’cause I would still be lost in my own patterns and confused about life.