Tahoe Yoga Shala Teacher Spotlight
Teacher Name: Andrea Snyder
Practicing Yoga Since: 1999
1). Tell us about the first yoga class you took? My very first yoga class was through the University. The instructor was young and I think overwhelmed. We didn’t do much, but I remember the first class she had us sit back to back and do breathing exercises where we had to sink our breath and concentrate on drawing our navels towards each other. I remember being so sore the next day. I haven’t done anything like it in a class since. Unfortunately, the college class didn’t end up leaving a good impression on me and my experience with yoga for the next 10 years was spotty and inconsistent. I “refound” yoga in my early 30's and then I fell in love with it. I was looking for something to help replace the feeling of peace that I got from running. Yoga allowed me to shut off my “monkey mind” and allow my body and mind to completely connect in a way that was magical and powerful. Through my new found practice, I felt strong for the first time in my life. Both mentally and physically. I took that first class, and have been practicing almost daily since. Every time I get on my mat, I learn something new about myself and my body.
Teaching Yoga Since: 2013
2). What do you remember of the first yoga class you taught? I taught my first class to my boyfriend. He had done yoga regularly for years before we’d met and had decided eventually that it wasn’t for him. I knew this going into it. The class I attempted to teach him was way too advanced and the experience was awful. I could tell he was miserable and I asked several times if he wanted to stop. His response was “if you want to quit and give up, that’s up to you”. I kept going and got through the entire sequence and have pretty much considered him as my most difficult student.
3). Who/what are your teachers? Why? Every person who I have ever taken a class from has been my teacher. I love taking yoga to this day and I look at it as a constant opportunity to be a sponge and absorb everything that they have to teach me. My students are also very much my teachers. Because I teach so many level 1 classes, I am constantly faced with new faces and bodies who are trying this moving thing out for the first time. Every new body is a challenge for me. Every question they ask is an opportunity to look at movement in a whole new way.
4). In what ways has yoga supported or impacted your life? I have a degree in Archaeology. At the time that I made the choice to go to teacher training, I was in the process of getting my Masters in Public Health and Epidemiology and I was miserable. I was managing a yoga studio at the time and found myself wanting to be there and be on my mat all the time. School had always been fun to me, but it had become a duty. I was lying in bed one day feeling sorry for myself because I had a 25 page paper to write and the thought, “what if I could do yoga all day” popped into my head. It stuck there. I turned the idea over and over for weeks. I finally brought up the idea of teacher training with my boyfriend and his response was “I was wondering when you would finally do it”. I dropped out of school two days later and started teacher training within 2 weeks. I haven’t regretted my decision a day since. I am in love with teaching and my new life.
5). What does your current yoga practice include? Why? My current practice is a mixture of taking classes when I can, doing my own set sequence, and working through my classes for the week. I try to never teach anything that I haven’t done myself. Sometimes that means doing the class that I am teaching you five times in a row until I feel I’ve worked out what I need.
6). What currently inspires you? People who have passion. Passion for anything whether it’s yoga, or dance, or music. I love watching and being around people who are doing what they love.
7). What is your favorite season? Why? I’m weird. I like all seasons, but Spring. I love Summer because I like to hike, swim, canoe and just be outside in the sun. I love the Fall for the colors, for boots and comfy sweaters, and for the smell of fall. I love Winter because I love, love, love the snow. I learned to downhill ski for the first time this year and now I love winter even more!
8). What secret helps you to maintain balance and stay healthy? Yoga! Yoga keeps me balanced. I definitely can feel a change both mentally and physically when I don’t get to practice regularly. My dog also keeps me balanced. He keeps me in the present.
9). A fun fact most people don’t know about you? I was a line tech for the cable company for 10 years. I climbed telephone poles with nothing more than 2 inch spikes on my feet. I also lived in Peru off and on through my undergrad degree. That’s much more fun to talk about. It’s my favorite place on earth, other than Fallen Leaf Lake!
10). What do you want to share with the Shala community? I think that what I’d like to share is something that nobody ever told me when I first started yoga. At some point you might fall deeply in love with yoga. It might be what gets you through the day or helps you overcome a break-up or hardship. Like everything else, you might wake up one day and feel like yoga is no longer there for you. Like this thing that was there is no longer working. Just know, that the feelings will come back. It might mean that you take a break for a week or so. It might mean that you need to try a different teacher or style. Know that this practice of yours, wherever it’s at, will always be there for you waiting right where you left it.