Sarah Huntington leads our 6 p.m. yogis in-studio and online every Tuesday and Thursday. Her classes are thoughtful, deep, and poetic, and we are lucky to have her as part of our SYJ teaching community.
We caught up with her to talk about her life, practices, and what inspires her on and off the mat.
Name: Sarah Huntington
Years teaching yoga: 4
Other trainings or services you offer:
Bibliotherapist (just kidding – although I would like to be), Literature – Reading + Writing Teacher, Meditation Student, Mindfulness Teacher
If you could describe your teaching style in five words, which would you choose?
Contemplative, Aware, Grounded, Passionate, Caring
What do hope students will take away from your classes?
I hope students walk away feeling a little more calm, a little more spacious, a little more centered… but whatever they take away I hope they feel as if they could show up in any form, in any way, and have the space to come home to themselves. While the world might not be any more balanced or centered these days, I hope my classes offer them the opportunity to come into conversation so that they might meet the challenges of daily life with deeper awareness and presence.
When you think back on your personal yoga journey, what is one standout way it has changed your life?
Yoga came in and out of my life in the early years. I practice with my cousin initially when she was living in South America, and my cousin has always been a resourceful guide and best friend to me. Practicing with her in Argentina is a beautiful memory.
One of my first classes was at Wall Street SYJ with Donna Jackson. She read “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver and this exact poem was given to me by my high school English teacher. It was a magic moment and I felt deeply connected.
I moved in and out of practicing regularly, had life happen, and then the teacher training came up years and years later. I needed yoga and could not ignore the call, my health was in pretty bad shape, and my body was so weak I could not run, and so yoga offered a truly safe and contemplative space for me. And now, here we are.
What’s a quote, poem, or personal mantra that’s resonating with you right now?
Right now, in this very moment, of re-awakenings, and so much instability in the world I have been grounding myself with the Gandhi quote, “In a gentle way we can shake the world,” Sometimes we might not know how to show up, but we find the best way for us to show up for what we believe in.
In addition, lokah samastah sukhino bavantu, which translates to “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
There are so many communities – especially the Asian and Black communities that are in real fear for their lives, and there are systems that make it where people do not feel safe, so my heart is really holding space that all beings may be safe, free, and have well being and in addition may the systems that do not allow others to feel safe – may we work to dismantle and rebuild so that all beings may feel safe, happy and free.
When you’re not teaching at SYJ, what can we find you doing?
Planning, studying and practicing yoga, meditating, teaching High School English, reading poetry, reading anything, running, walking by the ocean, snuggling with my dog and making friends with all the dogs, and napping (I am a professional napper.)
Is there a song you’ve had on repeat lately?
What does the SYJ community mean to you?
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
Portugal learning how to surf with my cousin, or Ireland connecting to my own ancestors, or Westerly Rhode Island, or somewhere/ anywhere in Maine… to name a few.
What’s one beautiful thing that happened to you during the COVID-19 pandemic?
COVID has been so hard. So many lives lost, illness, and not being able to connect socially has really impacted our well-being, and I do not want to negate or over look how difficult this past year has been.
Additionally, the racial reckoning of this past year, awakenings, reconciling, and repairing has been a difficult for some, painful for many, and necessary for us all – but it has been heartbreaking.
But, the silver linings do exist: communities have come together, people protesting, people responding to injustice, reconsidering how we move and shake and be in the world.
I have been grateful to have had time to be my introverted, reflective self. I have found myself deep in sorrow but also grown so much more in my relationship to grace and gratitude. I find myself crying thinking about how thankful I am to simply be able to look at the ocean. I have had more time with my aging pup – which has been soul filling.
The connection to myself and to others feels deeper now, more sacred, more precious.