“I like the idea that I can roll out my mat anytime, anywhere, and that becomes my little special space.”
Sherri is a longtime member of the Saraswati’s Yoga Joint family who practices with us from her home in California. We caught up to talk about her life, her yoga practice, and what the SYJ community means to her.
Name: Sherri Brooks Vinton
Place you call home: Los Angeles, at the moment
Tell us a little about your relationship with SYJ. When did you practice with us in person, and what has being a part of this community meant to you?
I found SYJ yonks ago when the studio was in a store front on Wall Street, a few blocks up from Fat Cat. I think that had to have been, what, 10 years ago? More?
The yoga was so empowering and honest. It was the perfect blend of strength and spirituality, tough and tender at the same time. I practiced in that space, then the gorgeous riverside studio a few doors down, at the New Canaan studio, and in the beautiful, fresh space that Donna has now.
Though the place has changed, the yoga is always the same — that special blend that is serious but doesn’t take itself too seriously. And even over the air waves, it’s the same still!
SYJ has been a real source of strength for me. I’ve always been able to show up no matter what kind of shape I’m in. The community has helped me celebrate my successes. And has been there during tragic times, too.
I sometimes dip in and out of my practice. Life gets in the way, or I get in my way, and I’m apart from my mat and SYJ for stretches at a time. But it’s always there when I need it, when I come back to it in any form. Whether it’s in person, now online, or even sometimes when it’s just Donna’s sweet/crazy voice in my head when I’m in self practice — SYJ is the scaffolding of my yoga.
When you aren’t on your mat, what can we find you doing?
Cooking! I’ve always loved food as sense of place and time. I learn a lot when I travel from digging into local markets and cuisines. When I can’t travel, I love to dive into cookbooks that bring other cultures into my own kitchen.
There is no shortage of yoga studios where you live. Why SYJ?
I live in LA and let me tell you, I have tried A LOT of studios. There are lovely studios and great teachers all around, but no one has the SYJ special sauce!
If I had to be specific, I would say that the creative flow — so dance like — combined with the meticulous alignment, really is the thing that I find sets the studio apart. I feel safe and supported by the cues in a very unique way at SYJ, and it’s consistent across all of the teachers there. All of the instructors have their own style, but the teaching is very strong and consistent across every class.
What skills has your yoga practice given you that you’re leaning on during these challenging times?
My daughter makes fun of me: “Mom, you’re doing that weird yoga breathing again.” It’s true. I find when I am stressed, my breathing clicks into ujayyi without my noticing it.
Great for me, maybe creepy if you’re next to me. But no one should be that close, anyway!
Tell us about your home practice space. How have you made it special? Do you have any frequent class visitors, like pets or children?
When I practice at home I am either in my bedroom, door locked, leave me alone. Or I’m in the living room with my husband next to me, cat on the couch, dog visiting on and off the mat. Depends on what I need at the time.
I like the idea that I can roll out my mat anytime, anywhere, and that becomes my little special space. Those four corners of magic carpet are all I need.
What’s one beautiful thing that happened to you during the COVID-19 pandemic?
To be honest, having so much less activity in my life has forced me to really sit in my own thing. I’ve learned a lot about what motivates, impassions, and enrages me.
I’ve still got a lot more digging to do and I hope that I can continue excavating even beyond this time.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
New York City is the first place that comes to mind. It’s the place I’ve always felt most at home.
I want to touch base with all of the things that have come to mean so much to me over the years — music, art, concerts, plays, parks, restaurants and bars—and share them with the people I love. And as a hub, I can Metro-North to the studio and see all of my friends in CT!
Thank you, Sherri! We are so thankful to have you as part of the SYJ community!