Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Perri.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Amanda. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
In the summer of 2014, I was visiting Los Angeles, and one of my long time friends took me to my first yoga class (as an adult). Afterwards, I knew it was something I wanted to explore deeper. I moved to LA shortly after and started studying different forms of lineages. I was working front desk shifts at a studio in Culver City, where I met a teacher and now dear friend, Sara Blowers. She was sharing a different style of class that I hadn’t experienced before. It was so heartening, freeing, and incredibly deep. The first time I left her class, I felt the warmest feeling in my chest, and I was completely in love. She was teaching Hatha & Bhakti practices and traditions from Sri Dharma Mittra, who is based in New York City.
I continued to practice with Sara, as I explored my options of attending a 200hr with Sri Dharma Mittra. A few events happened where I wasn’t able to make the trip to NY for Dharma’s training, but by the grace of God, in the summer of 2016 I attended my first 200hr teacher training in Los Angeles, with two of his long time students Andrei Ram & Sonya Enchill. It was the truly the sweetest gift life granted me. I had connected with the essence of Spirit that I haven’t touched before. I humbly bow my head and heart to my sweet teacher and friend, Andrei for that moment and the ones that continue to blossom.
As Andrei travels the world to share the practices of yoga, I am very grateful for the moments when I can physically practice with him. Knowing that I unlocked so much through his guidance, I did want to find a community in LA that could continue to support my heart and journey. I was grateful to come across ROAM, where I had found my teachers Chad Dennis, Jenn Perry, and Eben Oroz. Through this community, I also connected with a beautiful heart Puja Titchkosky, who is not only a close friend but someone who aided in the journey of the Bhakti (Yoga of Devotion) path. They shared with me Kirtan (devotional chanting), vocal and musical expressions, and awareness of decolonization and inclusivity in yogic practices. As a woman that is white, I think the importance of awareness and right action of these areas are vital to educate not only myself but others, to dismantle and actively honor and appreciate the traditions I am practicing and offering. These practices have changed my life and continue to, and I want to respect them wholeheartedly.
Through connecting with many east side practitioners, the ever blossoming path has led me to the main studios I lead at Yogala Studios, Liberation Yoga, and the Skid Row Housing Trust. I am so grateful to share weekly classes and have co-lead workshops and teacher training.
Has it been a smooth road?
I’ve encountered many obstacles throughout this path, but I think that anyone that decides to go within, will experience some form of them. I have reevaluated my relationship to myself, others, and habitual patterns in my life. Some to name are unhealthy relationships with alcohol and drugs, internal gossip, scarcity mentality, fear of creating the life I want to live, dismantling the idea of who/what I thought God/Spirit was as a child. Growing up with a plethora of mixed religious and spiritual beliefs, it had always left me fearful and confused about connecting to something. As a child, my mother was Presbyterian and Spiritual, my father was Catholic, then around the age of 15 my mother became a born again Christian, and that rattled any belief I had in a higher power. I’m not placing any judgment on any form of organized religion, but simply sharing the process it was for me. So moving into a practice of oneness was slightly confusing because I wasn’t sure “how to practice the correct way”. I have found through study and contemplation, I believe that there isn’t one straight path to Self Realization. We each can have an intimate and beautiful relationship to Spirit if we open our minds and hearts.
It hasn’t been easy looking at these actions and thought patterns that I have been mindlessly entertaining for years. On the other hand, it’s incredibly beautiful that I have and continue to do so, knowing that I can shift and manage these cycles using the tools that yoga and mindfulness have to offer. Personally, I am rewriting the narrative of myself through practice. To me, this a path of life. To connect more harmoniously, compassionately, truthfully. Even when I am experiencing the shadows of what I have repressed or suppressed, I try to feel and acknowledge them as honestly as I can.
I am constantly contemplating how I can share these practices in the most mindful and compassionate way. How can I help in dismantling the problematic areas of Yoga that have been created, like appropriation and exclusivity, and not further add to them. How I can help uplift others and create a space for everyone to feel welcomed, seen, and heard.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a Yoga Instructor and share from Hatha and Bhakti lineages, like kirtan (devotional chanting), asana (physical postures), meditation, and pranayam (breathwork). In addition to offering yoga practices, I am certified in Integrated Energy Therapy and Reiki.
I practice from lineages of deep healing through breath and vibration (sound and energetic). I believe the essence of yoga is learning how to connect within while surrendering to stillness or fluidity and trusting the breath’s dance. Whether it’s through chanting devotional mantras, an exploration in stillness, or through movement, I trust there are many paths to experience the grace of the Divine. I made a promise to myself to always continue the dive, to devote, and selflessly serve others on their quest for Self Realization.
With the client’s consent, I also incorporate the element of hands on energy exchange and/or adjustments, in my classes as well as one on one sessions. I strive to create a safe and loving space for contemplation, connection, and relaxation.
My teaching and kirtan offerings have expanded outside of public classes and privates, to co-leading a 200HR teacher training, offering a module in Liberation Yoga 200HR teacher training, workshops, and retreats. Now during this pandemic, I have moved my offerings to be practiced remotely online and via Zoom.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I feel like it’s a bittersweet place to start. I have connected and learned so much through some amazing humans, but I do think we can do better. In regards to teacher trainings, I believe that studios could offer more opportunities for mentorships, jobs after trainings complete, involvement of more South Asian voices, etc. These practices take time and need nourishment, support, and most importantly to be practiced.
- Online Offering @YogalaStudios.com Single $12 or 6 for $60
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amanda_perri/