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Meet Amy Sullivan of Trybe Yoga LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Sullivan.

Amy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My journey on the yoga path began after sustaining several knee injuries and surgeries, as a collegiate level athlete and aspiring professional dancer. Initially, my curiosity about yoga started out indirectly because of Madonna. It was 1997, I was training for the LA Marathon, and because it was raining so hard, I decided to try and train at the gym.

I had already injured my knee at that point, and it was just not cooperating that day so as I was leaving the gym, frustrated and defeated, I see a line of people with yoga mats and my first thought was how good Madonna looks and she does yoga so I took my first yoga class, fell in love and have been practicing and eventually teaching ever since.

Because of my athletic background, I was initially drawn to hot, power and challenging yoga. Over the years, moving in a slower more conscious way resonates with me more, helping me to cultivate a deeper connection to myself by focusing on the breath, allowing me to move with more mindfulness and self-awareness. Today, my daily practice is done at home with slow breath-centered movements, breathing practice and then meditation. I get to enjoy the more subtle, powerful, softer and healing qualities of the yoga practice and I get my fun and energizing workout through boxing, strength training and hip hop dance classes.

As a teacher, I’m always an eternal student, I teach by what inspires me, what I’m most excited to share and what I think my students will need. I am trained in so many different styles of yoga and was so lucky to train with amazing teachers that I call upon many traditions and inspirations to properly provide a service to my students.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way
I think anything that we are supposed to learn from has to be a little challenging or a little bumpy so that we are forced to slow down and pay attention. Since leaving my home of Boston, these past 7 years have definitely been the most challenging.  I gave up my comfy cozy yoga community in Boston, fell in love and gave it all up to follow my heart. And although it didn’t have a happy ending, I learned a lot. It brought me to West Coast and started me on a new and adventurous path. My other obstacles are my continuous knee injury that has followed me since 1987 and a car accident in 2016 that left me with post-concussion syndrome and chronic neck and back pain. I also moved around a lot. I made some risky decisions which has made me have to work a lot harder and has caused a little more instability than I would have liked or could have imagined, but things have a way of smoothing themselves out.

Amy Sullivan Yoga what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I have been practicing yoga for over 20+ years, I have 15 years of teaching experience, 7 years of training experience and 4 years of Yoga Therapy experience. I think what keeps me at my best is my desire to learn. I love continuing to learn and draw upon different disciplines that combines yoga anatomy, subtle body anatomy, ayurvedic principles + the rhythms of nature’s cycles, yoga therapy, mantra, meditation, pain science and classical yoga texts. And as I continue to be inspired by my peers, my mentors and my teachers, I am continuously learning and practicing so then I can share authentically from my heart.

Part of our job as yoga teachers is to share our knowledge. We bring together different aspects of the practice that have resonated to us, that we have learned from our teachers, that we have embodied and we put them together in our own unique offering. So it’s hard to answer the question regarding what sets you apart from the competition because to me, it’s kind of anti-yoga-ish. I know that’s not a word but I think that’s what wrong with “ yoga” today. We are so busy trying to compete with each other, portraying unrealistic expectations of the poses on social media, thinking that our yoga is better than someone else’s… it’s all yoga. I know because I am guilty of it too. Unfortunately, we forget sometimes that these things are not ours, they’re not original, they have existed long before we discovered them.

My yoga offering is not better than anyone else’s, it’s just different. I’m going to attract different students who resonate with my offering. I want my students to feel taken care of, empowered and educated on the proper alignment of the poses so that they can throw out the alignment and experience  the pose from a feeling place instead of a right/wrong place. Ultimately, they learn how to embody the practice through different shapes inspired by connection, breath and from building their own awareness.

We have to remember that we are providing a service and learn that it has everything and nothing to do with us. It took me some time to get to this point but if a student doesn’t “like” my class or it doesn’t resonate with them, it’s essentially because their current needs are not being met so I’m happy to suggest another teacher that’s a better fit. Maybe when they are ready, they’ll find me again. But I’m hard to track down nowadays! lol! I will be in China facilitating another Teacher Training and when I am back, you can find me at various Yogaworks locations. I continue to offer yoga therapy to students via Skype. If you want to find out more about Yoga Therapy and are interested in more personalized practices, guidance and support around finding more balance in your life, you can find info on my website.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
My definition of success may sound a little overly optimistic but when choosing “yoga teacher” as your career – wealth and security will not likely be your high priorities.

I truly believe that if you are studying, you are preparing for your classes, you are consistently open and learning, you attract opportunities to be inspired so that you are living your dharmic path, you are providing a service and you can contribute to your community in a positive way then I think there’s no way you won’t be successful and attract the students that will be inspired by your message and offering.

My definition of success is when my students are utilizing their knowledge of their practice where they are really embodying the postures, practicing mindfulness and presence in their physical practice or when my private clients are utilizing the techniques and practices to empower themselves and deepen their awareness in their everyday lives – then I must be doing my job.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Elisabeth Granli, Jenay Martin

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