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Meet Sigrid Matthews of Black Dog Yoga in the Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sigrid Matthews.

Sigrid, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am a 500 E-RYT and have been teaching yoga and fitness since 1986. I  earned my B.A. in Theatre, Film, and Television at UCLA where I studied movement and dance extensively.  I also studied yoga with my first teacher Billy Porter.  So transformed by the practice I decided to move to Europe to experience and explore life.  I acted and did voice over work as well as beginning to teach in small studios and attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts where I studied the Alexander Technique.  When I returned to the States I took up residency in Manhattan and continued teaching fitness interwoven with yoga, movement technique, and metaphysical principles.

Returning to Los Angeles in the early 90’s I co taught with Carol Adrienne “The Purpose of Your Life Workshops” at Esalen and began teaching yoga and guided meditation exclusively. I have continued to study throughout my career completing 2 years of the LMU therapy program, Leslie Kaminoff’s advanced anatomy, massage, and aromatherapy certifications.

About 12 years ago I helped  establish the Black Dog Teacher Training program which has turned out some of the finest next generation yoga teachers and also developed a therapeutic Focused Flow TM style that is accessible to a wide range of students. In February of 2015 I partnered with Larry and Amy Santiago, Dice Iida-Klien, and Briohyn Smith as  co-owner’s of Black Dog Yoga, I have also created  numerous videos online at Yogavibes.com and am a contributor to Yoga Journal online.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have been incredibly blessed to work and support myself throughout my 30 year career. I would say the journey into feeling comfortable with the vast material and being able to really have conversations about the principles of yoga took some time. Participating in teacher training programs allowed me to explore and express more of the spiritual as well as a deeper understanding of how the body works with the mechanics of the poses and that has definitely seeped in to my general classes. The biggest bump in the road was the transition from working for a studio to owning one. In the beginning of that change there was much fear, upheaval, and change. It tested my core yogic beliefs. I was determined to rise to the challenge of running a business and working with people without losing sight of being a yogi. In the end, it was one of the most incredible experiences to go through, as once again, in times of difficulty I have found an even deeper relationship to the practice. The landscape of yoga in Los Angeles has changed dramatically over the past three decades. As an independent studio owner it is a daily conversation on how to best serve the community.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Black Dog Yoga – what should we know?
Black Dog Yoga is the largest studio in the Valley with four different practice rooms. The fact that we have so much space allows us to offer a wide variety of classes and styles at the times people want to practice. We are known to be an athletic studio that caters to a wide variety of ages and people. We have some very strong teachers who will take you to the next level, but also have many teachers who specialize in teaching therapeutic yoga and yoga that works the body but with alignment and safety in mind. The entire teaching staff is excellently trained and are some of the most popular teachers in Los Angeles. We offer meditation, yin, restorative, gentle, all levels of flow and hatha classes, as well as specialty sound baths, guided meditations, and 200/300 hour level teacher trainings. Time and again, our 200 hour training rates in the top ten for Los Angeles.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My personal definition for success is waking up happy every day and eager to teach. I absolutely love what I do and adore my dedicated students and teachers. There is no greater joy then feeling connected to the community and knowing that our studio plays a role in helping so many people feel better. Yoga is amazing!

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