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Elena Brower’s next chapter? The yoga luminary tells all


ELENA BROWER

Running a New York City business—even if your business is yoga—is pretty taxing.

So after yoga luminary Elena Brower shuttered her beloved Soho studio Virayoga last summer, she decided it was her turn to hit pause and get centered.

“I wanted more time with my family and more time in the kitchen,” she says. “I wanted to explore what else was possible.”

Since then, Brower’s been on a yearlong journey of discovery. She’s still teaching yoga (and how to teach yoga) across New York City and at festivals and workshops around the world, but she’s spending more time volunteering and working on creative projects, like a gorgeous deck of inspiration cards that act as companion to her recent book, Art of Attention.

Now, she’s just launched a big-deal new project, Teach.Yoga, an online destination designed to enrich yoga teachers’ lives with reflections and advice from top yogis, and serve as a directory of advanced teacher trainings.

We caught up with Brower to find out more about the project and what her next chapter truly looks like.

elena BrowerWhat inspired you to create Teach.Yoga? People are constantly emailing me and asking me for information or if I can connect them to someone else. It’s a sweet privilege to be able to help my friends in this way. The company that purchased all the .yoga domains approached me about becoming a pioneer—and something clicked. Teach.Yoga is a place for teachers, it’s to enrich and enhance the experience of their work. It’s full of inspiration and ideas.

How are you presenting those ideas? There will be a blog where I ask some of the most senior instructors rapid fire questions and give you a look into their lives, and there will be advice and suggestions about the best advanced teacher trainings past the 200-hour mark. I’m much more interested in getting the teachers who are already trained to feel confident and trusting in what they know, but students are more than welcome, too.

It seems like a huge project, but you’re still doing many other things, too. I found—and am still finding—new ways to collaborate both with my family, myself, and my friends, and there are all kinds of cool projects going on. I teach a weekly class at ABC Home. We take over the Deepak Homebase and anywhere from 50 to 80 people come. It was a dream of mine to either have something that I created in that store or in some way be part of that store. In the early ’90s, when I worked in Gramercy, I would go walking through ABC every day and try to figure out how I was going to be a part of that place. I have one weekly class at Katonah Yoga. Each class I teach there is a learning experience for me, as I invite the other teachers and longtime Katonah students ​to help, edit, and add to what I’m offering in order to round out my own understanding. ​

Has your life changed in any other big ways in the last year? I’ve also been able to do a lot more volunteer work. My son and I go to the New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital about every other week. We teach the caregivers meditation and sometimes yoga. The truth is, the caregivers of these kids are really taxed, and to go in and take care of them is a privilege.

Going to the hospital has helped me to see what I really want to be doing with my time and how much I have to be grateful for. Now I get what I’ve got and am able to slow down more. I get that I should be connecting to my life in a totally different way than ever before. It is such a relief to finally be doing that. All these things I could never do because I was always under a pile of emails, owning a business is like that. ​It finally feels really, really good to be designing my time. —Molly Gallagher

For more information, visit teach.yoga or elenabrower.com

(Photos: Pete Longworth, Nina Konjini/Wanderlust Festival)