Find Your Yoga Style

Vail Vitality Center Yoga Teacher Training directors, Julia Clarke and Gina Caputo, share festival perspectives as the 2nd annual Eagle YogaFest approaches this weekend.

Vail Vitality Center members receive 10% off Eagle YogaFest tickets! Please email yogaoffbroadway@gmail.com for more information and to receive the code. Visit www.eagleyogafest.com for more information on Eagle YogaFest.

Photo by Jack Affleck

Julia Clarke — Photo by Jack Affleck

Julia Clarke’s personal strategy when choosing what classes to take during a yoga festival weekend: 

First, I go through and just select teachers or styles I’ve been dying to check out, basically classes that look interesting and original to me. Then I try to balance out classes that look physically demanding with lectures or educational opportunities so each day can be sustainable, enjoyable and enriching. But, if it ends up that I take two or three challenging physical classes in a day, I figure I may as well go for it, and can ultimately back off to take care of myself as needed.

Gina Caputo’s personal strategy when choosing what classes to take during a yoga festival weekend:

The first thing I look at is the list of faculty to see if there’s one of those bucket list teachers coming that I’ve been wanting to study with for years. At Yoga Journal, I finally got an anatomy fix with the legendary Julie Gudmestad! Then, I cross my fingers that I’m not teaching at the same time as that teacher! 

Another really helpful technique is to look to create balance in your schedule — even if you love Vinyasa styles of yoga, its hard to sustain three to four vinyasa classes a day, so I try to create some balance and include classes that are more Restorative or Yin in nature or go to a lecture too. These festivals are great places to try a style of yoga or area of emphasis not available in your area. You just might discover a new favorite!

Why do you think different yoga styles are created? 

JK: Not all modern yoga has its roots in the same foundational methodology. Some styles like Iyengar and Dharma Yoga are rooted in Raja Yoga, which is a systematic guide to meditation, while others like Prana Vinyasa Yoga and Kundalini Yoga have their roots in Tantra Yoga, a different philosophy which emerged some 800 years after Raja Yoga was coded.

Second, Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga recognizes that every person is different, has different needs, and doesn’t subscribe to the one-size-fits-all approach. To say that two people in America today need the same yoga practice is as absurd as saying what worked for Indians hundreds of years ago is suitable for Westerners today. As different teachers over time refine their process of self-inquiry, each of them should arrive at a different way of truth-seeking that is authentic to them and comes from the soil of their own practice. The best thing about this is that we get to try different styles and lineages and find that one that works best for us.

GC: Since there’s no one “right” way to teach hatha yoga, inevitably a teacher’s passion, focus and area of interest is going to shape the portal through which they take their students. Some teachers take that as far as creating a style. I’m just grateful we have so many styles of yoga because not every style will resonate with every person and what I think is most important is that everyone who is interested in yoga finds the opportunity to cultivate a life-long relationship with this powerful practice. If there were only one style, there are a lot of people that might neither hear nor heed the call to step onto the mat for life. Diversity rocks!

What is the best way to go about finding a “favorite” style, or finding a particular teacher/s to practice under, if you want to dive that deep?

JK: Explore, practice, pay attention and know yourself. If you live in a rural community, you may have to travel and pay attention when visiting teachers come to town. If you live in a bigger community, take advantage of the diverse offerings in your area and check out every style or school. Finally, get to know what you actually need versus what you think you want and pick a style that’s the most balancing for the life that you lead.

GC: I think what is key is committing to an initial exploration period when you’re new to yoga. Even if you find a teacher you like, keep taking as many classes in as many styles from as many different teachers as you can. With new student discounts available at most studios, its a great way to try EVERYTHING. Think of it like a courting period. And then, even when you’ve found a style or a teacher to study with and commit to, keep taking opportunities, like those available at yoga festivals to experience something new. And when you travel, look up local yoga studios and keep expanding your horizons!

Don’t miss Julia and Gina’s duo class at Eagle YogaFest: ColoFlow ~ Vinyasa For Mountain Yogis with Gina Caputo & Julia Clarke brought to you by Colorado’s own, be present, on Sunday, Oct. 5 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Julia Clarke

Photo by Jack Affleck

Photo by Jack Affleck

Julia’s artful and creative teaching is born of her passion for stirring embodiment and self-participation in others, inspiring confidence through alignment, deep love of yoga and her infectious sense of adventure. She began practicing yoga and meditation as a child, and immigrated to the U.S. from Scotland in 2001, spending several years working in the radio and recording industries before turning to teaching, so she offers a natural sense of ease in surfing the waves life offers, and meets students best in the realm of empowering transformation. She creates an inspired space for students to witness themselves in a state of constant evolution using progressive sequencing, creative movement, and humor.

Julia is an E-RYT 200hr with Yoga Alliance. She has studied primarily with Integral Yoga Institute of New York, Shannon Paige, Shiva Rea and Douglas Brooks. She moved to the Rocky Mountains in 2009 and is the Yoga Director for the Vail Athletic Club. Julia is also a Certified Maharishi Ayurveda Wellness Consultant and leads workshops and trainings across Colorado. She is thrilled to be a Lululemon Ambassador and a Rishi for VedaBars. Outside of the yoga studio, Julia is most often found exploring the Rockies on foot, bike, ski or belay, and sometimes all of the above; she completed her first triathlon in the summer of 2012. Visit www.friendlyuniverseyoga.com.

Gina Caputo

Photo by Rob Frost

Photo by Rob Frost

Gina’s passionate and inspirational style of teaching is a balanced fusion of informed, flow-style yoga with attention to holistic alignment, personal evolution and humor. She’s an inspiring, empathetic teacher known for her clear and playful style of encouraging you to fearlessly navigate your edge, open your heart and boldly dive in!

Her home base is in Boulder but she travels the world teaching yoga with the intention of shifting peoples’ limited perspectives of themselves and learning how to see the play, or lila, inherent in this embodied exploration that we call yoga practice. See where this Yogini Is On The Loose at www.ginacaputo.com.