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Featured Yogi: Loretta Arcangeli of Equinox and Village Yoga

Featured Yogi: Loretta Arcangeli of Equinox and Village Yoga

Monday, January 19, 2015 - 5:17am
Featured Yogi: Loretta Arcangeli of Equinox and Village Yoga

Photo courtesy of Loretta Arcangeli

About Loretta: "I am a Yoga Alliance Registered Teacher (200-RYT) with a Master's degree in biology.  I began practicing yoga in 2005. I grew up in Georgia but I have lived my adult life all around the country, including Hawaii, Alaska and California just to name a few.  I enjoyed the many adventures and experiences that I gained from living in so many places, but am happy to have finally found a place to call home in Virginia. I have lived here for ten years, and I am a full-time yoga teacher and Mom."

Loretta was kind enough to answer a few questions for our latest installment of our Featured Yogi series.

How did you begin practicing yoga?  
A life-long fitness enthusiast, I ran for many years and was a regular in the gym.  Weight training, aerobic dance, spinning, boot camp, even rock wall climbing – I loved it all.   One day about nine years ago, I wandered into a yoga studio after spin class looking for a good stretch.  What I found there rocked my world:  I felt vibrant and open, and every muscle in my body felt awakened.  From that day on, I was a regular yoga practitioner, and no matter what else I did, yoga class was always there.

Why is yoga important to you?
Yoga completely changed the way I think about fitness.  It taught me to pay attention to my body, which not only helped me avoid injuries in my other pursuits; it also helped me learn to control my body better.  I became stronger and more agile as well as more flexible.  I found that the chronic back pain I thought was my lot in life gradually disappeared.   But more than any of that, I found that I became calmer, more centered, and better to able to handle anxiety.

What made you want to teach yoga?
Well, honestly, I didn’t start my yoga teacher training thinking that I would actually end up teaching.  I was looking to deepen my practice by learning more about it.  Like many teacher training programs, the school I trained with required student teaching, and I came to really enjoy being able to pass on the things I loved about yoga.  Then I had friends and teachers who encouraged me to continue to teach, and I’m really glad that I did.

Do you have a preferred type of yoga to teach/practice?
I teach and practice a vinyasa flow style of yoga.  I find that in yoga, as with life, it’s all about the transitions.  I love the feel of the flow from one asana to the next, and I love to practice to music.  It just feels good.  As a teacher, I enjoy the challenge of sequencing a really good flow with fun transitions that prepare my students to find the peak pose with strength and equanimity.  I also love teaching and practicing restorative yoga.  There’s nothing more healing for the body, mind and soul than a good restorative practice.

Describe a yoga class with Loretta.  What makes the experience unique?
I come from a background in biology and have taught anatomy and physiology in the past.  I’ve always been enthusiastic about fitness and exercise.  So I’m constantly reading and trying to learn more about not only the how, but why we do things the way we do.  And I like to pass that on to my students. I think it’s important for them to know a little about why they need to rotate their arm a certain way or align their bodies--it gives them better body awareness and hopefully helps them get more out of their practice.  Also, I always bring my sense of humor to the mat.  If I hear some laughter, see some smiles and if my students have an “aha!” moment or two, then it's a good class.

Who is your favorite Washington D.C. area yoga teacher?
Wow, that’s a tough one.  There are so many talented yoga teachers in this area.  If I really want to get my Zen on, I go to a class taught by Rita Maxmillian or Carolyn Weininger, both of Equinox at Tyson’s Corner.  Both of these women are amazing yoga teachers with many years of experience and they each have a way about them that makes you feel calm, centered, refreshed and ready to take on whatever life has in store for you.  My go-to yoga teacher for my regular vinyasa practice is Freddy Margolis of Village Yoga.  Freddy has a gift for understanding a posture inside and out and helping his students find strength and openness they didn’t know they possessed.  My practice has improved more in the year that I have been practicing with Freddy than it had in the eight years before. And his classes are fun.

Where can readers take a class with you?
You can practice with me at Equinox at Tyson’s Corner, Equinox Bethesda, or at Village Yoga in Merrifield, Virginia.  You’ll find me teaching at one of these locations any day of the week. Follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/Yoga.Loretta