Teaching Beyond the Pose: An Appreciation of Master Yogi Natasha by Kathleen Curran-Cheng

As many know, due to personal reasons, Natasha will no longer be teaching her weekly master class. It will be a dramatic change for the many of us who met every Wednesday, 2-4 pm, at Brookline’s Down Under. We were there to practice, to work hard, to sweat a little. We did all of that, of course, but there was so much more we gained in Natasha’s master class.

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Natasha teaches with integrity and from her own personal experience. She successfully imparts her wisdom, because she embodies it.

Natasha genuinely cares for her students. She shows that in small, thoughtful ways. She remembers all of our names and makes it a point to ask a newcomer her name. She has a warm smile and is welcoming. And she shows her deep understanding of each of us by noting our individual progress and always being attentive to our personal needs. She is never reckless or careless in directing our asanas. She keeps us safe and emphasizes proper alignment. Because she takes the time to understand each of us, Natasha knows what we can accomplish, and encourages us to take chances and to move out of our comfort zone.

It is the distinction of a true master teacher that is able to command the attention and respect of her students. Always with a calm, yet authoritative voice, Natasha is able to lead an intimate class of 10 or one with as many as 60 yogis, and make everyone feel included.

Although there is an intense focus in Natasha’s class, there is also lightheartedness and a sense of humor. She instructs each of us to approach class with “power of intention, yet gentleness in practice”.

 A master teacher has a personalized style, and there is a certain intuition required to listen and respond to your students even if they are not directly giving you feedback. Natasha’s years of practice and study in multiple styles of yoga have informed the aligned flow style she teaches. Her breadth of experience has allowed her to go beyond simply meeting our needs to learn the proper way to move. Natasha also raises our expectations for ourselves. She has lifted us all to a new and higher summit.

Natasha always creates a beautifully orchestrated class. Each exercise is a piece of a puzzle that comes together in a magnificent and well-formed peak pose. Natasha is gifted physically, and she possesses an understanding of movement, alignment, and physiology, and she maintains a consistent practice of her own.

Thankfully, Natasha continues to teach other classes. Her students are fortunate, for we have opportunities to continue our studies with a master. We wish her well.