Five Pillars Yoga

Erika Mehiel

Where are you from?
I grew up north of the city in Armonk, NY.

How did you come to Yoga? How and when did your yoga practice begin?
I dabbled with yoga a bit in high school, but really dove into the practice in 2001. It was actually Bikram that originally got me hooked. I had never experienced such profound focus! I was literally unable to think about anything except exactly what was happening in the moment.

How would you describe your teaching style?
Interdisciplinary, empowering, sometimes playful and curious, sometimes tranquil and sacred, usually information-packed.

Which posture helps you Go Deep?
Deep forward bending… Currently I’m having a love affair with Yin Butterfly (Baddha Konasana). It’s helping me experience and cultivate graceful surrender.

Silence or music in class?
Usually music! In Vinyasa classes I love something that supports the energy flowing in the room. For my Therapeutics and Restorative classes I have some favorite songs that really create a lovely, calming, introspective atmosphere.


Do you have a spirit animal?
Elephants have been a totem for me ever since I was little. Ganesha Sharanam!

Personal Motto or Mantra?
No Mud, No Lotus — Thich Nhat Hanh

Which of the Five Pillars most resonates with you (right now) and why?
Right Relaxation. This has been a big one for me, especially as I’ve gotten a bit older. It’s something I think is critically important to incorporate into our lives, especially in NYC. It’s a huge piece of my self-care practice, and the implications on health and vitality are immeasurable. What’s neat is Right Relaxation can be cultivated even in the middle of a super-challenging posture. Bringing that balance of sthira and sukha (effort & ease) to each moment.