Five Pillars Yoga

Hannah Overlock

Where are you from?
I was born and raised on the Upper West Side of NYC. That said, I have lived in many places, spanning from sub-Saharan Africa to the American Midwest to Central America.

How did you come to Yoga? How and when did your yoga practice begin?
I first started practicing yoga after returning to NYC after working for an NGO in Tanzania. I had tried yoga before but not really loved or understood it. After my experience working with PLHA (People Living with HIV/AIDS) I really needed to process the experience and reconnect with my emotions. Yoga helped to ground me by supporting my mind-body connection. I had an incredible revelation during my first practice- I just wanted to keep practicing, though it took some time before I understood why.

Who inspires you?
Seane Corn. Joan Didion. My grandfather.

How would you describe your teaching style?
I would describe my teaching style as ‘curious’. My teachers speak often about ‘living the Question’ and I try to practice and teach in a way that leads us to the heart of that Question.

Silence or music during the class?
Both, for different reasons. Sometimes music is good because it rounds out the holistic experience you are offering and in this way it allows you to more fully curate the journey. Music can also be a distraction. Sometimes music moves people to connect to the rhythm of the music rather than themselves. When I feel that’s happening or people are coming to me already overstimulated I opt for silence.

Do you have a spirit animal?
Yes, but that’s private. I will say I love dolphins and feel connected to their joyful and loving nature and oceanic mammalian-ness.

Which posture helps you “Go Deep?”
Upaviśta Konasana has always been physically difficult for me and is a pose that quickly brings up my baggage, which helps me realign my ego, my intention and question my notions of ‘should.’

Complete the sentence: I practice because…
It’s the best way I know to live richly embodied. Its not an accident that we have these human bodies here on Earth. I think an important ingredient in getting to the heart of the mystery of why we’re here and how we can best support each other on this planet lies in inhabiting the body in a deliberate and conscious way.

Which of the Five Pillars most resonates with you (right now) and why?
Right Intention. I think it’s the root of all the other Pillars and leads me to explore them all sincerely.

Personal Motto or Mantra?
‘I am grateful for each and every single moment of my life’ – that’s one line of my personal prayer that I say to myself at the end of my practice every day.

Favorite Sutra?
Sutra 2.33 -Vitarka Badhane Pratipakshabavanam – When disturbed by negative thoughts or emotions, cultivate the opposite.