Five Pillars Yoga

Laura Cresci

Where are you from?
New Jersey- home of Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, diners and shopping malls. However, I’m now thrilled to call the Upper Westside my home!

How did you come to Yoga? How and when did your yoga practice begin?
I had been a gymnast and fitness trainer, so when I initially tried yoga I was bored to tears. In 1997, I moved to London where yoga was very popular- so I gave it another go. I took an Ashtanga class. There were balance poses, deep twists and handstands galore, and I was sold.

Who inspires you?
My grandmother, who was way ahead of her time and the original badass. Also, underdogs and people who were dealt a bad hand but still manage to gracefully and honestly come out on top.

How would you describe your teaching style?
Alignment based, athletic, flowy & fun. I try never to teach the same class twice, which is getting easier because my short-term memory is shot. Plus I encourage people to safely take their practice to their edge. You never know what you’re truly capable of doing unless you give it a try!

Silence or music during the class?
ALWAYS music. An eclectic mix. It elevates the experience and unites us. Some sing. Some smile. Some tap their fingers. Music brings joy. I’ll never forget one class where the students were in pigeon, face down in their own quiet space, but singing together to Stevie Wonder. No judgment, no insecurity. Their voices were louder than my music, and I actually got goosebumps! It was a very cool moment.

Do you have a spirit animal?
I initially thought of an eagle. Then I did an online test and got eagle… it must be true!

Which posture helps you “Go Deep?”
Savasana. To find stillness in the body and mind and a slow steady breath after a challenging 75-minute flow is glorious. I often see colors while attaining complete physical and mental tranquility.

Complete the sentence: I practice because…
I can. To quote my grandmother: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

Which of the Five Pillars most resonates with you (right now) and why?
Right intention. It’s dangerous when motives are tainted. Come from a place of goodness and it will set the tone to make for a more productive outcome for everyone.

Current favorite inspirational quote?
“You have power over your mind- not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.” Marcus Aurelius

Favorite Sutra?
Santosha anuttamah sukha labhah (Sutra 2:42)

Have an “attitude of gratitude.” Find contentment (santosha) and achieve supreme happiness, mental comfort and joy.