Name & Hometown:
Katarina Cerny, Cleveland, Ohio (formerly of Beverly Hills, MI)
Who or what inspired you to be a Yoga Instructor ?
Sallee Rosen, a wonderful teacher and one of the founders of YAGD, was my inspiration. I was a student in her class at the Birmingham Community House, and one day she asked me to sub a yoga class. I had never taught yoga before and I was terrified. Sallee’s encouragement got me through that first class and I fell in love with teaching. The following week I joined YAGD and a few years later, completed my teacher training at Namaste Yoga studio in Royal Oak.
Describe your style of yoga:
I believe yoga must be accessible to everyone. Yoga is not about physical achievement, it’s about coming home to oneself, connecting deeply to one’s spirit, and understanding that we all share the same spiritual essence. It engages all aspects of our being – the body, the breath, energy, mind, heart, senses, emotions, perceptions. My classes are inspired by yoga wisdom texts, which help students integrate values of yoga into their lives. These teachings shape my classes, and guide me in living a life of yoga.
What’s your favorite yoga pose ?
I enjoy Balancing Half Moon Pose, and many variations of the Moon Salutation. I like the more open, fluid, cooling, feminine aspect of these practices, and how they lead up to a middle pose, and then resolve by repeating the same poses in reverse order, like the waxing and waning moon cycle.
What brings you to the mat ?
I feel so much calmer and balanced, and, my husband can always tell when I finish a yoga session.
If you teach, where ?
I teach at the Lotus Flower at Atma Center studio in Cleveland Heights, at the Mandel JCC, and at the Cleveland Sight Center. All my classes are currently online. The Atma Center classes are online and open to everyone at https://atmacenter.com/
How has being a member of YAGD helped you in your yoga career ?
When I started teaching my first class at the YMCA in 1997, YAGD members were my lifeline. During monthly meetings and Yogaday I was able to experience different styles of yoga, ask questions and get advice. Anatomy Study Group was an invaluable source of information, because most teacher training programs don’t spend nearly enough time on the study of anatomy. And, most importantly, I received so much love and support of my fellow teachers during annual retreats. YAGD is a unique community of friends who are yoga teachers, committed to supporting one another with understanding, love, and acceptance. I have missed YAGD so much since moving to Cleveland, and I am so grateful to be able to reconnect with this amazing community on Zoom during the pandemic. Detroit yoga teachers are so lucky to have this wonderful organization !
Do you have a favorite yoga story from your teaching experience ?
When a student with Parkinson’s, who had been coming for a few months, announced that she feels better and more balanced, and is now able to decrease her medication – all because of yoga. I love sharing the joy and healing power of yoga with my students.
I teach yoga to people who are blind or have low vision at the Cleveland Sight Center, and my students are an ongoing inspiration to me as they help me become a better teacher. There is always humor in the class as I struggle to give verbal instructions, and I continuously refine my language, making it more precise and concise. I feel humble and grateful every time I walk into my class.
Is there anything else you would like to add ?
My husband Jim and I live in the woods outside of Cleveland. We love camping, cross-country skiing, biking, birdwatching and exploring new natural places. My favorite indoor hobbies are: music, reading and of course, yoga. We are looking forward to traveling again when it’s safe. Our daughter Rachel lives in Cleveland and our son Brenden is in Seattle. We also have a Great Pyrenees grandpuppy named Odin.