Spotlight on an ISHTA Teacher: Donna Fillios
When did you take your first yoga class? I believe I first took yoga in the late 1990’s. It was at Be Yoga! It was a winding path that brought me back to Alan’s teachings and Ishta. I never dreamed back then that I would be led to teaching!
What drew you to take the Ishta training? I had decided that I needed to take a break from my corporate job. What felt right for me at the time was allowing myself to explore my practice more deeply, and really give myself over to learning. I had been taking yoga at studios near where I was working, but it was very important to me to find a training that felt right for me. I wanted so much more than just a physical asana practice/training. I researched a lot and found that Ishta was
How would you describe your classes? I am deeply interested in the profound effects of awareness of breath, and I remain in awe of how this has affected so many aspects of my life. So, I try to encourage and weave an intimacy with the breath through every class. My classes have been described as relaxing and uplifting (I hope they are!) I invite my students to explore feeling their alignment from the inside, and to allow joy and freedom in their practice. Ultimately my hope is that the class brings them to that vast space of unlimited possibility that lies within them. The beautiful focus and dedication of the students continually inspire me.
What is your favorite yoga pose? Of the standing postures, I like trikonasana a whole lot. I adore the lovely symmetry of the pose combined with the spaciousness it offers. With eyes closed especially, you can sense energy radiating outward in all directions (that is one of Mona’s many gems!)… just like a star. Following trikonasana with expansive side opening of peaceful warrior is simply delicious! The pose that brings me pure peace is restorative bridge pose (with yummy props of course!) The moment I come in to the pose, I am in utter bliss.
What do you enjoy doing off the mat? Reading always! And writing (especially with good old fashioned paper and pen!), cooking, learning, spending as much time as possible by the sea, going to museums, walking in nature, poetry, studying languages, getting to know my students “off the mat,” being open to the enchantment in all that can be seen and all that cannot, walking in nature, stargazing, feeling the firsts rays of morning light on my face, long suppers outdoors with family and friends as the sun goes down, and… laughing!
Would you like to talk about your dance career or anything else that you loved doing before switching directions and dedicating yourself to teaching yoga? I am happy to talk about dance anytime! Dance to me always has felt like being home. I began studying ballet a bit late…It was a series of truly synchronistic events that led me to take my first class. My body and spirit took to every aspect of it. I was very shy, but could express myself through the dance. It was absolutely meant to be. It was a wondrous and magical journey for me. That innate love of movement comes in to play in my classes and it is a joy to see the students find it in themselves. For me, dance and yoga do have some similarities. Both offer the opportunity to walk through life more gracefully. Both require dedication and discipline… which ultimately, brings a sense of unlimitedness and incredible freedom.