Teacher Profile: Tamar Starck
We want you to get to know our teachers a little more, especially what makes each uniquely qualified to teach, stemming from their own journey and experiences.
1. Tell us a little bit about why you decided to train to become a yoga teacher.
I was not planning on becoming a yoga teacher when I took my teacher training in 2008. I was already immersed in my own practice and the culture of the yoga studio I was working at, and when a teacher training was announced, I decided not to do it because I felt satisfied with where I was. I was also afraid that becoming a yoga teacher would zap me of all the good stuff I get from yoga, that by becoming a teacher, I wouldn’t have anything left for myself because I’d be giving it all away to my students. Well, I’m so glad that I was encouraged to do the training as a way of deepening my own practice, and then encouraged to teach, because I am constantly learning how much I gain from sharing my love of yoga with the people who come to my classes. It’s so satisfying when a student tells me that they feel a little calmer, better, or able to breathe more after class.
2. You’ve traveled across the USA to attend specialized training courses. Why did you feel the need to go outside of New Orleans?
The New Orleans yoga community is thriving and growing, but I feel it’s also very young. Most of the teachers and styles I’ve been studying haven’t offered trainings in New Orleans. I did my 200-hour teacher training in New Orleans, and for most of the curriculum, teachers were brought in from more established yoga areas – California and the Northeast. Traveling for trainings is also a great way to get to different places and visit different cities. I love to travel, so it’s the perfect combo for me.
3. Why are you interested in Restorative and Prenatal Yoga? Are they related to one another?
I became interested in Restorative yoga when Katie Flinn from Fresno came to New Orleans to give a Yin Yoga and Restorative workshop in 2007. It was my first experience with the quieter, more meditative side of yoga and it challenged me in a different way than a more yang, or active yoga practice did. The restorative postures allow for a deep presence, which can be a challenge for most people, and certainly is for me. A lot of thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensations can come up in these poses and I’m interested in exploring how I react to these. Restorative yoga also offers people the chance to stop and intentionally rest and relax in the middle of their day. We are such an on-the-go culture, so I love giving people the permission to do almost nothing for 90 minutes. It’s been proven that many of the diseases and health conditions in our culture are caused by stress – Restorative is the perfect way to de-stress.
Prenatal yoga also offers expecting women the opportunity to relax and be present, especially with the new life growing inside them and the changes that are occurring in their body. Conscious relaxation is an important skill to have during labor, but so is strength, so we focus on both relaxing and strengthening in prenatal class.
4. What challenges you most about teaching yoga?
The subject Yoga is so big – there is so much to learn. I tend to want to know everything possible about a subject before I share it with others, but that’s just impossible with yoga. Letting go of my perfectionist tendencies, sharing only what I’ve learned and experienced while continuing to grow as a student – these are some of my biggest challenges.
5. What inspires you most about teaching yoga?
The hope that at least one person in my class may leave with a different way of dealing with something challenging in their life, whether it’s remembering to breathe during a difficult situation, or a new way of moving their body that will help with an ache or pain.
6. What is the most important thing that you’ve learned on your multitude of trainings?
People who seek out yoga come in all shapes, sizes, from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences, and come to a class for many different reasons. As a yoga teacher, it is my duty to honor and try to teach with all these differences in mind. This is also one of my greatest challenges as a yoga teacher.