GETTING TO KNOW NINA ROBERTS!
We are so impressed by the wealth of knowledge and genuine grace that Nina brings to her teaching. We are thrilled to welcome her to YOGA SOL’s permanent staff this month!
Rozanne: As a Registered Nurse and an Academic Teacher (Anatomy, Physiology and Medical Terminology), you bring a rich western medicine background to your teaching. Can you speak to the marrying of traditional western medicine and yoga in advancing health and wellness?
Nina: Yoga provides the benefits of a relaxed and/or energized body, a calm mind, and mental clarity, this leads to a heightened awareness when imbalances in the body are presented. Thus, one would be more apt to have a quicker response to the imbalance (whether it be a Western or Holistic approach).
Rozanne: We recognize the commitment you have made to such high level yoga education. Can you share a bit about who you chose to study with and how this has influenced your own teaching?
Nina: First I must take a moment to say how humbled I felt to study with the five teachers mentioned below. Each graciously shared “the fruits of their labor” to simplify my efforts toward advancement in yoga.
Sri Dharma Mittra, who recently turned 75, has dedicated 50 years of his life to the practice of Classical Yoga. Among his many accomplishments are “The Master Yoga Chart” (illustrating Mittra in 908 yoga poses) and the “Asanas” book. He is known as “The Teacher’s Teacher” having taught many renowned teachers around the world. His “Dharma Yoga” emphasizes spiritual and physical discipline to bring the student closer to self-realization.
Dharma helped me realize how honorable it is to be a yoga teacher. His emphasis on “surrendering the ego”, “being receptive” to the Supreme Source, and practicing compassion for all living forms has heightened my respect and sensitivity to each student.
Cheri Clampettis a Registered Nurse, and certified Yoga Therapist. She is founder of
“The Therapeutic Yoga Training Program” and the Yoga Program at The Cancer Center of Santa Barbara.
Arturo Peal is an Anatomy/Physiology and Kinesiology instructor and co-founder of “The Therapeutic Yoga Training Program”.
It is very important to me that no student feel “left out” in a yoga class. Cheri and Arturo have provided me with the tools to adapt the class to meet individual needs.
Erich Schiffman has been practicing yoga for over 35 years. He has taught in England and trained with B.K.S. Iyengar in India. Erich wrote the book “Yoga, The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness” (among Yoga Sol book offerings) and appeared with Ali MacGraw in the video “Yoga, Mind, and Body”.
Erich has influenced me to guide students into poses with ease and comfort. By providing slow, simple, progressive movements, the student’s body molds into the shape of each pose.
Senior Sri Dharma Mittra’s Yoga Center teacher, Andrei Ram co-developed their “Life of a Yogi” 200 hr and 500 hr Teacher Training Programs and travels worldwide continuing the teachings. Andrei has led me to a deeper yoga practice, providing me with more tools to help students widen their yoga experience. As Andrei so wisely stated, “How can you teach another when you do not have a personal practice” from which to draw from?
Rozanne: We understand your beloved Grandmother was influential in your early yoga journey. How wonderful! Can you share some of her inspiration?
Nina: Grandmother, through a yogic-like lifestyle, lived almost to the age of 99. She awakened before sunrise to partake in her spiritual practices; walked 3-5 miles a day, had a diet consisting mainly of fresh fruit and vegetables, and nuts, was inquisitive like a child, practiced compassion through daily service to others, and communed with nature. Though many atrocities crossed her path, she remained kind, loving, even-minded, and content.
Rozanne: What are a few of the most important lessons you hope to teach your students?
Nina: To embrace a childlike curiosity and excitement about their practice. During class to honor themselves by practicing kindness (Ahimsa) toward their body, contentment (Santosha) with their body’s capabilities that day, and to utilize patience, determination, and focus to face challenges (Tapas). Most importantly, to utilize the benefits and tools gained on the mat in their daily lives and for the betterment of others.
Rozanne: What are a few examples of lessons you have learned from your students?
Nina: To look at students more during class versus doing the poses or mechanically giving instructions. Some demonstrating is helpful, but what is most helpful is to see how students are responding to directions. Only then will I know if I need to make adaptations to enhance the students’ experience.