Community Spotlight Sessions: Rebecca Spataro-Kearns, Dented Bumper Yoga
“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” - Kurt Vonnegut
Some would argue that there is nothing more important than the community around you. That's why we find it important to highlight providers, community leaders, thought-provokers and "doers" in our town. To showcase Utica in a broader light, and to bring some unity to an ever-divided world.
When looking at our community members, and those who have a passion for their craft, our interviewee today was one of the first people who came to our mind. With a unique love of all-things health, a passion for helping and a special talent for organization, our interviewee is a true ambassador of our community and to Utica in general. Our interview is with Rebecca Spataro-Kearns, of Dented Bumper Yoga.
Lets learn a little about Rebecca's background, her family and her experience as a yoga professional.
Rebecca began practicing Yoga at the age of 17 and immediately fell in love with the art, the movement and the breathing portions of the practice. In 2012, she graduated with her Bachelor's of Science in Exercise Science.
"I know, I was late to the education game, but having spent my 20's and early 30's as the wife of an active duty soldier, raising three bouncing baby boys, moving 7 times in three different states, well, it was hard to go to school." says Rebecca. "I started out all 'gung-ho' in movement based Yoga styles, but as I grow I find myself leaning heavily into slowing things down. I've also come to a deeper understanding of the 'Yama's' and 'Niyama's', and am drawing from that well and discovering a freedom in my life through studying and incorporating them into my life."
We asked Rebecca the ever-important "Why?"
Why yoga? Why Dented Bumper? And where does she see the yoga community going in general?
"I LOVE when people ask me my why!" As an army wife, Rebecca comments that she reconnected with her practice during her husband's first deployment to Afghanistan, his second deployment overall. "I not only reconnected with my practice. I needed it. He was gone and I was up in Fort Drum with three boys all under the age of 6." (This was a historically challenging deployment, for those interested/curious google "The Outpost" by Jake Tapper. The whole first portion of that book was this unit's story.) "Yoga was my center, my peace in a raging storm." notes Rebecca. "Eventually, another wife asked me what I was doing to stay sane. Of course, Yoga was my answer."
That's how it all started.
"And then they started coming."
Rebecca cleared out a room in her home and began teaching as a 'renegade' Yoga teacher.
"There were no Yoga teachers up there at the time, nor was there any sort of Yoga Teacher Training. So I took what I knew, studied everything I could get my hands on and sequenced short, safe flows to introduce to my friends." This is when she fell in love with the instruction of Yoga. "That's when I knew this was the path for me! I absolutely love teaching people how to empower themselves through Yoga."
She began teaching strong, Vinyasa style classes for more than 6 years. In the world of Yoga, a Vinyasa style class is a class focused on a stylized movement flow, where participants move through series of positions in a manner where the intensity generally increases throughout the class. Vinyasa is traditionally a moderately challenging Yoga class, where one can expect to work-up a sweat.
"Having taught strong Vinyasa style classes for over 6 years, I find myself now bending to soft, gentler Yoga and the art of rest." She has now began offering Restorative Therapeutic Yoga. "It's breathtakingly calm. I've also started to weave more mindfulness and meditation into my work."
One of our favorite things about Rebecca is her leadership qualities. After years of teaching in the region, she recognized that she was also surrounded by other fabulous teachers in the Mohawk Valley. She went on to create the group Yoga Teachers of the Mohawk Valley. "I wanted us to grow and learn as a group, so I created Yoga Teachers of the Mohawk Valley. We are now over 40 members strong, and I am hoping this gains traction over 2018. There is some great talent locally!" Rebecca organizes the group's social and educational efforts. The group will be meeting here, at Climb Chiropractic Sports Health, in the month of April for a discussion on anatomy, pathology and working around injuries in a yoga class. As iron sharpens iron, the group works together to improve upon everyone's teaching skills, which in turn increases the quality of the experience for all class goers in the Mohawk Valley.
We touched on advice that she gives people who are interested in Dented Bumper Yoga, or just Yoga in general.
"Don't say you can't do it. There is a starting point for everyone but chances are we need to look at your mental barriers to get you to understand you can do Yoga. Everything in you is connected - your body, breath, mind, spirit, energy. We need to work with all of this for you to grow in Yoga." She also emphasizes how important it is to have fun with your activity! This fits in with our "find your fitness" theme, that there is something out there for everyone and you should (at least) in part enjoy your physical activities. "I love pushing people to do things they are surprised to see they can do. While teaching, I sequence in a way that I know I can get you there. I am watching your body and movement planning on how to help you be the 'best you' today on your mat."
Rebecca, and Dented Bumper Yoga, offers workshops on Yoga, and is more than happy to come to a work site. She teaches classes regularly at two locations: Fierce Foundations and the Fitness Mill.
And EXCITING NEWS ALERT: Rebecca is opening a small private studio in New Hartford, NY for private sessions and Restorative Therapeutic Yoga. "Dented Bumper Yoga Respite" is on the way!
We all look forward to that.
To contact, or to learn more information about Rebecca or Dented Bumper Yoga, she can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/dentedbumperyoga/