Abra Goldman | Strong Yogi, Mama, Wife & Friend

Name: Abra Goldman

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At age 5, I started practicing competitive gymnastics.   I dreamed of being an Olympic gymnast.  My childhood idols were Cathy Rigby, Mary Lou Retton, and Nadia Comanechi.

List three words that describe you:
Empathetic, Creative, Determined

Tell us about your first experience with yoga:
My first experience with yoga was at a Bikram studio in Atlanta, Georgia almost 20 years ago.  I was shocked!  The studio was blazing hot.  My body couldn’t possible conform to what was being asked of me.  And, many of the men dressed in speedos and women in bikinis!  I vowed to never go back to yoga. 🙂

What is your favorite aspect of Yoga?
The exhilarating feeling of being deeply rooted in my body and present with my breath.

What is the most challenging aspect of yoga, for you personally?
Not letting my mind wonder off of my mat.  I have to keep reminding myself to bring my attention back to my breath.

How have you seen your practice change/impact your life?
I love how the lessons of yoga remind me of what is truly important in life.  I believe that my practice has made me a happier and healthier person on the inside and out.  I have also learned to cherish moments – a tree blowing in the wind, the stars in a beautiful night sky, the sound my children’s voices, the vibrancy of a flower, the amazing taste of a good meal…

Why do you love teaching at Cleveland Yoga, and what is your favorite aspect of teaching?
CY has an overall culture of personal growth.  I love that I have the freedom to observe my strengths as a teacher and I am given the tools to develop myself further.  I love the CY community.  There are so many dedicated participants full of curiosity,  wanting to deepen their personal practice.  My favorite aspect of teaching is finding subtle alignment cues that work in my body and suggesting them to a group of students.  It is inspiring to see that “aha” moment take place as they adjust their physical body on the mat.

Tell us about a memorable/favorite moment teaching yoga:
Students are often fearful of inversions.  I love the moment when I see a student conquer their fear and get up without support for the fist time!

Do you teach yoga full time?  If not, what other things do you do for fun/work?
I teach yoga part time.  I love to find and paint old furniture, search for recipes, shop and cook “clean” meals, read great fiction, take long walks and even longer bike rides, spend quality time with my children and husband, and have cocktails/coffee and long talks with my girlfriends.

If you had one piece of advice for a beginner yogi, what would you say?
Yoga is challenging.  Find success in your efforts.  Do not focus on the end result.  It is your consistent effort that is most meaningful.

If you had no restrictions (money, responsibilities etc.), what would you with the next 12 months?
Either travel all over the world learning about different cultures and religions, or – rent a beach house in Cali and teach yoga to anyone who was interested.

What is your favorite song to sing aloud to when you are alone in your car?
Bound for Glory, by Tedeschi Trucks Band

Who inspires you to be your greatest self?
My closest girlfriends.  They know just what to say when I am doubting myself.

What is your your favorite quote:
“Do or do not, there is no try.” Yoda