Joanna
Hatzopoulos

Hometown: Harare, Zimbabwe


How many years have you practiced yoga: Consistently? About 25.


Favorite yoga pose: The one I am in now.


Words to live by: The breath is the most important thing!


Why did you start practicing yoga: I've started a few times! My first exposure to yoga was connected to modern dance. Later, I started a consistent practice because I couldn't imagine not doing it.


Mantra or daily affirmation: Depending on the day or moment I'm having, it's either "keep going" or "be still". Sometimes I hear my mother's voice saying it to me; sometimes I hear Tami Schneider's; sometimes I hear Ted Lardner's; sometimes I hear my own.


Favorite book: If my house were burning down and I could grab one book on the way out, it would be Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak. It's a children's book I received as a teenager, and I still love it.


What informs your practice: Every experience I've ever had.


Your advice for beginner yogis: This is your practice; pay attention, and see what happens. The "your" part means you are your best teacher. The "practice" part means you don't have to be able to do it all (or even like any of it!) when you first try. Keep coming back to it, and be playful in the process of getting to know it.


3 words to describe you: curious, compassionate, creative


The pose that challenges you the most: Seated meditation. It's obviously a mental challenge to be still, but it's also a physical challenge for my arthritis. Even with modifications, sometimes it hurts. Each day I work on finding a new approach to it, and each day it teaches me something.


The best advice you've ever received: Have fun!


What's your teaching style: I have trouble with the word "style." Whether I teach a slow flow class or a power vinyasa class or any other class, all my classes have this in common: They are each an invitation to consciously explore. My aim is to provide a welcoming space for people to approach the practice with curiosity and learn something; they might learn about their bodies, their thoughts, movement, stillness, the environment, or something else.


What do you do for fun: Cook, bake, hike, go to the movies, see art and live theater/music/dance, write, spend time with friends and family, and of course practice yoga!


What are you most grateful for: People who have modeled listening with curiosity and compassion.


What brings you peace: Besides my yoga practice, peace comes to me through long walks, moving water, blue sky, fresh air, my husband's voice saying, "Hey, Jo", the sensation of my bare feet on the ground, the sound of a fountain pen sweeping across the page, a call to embrace uncertainty, and a reminder that nothing lasts forever.


Where is your happy place: A physical place? The Pacific Ocean.


Who/what inspires you the most: Whatever I'm willing to pay attention to at any given moment. Right now I'm inspired by the memory of my dad's voice singing to me. It's the most joyful voice I've ever heard!

Joanna 
Hatzopoulos