Mittra profile: Sarah Bartholomew

Before she began the Yoga Mittra teacher training program at the Yoga Loft, Sarah Bartholomew was already accustomed to helping people move. Like a disproportionately large share of yoga instructors, she came to the practice after being beaten up by a career in dancing.

“I’ve been dancing my whole life, and this is something I always wanted to do: learn more about movement that is healing,” she said.

She first encountered yoga in the form of dance warm-ups. It was not exactly love at first class.

“I hated it first, because it wasn’t ‘intense’ enough,” she said with a laugh.

Over the years, she went in and out of steady practice. For a period, she appreciated the heat and repetition of Bikram yoga, but eventually saw in herself the tendency to overdo it. Later, she began exploring the restorative side of her practice, which started to make all the difference.

“It was the first time I was allowing myself to have stillness and heal,” Bartholomew said.

Today, Bartholomew works as a dance instructor. She teaches many different styles, lately focusing on “dance-improv meditation…funky stuff,” she said. She had recently begun working as an office yogi, trading a shift behind the desk each week for free yoga, when she saw a notice for a Mittra scholarship that helped her finance the training program. She applied, and today the experience feels meant to be.

She’s already noticing how the Mittra program is informing her teaching style. The two disciplines have much in common, and she said that her practice often feels like a dance. Beyond that, she has been surprised how much it has helped her teaching in general. Even with only one community class under her belt, she already feels greater confidence speaking in front of people. And understanding more about yoga, she said, has given her a new “vocabulary” for teaching dance.

But she also noted that the experience has benefits for non-teachers. The experience, she said, resembled the leaps she felt when she first discovered restorative practice.

“That’s something I’ve really appreciated throughout the whole thing. Even after the first weekend, I thought, Wow, this is not just for people who want to teach. I’ve learned so much about my own self-care,” Bartholomew said.

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