The Samahita Blog

Sonja Rzepski Remembers Centered Yoga 1999

When I think about the origin story of “Centered Yoga”, I remember a time in New York where yoga was not as widely practiced. I was making my way through university working as a trainer in Crunch Fitness gym before and after a long day of classes and it was one of my clients who I think saw how stressed I was and recommended I take Paul’s class. She kept reminding me and finally I gave it a go.

Little did I know I was dropping into a led Ashtanga practice. Even though I was a marathon runner and trainer it was one of the most challenging things I had ever done and at the same time I loved it. Paul directed me to practice with Eddie Stern, which I did. While practicing there I met Jutima too, a successful business entrepreneur and forward thinking yogi.

After a while I decided i wanted to deepen my knowledge of yoga and do a teacher training, so I recommended to Paul that he lead one. So he did. He enlisted an Iyengar teacher to help and I was the first and only student. We used Crunch fitness studio space and he would give me assignments to study at Sivananda Ashram upstate and other studios in NYC too.

I don’t actually remember how long it took us to finish the 200 hours but at some point I think Paul thought I was ready and had me sub some of his classes while he went off to India to study. When he came back he did a second TT with I believe 6 students, which I decided to do so I had company and then the rest is kinda history. Samāhita is one of the leading Teacher Trainings in Asia and I might argue in the world.

I’ve recommended so many of my students from all corners of the earth to find it and many have gone on to start their own studios. It continues to inspire, grow and evolve. Thank you Jutima for your wise business vision and extraordinary work and Paul for continuing to elevate the field of yoga.

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