My name is Amy Sosne. I live in Williamstown, Massachusetts in the beautiful Berkshires with my two young children, husband, and two puggles. I graduated Williams College with majors in psychology and art history. I continued on to finish medical school at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NYC and began a residency in psychiatry with an interest and electives based on child psychiatry. After realizing the medicine path was not for me and completing my licensing, I completed a Masters Degree in Elementary Education and pursued a yoga certification. During my time in NYC, I taught yoga to students in Spanish Harlem in addition to yoga during my externships and student teaching in local public and private elementary schools. My elective presentations in medical school and my masters thesis were both on the subject of the benefits and impacts of yoga and meditative practices in public schools, citing significant results in focus, self-confidence, and happiness in the children that took yoga and mindfulness practices.
Since moving up to Williams two years ago, I have become increasingly interested in teaching within the community students of all ages the practice of yoga and mindfulness and incorporating these tools into their lives from a young age. As a competitive athlete and varsity tennis player at Williams, I found yoga to be incredibly grounding and helpful as an athlete as well as a student. I have been practicing yoga since I was ten and through the natural ebbs and flows of life, my practice has remained constant. The asanas (postures) and pranyama (breathing) I have been able to practice has definitely changed during times, but the wholeness and calmness I feel when I practice yoga and mindfulness does not change. I have taught over the past year at my son’s preschool and some family yoga and children’s yoga in addition to having experience with teaching adults. Whenever I practice yoga, I feel an instant energy and empowerment that I want to share with fellow yogis. When I end my practice I feel a wholeness and calmness that enables me to be more capable and focused in the real world. The benefits of yoga with children and adults are tremendous, but starting at a young age enables children during their pivotal years of development to acquire a sense of self-empowerment and confidence in addition to concentration, focus, and general kindness, that will help them to grow into empathic, strong, caring adults.
MY BACKGROUND AND PERSONAL HISTORY WITH YOGA
I have been a passionate yogi for 25 years, since I was 9 years old. I was a competitive nationally ranked tennis played and had difficulties with focus and stress management. When I first learned my salutations, I was doubtful how this was really “for me.” I stuck with it and by college, medical school, through my three pregnancies, and masters program, yoga in any shape or form from gentle/restorative, to powerful vinyasa, inversion and arm balance workshops, and most importantly ending each class with a introspective meditation away from the stressors and the reality of the external world. I have been through a lot in my life, but yoga has empowered me, given me self confidence, and is the main tool in my soothing “kit” to destress and gain perspective of the world and real issues.
Children today run around constantly busy, going from school to extracurricular activities where they may play soccer, do two minutes of light stretching and then go home to sit and do homework for hours. Their stiff bodies crave wiggling, movement, flexibility. My passion for teaching children’s yoga is to enable them to challenge themselves and make themselves proud in a non-competitive forum while recognizing that every day is not the same, teaching self compassion, and removing them from their routines. If I can get a four year old to lay down through a guided meditation through a magical garden with eyes closed for even three minutes than I feel like I have done something. My classes build on the community that we create beginning day one. We do partner poses and work together to help, not compete. Yoga is a life long tool, which brings me to my dedication to teaching yoga to adults.
As an adult I was faced with many physical obstacles that left me in four years of physical therapy. I struggled. Once an avid athlete and in prime shape, pregnancies, bedrest, and surgeries had left me with an unrecognizable body. Yoga helped me build up my confidence. Yoga initially was a form of yoga (physical) therapy for me and given my background as a licensed physician I was able to comprehend the different muscles that were weak and needed strengthening. Yet at the end of every session, the meditation and mindfulness enabled me to be in the present, the here and now; this is what I am, this is what I did, and I’m proud. Adults with injuries strive to be what they were and they will get there but we need to be proud of our here and now – the present, the moment.
Yoga for adults is also an outlet from their chaotic routines, the pranayama and asanas flow seamlessly as adults virtually go through a mindful movement. In addition I love working with individuals who crave a challenge and provide a safe environment in which I can instruct them safely through poses that they may never have dreamed they could move into. It’s not just to challenge adults into inversions and arm balances, but the physical and medical effects from having a routine practice and inverting and backbending is huge. I want to bring yoga to children and adults and have them experience what it has done for me. How it can be a crutch in grief and loss, injuries, and struggles. Get on your mat and put on your yogi glasses to separate from the world. Every child or adult deserves a time to dedicate to their body and yoga (meaning union) helps us all to unite our mind and body into one, to think and flow as one and to relax as one.
Williamstown Elementary School (through AIL program) – January 9, 16, 23 from 3-5pm
North Adams Yoga – Family yoga (suggested walking through age 5, but use your judgment) – Second Sundays of every month starting February 11th 1:45-2:45.
Clark Art Museum – family yoga – February 20, 21, 22 – 11-11:45 am
North Adams Yoga – Children’s six week series – recommended ages 6-11 (but there is wiggle room). Series starts April 1st, weekly Sundays from 3-4pm. Drop off.
Visit north adams yoga for sign ups and more details.