Role Models

By Joyce Englander Levy, July, 2014

I went to visit one of my dearest friends in the hospital the other day. (We met the day I moved to NYC. I taught him yoga, and he taught me New York.) We spent the afternoon reminiscing about our friendship and the ways that our lives have changed since we met. He saw the exhaustion in my eyes and said, “Joyce, in the last year you’ve become a wife, a mother, a new business owner—an adult. That’s a lot for one year.”

I’d gone to the hospital to see my friend, and I left feeling seen.

In yoga, we often ask the question, “Who am I?” I’ve always thought that we were supposed to use this question to break free from the roles that we play every day—to go deeper than “I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a sister. I am a business owner.” Honestly, I’ve always considered any one of these roles as somewhat superficial. However, it felt so profound to be seen by my old friend, that I’ve begun to re-examine the question, “Who am I?”

The roles that we play in our lives are deep, and much bigger than who we are as individuals. In fact, these roles are often deeply ingrained in the fabric of our society. To be in a particular role in your family or company—can help you manage your time and life effectively.

But back to the question, “Who am I?” What if we want to break free of a traditional role? What if we want to evolve that role? What if we want to live with two or three roles that are actually at odds with one another? Well, then I suppose you have a pretty dynamic life to lead. And what better place to practice the dynamics of finding balance and counterbalance of opposing forces than on the yoga mat?

What I have found particularly important about having a daily yoga practice is that no matter what else changes in my life, the fact that I have a practice can remain constant. No matter where I am in the world, no matter how much or how little time I have, no matter what other people around me are doing, I can still practice yoga every day. And without fail, having a daily practice means I feel more patient, centered, and genuine in all the other roles I am juggling. I hope to see you on the mat soon.

Joyce Englander Levy

Joyce Englander Levy is a yoga teacher, poet, and owner of Yoga Shanti. She lives in NYC with her husband and son, and she is committed to helping her neighbors discover good health and peace of mind through yoga. Joyce is a well respected teacher, who considers herself a student first. She graduated with honors from Miami University with degrees in Linguistics and Psychology with an emphasis in poetry and how people learn. She completed her first teacher training while at University with Elizabeth Silas ­Havas, and April White Plank. She believes in long-­term commitments, and deep study. She has studied the mind-­body connection, and poetry her entire life. As a young dancer, Joyce learned that one of the best ways to harness the mind was through moving the body. She later discovered yoga, and saw that yoga, like dancing, was a process of flowing with time. Joyce has studied Ashtanga Yoga since she was 17 years old. Her primary teacher in the Ashtanga tradition is Eddie Stern. She began studying the mechanics of the body, the art of sequencing, and modern applications of yoga with Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee in 2009, and she now works closely with her teachers to foster Yoga Shanti’s teacher training, and daily offerings as an owner of Yoga Shanti. Joyce was recently voted one of the 100 most influential yoga teachers in The United States by Sonima Magazine.

Read more submissions by Joyce Englander Levy

This entry was posted in . Bookmark the permalink.