Teacher Spotlight: Rachael Duda Maitland
I was first introduced to yoga when I was about 8 years old; I went to a class at a church with my mother. I remember thinking it was a little weird, but I was curious, having been a dancer. As I entered my early teens, I had some exposure to spiritual practices from zen Buddhism and shamanism, but my daily practice was more dedicated to a cassette tape of Jane Fonda aerobics, and periodic video of Rodney Yee. It was during my early 20s, while living in New York City and working in the fashion industry, that I found myself back in a yoga class chanting the Ashtanga Invocation and listening to excerpts of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This struck a cord in me, so ventured around the lower part of Manhattan attending classes. I was hooked, and there was no turning back.
What was your first yoga experience?
What made you become a yoga teacher?
When I was about 27, entering the pivotal time of my Saturn return, I was questioning my life path. Yoga classes had become my refuge, where I was able to connect to peace and clarity. I was exploring styles of yoga like Jivamukti yoga and Vinyasa, and finding different New York teachers including Cindy Lee and Kelly Morris. I bought Shiva Rea DVDs so I could practice more at home, falling in love with Prana Vinyasa. I would stare out of the Tracy Reese showroom window on 42nd street, dreaming about moving to an island and teaching yoga, remembering something I wrote in 8th grade about "wanting to help people and heal the world." It was only about a year and a half later that actually did move to an island, Puerto Rico, and enrolled in a 200-hour program at Ashtanga Yoga Puerto Rico. A year after, I enrolled in my first module with Shiva Rea in LA, and soon after I ventured to India. And so the journey began.
What is your favorite pose and why?
I notice my favorite pose fluctuates often to express what I need at that time, sometimes this is subtle and restorative, other times this is challenging and invigorating.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your classes?
My inspiration from teaching is drawn from a decade of study with Shiva Rea and many of her senior teachers, as well as other teachers I have studied with in Boston and beyond. It continues to be a deep exploration of the methodology, the mystical, the mythical, and the artful nature of this practice. There is such richness in the ancient philosophical texts as a living practice and path to embodiment and Self discovery. My formative years of teaching in Puerto Rico connected me with the ocean, an amazing community, and a vibrancy of culture that impacted my expression (I even learned to teach in Spanish). I am grateful to have attended many trainings and workshops over the years, and to weave my teaching with my studies in psychology and energy medicine, finding the bridge between science and spirituality. I also draw from the inspiration from everyone in class, as if we are in a deep and beautiful conversation, on a journey together. I remain inspired about yoga to support individual and collective healing, and to empower social change as we learn and grow from the wisdom that is at the heart of this time-honored tradition, interacting with our modern intellec-technology. This provides me with faith in the world today.
What is something you enjoy outside of Yoga?
Outside of yoga I enjoy dancing, doing creative random projects, surfing, being in nature, talking to my plants, finding feathers, exploring astrology working in my private counseling practice and learning more about the mysteries of life.
Rachael teaches every Friday* from 4:45-5:45 PM.