Posts Tagged ‘Motherhood’

Teacher Feature • Interview With Vittoria

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Interview With Vittoria
from 3/09

1. How you got into yoga & started teaching

How did you get into yoga?

VittoriaI went to a yoga class one day and was completely swept away. It was 1991. I had practiced some yoga before, just a class here and there. But when I took this class I was ready, and pretty much started going to yoga every day in a few short months.

What kind of yoga were you doing?

Power yoga – so it was a sweaty, pretty intense work-out. I think that’s what really got me into it, because at the time I had to have the purifying, intense physical experience. If I had gotten into something more gentle I wouldn’t have been affected the same way. I continued to practice really purifying yoga – sweating, but also emotional. It was very cleansing on so many levels for me.

And then I tried different things over the years – Ashtanga, Kundalini, Forrest yoga with Ana Forrest- different classes with different teachers. I was in L.A. so I had a chance to take classes with lots of different teachers. And then I just continued on for about 8 or 9 years before I started teaching.

What got you to start teaching?

I had been in a transition for some years. I had gone from having a steady job and being married to getting a divorce and leaving my job as a photographer. My life and sense of self had been completely shaken. Discovering yoga opened my eyes and my heart and helped me connect to myself in a much deeper way. I had to share it with others!

Todd had just started teaching and somehow – I don’t remember exactly how, I think it was something that had been brewing in my head for about a year – somehow one day I had a chance to sub his class.

I got really panicked and tried to find a sub for me – a sub for the sub. In the end I went and there were 17 people in the class and someone came up to me at the end and said it was the best class they’d ever had. Which was very strange – I was surprised because my voice didn’t quite come out, it was stuck somewhere inside of me…. The universe put this person there to inspire me to continue to do more.

A year before I found yoga, I was going through a big shift. I would call it a “spiritual awakening” even though it sounds very new agey…. I was unable to be in the world – hold a job or make ends meet – but in a spiritual sense it was amazing – I would hear voices at night, and I would hear music. And then I found yoga and then the year after that I found Ammachi, my Indian guru, who completely changed my life. I spent a month with her traveling the country, and I would say it has been the most important month of my life in terms of spiritual growth, discoveries about myself and about all the questions I had about the meaning of life.

How would you say the yoga complemented or added to your spiritual life?

Practicing yoga helped my body get physically clean and also more vital and grounded! I spent a large part of my early life not in my body. Yoga really helps you make a connection to where you are NOW, and it was a shock to my being, as for various reasons I had not wanted to be here NOW.

Getting into my body also helped me feel emotions I hadn’t felt before and helped move out physical trauma trapped in my cells from the past. Yoga can really help move this stuff out. Sometimes you don’t even know what is moving out – you’re crying, you don’t really know what’s happening, but it is a good thing anyway, and I knew it was.

A lot has changed for me since then and it continues to change, even in the last couple months. I just feel tremendous blessings that I found yoga because I feel like it’s the one thing that somehow ties everything together for me. It has changed my outlook in life completely: something about breathing deeply all these years has definitely affected my brain! (in a good way!)

When you teach now, what’s your intention or hope that your students get from your classes?

What I like to do in class now is to get people in their bodies. I find that we’re so much in our heads and we’re not present for most of what life has to offer. Our minds are always off somewhere else, mostly a place that isn’t real, a place we create in our heads! So my focus for my students is to help them get them in their bodies, and then just feel their bodies move and stretch. Get out of the mind! The benefits are felt right away. Most people will say “Oh, yes, my back feels better” (or my neck, my shoulders), and that’s great, but students also leave smiling, with an open heart. They talk to each other after class, share a bit about their lives, and feel more connected with others. Lives change that way, in the small ways that we almost don’t notice, but that are very powerful.

When you say, “help people get into their bodies” – what does that mean and what does that do for people?

I can tell you what it does for me. From my experience, right away it brings oxygen to the brain. We’re all oxygen-deprived because we sit a lot and in our lives we just don’t move that much. I think that for someone who is very active, it’s a different story. But typically a lot of people who come here are stressed, tired, fatigued – and stressed again! – and they feel tight, uncomfortable, and their bodies are contracting with age.

So, getting in the body first helps them feel better physically because they are breathing deeply and the “brain cloud” lifts. Then from this clearer place they can quiet the mind and have a sense that “I’m here in this moment, not tomorrow, not yesterday, but right here.” It also helps people cope with what life throws your way. We spend a lot of time “reacting” to what happens around us, instead of moving from our center. When we feel better physically, it translates also to our mental well-being and we can live in our center more and more. That translates to more peace and compassion (for others and ourselves) and less drama.

Why do you think people avoid getting into their bodies?

I honestly think it’s ignorance and habit. We don’t know how to be in our bodies, because we are not a society of people that is used to be in our bodies. As babies we are in our bodies, but even kids these days are in school and sit a lot, and computers and video games cause young adults to be still and not move much. I remember seeing a native guy in Hawaii – he looked like he was the trunk of a tree, like he was growing out of the earth, you could see he was totally in his body. So I think we are actually trained to get out of our bodies and then that becomes the norm.

2. Your work with pregnant moms

How did you first get into working with pregnant moms, pre- and post-natal?

Vittoria and babyI was subbing, I had been teaching for only a year, and the owner of the studio I was teaching at said, “Can you sub a pre-natal class?” and I said, “No, I can’t, I haven’t had a baby, how can I sub a pre-natal class?”

And she said, “No, I think you can do it.” And it was really her belief in me that made me think, really, I can do it? And I think she obviously saw I had the interest, so I taught that class and I loved it.

I started going to all the pre-natal yoga classes in town. That’s how I learned – I kept taking classes, taking notes, and practicing and eventually, maybe 3 years after that, I started teaching my own prenatal yoga class and word got around. Then I realized I had to teach post-natal because I can’t just leave them now that they’ve got their babies. It evolved from there.

I came to Portland 9 years ago and started teaching pretty much every week. And I realized there was more to pregnancy than just yoga, so I went to massage school and got my massage license. I have had a private practice since then, first at home and now here at Om Base, which focuses on Women’s Health at any stage, but especially the pregnancy & postpartum stages. My Interest to offer more to pregnant women kept growing, and so I became a childbirth educator, and I teach infant massage classes for parents. It continues – every year there’s something else – very exciting!

So it’s been about 10 years now that I’ve been teaching pre-natal and now I finally feel I have knowledge that needs to be shared. It’s been fabulous for me to have learned all that – and most of it I’ve learned from them, from talking with moms and listening to the aches and pains, and the emotional, loneliness after you give birth. So I learned from that and now I love to share what I know, helping moms to be and new moms feel empowered and enrich the experience of motherhood.

Vittoria & Bailey

Why do you love working with new moms?

I love to share that special time in their lives. I feel very honored and grateful that I am part of their lives during this incredible change. Most of them are first-time moms – maybe only 30 or 20 percent are second-time moms. The first pregnancy is so amazing because there’s only one for each woman. It’s a great time and it’s also a really tough time for some women because they feel like everything is changing. And that’s not talked about. It’s expected you should be glowing and if you don’t, well, then keep it to yourself! I I like to bring that up, and in class we share that, which is a relief for most women who often feel they have to pretend they are happy when maybe they are not.

It’s amazing to have women share with each other while they’re pregnant, what they’re going through, and they feel so supported by being in a place where they can say whatever they feel like, not just, “I feel great.”

There’s also something magical about pregnant women; it’s like a portal opens, and they are in the spiritual world and the physical world – they’re so connected to spirit. They’re more psychic, they’re more in tune with their bodies, it’s like they can check in with that spirit world so much more easily. I love to encourage that & inspire them to tap into that feeling, and allow moms to feel their emotions, and also to inspire them to be silly and child-like, bringing that energy we so need today into our lives.

News from OmBase – October 25th Edition

Sunday, October 25th, 2009
Todd Cutting Cake at the 1st year Anniversary Party

Todd Cutting Cake at the 1st year Anniversary Party

to You!


We want to thank everyone who contributed wonderful prizes and to those who bought tickets, as well as to those that came and contributed to our Fun Drive with generous gifts and their commitment to OmBase this past month, and indeed, this past year! We’re grateful to have such dedicated and generous students that support and are a part of OmBase! Here’s to many more years!


Thanksgiving Day Class
Fund raiser for Fences For Fido
with Todd
THU 11/26 10-11:45 am

Cost: Please join us and use your class card or leave a cash/check donation. Thank you!

. . . UN-CHAINED . . . one dog at a time

. . . UN-CHAINED . . . one dog at a time

We discovered this organization just a short time ago, wrote about it in our blog, and we want to support them. Fences For Fido builds fences for chained dogs, and not only provides freedom and a completely different (happier!) lifestyle for dogs; they also pay to have the dogs spayed and neutered, as well as build shelter when needed.

Our proceedings on Thanksgiving Day are going to this Portland based, non-profit, all-volunteer company.

Fences For Fido is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the welfare and quality of life for dogs living outdoors. Through their volunteer efforts, they create safer and improved conditions for chained dogs, provide education to the public, and help build healthier communities through awareness and compassion.

For dogs living outdoors on a chain, Fences For Fido reaches out to their guardian and offers a free fence, a new shelter, and free or reduced cost spay/neuter. With their services, dogs who were once chained will learn what it’s like to live, run, and play in a safe and more comfortable environment.


Don’t forget to bring your MAT to class!

We want to remind you starting on 11/1 you will need to own your own mat, as we will not have mats to use at the studio.

We will only offer mats for sale from now on.

Please read the signs posted at the studio to find out more.

yoga mats

yoga mats

The mat lottery is happening this Sun 10/25 after Todd’s class. If you want a lovingly used mat for $20 you can put your name down anytime prior to that (we have a sheet at the front desk). About 10 of those mats will be sold. The names will be picked this Sun, but the old mats will be sold on 11/1, to give everyone a chance to buy a mat.

We also have new mats for sale (from $44 up), you can also go to other places in town to purchase a mat or purchase one online. If you have some questions feel free to call us at the studio. We’ll be happy to answer them.

Please know that mats come in all different sizes and textures, and we have looked at most of the ones on the market. We carry only ECO mats, or ‘natural’ mats, which have no PVC and decompose faster. (better for you and the environment)

We also are an official mat recycling drop off point, so you can bring your own worn out mat to us instead of throwing it out.


Freestyle Yoga
with Jay

Tuesdays & Thursdays 6pm

Jay Fields - free-range

Jay Fields - free-range

Jay’s back!

She’s teaching ongoing classes (Freestyle Yoga) on Tuesdays & Thursdays at 6pm as she has been for the past year (except when she was on her sabbatical this summer).

For the ones of you that are new and haven’t experienced her classes, Jay is one of a kind teacher, and her classes will always inspire you to come back for more.

Though based in a vinyasa practice, Freestyle Yoga is not limited by any labels.  The intention of Freestyle Yoga is to honor the practice as it ebbs and flows day by day—balancing fluid vinyasa with restorative yin, movement with seated meditation.  The class content will evolve based on who arrives, with the common thread throughout being the focus on learning the principles of listening to the body to find a deep connection with Self and with one’s own yoga.


Free-Range yoga: Guided From Within
with Jay

SAT 11/7  2-5 pm
class series
Tuesdays 11/10-12/1  7:45-9:15 pm

Cost: $45 ($90 for workshop & 4 week class series)

Please note: To take the class series, you must have taken the workshop either this past summer, or the one at Root that Jay’s teaching (check w/Jay about dates) or the one on 11/7/09.
No drop ins for this series

Jay Fields - Guided From Within

Jay Fields - Guided From Within

This workshop & class series focus on learning the principles of a Free Range practice, which include: being guided from within, finding alignment through lines of energy, and playing your edge.

For you if you:

· want to strengthen your inner guidance and cultivate your sense of ownership and authority in your life on and off the mat.
· are familiar with yoga poses but are wanting to approach them in a way that is more personal and creative.
· want to explore yoga as a means to a life that is more in alignment with what moves you.
· want more one-on-one, hands-on attention as you practice as well as the energy of a community of people practicing together.
· want to develop a home practice, or have one that feels mechanical and in need of inspiration.
· want to create a more trusting relationship with your body, especially if you have injuries you are attending to.

See the class schedule page or see Jay’s website for more details about this class.


Please pre-register soon by calling or sending a check to OmBase.

Yin Yoga series
with Todd
M/W/F am OR pm
3 week series
MON 11/2 to FRI 11/20

Cost: Yin Yoga 7-8:15 am $90-$108 sliding scale
::::: Yoga Immersion 7:15-8:45 pm $111-$144 sliding scale

yin yoga

Yin Yoga

The Yin Yoga series and the Yoga Immersion are both back in November. This is the last time before the new year you’ll have a chance to take either of these offerings. Both start and end on the same day.

The immersion is a chance to gather and practice three sessions per week.

Class focuses on healing and balance through visualization, meditation and yoga asanas. This immersion is an opportunity for you to simply immerse yourself in what it is you are practicing. As you do this, what you are practicing becomes more evident, and it may surprise you! The elements of the practice remain essentially the same: getting centered, engaging our curiosity, and listening.

Why not learn the tools to uncover your innate state? Why not find the inherent balance that is in you? When you find your inspiration…. discipline is no longer necessary.

no pre-requisites required… although you may want to drop into at least a few of the BLIS Yoga classes before hand, to get a glimpse of what we’ll be “doing.”

Let us know if you want to sign up by emailing us at OmBase (


For more information please go to our OmBase schedule page.

Read more about our immersions.

Read more about Yin Yoga in our class descriptions.


Healthy Body Image for Pregnancy & Motherhood
with Kassie

SUN 11/15 2:30-4:30 pm

Cost: $15-$25 sliding scale

Healthy Body Image for Pregnancy and Motherhood

Healthy Body Image for Pregnancy and Motherhood

Learning to love and accept your body in order to maximize your health and parenting.

In this workshop you will:

· participate in discussion regarding the social and cultural pressures with which pregnant women and new moms are faced

· have an opportunity to share your experiences and concerns in a supportive space

· be given tools to help challenge your perceptions, as well as increase acceptance and self-care

· role model a healthy body image for your child


Kassie W. Hughes

Kassie W. Hughes

A Licensed Professional Counselor and new mom, Kassie W. Hughes, specializes in group therapy for body image disturbance and eating disorder.

She has over 13 years experience as a trainer and therapist and utilizes an eclectic blend of mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral interventions, and practical wisdom.

Questions and RSVP’s to


Belly Dancing starts Next Saturday!
Shakti Flow! Egyptian Inspired Bellydance
with Adriana

Saturdays  10/31-12/5 :: 12-1:15 pm class series

Cost: $66 for 6-week class series. Pre-registration required.



Join Adriana for a class series for beginner belly dancers! All welcome!

Traditional Egyptian bellydance is known as ‘Raks Sharqi’ in the Middle East. Its subtle nuances, refined movements, feminine grace and beauty characterize this style. It is very expressive in nature and traditionally performed as a solo and improvised dance.

With ancient roots in fertility rites and goddess worship, it has deep spiritual significance for women and has undergone many cultural migrations; an ever-changing and evolving art.

Bellydance is a great form of exercise for women of all ages, shapes and sizes. It’s a natural complement to a woman’s bone and muscle structure with movements coming mainly from the torso. You will learn how to isolate different parts of the body, moving them independently as well as layering movements in fluid patterns and in quick short accents, weaving together the entire feminine essence, and using the movements as a form of creative expression.

Develop body awareness, grace, balance, strength & fluidity and embrace your Divine Beauty.

We will explore classic bellydance movements in a free-form style within a sacred dance circle. Learn proper technique of the foundation movements including isolations, shimmies, figure 8s, hip circles & more.

Express yourself in a safe, non-judgmental environment where you can release tension, love your body, free your inhibitions and feel you own sacredness.  No experience required.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and feel free to wear hip-scarves, veils & skirts.

Call or email ( to sign up!