Posted by David on February 11, 2014
Our yoga teacher of the month is Michelle Kronenberg.
I was so fortunate to meet Michelle back in 1996, while breakfasting at the home of Nagaratna after practicing yoga with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore India. What was most apparent when I met her was her sense of humor. She was hilarious. A New Yorker living in LA, and deeply immersed in a yogic journey of discovery. She was completely in touch with all the humorous elements of her upbringing and her new-aged pursuits, and made fun of herself better than anyone else. As I got to know Michelle a little better, her dedication to the practice of yoga and meditation was inspiring, as were the many profound insights she had to share.
Almost 20 years later, Michelle is a premier yoga teacher in Malibu, California. Her passion and commitment to yoga are “the real thing.” “This is what I do, this is my life,” she says.
Michelle brings a deep and diverse range of knowledge and experience, mixed with lightness and joy – to her classes. Michelle has an Ivy League education of yoga training and it shows in her teaching. She lived in India for a year and studied with Pattabhi Jois, the founder of the Ashtanga Vinyasa system of yoga. In Pune, India, she also studied with B.K.S. Iyengar, the creator of the Iyengar system of yoga. Chuck Miller, Maty Ezraty, Erich Schiffman, Lisa Walford and Guru Singh are more notable teachers from whom she has learned. Most recently she spent a month in Italy studying with Donna Holleman, an Iyengar-influenced teacher who has created her own system.
Her classes can be strong and yet incredibly precise. She never teaches the same sequence. “I teach for the moment,” she explains. “I want my students to come away from my class more aware and more centered, sharper and clearer,” she says. Her classes are laced with humor, “just so we don’t get too serious” during the practice.
“I use my practice to sharpen my mind and there is a freedom that comes from that,” she says. “It gives me respite from the unending chatter of the mind. That is what I share in my teaching and that is what I hope people leave my classes with. I hope they take that philosophy off the mat into their lives.”
“My life has been devoted to the path of self-discovery and yoga on so many levels.” She admits that it is not always an easy path, “but it is an amazing reflection for me to see myself and where I am in my life. In order to maintain my centeredness and bring myself back to a place of openness and self love, I use my sitting practice.”
As for her teaching, she notes, “I love to teach. I love the detail. I love seeing people come into their bodies and wake up. As a teacher you can see people start to breathe and feel truly alive. For me, the studying, practicing and teaching of yoga awakens a sense of presence, and the feeling of being present encourages my heart to soften and open,” she says. “When I live from my heart, I feel greater love and compassion for myself and others. My hope is that my students feel this as well.”