May 19th, 2013
Q&A with Leni Kotsonis, Lawyer and Yoga Instructor at Greener Postures Yoga
If you’re a Greener Postures fan (let’s face it, who isn’t?), then you’ve most likely seen Leni’s smiling face and gorgeous locks at the front of the studio. But what you may not have known is just moments before, she was in heels and slacks doing another sort of practice – being a lawyer at a top downtown firm. This talented gal shares with MainelyMara how she balances it all…one breath at a time.
What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
It was perfect timing. I had been practicing 4-5 times a week for about 5 years, and my good friends had just opened up Greener Postures Yoga and decided to host a teacher training. I had just graduated from law school, was working full time, and back into a “normal” routine; I had the time and desire to study one of my greatest passions – Yoga. So many positive signs encouraging me to take the leap, it was a no-brainer.
Can you take us through a typical day of teaching at Greener Postures & working in the corporate world? How do you balance it all?
It can get a bit nutty, but I’ve managed to find a good groove. Honestly, I’m just grateful that I can do both, that helps to put things into perspective. On the days that I’m at the office and teach, I breathe A LOT, do my best to honor each transition mindfully. Sometimes I’ll sit in my car before class or before the office and take 10 deep breaths to mark the transition from one to the next, so in essence I’m committed to my yoga practice all day. Some days the transition isn’t so smooth, but that’s also practicing yoga too, working with whatever gets thrown your way.
Why would you recommend yoga to others?
As with anything new, it’s so important to have an open mind and to be kind to yourself! I will say yoga communities are a fantastic way to meet new friends. Also, as a former athlete, I’m drawn to group exercise…seems more motivating when you are surrounded by others in the same boat. That being said, yoga is also a wonderful individual practice, so it can be attractive to all types of people.
What’s the biggest misconception about yoga?
That it’s boring. I was guilty of believing this one too. But with a yoga studio cropping up on almost every corner and with how packed the classes are getting, it can’t be all these people are showing up to be bored! Again, have an open-mind, and bring a friend so you can download the experience with each other. We should all be open to try anything once.
Tell us about the very first yoga class you taught.
I can’t really remember, probably because I was just trying to get through it!
What is your most embarrassing moment as a yoga instructor? Your most rewarding?
Hmm, embarrassing? Luckily I haven’t had anything too crazy happen to me, but I have a lot of time for this one to get fulfilled. Stay tuned! I’d have to say the most rewarding experience I have as a yoga teacher is to be witness to the student’s willingness to be open and adventurous – this is not an easy thing to do. They are true rockstars! Another bonus is when a select few laugh at my silly jokes!
What’s your go-to outfit for teaching & taking class?
I love colored crop pants, I’m starting a collection. Which is funny because my so many of my “street” clothes are black. I guess it’s my yogi alter-ego coming out.
When you’re not in your yoga gear, what’s your go-to outfit? What’s one item you can’t live without?
All black, easy and simple. Honestly, this time of year I can’t live without my Bean Boots!
You are constantly switching back and forth between your corporate life and your yoga life. Besides throwing your hair back in a pony, any tips for making the quick switch between the yoga studio and the office?
Keeping the work outfit simple is key, most likely all black, of course. I also never wear tights the days I teach, too complicated.
If you could do only one yoga pose from now on, what would it be?
This is tough, but I’d have to go with pigeon. My hips are perpetually tight!
We hear you’re getting married in the fall (congrats!). How is yoga helping you prepare for this momentous day?
A lot of breath! I am not into event planning so at times it’s easy to feel pretty overwhelmed and bogged down with details. But yoga gives me the skills to pause and recognize how lucky I am to be marrying a wonderful man, my best friend. What my table settings look like will have no impact on that relationship. Perspective is so key.