An Adventure Into The Heart With Pete Guinosso
By Autumn Feldmeier
Could you use a hug? Wouldn't you love to find a yoga class that's as filled with laughter as it is with Sanskrit? Are you seeking a community focused space that makes you feel like the world is becoming smaller, one smile at a time?
When you enter a class or go on a retreat with Pete Guinosso you will experience ALL of these things. Pete's classes are not only physically challenging, they are also filled with heart. He sees the power of yoga as creating health and well being. We had the unique experience of attending his Lassen retreat where his themes of Compassion, Community and Connection to Heart all worked together to create an impactful, bonding weekend.
It was so magical to be amongst volcanoes and clear mountain lakes. We practiced yoga in the natural beauty and it was unlike anything else I have ever experienced. I loved hiking with my new best friends, eating s’mores over the fire and creating a crazy sketch for the “No talent, talent competition!”
I had a great discussion with Pete to discover how he brings this strong understanding of the practice together with his playful attitude to create something special.
What has been your journey into yoga teaching?
When I started practicing, it was definitely with an athletic approach. The cracking open didn’t happen for a while. The reason I didn’t want to start yoga initially was that I was worried it wouldn’t be challenging enough. That entrance point is one of the reasons that I like to offer a class that can be challenging for everyone at all levels.
I am not sure if men do feel intimidated. I like to encourage everyone – not just men – to show up to class and see what happens, and to feel into how yoga is affecting how you feel physically and emotionally. It doesn’t have to happen all at once. Sometimes it takes time and finding the right teacher and class.
I would love your thoughts on the power of yoga for health and healing.
We are seeing more and more studies showing the power of yoga to create good health and well-being. I spent the first part of my career in medical sales, so I am always interested in seeing how much research now exists supporting the practice. This gives people another doorway in and a different language to use as well. With regard to healing, one of my main themes is to have students pick an area in the body that needs healing - whether it be emotional or physical. We then use our practice to hold space for that area. Yoga is a powerful practice that helps us cultivate the skill of unconditional presence. One of the first steps we take is turning towards what needs healing by holding that space for it. Physically, this means that we modify the pose, change how we approach it, pause and add props, etc. Yoga allows us to look at places that need attention and ask what we most need.
Let's chat Burning Man, as you and I are both former Burners!
While my burning man days are behind me for the most part, one of the things you hear every single time you pull into the gates at burning man is: “welcome home.” I feel like in many ways our yoga practice is a welcoming home. Every time we step onto the mat and come into the present moment; we welcome ourselves home. We can feel more and notice more. And that’s important for everyone – whether you have been to Burning Man or not.
Ok, let's talk about fun. There is a lot of playfulness in your classes. How do you find that levity, especially in tough times?
I think it’s important to be playful – that’s part of how I make my teaching accessible. It’s easy to get caught up in “getting the pose” or making our practice a place of striving. These are also extremely difficult and divisive times to live in. For many of my students, their yoga mat is where they come to work with how they feel in a somatic way. I work on making my classes a space where we can laugh, cry, and explore whatever we are feeling in the moment – a place where all types of emotions are welcome.
Time spent with Pete is like an adventure into the heart, one filled with laughs and hugs. Learn more about Pete at petegyoga.com.
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