Amy DeFilippi is a yoga teacher and a psychotherapist who spends her days teaching people to listen to their own divine wisdom. She loves to laugh, chant, and practice savasana. When she is not teaching yoga or working with clients she can be found throwing flashlight dance parties for her nieces and nephew and in a committed relationship with Netflix. She is inspired daily by the world around her and the love she bears witness to on the streets of New York City. For more on Amy visit pathtopeaceyoga.com. and findyourpathtopeace.com
What do I do best?
Connecting with people is my greatest strength. As both a psychotherapist and a yoga teacher, I am my best self when I’m working to create a space for people to be vulnerable and listen to their inner voice.
What makes me the best version of myself?
My sense of humor, I have used my sense of humor to create relationships with my most reluctant clients. I have found that laughter is one of the best invitations you can offer and a great bridge towards trust.
What are my aspirations?
I aspire to travel all over the world stepping foot on every continent and seeing/swimming in every ocean. I have done a fair bit of traveling and have found that I have a greater appreciation for life with each new experience.
My professional aspiration is to put myself out of business. I joke about this, but if I am out of business then everyone around me is so healthy and happy that they don’t need a therapist anymore.
Until that happens, I'd like to give talks or lectures about yoga and mental health. I'm working to find more time in my schedule to pursue opportunities for speaking engagements and share my passion with a larger audience.
I'm also mapping out an online course to teach people yoga and mindfulness skills to help people increase their stress tolerance.
My Biggest Success?
My biggest success is still a work in progress. I am very proud of opening my business and working completely independently, however I see this as something that needs to be nurtured and though I am proud of the progress I have made here I recognize that I will never be finished cultivating this achievement. In some ways it is frustrating to feel like I am never going to be “finished” building my practice, but I am also very grateful for the ever dynamic nature of my chosen career path
My Most Challenging Moment?
I was living in Hawaii for 9 years and had a wonderful life there. I had amazing teachers, friends, and a wonderful community. My brother and his wife had triplets and I decided to move back to New York to be closer to them. Being an Aunt is my greatest joy, however it was difficult to leave Hawaii. I don’t regret my decision, but I do think it changed the course of what I thought my life might look like.
Being a trauma therapist means that a lot of my time is spent sitting with pain and discomfort. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by the suffering in the world. When these feelings wash over me I am reminded instantly of what Mr. Rogers told us as children, “look for the helpers.” In every story of tragedy there is a ray of light and a feeling of hope. I have this profound memory of the school shooting in Newton that took so many beautiful people from this world. I was overwhelmed with grief, until I remembered his words. I combed through articles and pictures looking for the first responders, the neighbors, the people from all over the world sending their love. This made it easier for me to comprehend the tragedy. There is so much compassion and love in the world, we need to train our eyes to seek it out in the face of darkness.
Metta or Lovingkindness Meditation as taught by Sharon Salzberg (and others) has been very influential for me. I have worked to pattern my thoughts to reach for this when I am struggling and found that it has improved the quality of my life tremendously. When I am feeling really drained and sad this mediation gives me energy and feeds me exactly what I need.
There is a Hafiz poem that is fairly common:
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,
"You owe me."
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.”
Being a yoga teacher and a psychotherapist can be draining at times. This poem reminds me of the way that I want to love the world.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
I used to run a homeless shelter in New York City. One of my clients there had experienced more traumas than I could ever imagine and yet he was the happiest person I have ever met. He was convinced that he was the luckiest man in the world and he lived his life as if this was true. His gratitude to everyone he comes into contact with is unmatched. Despite being street homeless for 15 years he only tells stories of the kindness he experienced living on the street. His memories of his childhood are full of laughter and he remembers all the people who encouraged him and believed in him. It’s not that he doesn’t acknowledge his trauma; it is that he “remembers the helpers”. Most of us have positive people in our past, but often the negative memories take center stage. I strive to be more like him; strong, gracious, and hopeful.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
I am very soothed by the ocean. My favorite place will always be Hawaii. There is something about the way that that land holds you there that brings me peace. Waimanalo Beach is where I go when I close my eyes. The beauty of this place is imprinted on my heart, I can return there whenever I need to by simply closing my eyes.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
I just got a weighted blanket and I have noticed a difference in how much calmer and more rested I am. It is a wonderful grounding tool after a long day in the city.
My Current Passions?
I have been watercolor painting for the past year. I love it so much! I plan to keep practicing in the New Year and sign up for more classes. Using my fine motor skills in a slow and deliberate way is a kind of meditation that I am only just beginning to understand. Of course, I have a lot to learn and I am not very skilled, but I’m proud to say my nieces and nephew are early collectors of my work.