Steph Schwartz loves to help people realize their awesomeness through creative sequences and heart-opening chants. For more than 10 years, she has taught vinyasa yoga in Boulder, CO. Her classes focus on breath and body awareness, hands-on adjustments, and heart-opening, accessible chants. Her themes help students embrace their individuality through self-love and self-acceptance. Oftentimes students are entertained with modern-day twists on stories of the deities accompanied by mantra mash-ups. Students experience a profound connection to their own true nature, and ultimately feel more connected to one another.
What do I do best?
I have empathic capabilities and am good at meeting people where they need to be met. I particularly love building community in my yoga classes through chanting. Mantra is a short pathway to the soul and helps people feel immediately more connected to their hearts and the hearts of others.
What makes me the best version of myself?
Repetition and perseverance. I am a basically shy person who prefers not to be in front of people speaking and directing. I tried to quit teacher training my first night. And that was over ten years ago. I am so grateful I didn’t and keep reminding myself: ‘You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step’ -anonymous. It’s one step at a time; one foot in front of the other. You never know where those baby steps will take you!
What are my aspirations?
Personally I’d like to continue to challenge my fears in order to grow, in particular within my hobby which is piloting my wingsuit out of (perfectly good) airplanes. Professionally I’d love to continue to be innovative in my classes, and to continue to build community. With teaching there’s always a new level of comfort I’m aspiring towards - whether leading a Kirtan event or learning how to get more comfortable in front of the cameras when filming for Gaia and Yoga Every Day. We gain confidence through repetition, but it’s also persistence and faking it until you *become* it.
My Biggest Success?
I’d have to say running the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim. I was an ultra marathoner for a while and had an opportunity to run 48 miles of the GC self-supported with one other friend. I realized all those other races were in preparation for that challenging and very rewarding task.
My Most Challenging Moment?
My whole life I’ve felt like a black sheep. And although I know this is a survival story, I’ve never been completely comfortable living off the beaten path. Choosing to make a living as a yoga instructor, especially with my shyness and fear of public speaking / exposure, has always presented it’s challenges. What it has taught me, and still continues to teach me, is to trust and relax into the flow of my own path, to be #unapologeticallyME.
On the other side of awkward is awesome.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
I wouldn’t say I have specific people in mind, but there are qualities I absolutely admire in people.
I admire those who motivate others through sharing their stories of hardship and survival. I admire great orators who bring humor and connection to the world through their speech. I admire the creativity of artists and musicians. I admire people who face into their fears and just go for it. I admire those who walk gracefully through their own lives and the lives of others. I admire humility. I admire good listeners.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Because I grew up in Southeast Asia (Taipei, Manila, Seoul, Jakarta) I love traveling back to that area. As for the US - anywhere with mountains and the desert.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
Manduka, Squirrel Wingsuits, Vans
My Current Passions?
I love flying my Squirrel Wingsuit. There’s a quote by Tom Petty in his song Free Falling: ‘I’m gonna free fall out into nothing. I want to leave this world for a while.’ It’s where I can be completely alone and completely free.