Meet the Teachers

London versus New York with Anita Goa

In this week’s feature we catch up with Anita Goa, who recently moved from New York to London and re-established herself here, as a teacher and well, a Londoner. Anita explains the differences between the two cities yoga scene about inspiring New York teachers and about living graciously through transitions and changes in life.

How would you say the yoga scene in London differs to that in New York?

In New York; yoga, health and fitness has been a part of the culture for a very long time. Super high stress level is part of daily life and yoga and exercise is part of stress management. New Yorkers love yang and to push themselves; they want to feel challenged and worked out from the inside-out, but in the end they want to feel connected, refreshed, accomplished and mentally prepared for whatever challenges might come their way that day.
In London; health, yoga and fitness is fairly new, and from what I have gathered so far yoga to Londoners has a more yin mentality. Their yoga practice is not about getting a workout and stretching their edge like in New York, it’s more about coming to the mat to receive and nurture themselves in a more gentle way.

What is your favourite thing about New York’s yoga scene. And what about London?

I appreciate both places. I love the ‘sky is the limit’ New York/American mentality but it can be exhausting at times. I love the fact that yoga, health and fitness is newer in London and how open Londoners are to new things and approaches. I also appreciate the Yin mentality. London made me believe in balance again. In New York balance felt like an illusion.

Which teachers inspired you in New York and why?

So many teachers have inspired me and continue to inspire me. I am always learning and I learn from every teacher or class I attend. I am very grateful Ii got my start with Beryl Bender Birch. She is a fantastic teacher and gave me the best foundation I could have asked for as a practitioner and as a teacher she saw me for who I am and let me be who I am. I always keep coming back to Peter Rizzo as my favorite teacher. He is very quiet, but I felt his practice spoke for itself. He offers a very challenging, but deep and therapeutic/restorative practice. For me a perfect balance of Yang and Yin. A private lesson with Peter is heaven, and his adjustments are perfection.

Now that you have settled in a bit, what can you tell us about what it means to leave your city and relocate? As a teacher, what does it entail? What did you learn?

I have come to realize my life has been about transitions. No coincidence I teach vinyasa yoga. Leaving New York meant leaving everything I was familiar and comfortable with. A culture I know; friends, students and clients I know and who know me. Relocating to a new country brings on change, opportunity and growth. I started from scratch again, and as a teacher I have had to adjust and adapt a bit as American and British culture are different, but I embrace it and love to learn. It makes me a better teacher and a more well rounded human being. I didn’t move to London to get the same as what I had in New York. Moving to London has been easy compared to when i moved from Norway to New York, that was a huge culture shock. Yoga is Universal but the way it is taught might need a bit adapting depending on where it is taught. I am still trying to figure it all out.

What is your favourite post yoga autumn meal? Can you share the recipe with us?

I’ll usually practice mid-morning after school drop-off. and after that I’ll have a breakfast/lunch (brunch). At the moment I love scrambled eggs with roasted yams, pumpkin seeds and a tahini/miso dressing. It’s yummy, grounds me as well as energizes and nourishes me.

What place in London makes you feel ‘at home’?

I love London and feel at home here. It’s easy going, relaxing and laid back. Although Londoners say I’m a Londoner, I don’t feel I’ve earned the title ‘Londoner’ yet. In New York I was told I wasn’t a New Yorker until I had put in 10 years. I put in 20, and although I felt like a New Yorker myself I never felt I was fully embraced as one. New York messed me up a bit. I have felt welcome in London since day one. I absolutely love the city and I feel at home here and in our cute small Victorian house in Angle, Islington. I feel so lucky.

View Anita’s teaching schedule.

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