Teacher Spotlight: An Interview with Bear

Sanskrit Moon: “What brought you to yoga?”

Bear: “It’s actually a funny story.” 

Bear’s journey to becoming a yoga teacher at Sanskrit Moon is truly inspiring. It is one of great creative strength inspired by his desire to express himself more authentically. Through struggles and successes, he embodies courage, commitment, and awareness both on and off the yoga mat. 

Bear has many positive influences in his life. With the support of his family and his mentor, Dan Ellis at Peachtree Yoga Center, he feels empowered to express his creativity through movement. When asked if he was always drawn to dance, he said yes, and it was his late mother who truly inspired him to use his body as a tool for self-expression. Bear explained that he was an introvert as a teenager, “a Scorpio with the element of water all through his chart,” so he struggled to express himself with words to others. In preparation for his high school prom, Bear and his mother practiced dancing together, and it became an outlet for him to authentically communicate out in the world. Dance is what ultimately led Bear to yoga. In fact, the first asana that peaked his interest was King Pigeon, which he explained is similar to Body Threading in break dancing. From his interest in this asana, Bear’s yoga journey really took off. When he decided to enroll in teacher training in 2018, he knew that he would excel physically, but he was humbled by the inner work the training required. This is where Bear began practicing yoga off the mat. In teacher training, he had to do a presentation on one of the yamas outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the first of the eight limbs of yoga. The yama that he chose was ahimsa, which means non-violence. This piece of yoga philosophy stood out to him because as a break dancer he uses his body in extraordinary ways, some of which over time cause physical harm. He explained that the practice of yoga and implementation of ahimsa, or nonviolence, in his life both physically and mentally allows him to continue living his life to the fullest. 

Bear seamlessly weaves asana and freezes [break dancing poses] into yoga classes and into his own practice. This skill exemplifies his creative strength as a student and teacher of yoga. He applies the practice as a means of expression and at its core, yoga is meant to guide its practitioners into their authentic selves, and he lives as a true expression of the practice.

To close our spotlight on the beloved Bear, below are a few direct responses to a couple of frequently asked questions about his style. If you would like to contact Bear or have any additional questions about his practice or classes at Sanskrit Moon, please reach out to us or Bear directly. His social media handles are at the bottom of the post. 

Sanskrit Moon: “What do you love about Sanskrit Moon?” 

Bear: “It feels like a family, and I feel like I know the students. That energy helps me nurture them so that I can serve them better and be a better yoga teacher overall. It’s also so diverse in the classes we offer and the teachers. We have kundalini!”

Sanskrit Moon: “Why do you wear a hat when you teach yoga?”

Bear: “Well, first of all, I love Spiderman. But actually, my little brother, not biological but I mentor him, loved Spiderman. When he was about 8 years old at Christmas time, I saw a Spiderman hat at Big Lots and I got it for him because I thought that it would be different than a regular present. Then, I was like well why don’t I get one. From there, I thought ‘why don’t I wear a hat?’ I love headstands and with my background in breaking the hat seemed like a way for me to stand out. It also helps me protect my hair when I do headstands because some people get a bald spot from spinning. I like it because with the hat on, everywhere I am I can do a headstand, not head spin, but a headstand if I want. Afros mess up, so the hat helps.” 

Sanskrit Moon: “What is your favorite asana?”

Bear: “Peacock. It is meditative for me.” [WOW- look it up!]

Sanskrit Moon: “If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?”

Bear: “A nurturer.” [So True!]

Social Media:

Instagram: @begene903

Facebook: Yogi Bear’s Arm Balance and Inversion Guide

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