Instructor Focus: Ava Butzu

We love our incredible Breathe instructors! They give so much of themselves each and every time they teach and bring their own unique style and wisdom to their mats, as students as well as teachers. We have so enjoyed getting to know them all a bit better and in order to help you do the same, we asked them each a handful of questions...

Q: What brought you to your mat for the very first time and when was that?

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“I found my way to yoga in 2007 with an eye to building a physical practice to supplement other types of exercise. I did not anticipate immediate relief from stress-related back pain, which I thought was a normal part of getting older. I was even more surprised to discover that yoga helped me face personal challenges. Peeling away years of avoidance and emotional baggage, my deepening practice became vital to learning patience and compassion for others.”

Q: What do you find the most fulfilling part of teaching?

“I really love the almost unconscious but totally palpable moment in class when it becomes instinctive and natural to move slowly and breathe deeply. This is a moment that I’ve only ever experienced in group practices, when the energy and collective ethos of our movement and breath builds together. It often takes 30-35 minutes to achieve that moment of flow, which for me doesn’t mean external movement as much as it means internal awareness and calm, even during moments of intense feeling. Forehead brows unfurrow, jaws relax, shoulders melt away from ears, and ribs expand with breath, and there’s almost (and sometimes actually) a collective sigh at the end of the practice when we move into mindful rest.”

Q: What is your favorite posture and why?

“That’s a trick question. My first instinct is to gush about a pose that feels great - something that comes easily to me, like half-moon balance or skandasana side lunge. They both feel great - one for floating openness and the other for grounding and sinking in deeply. But I find myself getting really attached to poses that I gravitate toward, so I’ve been working on opening my heart and mind to postures that are tricky for me, like reverse-revolved crescent warrior, or poses that my body will never achieve fully, like hanumanasana splits. The opportunity to notice how centimeters of difference in how deeply I can move into a pose help me translate clam and unattached awareness to other challenges in my daily life. These are the poses that teach me to remember that nothing is permanent and to embrace being perfectly imperfect.”

Join Ava for for the following classes: Tuesdays - 7-8pm Breathe Vinyasa+, alternate Sundays - 6-7pm Candlelit Slowflow, and once a month on the Saturday rotation for 9am Vinyasa.