It is with great pleasure that I introduce Alli Schlachter as our February featured student. Alli frequents the Saturday classes and some of the weekly classes as well. She is vibrant, grounded and a real go-getter! Enjoy meeting Alli.

Tell us a bit about yourself – I grew up on the Jersey Shore very close to the beach. I am convinced that I have salt water running through my veins as my love and connection to the ocean is deep. I have lived in NH, Virginia and Maryland as my husband and I took turns working and getting graduate degrees. We settled in South Hadley about 14 years ago and we plan to stay forever. We love all that the Valley has to offer. I am a clinical social worker and for the last 12 years I have been in private practice specializing in anxiety disorders across the lifespan but especially love working with adolescents. A few years ago, I also took a position as a school social worker at Longmeadow High School. It is wonderful to be part of a school community!

 

What is a little known or surprising fact about you or your work?

When the nation’s political climate shifted quickly a few years ago, I started to realize that every voice mattered. The Women’s March in Boston and the call to action inspired me in ways I wasn’t expecting. I took a step into the political process and ran a “write-in” campaign to be elected as a Town Meeting Member and I won a seat. From there, I ran for School Committee and was elected. I have served now for about 2 years and am about to run my second campaign in hopes to be reelected in March. Being a member of town government has been difficult, exciting and rewarding work. I actually LOVE it!!

 

How long have you been practicing yoga and what led you to Iyengar yoga?

I have had a yoga practice for 22 years, since age 21. I have practiced and learned with some wonderful teachers. I had intermittent back pain since I injured my back while attending a yoga teacher training about 15 years ago. Five years ago I heard about Susan Elena and her skill at correcting postural alignment as a way of healing the body. I decided to give Iyengar a try and have never looked back. After 17 years of practice, I became a beginner again! Iyengar yoga has brightened my path.

 

What keeps you on the mat?

I have a deep love for yoga. It is a constant in my life even when I am so busy my head is swirling. When I get on my mat, I feel close to my body and my spirit. I connect with my true nature. My practice helps access a type of intelligence and compassion that I bring with me everywhere I go. I am fueled by the combination of challenge and peace.

 

What keeps you off the mat?

With all that I do in my life, above all else I am a committed mother. I am usually kept off the mat because of the constant pull of motherhood and the time it takes to be present and care for my 2 amazing kids.

 

What poses do you love?

Adho Mukha Svanasana, Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana), Urdhva Dhanurasana

 

What poses do you find challenging?

Adho Mukha Svanasana, Salamba Sarvangasana

 

What do you like to do when you are not doing yoga?

I love to hike and absorb the natural world, hang with friends and family and catch as much live music as possible.

 

How has practicing yoga impacted your life?

Yoga has changed my life in countless ways. It has served as a guide for how I aspire to interact with the world, interpersonally, socially, environmentally and professionally. It teaches me humility and grace, gratitude and compassion.

 

How does our yoga community contribute to your practice?

The yoga community we have at the IYCWM is truly special. In a time where yoga is everywhere in all different forms, practicing alongside other Iyengar students gives me such a sense of cohesion and mutuality. We are all there because we have chosen Iyengar yoga and we have chosen our teacher Susan Elena to guide us through the practice. It is quite beautiful.

 

Any advice for beginners?

Keep coming back!! There will be tough classes and it won’t always feel the way you were expecting but there is such a benefit in this exploration. Embrace each moment of doubt as an opportunity for growth.

 

To check out Alli’s campaign for re-election information or her work on the School Committee please visit and “Like” her Campaign Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/voteallisonschlachter/