I'm a Pittsburgh native who transplanted to Brooklyn after graduating from Tufts University.
My journey to yoga has been a winding one! I’ve always been a mover – gymnastics, dance, and Emily Pantalone Original plays in my living room as a child. I started taking yoga classes in high school, and by college I was hooked.
To find out more about who I am and my journey to yoga, keep reading!
At University I studied International Relations, specializing in International Security. I personally concentrated on development and human security in post-conflict environments, particularly in Afghanistan and other South Asian countries. I had the immense privilege to do community development work in Guatemala and India, and I worked at the UN in Geneva with a Edward Girardet - a journalist writing two books about his twenty years of reporting from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
By my senior year I was totally burned out and disenchanted with the International System. I finished my degree with a project about how theater and performance help communities deal with trauma in post-war environments, and I moved to New York to be an actor.
My family will tell you that I’ve been performing my entire life. It was how I practiced empathy as a child, and how I uncovered my own ticks and tendencies as a young adult. When I first moved to New York, I took the more traditional acting route at first – auditioned, did some plays, took some acting classes. I've met countless inspiring artists, writers, live-out-loud-ers, justice fighters, radical thinkers. Now I mostly collaborate with friends and colleagues I admire, or I do my own work as a performer and a writer.
I believe that acting is the highest form of empathy. You cannot embody a person physically, mentally, and emotionally without truly understanding them.
Acting was my first practice of yoga.
I took my 200Hr Yoga Teacher Training at Dou Yoga in 2014, under the brilliant instruction of Yuuki Hirano and Ariel Kiley. We delved deeply into the anatomy of yoga – how it manifests in the body – and the philosophy of yoga – how it unlocks the mind. We were encouraged above all to teach from a place of truth – to uncover our authentic voice and use it.
I deepened my anatomic understanding of movement with the Yoga Tune Up® Level 1 and Roll Model Method® Trainings, also under the instruction of Ariel Kiley. I learned how to use specific therapeutic movement, self-massage techniques, as well as traditional yoga poses to bring a body to a newer healthier “normal.”
I began to do more therapeutic work so to increase my understanding of trauma in the body, I studied Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TSY) under Jenn Turner from the Trauma Center in Brookline, MA. I've since taken advanced education trainings on the subject. Most recently I completed a Kids Yoga training at Hosh Kids. I’ve been working with children since the age of twelve, and it’s been a wondrous journey for me to bring a practice that I love to a population whom I love.
Yoga is my guiding light.
It brings me back to myself when imperfection threatens my balance. It is both a physical and wholly non-manifest practice. It questions distinctions like “body” and “mind”, “you” and “I”, “self” and “world”. You can never become a master of this practice, because it constantly changes you and therefore itself. I believe I know less and less about yoga as time goes on. Perhaps you’ll join me in class sometime, and we can increase our uncertainty together.
Hey, it's Emily!