Meet our Private Practice Manager at Pure East, Carly Hunter! Learn about Carly's journey with yoga, specifically Pure, and the importance of having a practice.

1. How did you get started with yoga?
My Freshman year in college as a Dance Major at The Ohio State University, I decided to take yoga as an elective course to compliment my dance training.  In a dance setting it was introduced mainly as a body awareness technique and I didn’t really like it.  Years later when I graduated school and stopped pursuing dance as a profession, I found myself practicing yoga again. At this time I was working in a corporate environment and simply needed an outlet moving and stress management.  Over time, I grew to love the practice and once I found Pure Yoga, my idea and understanding of yoga expanded!

2. What drew you to Pure Yoga?
The talented faculty, wide array of class/program offerings, and the gorgeous space drew me.  It’s also helpful that Pure East is located five blocks from my apartment.

3. Why do you think private yoga is important? 
Yoga has been transmitted since ancient times in what is called the Guru-shishya tradition whereby teachings are imparted from guru to disciple in a special one to one relationship.  This important connection between teacher and student is a proven model for conveying knowledge.

Besides honoring the tradition for which yoga has been given to us, private yoga has profound effects.  The private environment allows the teacher to focus on the needs of the student in the moment. The progression in the practice is directly correlated to time spent between teacher and student along with trust.  Alignment, injury, health conditions, pregnancy, stress, emotional difficulties, sleep disorders, and so forth can be carefully addressed in a private setting.  Working one on one also provides students an opportunity to ask questions and focus on specific goals or training techniques to master more advanced asana.

4. How has yoga impacted your life?
My entire life has changed dramatically since practicing yoga.  From a lifestyle perspective late nights are a thing of the past. I am up at 5:30am six days a week to practice at 6:30am.  I also adapted to the yogic diet of being vegetarian. Most recently my career has changed from working in Digital Media Advertising Sales to teaching yoga.  Most importantly, my worldview is expanding and attracting the most important people and relationships into my life.  Those who are close to me have recognized that I have shifted in temperament for the better. 

5.  Do you have a favorite type of yoga to take? Why?
After practicing numerous styles for fifteen years, I am a dedicated Ashtanga practitioner for the past three.  The practice has taken me much deeper into my study of yoga on a physical, spiritual, and emotional level. The Ashtanga method has such a beautiful way of presenting an individual’s weaknesses and I love to be challenged. It’s an intelligently designed system that I connect to more than any other style.  At Pure East, we have an amazing kula (community) of practitioners comprised of all levels, ages, backgrounds, shapes, and sizes.  The style is most definitely for everyone and it’s amazing to witness how transformative it has been in my life and others’.

6.  Is there a pose you've been trying to master? If not, how did you go about mastering a pose?
To let go of my mind in savasana will be an everlasting journey. On a physical level, I am currently practicing the 3rd Series of the Ashtanga method and struggling with two postures-Purna Matsiendrasana and Viranchyasana A-you’ll understand why if you Google to see!  No matter how beginner or advanced one is in the practice everyone is greeted with challenge at some point. To eventually master, the only thing I can do is surrender into the obstacle with patience and continue to practice.  As Guruji, Patthabi Jois, would say, “Practice and all is coming”.  So that’s exactly what I do.

7. Is there any advice you'd give to someone who's afraid to try yoga?
I am very sensitive to people’s concerns about trying yoga, but the only way to know is by doing it!  Most concerns I listen to are connected to one’s fear of embarrassment as a new student in a group setting.  The other concern I hear is when a person is in recovery from an injury or disease. These are valid concerns.  My suggestion is private yoga as it is the best introduction to the practice.  A teacher can focus on the student’s needs, create a safe environment, and move at the student’s pace. As a teacher I have worked privately with a number of first time practitioners.  I tell students to just breathe and not take themselves too seriously.  These newbies usually discover they love the yoga practice and there is nothing to be afraid of after a few sessions together. 

8. Do you follow any certain diet to compliment your yoga practice?
I try my best to eat a clean, balanced, and nutritious diet keeping in mind Ayurvedic principles for dosha balancing. I eat whole foods that closely resemble how they came from the earth. At home I eat vegan, and outside of my home I follow a mostly vegetarian diet. It’s rare that I drink alcohol.  When I indulge in sugar, carbs, or too much salt, it shows up immediately and adversely in my yoga practice the next day.  I’m also diligent about of drinking a mug of warm water and organic lemon upon waking up in the morning as outlined in Ayurveda.  This simple morning regimen has proved many benefits.  Superficially it has shown dramatic improvements to my complexion.

9. Where is the best place you've practiced yoga?
Pure yoga of course!  Oh, and there was also this one time that I practiced in the bush of South Africa surrounded by wildlife-that was pretty epic. 

10. What is one thing about you that many people don't know?
I had the great honor and privilege to dance with Mikhail Baryshnikov.  Also not to brag too much, but I’ve been told I make the best homemade salads in NYC- word is starting to get out about that though!