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Familiar Faces: An Interview with Teresa Lorenco

You may recognize Teresa as the desk check-in person for YCA’s most popular class, Embodyoga® on Wednesday mornings with Patty. Now Teresa is on the schedule, teaching Restorative Yoga every Tuesday, 7:15-8:30pm. She’s a rock star (literally) – learn all about her in our interview.

Yoga Center Amherst: Who are you?

Teresa Lorenco: I don’t know yet. I’m still in process of figuring that out, though I think I’m closer to figuring it out than I ever have been before. I’m a singer. I’m a giver. I’m a mother, I have three kids, who are all amazing and super smart. And I guess now I’m a yoga teacher! Or I’m becoming one – it’s as if I’ve been swept into this path that I wasn’t at all expecting, I just entered it because I was curious. Curious and inspired, and it’s been this fantastic, amazing and unbelievable journey so far. And I feel like it’s just beginning. There’s so much to learn.

YCA: How did you get started practicing yoga and what eventually brought you to the Yoga Center?

TL: My father practiced yoga, and I remember him doing ujjayi breath with me as a kid, to help my anxiety. I practiced after that on my own, taking classes with some really great teachers, and some more egoic teachers. Some of the classes were awesome, and I could tell there was something about yoga that was really nourishing to me inside, but I didn’t quite understand it. Eventually I started with video tapes because I had a basic practice. But that felt lacking, because I’m much better with hands-on learning. Having the separation of the screen, I couldn’t ask questions, or say “I’m having difficulty with this, can you expand on this more,” so that became frustrating, until I just stopped altogether. I said, “Forget it, there’s no good teachers, I can’t get any farther and I can’t find ‘that feeling’ so forget it!” I ended up doing a lot of running, finding that meditative feeling, I ran a lot… like two hours a day, no joke. And then I came to the Valley. I was feeling uninspired, I stopped writing music, stopped running, just flatlined. Then I got pregnant, and after my son was born I was like, “Okay, time for yoga again.” I walked into class at the YMCA with [Embodyoga® instructor] Deb Evans. She came over and introduced herself, and asked if I had any questions. I said, “Yeah I have a question, I have a problem with downward facing dog – it’s always really uncomfortable.” She just showed me a couple little things, and suddenly I was buoyant, just floating, it was amazing. So I was hooked. Deb encouraged me to take the training. I didn’t want to be a teacher, I just wanted to know the yoga – and I knew I would go all the way to the 500-hour because I wanted to learn everything I could. So I did the training at YCA. Then Deb asked me to take over her class at the Y, I had a friend at the Holyoke YMCA who wanted me to teach there, I have the class at YCA and I’m teaching all these privates all of a sudden – I’m teaching so much! It’s kind of overwhelming and I love it. Even on days when I’m like, “Ugh, I’m so tired, I wish I could just stay home today,” by the end of class I feel awesome. It’s super rewarding. I still take a beginner’s class every week, because I still feel like there’s so many basic, elemental things I need to learn. There’s so many layers, not only of yoga itself, but using yoga to go into your own layers and discover so much about yourself. I feel like it’s a never ending thing, and I’ll just keep learning over the years. I love to learn – I like being a teacher, but I really love being a student, the classroom environment, the sharing, the wisdom of the teachers and the other people around you. It’s my favorite place to be, besides behind a microphone.

YCA: That’s your other big thing that you do in life, perform?

TL: I sing a lot. My parents are both musicians. I’ve been singing pretty much since I was in the womb. I’ve been around it my whole life. Now my main thing is singing in a duo. We’re called Spunk N Sass, and we do a lot of gigs. I feel so incredibly alive when I sing. And the coolest thing is meshing the yoga with the singing – because they’re both all about breath. My breath capacity is astounding now that I’m doing yoga. I can breathe all the way down into my organs and fill myself with air, I have this sustainability, it helps me with my tone, and even the way I articulate words. We do a lot of harmony, so the breath control is really important; I don’t know if I’d be doing that as well if it wasn’t for yoga.

YCA: What can people expect from your restorative class at YCA?

TL: The thing I’ve noticed the most with people who come to the restorative class is that they really need it. When I look at people’s bodies, I can see the hardening. My hope is that when people come, that they can find a deep restful space, and that they feel like they have permission to just yield and let go. Because sometimes people need that permission – even though we know we really don’t need that permission – sometimes we just need to be told, “Don’t do anything, just breathe.” So that’s my goal, to get people to yield more and soften. I love this place, I always show up early, it’s a place of respite for me. I get here and it’s quiet, peaceful, I feel at home and comfortable. I’ve spent most of my life, since I was a child, feeling like I didn’t belong where I was. I feel like I really belong here, for the first time. I’m absolutely comfortable. I’ve always felt awkward, but here it’s like I fit in the puzzle.

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