modern Yoga teachers spotlight series

Teacher Spotlight Series – Every week, we profile one of our wonderful teachers. Each of them contributes to make our community a very special place. Learn about their journeys, their favorite yoga poses, and discover something you didn’t know about them!

Leah Knappage

 

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Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Leah spent 6 months in Brazil before deciding to move to Philadelphia and pursue a Master’s in International Peace and Conflict Resolution.

I spent those years with the ability to travel and learn from the many different places I visited. I eventually landed in Ireland, where I would spend four years. There I met my husband and had my daughter. With some careful persuasion, I tricked him into moving to Cleveland in 2019. I now work as an Ombudsman for the Cleveland Clinic and live in Strongsville with my family.”

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher? 

I started doing yoga in college but only did it as an alternative workout to running. When living in Ireland, I found a studio that felt like home and dove into yoga outside of the workout. Yoga became my place to forget everything outside of that moment and spend time with myself. I eventually started to witness the benefits of yoga off my mat. I think the thought of teaching was so appealing because I loved the practice and the benefits, and I wanted everyone else to experience them too. I enrolled in the teacher training here at Modern Yoga to advance my practice and help others do the same. However, during my pregnancy, I discovered another profound way yoga was helping me. My practice became a means to understand the changes in my body and taught me how to take care of myself. I wanted to help other mothers explore the benefits of yoga while pregnant and beyond.

What kind of trainings have you pursued?

I am almost finished with my Prenatal Yoga certification. If Covid was good for one thing, it allowed me to finally complete these teacher trainings on my own time and at my own pace. I have already gotten caught up in the different training and certifications out there. I want to complete a Trauma sensitive yoga training and a 300-hour certification in the near future.

What is one piece of advice for your students?

I always mention in my classes to meet your body where you are that day. Each day is different, and we need to be kind to ourselves and listen to our bodies. Some days we may want to push ourselves a bit harder and try the inversion we have been working on. Other days we need a more restorative practice. The cool thing is that our yoga practice can be modified to meet where we are in that moment and will still offer all the same benefits whether we are in a wheel pose or restorative bridge.

What is your favorite asana and why?

It changes almost daily depending on how I feel. One pose that I always love is a half pigeon. Like so many people, I hold a lot of tension in my hips. I love that moment at the end of class when I can come into a big hip opener and focus my breath on alleviating some of that physical and emotional tension.

What is your favorite yoga related book?

In teacher training, we read The Yamas and Niyamas. This book teaches the foundation of yogic philosophy. Reflecting upon the thoughts of great sages helped me learn how to evaluate my perception of reality; how I react and think about situations. The book offers guidance on living a more mindful and peaceful life.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

I’ve never liked this question! One thing that most defined my life is something I spoke about in my bio. I did not have a passport until I was 22. However, once I got it, I took every chance I had to travel. I would save all my money and pick up at the drop of a hat to explore the next destination on my list. I have lived in Brazil, Spain, and Ireland, and while in these places, I got to visit countless others. It was the best learning experience I could have as a young person (now I feel old). I learned to appreciate other cultures, languages, and perspectives.

What are you really passionate about (Outside of the world of yoga)?

My biggest adventure right now is trying to navigate the world of motherhood. I am in a state of constant worry about that tiny human and want to make sure that she can experience and enjoy all that life has to offer. It has been the most incredible experience to learn the world over again through her eyes, and she has this fantastic ability to keep me on my toes constantly!

Leah teaches prenatal yoga every other Sunday at 3pm 

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16714 Pearl Road
Strongsville, OH  44136

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