Getting to know: Shirah
To help you get to know our amazing instructors, we want to share their personal stories. We sat down with Barre and Yoga teacher Shirah, to find out more about her movement journey and why she believes our fitness practices should take us out of our comfort zone! Read Shirah’s story below…
How did you become a Barre & Yoga teacher at BECYCLE?
I had recently moved to Berlin and was struggling to find a community of my own. Having come from New York, I desperately missed my Pilates and Yoga teacher colleagues and friends, with whom I had constantly exchanged ideas and took amazing classes from. I hadn't even heard of BECYCLE when I taught a community class at the Lululemon showroom in Mitte, and they connected me with Gundi after my class and warmly encouraged me to get in touch! The rest is history :)
What do you love most about your work? What has been your most memorable moment so far?
I love that every day is different! I love that I constantly get to meet new people while sharing my passion, which also happens to make people feel good and help them live more holistic and healthier lives. Teaching movement is, for me, the perfect balance between scientific and creative. The fact that part of my job is to take other teachers' classes and workshops, to learn from their perspective, and to explore my own practice in new ways is such an incredible gift. I don't think I can pick a single most memorable moment, but I have been lucky to have some really special students over the years. Watching them advance, get stronger, and learn to understand their bodies in new ways is so rewarding. I've had clients who were marathon runners and avid skiers who were told they should stop those activities because of an injury or chronic pain, and instead I've helped them get back to doing what they love through mindful movement and deep core and alignment work. That's really special to me.
What’s important about your own practice?
I think sticking movement and fitness into categories limits us. I used to have a mindset that there was one right way to do everything. I used to only take Pilates, and didn't have a ton for any other format. The reality is, there's so much crossover between all these different methods that it really doesn't matter what you call your workout -- it's how you approach it. Our bodies are really smart, and get used to the things that we do over and over again. Our fitness practices should take us out of our comfort zone, and should support us in building the capacity to do the things we want to do in life without fear. If it's climbing Mount Everest, your practice should reflect that. If it's being able to pick up your kids (or nieces and nephews) without throwing out your back, your practice should reflect that. For me, it's keeping my spine healthy and mobile, feeling free and strong in my body, and every once in a while finding myself at the side of a cliff and starting that climb with confidence in my physical capability.
What's your secret wish? Describe your dream life...
Such a tough question! I just want to keep doing what I do and never stop learning. The more I find out about the human body and mind, the more I realize how much more there is to learn. My dream life would allow me to keep teaching and helping people while continuing to study from incredible teachers and movement scientists, and maybe even participate in research myself one day. It's also wonderful to experience fitness and movement culture in other places. There's such variety in styles and approaches all over the world, so I hope I keep traveling for my work. One thing I know is that movement is such a vital part of life -- it affects how we breathe, think, feel, learn, age, our personality and resiliency -- and our culture doesn't value movement intelligence enough. I'd love to be a part of changing that.
Interview by Stephanie Cusack