Amy Dara Hochberg is more than just a yoga instructor; she’s a testament to survival and overcoming adversity. She had been studying to be a doctor of physical therapy, and was forced to withdraw from school due to a hearing loss she’s had since she was a toddler. “If I were 15 years younger, I likely would have pursued a lawsuit,” she says. “At this point in my life, I needed to get back into the workforce. I returned to teaching yoga full-time. Now, I apply my six years’ worth of academic knowledge through yogic modalities and lead by authentic example.”
Hochberg teaches yoga and yoga for cancer survivors in Washington, D.C. She counts New York City as her hometown (since “…that’s where (she) resided the longest,”) and also spent significant amounts of time in San Francisco, London, Catalonia (Spain) and Israel. Please visit her blog at www.amydara.com and find her on Facebook at her “Yoga with Amy Dara” page.
1) How did you come to be a yoga instructor?
Yoga formed an integral part of the childhood gymnastics classes I attended starting when I was four years old! I was hit by a car in my mid-20s, and several teachers at Integral Yoga Institute guided me to a complete recovery. This therapeutic experience reinforced my interest in yoga. Later, I received my first teaching certification with Alan Finger (ISHTA Yoga) and Lisa and Charles Matkin, in 1999. I then trained with OM Yoga Center for the Advanced Certification in 2001, studied Restorative Yoga with Judith Lasater and Roger Cole in 2003, Prenatal Yoga with Bec Conant in 2010, and was finally able to register with the Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 500 thanks to OM Yoga’s 300-hour program in 2011.
2) What inspired you to specialize in teaching yoga to cancer survivors?
I took Tari’s first OM Yoga for Women Cancer Survivors Teacher Training in 2009. Over the years, women cancer survivors consulted me as a teacher with a therapeutics background. Although I had academic knowledge of the pathophysiology and treatments of cancer, I had been questioning myself regarding an appropriate yoga practice for this particular group. Tari’s course provided me with the missing pieces, so I could help the women cancer survivors in the Washington, D.C. area.
3) What is your favorite part of teaching yoga to cancer survivors?
The amazing students. I frequently wonder who teaches whom!
4) What is your favorite asana and why?
There are two: Titibhasana (firefly), which balances grounding and lightness, and Stonehenge, a restorative pose that relieves my legs and feet after a long typical 4-class day of teaching yoga.
5) What’s next on your horizon?
I look forward to creating a strong network of D.C. area Y4C teachers with regularly scheduled classes at multiple locations through the week. My Yoga for Women Cancer Survivors classes are Sundays 12pm-1pm at Circle Yoga and Fridays 6:30pm-7:30pm at Lil’ Omm, both in the Upper Northwest section of Washington, D.C. My students and I are deeply grateful to Tari Prinster for her devotion to yoga as a vital healing modality.