Q and A with Tari Prinster
Tari offers Yoga Through and After Cancer from 5:30-7pm on Thursdays at Sangha Yoga Shala in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Name: Tari Prinster
Birthday/Star sign: May 20, 1944
Hometown: Grand Junction, Colorado
Favorite post-practice treat: A shower
What was your first yoga class like?
A Bikram class in a spa. I hated it. But the teacher had such beautiful posture. That was want I lacked and wanted.
What led you to take that first class?
Vanity. Not very yogic. It was not until after I was diagnosed with cancer that I understood that yoga held more healing powers than just looking and feeling good. I discovered meditation when I was undergoing chemotherapy.
How/why did you get hooked on yoga?
When I started to see real and significant changes in my body. The important part is those changes came very quickly. It was hard to ignore that something was happening different than all the other forms of exercise I did for years.
Then I began to see changes in my mental (body) state as well. Life seemed to get better, I was happier.
How can you not get hooked on a strong pain free body and happiness?
How did your practice develop since that first class?
Started Bikram. That was a mistake, but… Then I went to every studio in Manhattan looking for the yoga for me. I liked vinyasa best. It was perfect in my body. My body became my teacher. Got my 200 hour tt from OM Yoga.
Went to some retreats with the best teachers from there and learned who their teachers were. That led me to Iyengar classes.
I still don’t feel I have found ‘my teacher.’
I went to India with my daughter. Was disappointed in how commercialized, esoteric and ‘guru’ centered all the yoga there was.
It has been through working with my private clients that I have educated myself in the value of having a sitting practice as well as an asana practice.
Sitting as the teacher, being the mentor, answering the questions and finding the path for myself first is the practice of mindfulness.
My students are my teachers…the real lesson in yoga.
What does practice mean to you now?
Like brushing my teeth, showering, reading the New York Times or checking email every day. I have to do it! Neither the body nor the mind will function or stay in balance without a daily practice.
What are your practice goals for the future?
Personal goals are to put down my mat in Grand Central and do my practice during a holiday rush hour and feel like I am in a mirrored studio alone.
Tari Prinster is an 8-year breast cancer survivor, first, and a yogini second. Having started yoga at age 50, Tari considers herself an example that it is never too late to start change. During her cancer treatments and surgeries, Tari began to think about how few options there were and teachers that understood what life-long physical restrictions and emotional challenges a survivor encounters. Through yoga, Tari personally found not only a way to reduce pain, strengthen her immune system, feel younger and stay healthy, but guidance through cancer recovery and survivorship and a complete science for managing life’s daily challenges and stress.
Wanting to bring this understanding of yoga to others and working together with OM Yoga under sponsorship from the Libby Ross Foundation, a yoga program has been developed that including weekly classes, 3-day retreats and teacher trainings for women cancer survivors.
Based on the principles of OM Yoga, her teaching style is student centered ranging from dynamic vinyasa flow to gentle restorative. She is certified by OM Yoga Center in New York in 2002 and has studied with Cyndi Lee, Genevieve Kaupler, Judith Lasater and Gerard Arnaud.
Tari published an abstract entitled, One-Size-Does-not-Fit-All: Teaching teachers how to teach yoga to breast cancer survivors, and was selected to present it at SYTAR Conference, 2007, sponsored by Intentional Association of Yoga Therapists. Tari is a frequent presenter at Yoga Journal Conferences where her one-day intensives are entitled OM Yoga Women Cancer Survivor Teacher Training.