About Lisa Sack
I am a practitioner and teacher of Viniyoga™ based in Brooklyn, NY. Viniyoga stems from the teachings of T.K.V. Desikachar (son of Sri T. Krishnamacharya --one of the most influential yoga teachers of the 20th century). As a Viniyoga teacher and certified Viniyoga therapist, I craft practices that suit the needs, condition, and interests of my students using all the tools yoga offers: postures, breath work, chanting, meditation, personal ritual, and study of texts, as appropriate.
How I got here
I came to yoga late in life. In my early 20s (long before studios were as plentiful as Starbucks in NYC), I took a few classes in a tiny apartment on West 72nd Street, and despite my utter lack of flexibility (I was neither a dancer nor an athlete), I liked how I felt when the sessions were over--enough to buy the teacher’s home practice cassette tape and a few books on yoga. The books soon sat on a remote shelf of my bookcase. The cassette tape fared slightly better--I used it perhaps a half dozen times before relegating it to a shoebox in my closet.
Fast forward twenty years to my early 40s: now married with two young children, a husband who worked long hours as a prosecutor, and a job in medical marketing/education that wasn’t particularly satisfying, I found myself overweight, chronically sick with bronchitis and sinus infections, and saddled with a variety of aches and pains that seemed not-quite-right for someone so young. I felt stuck. My tendency to be deeply self-critical colored my relationships with family and friends: I was judgmental and intolerant of other people’s foibles and imperfections. I wanted to live a more compassionate life. But how? How to get unstuck?
Starting to Practice
In 2000, a yoga studio opened two blocks from my home in Brooklyn. I started attending class once a week, then twice. The lessons of the physical postures--how to find flexibility within stability and stability within flexibility--began, slowly, to seep into my life off the mat. I quit the job I didn’t like, formed my own company, began singing in a choir and volunteered my time to institutions that mattered to me. Two surgeries rid me of the sinus infections. One day I was able to touch my toes. I was getting unstuck.
The door into practice would swing widest, however, when my mother suffered a stroke in 2011 and I was in a serious car accident several months later. These brushes with mortality brought life’s short sweet span into high relief for me. What was most important? Surely not material things. Surely not holding myself and others to impossible standards of perfection. Love and kindness were all that mattered. I stopped running as hard and as fast as I could to achieve. Yoga speeded my recovery following the car accident and helped me shepherd my mother through hers. When a beloved teacher suggested I participate in a 200-hour teacher training, I was at first incredulous but then thought, “Why not?” I was already attributing many of the changes I’d made to yoga, with only the vaguest idea of why the practice was so effective. It was time to learn more.
Finding My Teacher
Thus began an intense period of study and practice that continues to this day and will shape the rest of my life. I soon discovered that the physical practice was only a tiny part of yoga’s teachings, which encompass philosophy, ethical precepts, breath practices, and meditation. When, after my initial 200-hour course, I embarked on a 500-hour training program with Gary Kraftsow, long-time student of T.K.V. Desikachar and founder of American Viniyoga Institute, I came to understand that yoga is nothing less than a system for transformation on all levels--physical, energetic, emotional, intellectual, spiritual. The ancients knew more than a thing or two about why we get stuck and the root of unhappiness--it arises from the incessant tumult of our thoughts and the ideas to which we hold fast. Our minds trap and imprison us far more than any physical inhibition ever could.
Yoga for Transformation
Yoga provides all the tools necessary to make lasting change in your life and to help you move beyond suffering. Change begins when we notice thoughts and behaviors that don’t serve us. The first step, then, is to hone our attention and really look at how we conduct ourselves. Practicing postures will help you grow stronger and more flexible, if that is a personal goal. But the greater value of the physical practice is that it trains our attention, teaches us to be present, and, if you so desire, can lead you to even deeper inquiry--the study of great texts, breath work, chanting, meditation--that can bring the sacred into everyday life. Master your attention, quiet the mind, learn to see clearly--these are the gifts of a whole-hearted, diligent yoga practice. All that’s required is to start your journey now, from wherever you are. All this I humbly offer to you, if you are willing to begin.
Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT), International Association of Yoga Therapists, Certified Viniyoga Therapist
1000-Hour Certified Viniyoga Therapist, American Viniyoga Institute®
500-Hour Certified Viniyoga Teacher, American Viniyoga Institute® RYT-500, Yoga Alliance
200-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher Training, Jaya Yoga Center, Brooklyn NY, RYT-200 Yoga Alliance
Certified Post-Partum Corrective Exercise Specialist, 2018
Postural Alignment Specialist, Egoscue University, Levels 1 and 2
Yoga Anatomy Principles with Leslie Kaminoff/The Breathing Project
Embodied Anatomy Studies with Amy Matthews/The Breathing Project
Yoga Anatomy Practices with Leslie Kaminoff
Niroga Institute Dynamic Mindfulness for Stress Resilience Training
Om Yoga Meditation Training Level 1
AB, Princeton University, 1979 with honors, Comparative Literature
LRAM (Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music) 1980
MFA, Columbia University, 1995, School of the Arts, Writing Division
“Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.”