Get to know your fellow Whole Sky yogis and yoginins with our monthly student interviews. During August 2014, we are pleased to introduce John Cullinan who is a recent convert to yoga and proves that yoga is not just for the ladies!

Name: John Cullinan

Age: 37
Birthplace: Bronx, NY
Occupation: Math Professor, Bard College
Preferred Yoga Style: Vinyasa

1) What is your ‘yoga story’, in other words how did you come to find and adopt a yoga practice?
I was at a bar in uptown Kingston with friends from Bard in November 2013, when one of them asked if I had ever tried yoga.  I had not, but always wanted to.  So, the very next Monday I went to the evening class at Bard (taught by Sara) and began going twice a week.

2) What does yoga mean to you and how long have you been practicing?

I’ve been practicing now for about 9 months.  Once Whole Sky opened I went to the Bard classes less often and began attending classes there about twice a week, eventually trying the Level 2-3 Vinyasa classes.  I enjoy the physical demands yoga puts on my body, but I’m more drawn to the centering and mindfulness of the practice.

3) What do you like best about Whole Sky Yoga?

I love the peace and quiet of High Falls and the location of Whole Sky, nestled against the rocks.  The interior space is simultaneously uncluttered and inviting, which I find very helpful when I start to focus at the beginning of class.

4) What is your advice for someone who wants to try yoga but feels apprehensive?

Like anything new, yoga can feel intimidating.  You might feel self-conscious about strength or flexibility, or simply being the only person in a class who doesn’t know the postures.  But a good yoga teacher will make you feel welcome and offer assistance in a helpful and non-judgmental way.  I’ve taken classes with most of the teachers at Whole Sky and always felt supported from the moment I arrived.  As I’ve become more experienced I’ve watched those teachers interact with new students and I’m always really impressed with how they bring out the best in everyone in the class, regardless of skill level.  So, my advice is simply to try it.  Be open to the full experience and trust that a good teacher will welcome and support you throughout the class.

5) Share one unusual, unexpected fact about yourself:

When I’m not teaching or doing research, you can find me riding and racing bicycles all over the Hudson Valley.  I especially love testing the limits of my body on the mountains.  I love everything about bikes: road racing, cyclocross, mountain biking, even rides around Kingston to get ice cream!