Meet Mike Cardillo, a recent graduate from the Pranakriya 200-Hour YTT at Yoga 4 Everybody

A) What brought you to the mat as a student and then as a teacher?

In a previous life I worked from home, sitting in from of my laptop for what felt like 12 hours a day. Over time I developed lingering inflammations in my wrists, elbows and shoulders. Every attempt to quell the pain failed me. On a whim, I Googled “yoga near me” and found Yoga For Everybody in Fairfield, Conn. (Taking a yoga class seemed less labor-intensive than converting to a standing desk at my home office.) I tried one intro class, and by the end of shavasana, felt 100 times better — wondering afterward where this thing called “yoga” had been all my life? I quickly began taking 2-3 classes per week, using the time on my mat as an oasis away from emails, calls and social media. A few years later I participated in the studio’s “30 Day Journey,” which involved practicing on your mat for 30 consecutive days. During this time I realized a teacher training program felt like the next logical step, if only to deepen my own practice. Thanks to some encouragement from my friend Adrienne — and some serendipitous timing — Yoga For Everybody offered a 200-hour training through Pranakriya in 2017. The rest is history.

B) What inspires you to keep teaching?

People in my generation — I’m 37 — are the first who’ve grown up with video game controllers and cell phones always in our hands. Although these tools utilize very small motions, the stress of that repetitive action in our wrists and fingers is often felt throughout our entire body. I’ve found yoga helps offset these damages. Beyond this, I’m hopeful over time my teaching will encourage some of my friends and family members to be more open-minded toward integrating yoga into their lives as a type of body maintenance as they age.

c) What is your favorite pose and why?

Tie between Vriksasana and Kapotasana. I often find myself balancing on one foot randomly during the day. The leg variation from tree to pigeon is very similar and a nice relief for my lower back and hips. Leaning forward and layout on in pigeon helps integrate the previous asanas from the class, too.

d) What pose is currently challenging you and how are you working with it?

Trying to wrap my arms in Eagle is almost impossible for me on one side. My upper back and shoulders are very muscular, which is great for planks and lowering down … less so for wrapping. In this pose, I put my ego to the side and simply clasp opposite shoulders. It may not look as good on Instagram, but if I’m able to provide some lift in the elbows, I’m creating the same action across my shoulder girdle as the more photogenic version.  

e) Do you work with any special populations/volunteer/donate time etc. – share with us your story

Not yet. I finished my 200-hour program in January and am actively looking for places to volunteer my services.