Though I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, my journey to yoga actually began during my childhood in Romania. As part of both a Communist society and the country’s Junior Olympic Gymnastics Team, I was exposed to extraordinary mental and physical challenges at a young age.

Although my body developed great strength through gymnastics (and I found surprising solitude being upside down), I often lived in fear. That reality is reflected in my emphasis on the mental aspect of yoga. In class, I focus on strengthening the mind as much as on strengthening the body. In the end, I perceive the true test of anyone’s practice is the change that occurs off the mat. For me, yoga has increased my awareness of how I live my life, how I communicate with others, and how I treat my partner. For me, sharing these life lessons is as important as demonstrating the rudiments of a handstand. Outside of my public classes, I also offer private lessons, conduct teacher trainings, and lead retreats with my partner, Sal. I also love spending free time with my puppy, the aptly-named Anjali Patanjali. First and foremost, however, I remain a perpetual student—of both yoga and of life!


Not So Namaste

On the eve of the Romanian revolution, junior Olympic gymnast Ella Cojocaru tries to escape her government training facility. Official Selection DOC NYC 2015 Directed by Rita Baghdadi & Jeremiah Hammerling.