Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2017 issue.
Gina Caputo and her team at the Colorado School of Yoga are dedicated to educating extraordinary yoga teachers and providing valuable continuing yoga education for those with a hunger for both academic and practical knowledge, and who are looking to hone their offerings to be passionate, authentic and wise teachers. Their elevated programs pay homage to the eclectic and vibrant history of Yoga with a focus on Integrated Vinyasa Flow and its applications in modern society, on and off the mat.
CO YOGA + Life™: You are a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, business owner, friend to many and lover of life. How do you juggle all the balls you’ve got in the air at any given time?
Gina Caputo: The juggling is actually excruciatingly hard at times and for me, the first thing to take a hit when my juggling is off is my personal life and leisure time. I have an extremely strong work ethic that certainly powers accomplishment but it’s also precisely what sends my life into imbalance. You know, the old proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” kind of thing. The two things that will get me back on track are a small but powerful support group who remind me when I’m way off and a recognition that balance is essential for me to feel passionate and inspired in my offerings to others and not just going through the motions.
CY+L: What brought you to yoga in the first place, and in what ways has your personal practice evolved?
GC: I started practicing in college in the early 1990s on accident. I was taking a fitness class for an extracurricular credit and a woman in the class asked if she could start our classes with a short yoga session each week. The teacher said yes and that was my beginning with yoga. I’ll never forget my first tree pose — I was working full time and going to school full time and was stressed about my future. In that first tree pose I had to focus so intently that for a brief moment, my mind felt empty of the non-stop chaos. Right then I knew this was a special practice. At first, like most, I focused on advancing in the postures with the assumption that achieving them would somehow make me wiser. Then I focused more on the subtle body and energetics in my flow practice. Then I realized, this is all about meditation and extraordinary consciousness. Once social media started to really propagate advanced postures, I lost a lot of interest in the advanced posture side of it and now focus more on sustaining balance in my unique body-mind complex. I like to look for ways we can make poses more holistically integrated — the active are more thoroughly active, the passive are more thoroughly passive. I like to think of each practice as a fresh-baked experience to restore any imbalance I’m experiencing on any given day, be it an area that feels tight or a mood that needs perspective.
CY+L: What do you love about the state of yoga right now, and on the flip side, what frustrates you the most?
GC: I love that there seems to be some conversation and movement towards more accessibility and diversity. Since the studio setting can feel intimidating or too “sceney” to some, I appreciate the efforts some teachers are making to teach in other venues as well as making some great online content for people who want to practice alone. And I’m also happy for increased opportunities to learn about things like teaching bigger bodied folks, trauma sensitivity, adaptive yoga and have conversations about privilege, activism and mental health. As students of consciousness, I believe it makes sense that we use that consciousness to look for new ways to be of greater service to others. What frustrates me the most is the emphasis on the acrobatic elements of the practice over all others, the spiritual bypassing and “looking the other way” that goes on and that the commerce-driven giants in our yoga community are deciding what we stand for and what we strive for as teachers. Integrity and work-ethic are becoming obsolete and I’d love to see more appetite to keep learning as a teacher. All too often I see what looks like “my classes are full, what do I need to work on?” There’s SO much more and so many ways to serve!
CY+L: How do you find inspiration and/or motivation when the going gets tough?
GC: A few of my favorite things…cooking, reading, hiking, Nature. They inspire my creativity, my learning and my love of being in this body and a part of something bigger. I also reflect before every class on what my students are doing to get there today — financially, family-wise, time-wise … as a busy householder, I know how radically difficult it can be to make space in your life to practice with the teacher who you feel most connected with. Just thinking about the effort they are making makes me bring my A++ game every single time.
CY+L: What is next for you and the Colorado School of Yoga?
GC: We are currently growing our affiliate program community with alumni throughout our fine state and beyond and I am deep into some really exciting upgrade work of our curriculum at both the 200 and 300 hour level to reflect my continued learning as a school director and teacher. We are also launching our distance learning program with lots of scintillating content and I’ll be making a shift towards teaching smaller and more intimate in-person teacher trainings to emphasize quality of relationship over quantity of students. And we’ll also be launching some destination immersions so we can go deeper without distraction!
For more information on the Colorado School of Yoga, visit.
Photo by Rob Frost.