Yoga People: Sarah Neufeld, Arcade Fire Violinist and Yoga Teacher

Q & A With Yoga's Most Interesting People

Sarah Neufeld
Sarah Neufeld. Susan Moss

How did you start doing yoga?
I started practicing Ashtanga yoga back in college at the wonderful Ashtanga Yoga Montreal. 

How has your practice evolved since then?
A yoga practice evolves just as everything else does. I dabbled with Bikram yoga in the early 2000s. I really couldn’t get enough of the heat in those unbearable Montreal winters. I wasn’t in love with that practice entirely, and it wasn’t until I started going to Moksha Yoga Montreal that I began to develop a regular practice.

Things really changed for me when I did my teacher training in 2009. One of the projects was a personal 30-day challenge, and I chose to do that on a European tour with my band Bell Orchestre. The solidity of that commitment created a very different dynamic for me. I was less affected by the extremes of our schedule, and in general was much happier all around.

It wasn’t a more vs. less exercise thing, it was that by practicing yoga no matter what the circumstance, circumstances began to have less power over my well being. Since then, yoga has become less about doing, and more about taking care of myself in the present. 

Has yoga affected your creative process? 
When you cultivate discipline and focus in one area of your life, it tends to affect other areas. I would say that the cultivation of my yoga/pranayama/meditation practice has helped me hone my practice as a musician and a composer. The concept of coming back to something again and again, without too much focus on the outcome, has helped my creative process immensely.

What’s your yoga routine like when you’re on tour?
These days it really depends on the tour. If I’m flying and performing every day, my practice becomes truncated- often 30 minutes before a show. If there’s more time off, my practice reflects that, and I’m even able to scope out different studios all over the world, which is great fun.

Do you practice differently when you’re writing/recording as opposed to when you’re touring?
A writing/recording phase includes a lot more practical downtime, so there’s more time for everything, including a more in-depth yoga practice. 

Touring is really an isolated lifestyle; there is almost no time in the day to take care of yourself on the road. 

Why did you want to open a yoga studio?
My partners and I were all mentored at Moksha Yoga Montreal. We loved the community that grew and surrounded that studio. It brought us all so much. We wanted to bring that experience to NYC. It was an exciting and challenging dream, and it still blows our minds that we were able to pull off opening a Moksha/Modo studio in NYC, and that now we’re only a month away from opening our second location in Williamsburg!

Why do you teach yoga?
It is very inspiring to see people becoming empowered to take care of themselves, growing stronger and more flexible not only in their bodies but in their whole selves. My own practice has increased the quality of my life so much, and I enjoy the work that goes into sharing those tools.

Rapid Fire Round!

When did you know you were hooked on yoga?
I knew I was hooked on yoga when it became more difficult to NOT practice than to practice.

Favorite and/or least favorite pose and why.
Honestly, I’ve never had a most and least favorite yoga pose, nor do I think it would be especially helpful if I did!

What other kinds of exercise do you do?
I run a few times a week, and I like circuit training as well. I like to keep my body guessing.

Give us an elevator pitch describing Modo Yoga.
Modo Yoga is a sweet, sweaty, soothing and challenging practice for all bodies. It strengthens and detoxifies, and promotes a healthy life long practice. It always feels like you’re coming home when you step into a Modo/Moksha studio.

What’s your motto?
When I need a motto I usually turn to Thich Nhat Hanh.

What are you reading?
Ursula K. Leguin’s Left Hand of Darkness

What do you feel passionate about?
Music! Hiking!

What’s in your smoothie?
Usually kale, ginger, banana, almond milk, almond butter, and hemp hearts.

What’s your (real or imagined) karaoke jam?
Anything by Fleetwood Mac

What’s your dream travel destination (carbon footprint no object)?
I’ve never been to Southeast Asia. Someday!

What’s your spirit animal and why?
Don’t have one! Does everyone else?!

What color is your yoga mat?

Crunchy or smooth?

Might as well face it,  you’re addicted to __________.

Ask yourself one question.
Should I have a second cup of coffee?

Now answer it.
Always :)

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