Ana Pilar has been practicing yoga since 1991 in one form or another. She began her practice with a video tape of Raquel Welch’s Total Body Fitness (don’t laugh). It wasn’t until about a decade later that she realized this was actually a style of yoga developed by Bikram Choudhury. Most people know this style as Bikram. In 1993 she supplemented her video tape-led instruction, AM and PM Yoga with Rodney Yee and Patricia Walden, with and the occasional teacher-led class at Emerson College in Boston.
After graduation from college and a stab at working in the corporate world in Chicago, she moved to Austin, Texas for its film scene and warmer climate. In 2000 she began taking classes at Yoga Yoga, recently established by Kundalini teachers Mehtab and Guru Karam Benton. When Yoga Yoga began offering a Hatha and Ashtanga teacher training program in 2001, Ana Pilar jumped at the chance to make a life change and become a yoga teacher. She received her Registered Yoga Teacher/RYT-200 certification from Yoga Yoga’s Hatha teacher training program in the spring of 2001 and started teaching Hatha classes that summer.
She spent her time in the trenches, as they say, as a fledgling yoga teacher at Yoga Yoga, and soon noticed continuous contraindications arise in her students. Some people just couldn’t do certain things… how can someone with a neck injury safely perform a headstand? After realizing how many students had injuries, ailments, or even conditions like pregnancies, she felt the need for more information. Rather than telling students with special needs that they couldn’t participate in some aspects of yoga, she wanted to know how to offer them solutions. She was determined to empower herself to help her students.
She began this quest for knowledge in 2002 after attending a special event hosted by Gary Kraftsow, the founder of the American Viniyoga Institute and long-time student of T.K.V. Desikachar and Shri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (one of the most influential yoga teachers in the last century). In 2003 she enrolled in advanced training from the American Viniyoga Institute under the guidance of Kraftsow. She completed her 500-hour certification in 2005 and now holds an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher/ERYT-500 Certification through Yoga Alliance.
Ana Pilar has supplemented her 200 and 500-hour certifications with studies in a number of specialized areas. She studied the intelligent sequencing of Vinyasakrama under Srivatsa Ramaswami, the longest standing student of the legendary Shri T. Krishnamacharya and whose Sanskrit chants are considered the gold standard for the sutras in India. She took part in various workshops and intensive trainings with the widely-respected Donna Farhi, honing in on yoga therapy techniques, and later studied under pioneering yoga therapist Leslie Kaminoff.
Her time with Kaminoff led to her current studies with his well sought-after Yoga Anatomy course, deepening her knowledge of the spine and the respiratory system. In addition to her exploration of yoga therapy, she also continues to immerse herself in the healing science of Ayurveda, the ancient Hindu science of health and medicine as first introduced to her by Dr. Robert Svoboda, which also influences much of Ana Pilar’s teaching.