Michael Austen (Schmitz)
Yoga Alliance RYT-500 Yoga Teacher
I have had a dedicated yoga practice since 1990 and am an advanced practitioner in Vinyasa yoga and Alignment-Based yoga (Iyengar tradition). I originally started studying the art of teaching yoga only to deepen my own practice. Since that time, I have become passionate about teaching yoga. I am fortunate to have studied with some of the best teachers in the world. I am qualified to teach Gentle Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga, Alignment-based yoga, Flow-based yoga (Vinyasa), and Atma Vikasa yoga. I can also teach “power” yoga as a more intense Vinyasa class.
I was an amateur ballet dancer during my college years and for fifteen years after. This started me on the path to understanding the joy of having strength and flexibility. Later, in my early forties when I started embracing yoga, I had the physical capabilities to progress rapidly. I also am fascinated by the philosophical, spiritual, and historical aspects of yoga.
I have also been a Consulting Engineer at Oracle, a University Professor, and a step aerobics instructor.
I have a compassionate approach to teaching yoga. Sometimes it's great to become intense and explore challenging sequences and poses, but often students aren't physically or mentally ready -- sometimes they are working through injuries, sometimes they are inflexible or weak. The yoga should conform to the students, rather than than the other way around. I try to find modifications that allow students to do some version of each pose. More advanced students are given uplevel options.
I also enjoy teaching more advanced classes (e.g. power vinyasa). I take snippets from the Ashtanga primary and secondary series, add other asanas and Sun Salutations from other traditions. If it seems appropriate for the class, I might add some physical therapy exercises (the students don't know that it's physical therapy!) I know how to weave these together to make a well-organized and effective class.
Flying Yoga (Oakland, CA) 200 hr Teacher Training, April 27, 2014
Lighting the Path (Pete Guinosso) Yoga Mentorship Program, April 1, 2015
Yoga Tree (San Francisco, CA) 300 hr Teacher Training, June 6, 2015
Yoga Tree (San Francisco, CA) 1000 hr Teacher Training, (Vinyasa Major) June 16, 2016
Atma Vikasa (Mysore, India) 300+ hr Teachers Masters Education Certificate, Feb 24, 2017
Yoga Tree (San Francisco, CA) 100 hr Yoga Therapeutics Certificate with Harvey Deutch
Yoga as Medicine (Kripalu) 30 hour workshop with Timothy McCall
Relax and Renew®: Learning How to Teach Restorative Yoga, Level 1, (Yoga Tree), 30 hour workshop with Judith Lasater
Yoga for Low Back Pain Certification Course, 25 hour training with Loren Fishman, April 2019
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (Mysore, India), 3 months Practice and Sanskrit class
Vinay Kumar, Prana Vashya (Mysore India), 3 visits to Mysore for a total of 5 months Intensive Practice (3 sessions per day: yogasana, pranayama, and strength/backbending)
Yoga Bones (Goa, India), 1 month Ashtanga practice with Rolf & Marci Naujokat.
Ashtanga Heads (Goa, India), 1 month Ashtanga practice with Regina Ehlers.
Usha Devi (Goa, India), 1 month Iyengar practice with Usha Devi.
Vijay Kumar, Ashtanga Saadhana (Mysore, India), 1 month Ashtanga practice with Vijay.
Workshops & Trainings with: Sarasvati Jois, Sharon Gannon, Mark Stephens, Shiva Rea, Noah Maze, H.S. Arun, Jason Crandell, Janet Stone, Annie Carpenter, Kathryn Budig, Judith Lasater, and Tiffany Cruikshank.
Anatomy & Yoga Therapeutics with: David Keil, Harvey Deutch
Red Cross Certificate (Adult/Pediatric AED/CPR/First Aid)
I have been teaching yoga for over three years (when not in India). I have taught for two years at Project Access (Residents in a Supported Housing Program in Oakland, CA), 6 months at Team 510 Corporate Fitness, and one year at Four Elements Fitness (Oakland, CA). I have also subbed occasionally at Mariner Square Gym (Alameda, CA), Total teaching hours exceeds 800.