Biography

Since 1987, Rebecca has been primarily studying Iyengar Yoga, initially in Minneapolis with William Prottengeier from 1987 until 1995, and then at the New York Iyengar Institute with Genny Kapuler and the late Mary Dunn from 1996 until 2003, and now in San Francisco. Additionally, she studied Vinyasa Yoga in New York City with Cyndi Lee and Dharma Mittra, as well as Ashtanga Yoga with Eddie Stern and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, among others. Rebecca has taken advanced teacher trainings with Rodney Yee, David Swenson, Erich Schiffman, and Srivatsa Ramaswami, a student of Sri T. Krishnamacharya.

 

Over the last eighteen years, Rebecca has studied Pranayama (yogic breathing techniques) in depth with Om Prakash Tiwari, a highly respected master of Pranayama and the Director of the Kaivalyadhama Yoga Research Institute in Lonavala, India. Established in 1924 by Swami Kuvalayananda, the Kaivalyadhama was the first institute of its kind to study Yoga from a modern scientific perspective. Rebecca has also studied Pranayama with Judy Freedman of the Iyengar Institute of New York; medical doctor, Jeffrey Migdow; Dharma Mittra of the Dharma Yoga Center in New York City; and Cyndi Lee of OM Yoga Center, also in NYC.

 

Rebecca has been teaching Yoga since 1997 throughout NYC and greater New York, and now teaches in San Francisco. She conducts asana, breathing, and stress management classes and workshops for group and corporate clients. Her clientele list has included: Kaiser Permanente, Gymboree, the California Institute of Integral Studies, Pfizer, Nickelodeon, Fitness Plus, On-Site Fitness, Time Warner, Solomon Smith Barney, Moody’s Investor Services, NYC Crunch Fitness, and a number of Yoga centers.

 

Rebecca’s style of teaching Yoga reflects a diversity of knowledge gained through the study of various forms of Yoga. Within an atmosphere of playful self-discovery, she encourages her students to investigate their own bodies, to explore their strengths and weaknesses, and to grow from those explorations.

 

Teaching one-on-one classes with students looking to deepen their practice in private, Rebecca often works with beginners, people recovering from injuries, and those with special needs. She has also been involved in the teaching and training of new Yoga teachers in New York City on the ‘Art of Pranayama’. Rebecca has been cited in Organic Style Magazine and other publications for using the breath as a way to reduce stress. Additionally, Rebecca co-founded the New York Yoga Teachers Association in 1998 and was the former board chair from 1998 until 2001.

 

Rebecca holds a Doctorate in South Asian Philosophy and Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies (2014) with a concentrate in Yoga Studies. She speaks and lectures on the Modernization of the Yoga Tradition and the History of Yoga. She also studies Sanskrit with the esteemed Sanskrit pundit and author, Dr. Ram Karan Sharma, as well as with Dr. James Ryan of the California Institute of Integral Studies and Indira Bulkin of the Yoga Society of San Francisco. Rebecca currently resides in San Francisco.

Education

California Institute of Integral Studies

San Francisco, California

Ph.D., South Asian Philosophy & Religion

Dissertation Title: The Politics of Yoga: Swami Kuvalayananda and the Indian Nationalist Movement

California Institute of Integral Studies

San Francisco, California

M.A., East-West Psychology

Albert-Ludwigs Universität  

Freiburg im Breisgrau, Germany

IES Year Abroad

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

B. A., Behavioral Psychology & German Studies

With Om Prakash Tiwari, Lonavla, India, 2001

Rebecca Polack, PhD

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