An Appreciation: Britt Carlson

by Steph Creaturo

Britt Carlson - An AppreciationA bunch of years ago, a gaggle of us went to a yoga workshop in West Hartford, CT. Six of us bunked at my mom’s house and two other friends were in tow. Britt was one of those people. The last day of the workshop, Britt opted to take a hike along the local reservoir. As I was learning about Britt, she loves – and needs – outdoor time. My mom gave her directions as to where she was and where to go, but, as many folks do when we hike that reservoir, she got lost. There are some paths that aren’t clearly marked, and she ended up taking the wrong path. My mom was surprised when there was a knock on her door, and there was Britt, without the car. She ended up figuring out her way back to my mom’s house, even though she took the wrong path.

I love this story about Britt because in the 8 (or is it 9?) years that I’ve known her, she always manages to find her way to exactly where she needs to be. Britt was part of the first wave of students that I ever taught. A hardcore vinyasa junkie in her 20’s, with a successful career in publishing, she ended up taking an alignment-based class I taught on Sunday nights. It was a teeny-tiny class, so I got to know her and her lower back really well. I didn’t know much about Britt then, except that she was really smart and made me a bit nervous, because she asked smart questions.

Britt CarlsonWe lost touch when I left that studio, and was shocked when she popped up, years later, at Mala, recovering from both vinyasa and publishing, thinking of becoming a yoga teacher. We had coffee and reconnected before she made her pilgrimage to Santa Fe for her 200-hour teaching training. I remember being struck, once again, by that formidable intelligence, but I was more charmed by that infectious laugh, easy humor, and curiosity about everything.

When Britt came off the mountaintop,  she became one of our first apprentices. I think I learned more from that experience about what it takes to become a teacher than she ever could have. Watching Britt reminded me was to never, ever give up, that we have to grit it out as we carve our path, and that we need the time and space to do so.

As Britt found her teaching voice, her love of alignment led her to the Iyengar style of yoga and her teacher, Lara Warren. I remember those first classes she took with the Iyengars and the classes she taught afterwards. “Oh, there it is,” I thought, “She’s found her tribe.” There’s a big shift that happens when a teacher finds her tribe: there’s an ease that surrounds the intelligence, there’s a light that emanates from the material, and laughter fills the space. Beyond finding her tribe, and lucky for us, Britt found her voice. And what a unique, authentic teaching voice it is, deeply textured and nuanced.

On a personal note, I’ve gotten to know Britt outside the studio. We’ve been to Costa Rica, Connecticut, and Santa Fe together. We’ve spent endless hours talking about teaching and anatomy. She cared for my son, Beck, when he was a tiny baby a few hours a week so I could go back to work.

Quite appropriately, Britt gave Beck one of his favorite books ever, Who Needs Donuts?, which chronicles a little boy’s wacky journey through finding what you really love in this world. And I can’t ever thank Britt enough for letting me witness and learn from her journey about finding what she really loves, and for sharing it abundantly with all of us. Because when you’ve got a compass like that, it’s really hard to ever get truly lost.

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About The Mala Yoga Blog

We are a Brooklyn-based studio that focuses on alignment, balance and community. Have a read, try one of our Practice Podcasts, or come in and say "hi" in person!
This entry was posted in MORE WITH: STEPH, TEACHER'S CORNER, UPCOMING EVENTS/COMMUNITY ANOUNCEMENTS and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to An Appreciation: Britt Carlson

  1. Britt is an incredible woman. Britt, good luck! No matter where you go, you’ll be exactly where you should be.

  2. Pat Manchester says:

    Even though our schedules didn’t match up often enough, I’ll miss your patience, humor, and integrity, Britt. New Zealand is lucky to get you!

  3. Cecile says:

    Britt, we’ll miss not only your classes but your humor, your laugh, your beautiful persona and your relaxing presence. We’ll miss you truly – but I think I already said that.
    Cecile & Paco

  4. Patricia Notopoulos says:

    Britt, I will miss your smiling face as I either cane out of or went into practise. And how you got us through those 9:00 classes ? . – You were great. Best of luck.

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