I had been a regular yoga practitioner when I first met Michelle in the summer of 2014. I thought I had a good grasp on ‘the yoga thing’, and what it meant to me. I was unknowingly trapped in the physical aspects of yoga, typical of my western mindset. As I became a regular student in Michelle’s classes, I realized there is a whole other world to yoga, a wealth of untapped knowledge that I didn’t know existed, that I didn’t know I could access.
When my local studio announced that Michelle was going to be teaching a 200hr YTT course, I was curious. Was this the opportunity I was looking for to expand my horizons on this brilliant, ancient, eastern practice? I completed my 200hr YTT, and could not have been more pleased with the experience. Michelle designed the course such that it was focused on the philosophy, history, and religion of yoga, as opposed to limiting our training to the physical domain. We were presented with reading materials and held lengthy discussions on topics I had not vet through before, and did not realize I had formed calculated opinions on. These discussions, along with other materials, encouraged participants to become teachers of the full practice, as it was meant to be, encompassing body, mind, and spirit.
It was so refreshing to be taught and mentored by someone who cares about the full practice as much as I do. To understand everything that Michelle has taught me over the course of our friendship has brought a new level of meaning to my practice, and has inspired me to approach the grand design with a new perspective.
Michelle’s calm and caring demeanor is an invaluable addition to any studio or workplace. Her pride in her work, and in her beliefs, radiates in every class she teaches. Michelle is attentive to each of her students, observantly adjusting her class as necessary to ensure that all feel comfortable and safe. I wish it were possible for me to attend Michelle’s classes on a weekly basis, but I understand that she has much to give to the world, and I support her on her journey.
- Felicia Cristofaro
Completing my 200 RYT training with Michelle was a dream come true. Six years ago, I fell in love with the practice of yoga, which I credit to Michelle because of her remarkable ability to gently encourage her students to find their edge in the physical practice, and to find their hearts in the spiritual. Michelle is a well of knowledge on the subject of yoga. Michelle has earned the trust, time and time again, of all of her students.
What is most compelling to me about Michelle’s teachings is that she inspires her students to be better people on and off of their mats. It is clear that Michelle chooses to live everyday by her yoga philosophy. Michelle is bright, peaceful, and patient- three of the most important attributes of a yoga instructor. I could write several paragraphs more, but will end here by saying that Michelle has a profound knowledge of yoga, a wealth of experience, and an ability to transform any space into the perfect yoga space. She is an absolute treasure to aspiring teachers and seasoned practitioners alike. I am so very thankful to have Michelle in my life.
- Victoria Faraci
I first fell in love with yoga in 1973. I was 19 years old. It has been an on and off love affair the rest of my life. Over the years I have had some wonderful teachers but I must say that I found something extraordinary when I had the fortune of taking a class with Michelle a year ago.
Michelle is very special. She is the most gifted teacher I have ever had the honour to study with. She radiates compassion and an extraordinary peaceful energy that permeates everything around her. Her gentleness and wisdom guide you through a class that leaves you re-energized and serene. The physical aspects of yoga become almost secondary. The spirituality of yoga becomes paramount, the body follows.
I have had the privilege to come to know Michelle outside of class and the life she lives is a testament to the tenets of yoga. She is yoga. Her love and compassion are always there to be given to those in need. I have told Michelle that she is a gift. I truly believe that. She has made my lifelong yoga practice come into a much clearer focus. She has opened my mind and heart to the spirituality of yoga and shown me, through her example, how one can live a life guided by the principles set out in the Sutras.
She is my wonderful teacher and my cherished friend.
- Wendy Ross
I had come to a point in my yoga practice where I began questioning: "Why am I doing this pose? This sequence? This breath work?" Thinking I might get some answers and enhance my practice, I enrolled in a 200-hour RYT course with Michelle Van Lare. And while I expected to learn more about the physical practice of yoga, I didn't anticipate that the 200-plus hours spent with Michelle would change my life.
Michelle has spent more than a decade teaching and studying yoga around the world. Her knowledge of anatomy, the physical practice -- both Eastern and Western -- and the art of adjustment is outstanding. She has a true passion for the history of yoga and its spiritual legacy. It is this passion, along with an insatiable curiosity and a desire to share her knowledge, that makes Michelle a wonderful and unique teacher.
Michelle reignited my love of yoga, as well as my love of life. I hope I can pass on even a fraction of her knowledge and passion to my students.
- Katera Zappacosta