Anthropologist doubles as yoga teacher

Graduate sudent teaches anthropology classes at WSU, hot fusion at Sanctuary Yoga, sees value in philosophy

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Anthropologist doubles as yoga teacher

Alvarez teaches hot fusion classes inspired by Ashtanga style of yoga she studied during her travels to India as a student.

Alvarez teaches hot fusion classes inspired by Ashtanga style of yoga she studied during her travels to India as a student.

LUKE HOLLISTER | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Alvarez teaches hot fusion classes inspired by Ashtanga style of yoga she studied during her travels to India as a student.

LUKE HOLLISTER | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

LUKE HOLLISTER | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Alvarez teaches hot fusion classes inspired by Ashtanga style of yoga she studied during her travels to India as a student.

VONNAI PHAIR, Evergreen reporter

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Yoga and anthropology instructor Tiffany Alvarez made her office on campus unique. She adorned the light-filled room with various yoga-inspired posters and trinkets.

Alvarez first experienced the philosophy and physical practice of yoga during her time studying abroad in Bengaluru, India, which is the birthplace of the oldest type of yoga, Ashtanga yoga.

While studying abroad, Alvarez fulfilled multiple requirements of her cultural enrichment practice, such as taking yoga and philosophy classes, and that inspired a journey for her.

“I took an Indian philosophy class, and I just kind of had a really wonderful first introduction to the philosophy and the physical practice,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez started instructing yoga at Sanctuary Yoga in downtown Pullman two years ago. She teaches Ashtanga Inspired Hot Fusion, a physically demanding practice modeled after the traditional Ashtanga Primary Series. She also teaches a less intense class, Warm 8-Limbed Vinyasa. She teaches twice a week and practices whenever she feels a calling to do so.

“Sometimes my worst weeks are when I practice the most because I really need it,” Alvarez explained.

Alvarez said she will probably be a student of yoga for the rest of her life, as the practice has taught her to form connections with other people on a deeper level. Teaching at Sanctuary Yoga allowed Alvarez to surround herself with other graduate students at WSU.

“You really get to vibe with people who are on comparable paths as yours, or if not compatible paths,” Alvarez explained.

Yoga gave Alvarez more awareness of her body, and she said she can tell where stress and nervousness she feels may potentially hurt her body. Knowing the power of yoga, Alvarez said she knows when she needs to practice deeper breathing and stretching in order to de-stress.

“It becomes second nature. You have this very accessible tool to deal with your stress,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez also follows a different practice of life — she teaches Anthropology 101 at WSU. She said she loves the anthropology department because of its diverse instructors, who all bring different perspectives and individual experiences into their teachings and interactions.

Chancy J. Anderson, a fellow anthropology instructor of Alvarez, said she is brilliant.

“I could just listen to her talk for hours,” Anderson said. “She is so on top of everything and always knows her stuff.”

Alvarez balances both of her worlds of instructing with ease. She said she considers everything she does in her life equal, and not one activity is more worth her time than another; everything Alvarez does she considers to be essential to her personal growth and improvement.

“Life isn’t about trade-offs as much as it is about finding synergy,” Alvarez said with a smile.

Yoga gave Alvarez many gifts, and to her, it is not just about the physical aspects of losing weight or being in shape. Alvarez believes yoga is about a broader message of self-compassion and mental awareness, which are concepts yoga taught her.

Alvarez teaches at Sanctuary Yoga, 540 E Main St.