Interview with Patti Quintero, Founder of UMA
While Patti Quintero has been teaching yoga in the Los Angeles area since 1999, her life has also been fueled by her desire to be in service to women, especially mamas. She birthed UMA, an organization dedicated to mindful living for the modern woman, as a space to connect, strengthen, empower, and inspire women to find their passions. She works as a doula, teaches yoga for individuals, groups, and workshops, and teaches yoga classes online through MyYogaWorks.com.
How did you find yoga? What inspired you to dive deep into the practice and become a yoga teacher?
I found yoga through the vehicle of meditation while I was living in NYC in 1994. I started taking some courses and then found Sivananda Yoga, which became one of the first styles of yoga I practiced. The practice of yoga and meditation always felt like home to me, as though I had visited them in a past life. They were familiar and gave me a deep sense of inspiration and guidance during my early 20’s. When I returned to Miami to get my Masters Degree in Education I began to take Sivananda Yoga on campus. During a class with this wonderful teacher it hit me loud and clear… that although I was getting a degree in Elementary Education, my calling was to share these mindful practices. It terrified me to think of taking this leap. I taught a few years of Kindergarten while training and teaching little bits of yoga then took the full plunge in 2000. Best decision I could have ever made.
What is your passion for teaching? What are your weaknesses? How do you inspire yourself to continue practicing and improving as a teacher?
My passion has always been teaching. It is what I got my graduate degree in. I am extremely motivated and moved to serve as a guide. I really enjoy watching students discover more about themselves through the practice, and I have a patient and compassionate nature that allows growth and expansion. At the same time I have a strong, clear way of expressing the teachings and lessons in class.
My weakness is I give a bit too much and can become depleted. Sometimes the giver has trouble giving back to themselves…the empath syndrome! I am learning to refuel and fill my cup more as a teacher and as a mother. This has been one of my greatest lessons as a woman and entrepreneur.
As I get older my practice has become more meditative. I do enjoy strong vinyasa still and other activities like soul cycle, but now getting out into nature serves as great inspiration. The other thing that is very important to me is my personal time where I can practice alone. When I’m giving to my students, my doula clients, and my children, finding time to be silent and alone to do my practice or my hiking with my dog is very therapeutic and replenishing. I love to listen to podcasts from some of my favorite meditation teachers. I firmly believe that to be the best and most evolved teacher you can be, you must remain a mindful student of life—not necessarily taking as many workshops as you can, but doing the work in your daily life….yoga in action outside of the classroom.
What yoga poses and practices do you find the most empowering?
My meditation practice is one of the most clearing and powerful practices. In regards to yoga asana I still love backbends the most. They have always been my favorite. Headstand is another very grounding pose, which helps reset my brain, and hip openers are the fuzzy warm characters in the end. I love music in most everything I do. I am moved, transported, and inspired by music. So whether I am practicing, hiking, walking or working at home, there is usually a great soundtrack that will accompany that activity.
What has been your biggest transformation?
One of my greatest transformations was building two human beings in my body, birthing them and raising them. It is truly my greatest yoga practice. Everything I have learned in my studies and years of teaching, I apply to being a mother and a guide to other mothers. I have proven to myself how strong, resilient, wise, and loving I am through this experience.
The second greatest was creating my company UMA, my third baby and my truest passion project. Trusting my wisdom as a woman, teacher, and mother, and mostly finding the courage to say no to some things so I could say yes to this. In order to take this leap of faith and dedicate myself to UMA, I had to carve out solo space in my life where I was not involved in any relationship that would deflect or distract my energy. I had to confront some of my inner demons, self doubt, fear, old stories, and really get to know myself so that I could understand what I really wanted my legacy to be. There is really something to be said about self-study and self-discovery, the most important relationship I had to tend to was the one with myself. Now I am seeing UMA grow, and I wake up excited everyday to create, collaborate, and make a difference.
Where do you want to go from here? What are your future plans/projects/dreams?
I love this question! I am so excited for the future of UMA and my teaching career. I will be launching my UMA pre- and post-natal teacher training in February 2017 and continuing to expand the UMA family globally through retreats, workshops, and women gatherings. I am also part of the faculty of the yoga therapy program at Loyola Marymount and still lead classes and trainings at YogaWorks. My main wish is to go back out on the field and bring yoga and meditation to underprivileged women, and launch the nonprofit phase of UMA. There is a great ease that comes after teaching for this many years because I am truly teaching what I want to teach in the most authentic way.