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Teacher Feature: Rachel Kaplan Sheffield

By December 31, 2023No Comments

We are about to welcome back Rachel Kaplan Sheffield to our teaching roster with a very special event, a two-day Master Class on the Hot 26 series called “Meet Me at the Razor’s Edge.” Rachel has been teaching the Hot 26 series since 2007 — she has taught more than 10,000 classes! — and has long been guiding women through the modified pregnancy series. She got to put that series to the test during her pregnancy last year, which produced a very happy and healthy son, Lucas!

Rachel practiced throughout her pregnancy and returned after recovering from the birth in August. When she returned, she would normally practice in the back of the room, which gave her a new perspective on the Hot 26 students and the common mistakes in alignment. She hopes her Master Classes serve as an inspiration to the Hot 26 regulars, as well as helps its newcomers find their stride!

If you have ever taken a class with Rachel, you know she is intensely dedicated to the series and its benefits to students of all shapes and sizes.

HYA: What was it like to practice through your pregnancy?

RKS: I was super grateful for having a pregnancy series to be able to continue my practice. I have taught it for so many years, and it helped so many women through that time of their life. I was so excited to be able to experience it in my own body.

As I got bigger, the heat was starting to get to me and I would set up my mat by the door. At first I was self-conscious about needing to open the door, so I always asked the people around me if they minded. I found incredible support from everyone who practiced near me. Walter would tease me when I opened the door, but I think Walter just likes teasing me.

I think it’s a very big reason why I felt so good throughout my pregnancy. It really supported my back and my legs and arms stayed strong. I think Lucas enjoyed it too!

HYA: Will having done the pregnancy series help you teach it even better?

RKS: Definitely! I’m so excited to bring this knowledge to the community. A lot of people don’t even know this is an option and I’m excited to help women feel empowered in their bodies as they grow another human.

HYA: Who would most benefit from your Master Classes this month?

RKS: This is for everyone! I hope to bring a new appreciation and love for the practice to those who have been doing it for a long time. But I also want to inspire new practitioners by showing them the benefits so they don’t give up! I want to show everyone a little bit more about why we are doing what we’re doing and hopefully conjure up their own inner wisdom around the practice.

HYA: What can people expect?

RKS: We will spend a lot of time breaking down the alignment of the postures and the benefits of the postures. Tarah (also a longtime teacher) is going to be our example of the ideal in these postures. She has been practicing for so long and is so strong that her postures are what everyone is working toward. But then there is the reality of where everyone is in the postures, and that’s great too.

HYA: What are your goals for the Master Classes?

RKS: I want to get people excited about their practice! I would like to make the series more inviting and less intimidating. The Hot 26 series is hard! But it’s supposed to be. It’s like therapy. Not everybody wants to do therapy, but it’s so healing.