Get to Know: Ben Chused, the Yoga Instructor Behind Our Arm Balancing 101 Workshop
Ben Chused is the yoga teacher leading the upcoming Arm Balancing 101 Workshop on Saturday, March 24. Ben is a well-known and experienced yoga instructor in the Boston area. In this post, you’ll get a window into how he began practicing yoga, why he took up teaching it, and the difference between taking a regular class versus attending a workshop. Read more about Ben below and be sure to attend his workshop taking place at Artemis Yoga on March 24 at 1:00pm!
What made you start practicing yoga? How did practicing turn into teaching?
In the early 2000s, I was living in Las Vegas and I didn’t really have a healthy lifestyle. So, I started working with a personal trainer to turn things around. Shortly after, I started making some progress with my personal trainer. My wife invited me to go to yoga class with her. She positioned it as a way to complement the work I was doing in the gym. I decided to go and I didn’t like it much at first, but I found a couple of teachers that really resonated with me and challenged me. I started making it a regular thing. Also, at the encouragement of my wife, I took a 200-hour teacher training in 2012. Back then, I was just getting very serious about my yoga practice and it felt like the right time to dive in deeper. I didn’t intend to teach yoga, but as I was wrapping up my training, I started getting offers to sub and figured I would give it a shot. From there I started teaching more regularly.
Why do you teach these workshops?
Workshops are a nice opportunity to analyze certain themes or objectives. In every yoga class, there is so much material presented that many of the students don’t understand- and there isn’t time to dive into the details. If your yoga teacher tells you to breathe a certain way, or move your joints in a certain way, or chant something, many students are bound to have questions. Workshops enable students to spend time with teachers who have really embraced certain subject matter and are enthusiastic about sharing it. I teach workshops because this practice has had a very positive impact on my life, and I want to help others achieve the benefits they are pursuing.
What can students expect from your workshop?
This arm balancing workshop will begin with a well-rounded vinyasa sequence focused on warm-ups and preparatory postures. Following this, we’ll view demonstrations and then attempt some of the key arm balancing postures. Each of these arm balances includes variations that are accessible to students of all levels through the use of modifications and yoga props. So don’t worry if you can’t do the arm balances you see in these pictures – everyone will explore within their own capabilities! The workshop will be interactive, with plenty of time for Q&A and detailed analysis of the arm balancing family of postures.
How is taking a workshop different from taking a regular class with you?
The difference between taking a workshop with me versus a regular class is that workshops are interactive and usually structured to explore very specific material. Regular classes tend to move pretty quickly and there isn’t time to explain everything that’s happening. Regular classes are a nice way to start your day or unwind at the end of your day, while workshops are like road-maps that unpack some of the key concepts and poses and other material from those regular classes. Like you’re placing a magnifying glass over something.
Do you have a favorite arm balance?
My favorite arm balance is probably bhujapidasana – shoulder pressure pose. I also have a least favorite which is eka pada bakasana – one-legged crow pose. It’s just so hard! And I have one side that doesn’t feel nearly as stable.