Yoga with Rebecca Santillo

Yoga Instructor

Student Feature Friday


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I am 51-year old  mortgage broker from Wallingford. My husband and I have raised our two boys and now enjoy spending time with our two granddaughters.

I first tried yoga about 3 years ago at Healthtrax. A friend at the gym told me that I must try Becky's class. I did and I fell in love with the practice of yoga.

Since I started yoga, I notice that I pause more before I speak, I am much calmer and am more mindful, enjoying the present moment.  I have realized the importance of taking time for self-care.  I schedule yoga into my week like I would any other important meeting. Tree pose is my favorite asana. I love how powerful I feel with my feet firmly planted in the ground and my arms in the air. 


My name is Clara and I am a 58 year old paralegal at an insurance defense law firm.  My husband, Lou, and I will be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary this month and we share our home with our beloved, pampered rescue dog, Amelia.


I first tried yoga about three years ago.  In the months prior, I had been unwell and lost a good deal of weight and muscle which left me weak, stiff and disappointed in myself.  My sister kept encouraging me to try yoga.  For Christmas in 2012, my friend, Kelly, gave me a yoga mat and gift certificate toward yoga sessions.  There now was no good reason not to give it a go.  In January 2013, I went to my first yoga class.  Initially, I found it difficult to do many of the poses but did find that I felt a little bit better after each session.  Shortly thereafter, a new instructor, Rebecca Santillo, started teaching classes at Serenity Salon.  She had such a calm and peaceful aura and it was obvious that she carefully planned each class so that everyone would receive the maximum benefit.  I was hooked! It has been a long haul, and although I only practice once a week at this time, (I would like to do more) I cannot believe the rewards I have reaped from attending.  I am stronger, with better flexibility and have achieved a greater sense of peace (which is not easy for a person who is as anxious as I am!).  If it were not for Becky, I do not know if I would have kept practicing.  Her dedication to her students and the practice of yoga is an inspiration to me.


I prefer balancing poses such as tree and warrior three.  As my fellow yogis know, I do not like shoulder stands or anything involving being upside down!!!  Yoga has taught me how to breathe and that it is okay not to do every pose (or thing for that matter) perfectly. It is more important to be comfortable and happy with yourself rather than trying to mirror everyone else.  It is a great way to share and experience positive energy with other people.  I look forward to practicing with Rebecca (and my sidekick, Donata) for many years to come!

You can practice with Clara every Wednesday night at 5:30pm at Serenity Salon and Day Spa in Wallingford.



I am 40 years old and I have been married for almost ten years.  I have one daughter who is sixteen years old.  I work in the New Haven Public Schools as a teacher for a self-contained life skills classroom.  The students I teach have multiple disabilities.   


Two years ago a mutual friend referred me to Rebecca’s Saturday morning class at Miss Patti's.  My husband and I thought it would be a great way for us to get into shape together during the winter months and I have been practicing ever since.  Yoga has helped me reduce my stress, anxiety, and really live in the moment.  I am so much happier now than I was before.  I can be having a really bad day and once I’m on the mat I no longer think about how my day went.  I then focus on the now what am I doing right at that moment. And when the practice is done there is a sense of peace that comes over you.  Knowing its is always with you has really helped me become a more aware of my thoughts and how I am feeling.  I even use some of the yoga breath techniques while I’m off the mat when I am feeling stressed out.


I take four classes a week; I try to vary my classes so that I am not doing one specific type of yoga all the time.  I like to mix it up and have a variety of different types.  It also helps me not to get too comfortable with one type of yoga and helps me strength train for the different poses I do.


Shavasana, the corpse pose, is my favorite posture. This pose can be challenging but is also so rewarding at the end of the practice.  You can feel the energy moving around you when you have completed the practice it’s the best feeling ever.  However it can be challenging to stay in the moment and not let your mind wander to all of the other things you will do after your practice.

Come and practice with Donata Saturday mornings at 8:30am at Patricia's School of Dance in Wallingford.