Niki Saccareccia is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). Learn more at: www.LightInsideYoga.com
Writer. Author. ABA. Yoga Teacher.
I was first exposed to hatha yoga (i.e. posture yoga) in 1999 and began a dedicated practice in 2006 as a junior attending the University of South Florida. I was studying social and cognitive psychology with an emphasis on 'nature of consciousness.' I graduated in the top 2% of my class with an advanced Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. During my practice at USF, I participated in a 2-week intensive Art of Living meditation course that deeply influenced my interest in breath-body awareness.
Weeks after graduating, I moved to Los Angeles and put my Psychology degree to use serving special needs children and their caretakers as a Clinical Supervisor focusing on behavior modification and social skill building. Applied Behavioral Analysis is a Clinical Psychology model used to identify and then modify behaviors that disrupt effective patterns of communication, socialization, self-care and learning.
While ABA is almost exclusively used with people living with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down Syndrome and Mental Retardation, ABA is often used in everyday doings to shape and change addictive behaviors like smoking cigarettes, over-eating and unhealthy relationships to food, time management issues, hyperactivity and anxiety.
While I was finding how yoga happened for me off the mat, I was enduring the effects of job-related burnout (and my first 3 grey hairs!). Two years into my first career, I found that I wanted to know more about yoga and completed my first 200-hour yoga teaching certification through Black Dog Yoga in Sherman Oaks. I published my first book around this time - a memoir on the potential benefits of globalization and building a peaceful coexistence across cultures.
In March 2013, I completed a 500-hour teaching credential as a mentor under master teacher, Sigrid Matthews. This program included an extensive, specialized anatomy training under the guidance of two world renowned teachers: Leslie Kaminoff of the Breathing Project and Integral Anatomy pioneer, Gil Hedley.
In December 2015, I published my second book, "The Sweet Dreamer." Working with the support of my community at-large, I wrote, published and fundraised this children's picture book that encourages people of all ages to follow their heart and trust their creative instincts.
In May 2016, I completed a 6-Day Human Anatomy Dissection embodied anatomy training under the guidance of Gil Hedley.
I currently hold an E-RYT 500, having taught to the public over 4,000 hours in my first four years as a registered yoga teacher. I continue to study under the tutelage of Mark Whitwell and his teacher, the late T. Krischnamacharya along with anatomy experts Leslie Kaminoff and Gil Hedley.
I am privileged to witness how a regular yoga practice removes self-doubt and reawakens radical creativity and a very sustainable stress management system. I see students learn to trust themselves, to feel healthy and discover deep potential in their body and shift how they see themselves.
Much like behavior modification, yoga offers us the tools to shift and adjust our actions in order to realize our fullest potentials and creativity.