MENTOR SPOTLIGHT: DAWN RIZZO
Africa Yoga Project is committed to changing lives through the transformative power of yoga, and to creating connections between our teachers and the yoga community around the world. That’s why we started the AYP Mentorship Program, helping us to provide a support system for our teachers, like Dylan Maina. Dylan has been partnered with Dawn Rizzo, a native of Staten Island, NY (just like Paige!) where she teaches at the 5 Boro Power Yoga Studio. Below Dawn shares her journey to becoming part of our family as well as some of her wonderful insights about what she and Dylan are creating together...
I met Paige Elenson when she visited the 5 Boro Power Yoga Studio in Staten Island, NY a few years ago. That is when I was first exposed to AYP. I have had the opportunity to meet several AYP members throughout the past couple of years as they passed through the studio! My own mentor, Karen Torrone, first told me she was also a mentor to an AYP teacher a few years ago, but I didn’t quite know what that involved. Then, in October 2014, I was re-introduced to Paige and the AYP Mentorship Program during my Baptiste Level 2 Training in Sedona, AZ.
I became a mentor to first of all give back to someone who wants help and second, to help someone who is empowering themselves. The notion that someone is aware of their potential for greatness is an important first step towards action. By becoming a mentor, I have realized that we all need the support of one another, even when it seems as though we are doing alright. Dylan’s experiences are very similar to my own. It is through honoring our similarities that I am learning that we are actually helping one another to grow.
By becoming a mentor, my mentee is obtaining a new perspective and the ability to hold himself accountable. Dylan is also learning to connect with his students through his own experience, to be vulnerable and to have fun. Dylan and I talk about his outreach. We share similar experiences regarding our teaching, particularly around challenges. We are creating connection through understanding that we both have similar challenges in our teaching and in our life.
My advice for anyone considering on becoming a mentor is to come with no expectations. I originally thought that my mentorship would be giving of myself to another, where in fact, it has become a full connection with another being, where we mutually share, learn and grow from one another. I am grateful and honored to have the opportunity to spend time within another human being, halfway around the world. I am humbled to know that we are from different backgrounds, in different countries and with different challenges, yet we are still the same in many ways!
Dylan in Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana)