Emily K. Benaron at Yoga Soup studios. (Feb 23, 2016)
Paul Wellman

One night, when Emily K. Benaron and her husband went out to dinner, they rescued a dog on their way home. Already having two dogs of their own, they couldn’t keep it, but she took the dog to the vet and urgently sent messages to friends and family searching for a perfect home.

This anecdote illustrates how benevolent and warm-hearted Emily is. A most empathetic person, Emily has been my yoga teacher, massage therapist, and overall well-being coach for the past five years of my life, which have been my healthiest. Even on the worst rainy days, her smile and positive outlook will warm you up.

Every Tuesday and Thursday evening at Yoga Soup, she teaches a terrific class called Weekly Wind-Down, where she blends alignment-focused yoga with corrective exercise, massage, breathing, and meditation, all with an emphasis on self-care. This month, Yoga Soup is celebrating its 10th anniversary and will be offering free yoga to celebrate from April 4 to 9. So now you have no excuse not to try out Emily’s amazing class!

Emily answers the Proust Questionnaire.

What is the quality you most dislike in people?

I greatly dislike when people exhibit and act upon intolerance towards others whose lifestyle, religion, beliefs, sexuality, and personal choices differ from their own.

What is your motto?

You can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.

What do you like most about your job?

The unique relationship I have with each person I work with. I get to support someone by listening and observing, then develop sessions tailored to the individual. It is a creative and collaborative process to figure out what works best. I feel like I am somehow helping the greater good by supporting people to slow down, tune in, and practice self-care. It makes me so happy to hear when my students and clients are finding the things that help them replenish and feel more alive.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Feeling peaceful, safe, and surrounded by love.

What is your greatest fear?

The thing that I have feared most in my life is not being “good enough.” It is a fear that can affect many different pieces of my life. In the past, I have allowed this fear to govern some of the choices I have made or to keep me from being fully present with my experiences. I have worked with this fear in various ways over time. I finally feel like I can recognize it when it arises without giving it the power that I used to.

Who do you most admire?

It is hard to narrow down all of the people I admire to just one. I admire people of selfless service. People who spend hours of time feeding the homeless, helping the sick, rescuing animals, fighting for equality, and trying in some way to end suffering. These are the people who I admire most, try to support, and aspire to be like.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Travel and raw chocolates!!

What is your current state of mind?

I am excited and filled with anticipation about traveling to Bali!

What is the quality you most like in people?


What do you most value in friends?


What is your most marked characteristic?


Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

This is embarrassing because I sound like I am 13 years old.

“Omigosh!” “Like,” “Literally,” “Kind of,” and “Seriously?!?”

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to be a talented singer/songwriter/musician. I occasionally pretend that I am when I am alone and it feels pretty awesome.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be more organized with my time and finances.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Creating the life I have always wanted.

Where would you most like to live?

I’m here! I love Santa Barbara! It’s paradise!

What is your most treasured possession?

My engagement ring. The antique diamond belonged to my husband’s grandmother and was in her engagement ring. Each time I look at it I am reminded of his unconditional love for me and of his sweet 96-year-old grammy.

Who makes you laugh the most?

My husband, Joey Benaron, makes me laugh all the time. He is really quite good at it. He is closely tied with my two oldest childhood friends, Ara Greenfield and Coretta Anderson, who are ridiculously silly and hilarious.

What is your motto?

You can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

This is the toughest question for me to answer and I couldn’t seem to narrow it down to just one. While I can’t say I identify with the following people, I certainly admire them and would like to aspire to their qualities. I would love to have just an ounce of Anne Frank’s resilience, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dedication to a non-violent fight for civil rights, Harriet Tubman’s bravery, Audrey Hepburn’s inner beauty and humanitarianism, and Thich Nhat Hanh’s deep understanding of peace and mindfulness. I guess I have some work to do!

On what occasion do you lie?

Ugh. I don’t really want to admit this, but for the sake of being honest, I will. Sometimes when I don’t want to schedule something, I say I am booked, but sometimes that means I am going to the beach or on a dog walk. Technically, I am booked, but with “me” time, but maybe I allude to it being an appointment or two.


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