FEATURED TEACHER OF THE MONTH
Interview by Sara McElwain
What is your definition of Yoga?
One textbook answer is that Yoga means union with the Divine. In my life, Yoga has helped me to recover from a difficult childhood, assisting me with the integration of parts of myself that had previously been split off or disowned. As a result I have become less rigid and more compassionate toward and accepting of those aspects of myself and others that are less than admirable. Through my practice and my teaching I’ve come to feel more whole and complete, both within myself and in relation to all other living beings, especially animals and our beloved planet Earth.
What do you love about Yoga?
I love that Yoga grounds and centers me and allows me to quiet my mind and go within. It has helped me to experience inner peace and gain a greater understanding of what it means to strive to be kind and loving in a world that often isn’t either, why it matters, and how to forgive myself when I fall short.
Why do you teach Yoga?
I teach Yoga because taking classes always left me feeling calm and peaceful, no matter how crazed or disturbed I’d felt before, and I wanted to be able to provide that experience for others. Teaching Yoga nourishes me on every level and makes me feel competent and useful in the world, knowing that I have something valuable to contribute. I love my students, and I really enjoy seeing both the short-term and the long-term effects Yoga has on them. It’s very satisfying to hear a student say that he or she feels much better after taking my class. I’ve watched students who initially struggled become stronger and more focused, centered, and grounded and come to love the practice as much as I do. That makes me very happy.
What are the particular areas of Yoga you are teaching in now or in which you have created your own, special offerings? What attracted you to those areas?
Since I began teaching I have purposely worked to find a balance between conveying essential information and allowing plenty of silence during and between asana in order to create a feeling of spaciousness during the class, to give my students the opportunity to go within and experience their own inner peace. Additionally, refining my instructions so that they are clear and precise has allowed some extra time for warm-ups—especially important for those in my class who are dealing with arthritis and other physical issues, as it makes the rest of the class more comfortable and enjoyable for them.
What do you hope students will receive from you as a teacher?
I hope that students will come away from my classes with a deeper understanding of how the sacred underlies every moment of every day, no matter how seemingly mundane, and that they will realize that Yoga is a way of being in the world and not just a class that is over in 60 or 90 minutes.
Do you have a favorite book or Yoga mat or product that you like, something you sincerely enjoy and wish to share with the teacher sangha?
I love my Jade Harmony Yoga mat. It’s nonslip, thick enough (three-sixteenths of an inch) to protect my knees, and long enough (71 inches) that I have plenty of room to stretch out. I also love that it’s purple, my favorite color.
Ongoing classes at IYI: Level I Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.