A letter to myself when I first started teaching yoga.

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image by Getty images 

Dear Hali,


You are about to embark on one of the most difficult yet beautiful journeys that you can ever imagine, being a yoga teacher. Your new role carries a lot of responsibility. And, although you may not understand what I am talking about now, one day it will be crystal clear.


One day, you will see clearly that it will be up to you to uphold what has been taught to you by your Gurus and Mentors. And, that your Gurus and Mentors are people too. They may have taught you The Sutras and Eight limbs of Yoga but they are human. Being human requires us to be weak sometimes so don’t be surprised if they do not practice what they preach.


Begin to see yourself as a brand. A brand protects itself from harm and holds itself up to a certain standard in order to maintain integrity and neutrality. This will help you stay out of your Ego and teach from a more humble perspective.


I know you have a lot of passion, thirst and hunger to teach but contain your drive. Don’t waste your vibrancy and energy on people and things that are irrelevant to the present moment. Lead by practicing the way that you want your students to. Come from a place of humility, always!


True humility is staying teachable, regardless of how much you already know’, so take other teachers’ classes, learn from them and always say thank you regardless of what you liked/disliked about the way that they taught.


Free yourself of un-necessary judgement. Some judgement is necessary; however, don’t spend your life telling people what they are doing wrong. When you come into this role, you will see what a lot of students are doing wrong. Correct them, yes! But, remind yourself that they are doing their best. Trust your students to find it in their bodies by using their intuition.


There will be many people who have something negative to say about your class but you are not teaching for them. You are teaching to spread the word of yoga, the yoga that can enlighten, can help move negative energy out of the body and can give one’s body an array of health benefits that we never knew was possible.

 

Yours truly, 

Please, be inspired by Tawana Randall!

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It is such an honour to have this Yogi as our last Inspirational Yogi. When I started following him on Instagram, I knew he had to be featured. To me, he embodies being a Yogi through his cheer, form and influence as a human being. Tawana is a native to my home of South Africa.

 

Please, be inspired by Tawana Randall

 

 

1. When did you start teaching?

I completed my teacher-training in November 2016 but I’ve been teaching since July 2016. I was lucky to have been a part of a gym that allowed me to teach when I reached a level where I could teach Hatha classes. It was after going through 3 trial classes with experienced teachers.

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

 I was very sceptical about starting yoga. My bestfriend’s fiancé convinced me to attend a class. Yoga resonated with me from the very first class that I attended. My motivation for teaching was challenging my mind to open up to possibilities I never before imagined. The challenge of a truly never-ending journey.My greatest lesson in teaching has been that every person I teach is, in their own ,right my teacher. I learn something in the process of teaching each and every person I guide on the mat.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

I’ve learnt to be myself in the way that I teach. I tried to emulate other teachers when I started finding my feet on the mat as a teacher. That didn’t seem genuine and even the students could see it. Luckily some of them were comfortable enough to approach me and tell me to relax and be myself.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I practice yoga everyday and that’s in the broad sense of the word. In terms of asana practice, now I can say I do so everyday simply because of my #handstand365 challenge to myself. Besides that, I self-practice at least 3 times a week and I try to attend at least 3 classes a week. As a teacher, one has to keep up their practice and attend some classes.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

I draw inspiration from many people. The first being Demz, my best friend’s fiancé, my asana practice may be more on the advanced side but her strength is far beyond what I can even imagine. That’s from all she has conquered through yoga mentally and physically.

My asana practice in my personal capacity was first inspired by Briohny Smyth, her video by Equinox was the very first yoga video I watched that I recognized as yoga. Her grace and flow took my breath away, at that time I couldn’t even hold a headstand. Now I am mostly inspired by the likes of Patrick Beach, Dylan Werner, Kenzie @yogoskenz on Instagram, Erin Kelly @erinkellyart, Andrew Sealey. In the world of social media, inspiration is literally at the touch of a finger so my list could go further than the few mentioned.

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

Yoga helps me balance so much in my life. Coming from a legal background where winning at all costs is the goal, it seeps into your character as a person. I am constantly trying to balance that out. I wish to inspire people to be better and for that to happen, I need to start with myself.

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

For people to get out of their heads. Often the most limiting factor in what one can do on or off the mat is the power of the mind. First conquering that by getting out the mind, allowing the body to be instinctive and then later unifying mind body and spirit. I feel like this gives one confidence and trust in themselves beyond what the mind limits.

 

8. Where are you currently teaching? 

I decided to leave law behind me and throw myself into yoga and a career full-time. I teach at a few studios in Johannesburg these being, Zen Hot Yoga World, Yoga Experience, Wellness In Motion, Earth Yoga and Indie Hot Yoga. I also have private clients that I teach in between my crazy schedule.

 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

I used to hold on to a lot of negative emotions. With yoga I have learnt to let go. The only one that suffers is myself when I allow those emotions to remain. For as long as I hold on to them, they maintain a stronghold on me.

 

10. What has kept you practicing all these years?

My fascination with learning more each day keeps me practicing. Yoga is a journey with no destination and that is the beauty of it all.

 

11. What would you tell yourself when you started teaching yoga?

I would always tell myself to calm down. As a new teacher, I would worry about whether or not the students would resonate with my teaching. I had to tell myself that there is energy transference taking place so the negative energy will impact my teaching negatively despite having a good sequence.


12. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio?

You will need to show that you have been teaching somewhere so start at a gym and gain some teaching experience. In fact, the gym is the best because you can get a mixed bag of levels in one class and you have to learn to deal with that and with larger numbers. The best way to start teaching at a studio as a new teacher is to attend classes at the studio, offer to be a fill-in teacher for when the regulars can’t take class. Attend workshops, be seen and let people feel your awesome energy that you can share.

 

13. Why is breath so important in your practice?

Breath is the connection to all. Without breath, I cannot reach a point where I am able to meditate in asana which is something that I ultimately want. That may seem like a cliché answer but it is the something I would want. At the moment I’ve learnt how the breath relaxes the nervous system, allowing the body to soften, allowing my mind to quieten. This is just a very short version that I can give, I could explain breath all day.

 

 14. What is your FB name? IG name and twitter?

Tawana Randall (fb)

@tawanarandall (ig)

I have twitter but I don’t use it much, it’s too time consuming

Devan Medrano inspires

There is nothing more inspirational than someone who is genuine and sincere. Someone who looks you in the eye, humbley speaks truth and is constantly aware of her surroundings. Clearly, Devan is inspiring to me. 

 

Now, let her inspire you

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 1. How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching yoga for 2 years now, it doesn’t sound long. But, before I began teaching yoga, I had been teaching dance for over 10 years. Whew, that’s a long time!


2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

My motivation began because of pain and discomfort from prior dance injuries. Like most of my students now, we have pain but we don’t know where it’s coming from or what’s truly causing it and how to care for ourselves. So that’s why I wanted to learn yoga and understand how my body works. I have learned so much from my own personal practice, and soooo much more from teaching my students. Such as, how much we need this practice of yoga, and how to conform these basic postures to fit every “body”, when people learn how to manipulate poses to fit their particular body and structure they feel so empowered in their own skin, knowledge really is power and feeling better day to day is just an extra bonus. Yay for yoga haha!


3. What is something you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

I haven’t just learned from one teacher, I take something from all of them. I have learned how effective a touch can be and how important the right adjustment can be, how breathing with my students as I lead practice really sets the pace and tone for a beautiful class and to only teach what you know because once it’s in your body and you have the mental and physical strength of what you’re teaching only then can it be passed on to someone else.


4. How many times a week do you practice?

Everyday, it’s important to always stay moving for inspiration. I teach about 30hrs a week, and I can’t keep my classes fresh unless I keep my own personal practice stable and strong. But, my practices aren’t always inside my house or on my mat with a typical structure, sometimes it’s hiking or climbing a tree that helps me grasp the next weeks focus for my students, private lessons and classes.


5. Who inspires your practice?

I have so many yogi inspirations (thanks to Instagram and social media). Ugh, I get so distracted sometimes watching the same videos over and over again. I am O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D with Katy Bowman and her brains for all of her bio-mechanic awesomeness, Jules Mitchell for her anatomy nerdiness, Schuyler Grant and her beautiful sequencing, and of course some of my favorite practitioners are @the_southern_yogini @yogiaubrey @yogajulz @erinkellyart and @casa_colibri


6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

It is necessary for me to practice so that I stay relevant to my students, I only teach what I know within my body and the less I practice the further out of tune I become. Also, my students have become such strong practitioners that I need to be practicing on a daily basis just to keep up with them and continue to gain more strength and knowledge within the practice that is yoga.


7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

The message that I like to spread through my teaching has always been that of creating a healing and sacred environment. If I can get my students to trust me and create a safe environment for them to let go, to breathe, to explore, that opens them up to a world of learning. So many of my students have walked through the yoga door feeling confused about their bodies, in pain or out-of-tune with themselves. If I can get them on their mat and learning to breathe, that’s a HUGE step forward that allows them to relax, to become aware and can immediately get them to listen to their bodies and what it is their bodies need. So that is my message, to foster a safe space for people to heal.


8. Other than Asana, what are you working on as a Yogi, in terms of the yogic limbs?

I am constantly in check, especially living in a large city like L.A. I have to stay focused and highly aware in my daily life. But, being a yoga teacher I am constantly around people and giving so much of my energy to others that by the end of my day I often have nothing left to give myself. So, one major limb, the yamas: Brahmacharya (continence) is truly testing my natural state of always wanting to over indulge, and to pull away from extremism. I need to understand that taking a rest day is not being lazy or staying up to late and not getting any sleep is causing much more harm to my body than I could ever understand. Balance is a difficult goal to attain but, it’s one I must strive to follow on and off my mat daily. After all, a life spent in balance makes us wiser, stronger and healthier.


9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

Yoga has helped my character to develop in numerous ways. But what has caused the change in my character is a physical change with my breath. Learning to breathe has changed my outlook on the world by slowing me down, I have become so much more of an intuitive and quiet individual. I have learned to listen to the people and things that surround me which shows focus and I have also learned to be more empathetic toward my students, friends and family. I would have never thought that such a simple act as breathing could truly change me as a human.


10. What’s been the most challenging thing to learn throughout your yoga journey?

One of the most challenging things I have had to learn throughout my yoga journey has been honesty. The few times I have been injured while practicing, have become some of the worst and best times. To create boundaries for myself is tough, I can always go harder, further and faster, but that’s not what my body needs when I’m injured. I need to pull back, be honest with where I am in the moment. Listen in to what my body needs which could be a simple practice of 30min and only two poses. We all need a moment of relaxation, especially when we are injured, so take the time to modify, to be kind and gentle to the body which is so beautiful when you can show yourself kindness. I want to be the best I can be to my body, and truthfully, that is what makes me so relatable to my students. That, and having the ability to break down poses, especially for those who have been injured and NEED modifications.


11. Where are you currently teaching?

Currently I teach for Hot 8 Yoga in K-town, Equinox (Beverly Hills, Miracle Mile & West LA), Sweatheory, Rise Hot Yoga, Bella Fitness and YMCA (Downtown LA).


12. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?

My Instagram is @thewildmess and my Facebook is Devan Medrano

Kaitlin Lawrence is inspiration personified.

I could tell you many good things about Kaitlin Lawrence and one of things is how inspiring she is. Through her smile, energy and love of yoga, she is treasured in our community.

Here are other reasons why she is inspiring: 


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 1.How long have you been teaching?

I started teaching in 2012.


2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

I was offered an opportunity to teach immediately following my first Yoga Teacher Training. I was terrified, but I kept reminding myself of this quote by Anaïs Nin, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”


3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

Everything! Here are a few Yoga wisdom nuggets that came to mind today:


•Yoga should never be a silent kind of suffering.

•Whatever you practice, you get better at.

• “Work is love made visible”- Kahlil Gibran

•What if you are already good?


4. How many times a week do you practice?

I practice every day, but it varies based on my needs. There are days when I need 2 hot yoga classes in a row and other days when a 15 minute meditation will do the trick.


5. Who inspires your practice?

Anyone who consciously and actively practices self acceptance. Anyone who honors where they have been, where they want to go, and what they need in any given moment. People who let their light Shiiiinnne!!


6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

I love myself when I practice.  The more love I cultivate for myself, the more love I am able to give to others.


7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

I aim to empower everyone to be their own best teacher.

Also (stolen from a fellow yoga teacher), The yoga postures have so little to do with what they look like and everything to do with how they make your FEEL. If you eventually get your feet behind your head (like a pretzel) and you are still an a**hole, what is the point? You are just an a**hole with a party trick. 


8. Where are you currently teaching?

I currently teach private and group Yoga and Meditation classes in NYC. I travel a lot for work so I find ways teach wherever I am.



9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

The yoga has enabled me to start a conversation with myself and distinguish between what my body, mind and soul may need at any given moment. I am now a much better listener and caregiver to myself and others.


10. What has kept you practicing all these years?

Sometimes I get the answers to my questions. Sometimes I get so much more, but reminding myself is a daily practice.

 

11.  What would you tell your self when you started teaching yoga?

Instant forgiveness: If I say  “left” instead of “right”, instant forgiveness. Take a deep breath, say what needs to be said, move forward - no big deal. Even now, as a human, when I make a choice that doesn't serve me: Instant forgiveness, deep breaths, move on, new choices - no big deal.


12. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio?

Show up, ask questions and find ways to be a part of that community. If you want something enough, you can find a way to make it happen!


13. Why is breath so important in your practice?

Becoming aware of my breath has changed my life. The more I practice conscious breathing during challenging postures in the yoga room, the better I am at consciously breathing through challenging situations in my life.


I used to eat food to cope with stress or sadness and now I can take a few deep breaths instead. It can be a game-changer if practiced daily. We can survive weeks without food, days without water, but only seconds (or minutes if you practice) without breath. Breath is our life force!


14. What is your FB name? IG name and twitter?


instagram/twitter: @lawrencekaitlin

Website: www.kaitlinlawrence.com

Kate Davies is truly inspiring!

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If you have never taken Kate’s class, you are missing out. Kate is the owner of Yo BK in Williamsburg, that offers hot yoga. When I first met her, she was carrying balloons to wish one of her karma program member’s a happy birthday. I proceeded to take her class and her passion, devotion and love for yoga was very evident. She is a genuine and caring person, which translates to her teaching. 

Please, be inspired...

 

1. How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching yoga for six years and Pilates for two.


2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learned from teaching?
I began practicing Bikram Yoga during my first semester of college and am still best friends with the girl who brought me to my first class. I ran track in high school and the shift to doing yoga nearly everyday was a smooth one. Yoga helped me manage my time better, concentrate and feel fantastic despite the normal college tomfoolery. I continued my practice while studying abroad in Rome and living in Asia for three years after college. It was never a question of whether I would become a teacher - only when the right time was. I have learned so much from teaching: how to communicate clearly, how to act as a leader and how to be compassionate and patient with myself and others. Teaching and practicing yoga has introduced me to the most extraordinary people.


3. What is something that you have learned from a fellow teacher?
My mentor Lisa taught me to be a life-long learner. We have never arrived and that's a beautiful thing.


4. How many times a week do you practice?

Five to six times a week. I like to mix it up with Bikram's Beginner's and Advanced Series, Power Yoga and Hot Pilates. I cheat on my studio once a week and practice elsewhere.


5. Who inspires your practice?
My students and teachers. I am my best self for them when I walk the walk.


6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?
I get grumpy when I don't!


7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?
That we are responsible for our own happiness. Practicing at a studio with great teachers gives us accountability, discipline, support and hopefully fun.


8. Where are you currently teaching?
I own YO BK in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I teach Bikram Yoga, Power Yoga and Inferno Hot Pilates.


9. How has yoga helped your character develop?
I am fiery and love my to-do lists. Yoga has taught me to slow the F down. It helped me embrace a softer side to balance my strength. Owning a studio has helped me cultivate long-term relationships with teachers and students and has shown me how to speak to others' strengths and values.


10. What has kept you practicing all these years?
Yoga makes me feel better than anything. It is an amazing lens for whatever else is going on in my life.


11. What would you tell your self when you started teaching yoga?
Use your (gd) inner thighs! Also, don't have a meltdown if you miss a day of yoga. 


12. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio?
Practice there. I get emails everyday from teachers wanting to teach at my studio and I tell them all the same thing: come practice and see how you fit with the community. If they keep coming back, I know they're serious! I'm very protective over my students and community and need to make sure they have quality teachers who are motivating, kind and varied.


13. Why is breath so important in your practice?
It connects the mind and the body. It is our gauge for knowing if we have gone too far or are experiencing tension.


14. What is your FB name? IG name and twitter?
Kate Davies @kixdavies studio is: @yo.bk

 

 

Inspiration in the form of McKenzie Dreher

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 If you’re looking for inspiration from a graceful presence, look no further! McKenzie Dreher is a prime example of this. While she is not currently teaching at a studio, we are able to get a glimpse of her inspiration from her words below:

 

 

1. How long have you been teaching?

 I think I was certified to teach in June of 2015 or 2016! Whoa, I didn’t realize how long it had been!

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

The original motivator I guess was that I was in a car accident my junior year of college. I was pursuing a dance career, and I was doing yoga on the side. Eventually, that reversed with the happening of the accident. As my body healed, I was relearning how the body moves with a component of forceful patience because of the injury. It was a deeper and different understanding than I had gained from dance, and I wanted to share how valuable it can be to understand why the body moves as it does. Sometimes just the knowledge of this can release you deeper into a posture. 

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

I owe a pretty great deal to who I’ve learned from. I received a very strong foundation from Joseph Encinia, Gianna Purcell, and Jared McCan. Everyday they teach me about kindness, endurance, and patience in their own ways. But as a collective,  I owe my real life grace to them.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

Every day! Every day because there’s so much that can be practiced throughout the course of a day. It’s crazy! It never ends (giggles) . I don’t aways practice in a group or studio setting. I wake up and meditate and stretch everyday before leaving my room. This brings me into my body so that when I practice in a group, I can have the courage and spontaneity and familiarity to take the physical practice further.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

Oh man! That could be endless with Instagram so available to me. In complete honesty though, I think I’ve worked up a pretty solid habit of drawing inspiration from everything. I’m very inspired by jazz musicians, because they teach me how to improvise in solitude as well as a group setting. I’m physically inspired by the three teachers referenced above constantly. When I am sad, I am inspired. When I am joyful, I am inspired, on the train, waiting in line.These things all give me momentum. 

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

This is a tricky question for me, because I used to feel like I couldn’t interact with anyone unless I had gone to yoga beforehand. It felt almost like an addiction at one point. And I had to change how I was approaching it, what I am trying to cultivate (grace, honesty) has to come from me. And, cannot come from a practice, or a teacher, a boyfriend or a spectator. And that is why now, it feels so necessary for me to practice. Because I have all of these things thrown at me in the course of a yoga class. Well, maybe not a boyfriend (haha!). That setting is a platform to be vulnerable so that I can be wholesome from myself and not from an outside recommendation. I really do believe you need to cultivate complete vulnerablity to see how much your heart and spirit support you in all of these different conditions and emotions.

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

Jared told me once to feel joy in a posture. He said, ‘If you cannot make the switch from determination, perseverance or irritation or distraction to joy. Like, what are we really practicing here if you cannot have your mind to open up to the idea of feeling joyful? As naturally as possible, out there. This is super fueling to me, and I like to carry it with me.

 8. How has yoga helped your character develop?

It’s given me the means to see how reactive we are as humans during communication, with ourselves and others. And that that’s okay! It’s very easy to close off, personally speaking, sometimes it is awkward or uncomfortable. But yoga shows me everyday that despite how uncomfortable or awkward I feel, it always lands back to joy, love or appreciation at some point, and more often than I even notice sometimes.  Constant changes. And yoga shows me that that is normal. That is what I want to cultivate; not to escape from.

 

9. What has kept you practicing all these years?

Everything I just stated above haha! But really, it love more when I practice. I’m more open. I give, I’m less afraid... I could go on. There’s really negative if I’m practicing in complete honesty.

10. What would you tell yourself when you started teaching yoga?

Stop trying to feel good all the time. It won’t get you anywhere. 

 

11. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio?

Going in-person.

 

12. Why is breath so important in your practice?

Breath control and mantra practice help get into the grittiness of my head that I’m not naturally inclined to understanding. It clears out my subconcious in a way

 

13. What is your FB name? IG name and twitter?

McKenzie Dreher on Facebook

@mckenziedreher IG

Riji Suh subtly motivates inspiration

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Image by Monty Stilson

 

There’s a subtlety to Riji’s power and conduction of class. I remember leaving her class and knowing that my butt was kicked but very calm at the same time.  

Through her posture, her voice, her sincerity and her capability, she is most certainly inspiring.  

 

1. How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching yoga since November 2006.  11 years. 

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching? And, what have you learnt from teaching?

Inspiring teachers who generously shared with me their wisdom and passion, on and off the mat, are who motivated me to go to training.  I learn from every class and client I teach.The more I teach, the more I humbly learn, that may be the biggest lesson of all. 

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow yoga teacher?

 Emmy Cleaves is a master teacher/ yogini who stands alone in a yoga universe where she is queen, so the words “fellow teacher” fall far too short.  However, she has taught many of us, myself thankfully included, the essential principles for an evolving expansive practice.  Precision.  Intensity.  Frequency.  

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

 I practice in classes a few times a week, when I lead or practice as a student.  I practice solo on my mat daily, even if it is for 15 minutes.   

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

My students.  My teachers before me.  My best friend, who is one of the best teachers and students I know.  All the little kids I see running free, so alive, so happy, without a clue that that becomes more rare as we spend more days on this planet.  My yoga is a constant journey to remember that sweet place, made easier and lighter with each practice- less doing and more being. 

 

6. Where are you currently teaching?

I teach in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at YOBK and Lighthouse Yoga School.  In the city, I teach for Bode NYC.  I teach in Long Beach (Bikram Yoga Long Beach NY)a couple of times a week.  The rest of the time, I work with clients all over NYC, and I teach seminars and workshops internationally and nationally. 

 

7. How has yoga helped you develop your character?

 My approach to and experience within asana is a mirror for my life away from the mat.  How I choose to “live” in my asana is the same. Everyday I am developing more or stripping away “development”- depends on what I feel is truly needed or desired to be happy.

 

8. What has kept you practicing all these years?

 Answer in 5:).  As well as a voice that whispers, sometimes gently, sometimes fiercely, “Practice.” 

 

9. How can we find you on social media?

My FB is Riji Suh, my Instagram is @rijifiji.

Ola Jas spreads her inspiration...

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Photo by Julien Sarkissian

Interview by Hali Tsotetsi

Ola’s energy is bursting with love and authenticity. She is sincere and truly cares about her students.  To her classes, she applies a contemporary, flow and progressive method of training. Through her travels, which you can see on her social media, she inspires us through with experience and passion. 

 

1. How long have you been teaching?

I started sharing the practice of yoga when I discovered the Iyengar style, 10 years ago. I was training then in a circus space and my fellows would need a therapeutic guidance to complement the intense workout. Since then, it has been a constant research, both learning and teaching.

 

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

Yoga targets my ideals of a harmonious living, regarding humanity and nature, it embraces it all and beyond. It is a way of living and a self-imposed discipline guiding conscious choice-making.


Sharing it with the people makes me feel at the service of something greater than myself.

I then become and endless channel of this energy that nurture my own Existence and teaches me to adapt to any situation, find a resilient attitude and innovative solutions to cope life and keep on smiling.

 

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

I learn constantly from many inspirations around me. I spend quite some time in this part of my life with Mathieu Boldron, my current boyfriend and a teacher I admire. I observe his way of doing, and love the simplicity with which he speaks of complex topics. He is a great influence to structure my flow, simplify my own thoughts and clarify my poetic expression.

 

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I practice everyday, even though I have no routines in my life. As a nomadic yoga teacher, it is hard to settle anywhere but my body became my temple that I can kneel within anywhere, anytime.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

 

I am grateful to each of my teachers and, to mention Mathieu Boldron again, who founded the Yinyasa methodology, a clever sequencing for awakening the sensitivity. Also,  Simon Oliver Borg who developed the Synergy yoga, to develop a physiotherapeutic approach to the aptitude of Surrender.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

 

Having a practice in Life helps to ground and fly at the same time. Yoga is my anchor to avoid dispersion and my greatest possibility to canalise my genuine expression. It helps me to observe where I am and understand mechanisms that are beyond rational thinking: I can feel better and develop thereby my intuition.

Yoga is a pillar to sustain my vital energy and to cultivate my freedom, factors which improve my “bubble of reality”. I believe that building a consistent practice opens the door for the full potential to express.

 

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

 

“Everything begins with an inner Smile”.

That is my teaching intention. I like to explore the qualities of the body and play with the textures. I work through the movement, for the body to be the vessel of the soul.
The research is about this state of “energy optimisation”, where everything lies in its place, a feeling of Plentitude. And I welcome what comes on the path, because there are many paths to reach the Essence, the Breath.

 

 

8. Where are you currently teaching?

 

I teach in Paris for the next weeks, then take my annual pilgrimage to Asia (Goa and Bali in Feb/ March). Back to Europe in Spring time, I will notably hold amazing retreats on the magical island of Ibiza, Spain in May, July and September.

Besides that, I am involved in different festivals:
* Women Spirit Festival, Paris, France in March.
* Nowhere festival, the local burning man in Monegros, Spain in July.
* Barcelona Yoga Conference, also in Spain in July.
* Arava Yoga Festival in an oasis of the Israeli desert in November.

 

My calendar is often updated on www.olajasyoga.com 

 

 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

 

Yoga helps me to be me, furthermore, this little dot connected to a greater constellation, with my own strengths and vulnerabilities. By taking the distance of the observer, I can easier gain clear-sightedness, assume my decisions and walk a clean path. 

 

9. What has kept you practicing all these years?

 

Yoga is a never ending journey that goes with us until the end (of the physical layer at least, but who knows beyond that).

At every stage of my life, I discover complementary ways of motion that influence my perceptions and my overall being. All those experimentations give me always more substance to nurture my yoga on the mat and expand my practice field.

 

 

10. What would you tell your self when you started teaching yoga?

 

Nothing in particular, it was one step more on the Self discovery, among other things and it is pretty incredible to see where it brought me. So only from the walked distance, i can say “Waaaaoow, Gracias”.

 

 

11. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio?

Take classes, meet the community and be yourself.

 

12. Why is breath so important in your practice?

 

Breathing is the common denominator to any practice, it is a door between the conscious world and the subconsciousness, the link between Life and Death.

 

 

13. What is your FB name? IG name and twitter?

 

FB: Ola Jas Yoga  www.facebook.com/olajasyoga/

Insta: www.instagram.com/olajasyoga/

www.olajasyoga.com

Lindsay Dombrowski is nothing but inspiring!

   

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 Although I am grateful for all the Yogis that we feature, I have a special place for Lindsay as she was my first teacher in NYC. 

We have both made way it to The West Coast and I am very happy to be on the same coast as this inspirational yogi. Please, be inspired...

 

1. How long have you been teaching?

Almost a decade. 

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

Teacher trainings weren’t what they are now, where there is one in every studio, so teaching kind of happened to me more than anything else in a few life-shaping months after I graduated NYU in my early twenties. I continue to learn from teaching- everyday, each class, I think when you work with people, And I imagine this is true in any field, there’s always something new even though most variables are the same.

 

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

Oh wow, I mean everything I know I have learned from someone else. More specifically, compassion from Julia plainine Troiani, San Calvano constantly brain bombs me and displays true courage, dedication from yancy Scot Schwartz, Beth Cooke is fierce in life and friendship, Sarah Blowers reminds me what looking towards the light can achieve. I could go on and on.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I try for 5.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?  

Who doesn’t? 

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

So that I can continue to stay curious and participate in This World.

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

I aim to provide a platform where it feels safe to develop and follow your own intuition.

 

 8. Where are you currently teaching?

Love yoga, Mota, Rise Hot Yoga, and privately   I’m also runnning a 200hr teacher training in January in LA- www.untrainingspace.com

 

9. How has yoga helped you develop your character?

 

Yoga is a way of looking at oneself and knowing oneself more clearly. It empowers a practitioner to have agency and choice, in my feeling.

 

10. What has kept you practicing all these years? 

The yoga. 

 

11. What would you tell yourself when you were younger, Teacher to Teacher?

Take in one body first, when you’re ready to take in more you will naturally begin to see more.  

 

12. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio? 

Go there! Practice! Be Kind! 

 

13. Why is breath so important in your practice? 

Breath is Prana (life). 

 

14. How can we reach you through Social Media? 

IG: @lindsayyoga

Amy Wolfe is so inspiring!

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Thank goodness that I happened to stumble into Amy’s class at East River Pilates, it prompted me to take her basics class at Yoga Vida.

It is clear that when you take Amy’s class, you are in good hands. She is direct, poised and knows what she is talking about. When things get a little too serious, she’ll crack a joke in her class.

Please, be inspired (I most certainly am)

 

1. How long have you been teaching?

I've been teaching for nearly two years.


2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

I did my first yoga teacher training certain that I would never teach - it was simply a way to deepen my own personal practice. Before long, it became clear that teaching was in fact what I wanted to dedicate my life to. It is such a gift to be able to shift every part of the way a person feels - from their body to their mind. Learning is perhaps one of the richest parts of teaching - I learn from my students every day. From their focus on the mat to the bits and pieces of their life they feel comfortable sharing with me, I'm primarily learning through my teaching.


3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

Believe in yourself. It's hard to allow yourself to imagine that you have something unique to offer as a yoga teacher. But the truth is, we all do - whether as a yoga teacher or an accountant or anything else one decides to pursue.


4. How many times a week do you practice?

I'm ashamed to say that it depends on the week a bit, but I generally make it to my mat 5 times a week.


5. Who inspires your practice?

I can't say there's a person who inspires my practice - it's more a sense of connection to myself and the world around me that inspires my practice.


6. Has yoga helped you through something painful? If so, what and how?

Absolutely, yoga has helped me through so many challenges. When I was in my last year of law school, having realized I didn't want to practice law, I experienced a fair amount of anxiety - both coming to terms with that realization and then taking steps to decide what it is that I would do. Yoga was my cornerstone - a place of safety that was always there for me, and a place I could re-create whenever I needed it by simply closing my eyes and breathing audibly and deeply.

 

7.Why is it necessary for you to practice?

Atthis point in my life, practicing yoga is simply a part of who I am and what I need. My mind needs it, my body needs it, and every part of me loves to practice.

8. What message do you like to spread through teaching?Move (and live) with ease.


9. Where are you currently teaching? I teach yoga at Kula Yoga Project and Yoga Vida and teach pilates at East River Pilates in Williamsburg.


10. What are the best ways that you have leant of approaching studios that you would like to teach at?

Be genuine. If you want to teach somewhere, and you're persistent and authentic, it'll happen.

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name? IG: @warrior2wolfe

Facebook:Amy Wolfe


12. Is Social Media easy or challenging for you?Definitely challenging. I was initially very resistant to creating a social media presence, but realized it was pretty essential in my chosen profession. I still feel mostly silly when I post on IG but I'm validated by so many people who take a moment to share with me that my posts mean something to them. As long as one person out there is touched, it doesn't matter how silly I feel.

 

Amy is leading a retreat, find out more here:

http://warrior2wolfe.com/retreats 

Bree VanZutphen is utterly inspiring.

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Who would resist wanting to take Bree’s class? She has devotion, passion and love for yoga that is admirable and infectious. Even though The West Coast took her from us in The East Coast a few years ago, I am so grateful to have her explain to all of us what inspires her as a yogi. 

 

1. How long have you been teaching?

Officially since 2013 when I received my 200hr; however, it wasn't till after I did my 500hr training through Dharma Yoga Center in 2015 that I felt like I was finally able to offer something special. Everything up until that point (and still now even) has been learning and being privileged enough to be able to do so. I've been "officially" teaching for 4 years I guess, but really just beginning to actually teach. I'm sure even a couple years down the line I will say the same thing, "ah now I'm actuallyteaching".

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

My whole life prior to yoga and teaching I had been very self-involved. I did ballet all my life until I was 21, and that left me with a self obsessive and critical mind. I was always finding obstacles, it was a very limited mindset. Yoga was the first thing that forced me to step outside myself. And once you see you are bigger than the "small" self its really hard to go back to the old way. Then it felt like "oh I need to share this - I must:" a duty in a way (even though I was still very insecure and not sure how to share it).

 

These days, I am still learning to let go of the shape/asana for myself and the students. I grew up with the alignment and physicality of dance so it's very hard for me when I see the picture of how to adjust the shape just right in my mind to then let it go and wait till the time is right for the body and for the student in front of me (and the timing may never be right and that's ok too). I am still learning to let go of the attachment I have to my body so I guess that's where I'm at right now learning to let go of that and share that process with students. To be able to teach is an honor and every day I am grateful to have that honor.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

The teacher I am studying with now continuously says, "Yoga is not an art form". I think that was a big lesson for me, to not ever associate asana or any part of yoga as a performance or something to be watched or even admired really. It is purely for the individual. That forced me to let go of looking at any experience as something for others or something to be noticed. Doing it for the sake of doing it and no other reason. That was a hard lesson to learn but one of the most needed for me.

 

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I recently started practicing Ashtanga so 6 days a week usually. But I do have some lazy Sundays where I just walk my dog with David (fiancé), smile at strangers, and drink too much tea - that's my best practice day.

 

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

Every person I interact with every day. If you smile at someone 9/10 times they smile back and the 1/10they weren't able to smile back but may have appreciated you offering your grin. I guess the more I stick to a consistent and daily practice, the easier it is to step outside of myself. The easier it is to offer the smile with the stranger.

 

6. Has yoga helped you through something painful? If so, what and how?

Quitting ballet was like losing a best friend. It was my identity, my love, my everything. I was forced to try to answer the question "who am I"? I was left with an eating disorder and some addictive patterns that I indulged in for some time after I quit dancing,  When I started practicing it made me feel like I was finding solid ground again. There was the beginning of steadiness and clarity I couldn't see before. It finally felt ok not to know the answer to the question "who am I?" just yet.

 

 

7. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

For the steadiness and clarity of mind I was mentioning above. It keeps everything in check.

 

 

8. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

That it's ok not to know, we all don't know, and we are all together in not knowing. We are all the same. If practicing anything helps you be a better person in the world and smile at the random stranger - keep going! You're on the right track! I still tell myself this every day.

 

9. Where are you currently teaching?

California! LA specifically. Rise Hot Yoga, Kinship Yoga, and Ra Yoga.

 

10. What are the best ways that you have leant of approaching studios that you would like to teach at?

Take class there, get to know the students and teachers. Don't rush, immerse yourself there and see if it's the right fit. Don't force the situation, if it feels like the right fit it is. If not, leave it and find somewhere people are receptive to what you are offering.

 

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?

instagram: vzbree

facebook: Bree VanZutphen

 

Never jumped on the twitter train, sorry folks! I do have a website though: vzbreeyoga.com

 

 

12. Is Social Media easy or challenging for you?

Very challenging. I can't keep up with it, I'd prefer to just live my life and not feel obligated to post things about it. I'm a bit of a grandma, I can't keep up with the kids these days. Sorry to disappoint, but my social media is mostly photos of my dog and her funny facial expressions (hardly a disappointment).

Lulu Soni is full of inspiration

When you lay eyes on Lulu, you become intrigued by her. She has a sweetness and a sense of knowing about life and it definitely translates to her practice and the way that she teaches. 

 

She is truly full of inspiration... 

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1. How long have you been teaching?

Collectively, about a year and a half. I started teaching Vinyasa in the spring of 2016 and began teaching Traditional Hot Yoga in April of 2017.

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

I wanted to bridge my background in dance with another tool for body awareness and healing. I was inspired by the teachers I was taking class from at the time and started to think to myself, “I can do that”. I remember walking home from work, pretending to teach a class out loud and getting really excited about the prospect of sharing a bit of what I had learned from showing up on my mat with other people.

There are endless lessons I have learned and am still in the processing of learning from teaching, but one in particular is that you can’t create and analyze at the same time (words of wisdom from the great John Cage). I love teaching the anatomy of the poses, but what I love the most is speaking from the heart, and sometimes being real and open with students can seem daunting. I’ve had moments where I’ve thought maybe I could have phrased that differently and it pulls me out of the moment. I can walk in with an idea of the things I want to say but just like a student, I also have to remind myself to enter the room without setting expectations for myself. Teaching a class is like an exchange of energy, I’m actively reading the room and working with the bodies in front of me and if I’m trying to analyze my words I can’t be present with that exchange.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

Not to get caught up in the feedback you receive, whether it’s criticism or praise. That while compliments are great, not to let it feed or fuel your teaching ego. That just because someone doesn’t run up to you at the end of class gushing joy and yoga bliss vibes, doesn’t mean you didn’t teach a solid class. Shout out to my buddy and fellow teacher, Quazzy, for always spreading the realness with me.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I practice yoga daily. Yoga isn’t separate from my day-to-day life. Even the tiniest action of tuning into my awareness and breath is checking in with my practice. For asana practice, I try to get to class everyday, some days multiple times or classes a day. Lately I have been  into incorporating different types of yoga into my practice so that I don’t become stagnant. Adding the Ashtanga series and Rocket Yoga to my Vinyasa and Hot practice has been transformational. If I really can’t make it to class, I find a wall and do a handstand.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

My fellow teachers and coworkers at the studios I teach at, as well as the teachers I take class from at Lighthouse Yoga School in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Artists inspire me, whether it’s the music I’m listening to or a painting I’m looking at. I also draw inspiration from nature, the ocean, the desert, the soil, the sky, it’s endless.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

I couldn’t imagine living a life separate from having a connection to my body. Yoga helps me to connect to my whole self, body, breath, mind and spirit. The parts of myself that feel good and the parts of myself that I shy away from. Having a consistent practice allows me to check in with myself no matter what state my life is in.

 

7. Has yoga helped you through some painful? If so, what and how?

Absolutely, over a over again. Heartbreak, loss, loneliness, uncertainty, dealing with an injury. A couple years ago, I was at a low point in my life, and I fell and hurt my wrist. I couldn’t hold a plank or a downward facing dog and was about to participate in a dance workshop followed by an audition for a company that used a lot of floor work and weight bearing choreography. The dancer in me powered through even though I was in pain. Internally panicking that I couldn’t put weight on my right hand or take a yoga class, I decided to give hot yoga a shot because I knew there would be no down dogs or planks. Stepping into the hot yoga room changed my life. I was standing in front of a mirror and I could no longer hide from myself. I had spent most of my life in front of a mirror as a dancer and never used it to look at myself with love and compassion. It was always there as a reminder that you could be better, your leg could be higher, so many elements of my dance training were incredible sources of self expression but also deeply detrimental in that the under lying message often was it’s not good enough. In the hot room, being there, being present with my breath was enough. I learned to love myself over and over again even when I felt overwhelmed by the heat or my thoughts. I started to shed the parts of myself that weren’t serving me and really began to take steps towards practicing self care. I began to heal from the inside out.

 

8. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

That home is where your breath is, your body, your vessel is all you have in this life, so treat it with care. It is so easy to get outside of ourselves and get caught up in all the external elements of our lives. Especially living in New York City, where we’re constantly running around with a million things to do and people to see. That you can come back to yourself no matter where you are, what the circumstances, and find the simplicity of your breath. Lately I have been reminding students to take pleasure in their work, to enjoy the gritty moment, rather than  fighting it. So much of how we experience poses physically stems from our mental approach to it, so if you’re thinking, “I hate this second set of triangle pose in this hotbox torture chamber,” you're just going to make things harder for yourself. That’s what your mind wants you to think when your rubbing up against a challenging moment, but part of the practice is realizing you are in control. So every time you come to your second set of Triangle in a Hot Yoga class, you go to that place until you realize you have the power to say, “You know what, I love that my thighs are quivering, I love that my arms are spread wide from the center of my heart, I take pleasure in the effort, I take pleasure in my moving, breathing body.” It’s your work, you might as well enjoy it. We don’t get to choose what shows up in our practice but we get to choose how we meet the moment, so if you meet yourself with an open mind, love, and a deep breath you might surprise yourself that over time that pose that you used to dread becomes the pose you look forward to, maybe even becomes your favorite.

 

9. Where are you currently teaching?

I am currently teaching at Yoga to The People and The Yoga Room.

 

10. What are the best ways that you have leant of approaching studios that you would like to teach at?

Show up, take class, get a feel for the vibe and the space. I don’t think there’s one true formula,  what works for one person might not work for the other. Trust your gut, be kind, be open, and don’t be afraid to ask someone to put in a good word for you.

 

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?

My instagram is @lulusoni, no twitter and Facebook is just my name.

 

12. Is Social Media easy or challenging for you?

Sometimes it’s easy and feels right to share and other times I feel conflicted about putting energy into it. It’s a great medium to inspire and stay connected but it’s also really important to unplug and remember to be in the present moment. Get off your phone and go to yoga! ;)

Garrett Steagall inspires us!

I was first in the presence of Garrett in a yoga class that we took together. He moved through the asanas as though he was dancing to the rhythm of his heart.  

 

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Luckily, I ended up taking his class the following week and can whole-heartedly say that his heart is in teaching too. 

He shares his yoga journey with us. So inspiring!

 

How long have you been teaching? 

I have been teaching yoga for 8 years.

 

2. What motivated you to start?

What have you learnt from teaching? 

I’ve learned that we must take our time! Everybody wants the results so fast. YOGA has taught me to embrace the process and enjoy journey. If you practice consistently and take your time the body will begin to open up. You will start to witness change in the physical and mental body but also the in your everyday life. 

I’ve learned that when we bring our attention and awareness to our  “Breath”, we begin to discover the power and possibilities of the mind and body. I’ve learned that when we focus on the breath, we begin to still the fluctuations of the mind, quieting the chatter in the mind.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

My mentor Ka-Ron Lehman Brown inspired and introduced me to Yoga during my sophomore year in high-school. The curiosity to explore the power of the mind, body, breath connection. 

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I practice at least 5 times a week.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

My students inspire my practice.

 

6. Has yoga helped you through something painful? If so, what and how?

Yoga has helped me get thorough my grandfathers passing earlier this year. Yoga has helped me manage my emotions and to understand that we, humans, must learn to detach ourselves from “things” including people. We all want to hold on but at some point we have to let go. Let go and believe greater is coming and that death is apart of the circle of life.

7. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

It’s necessary that I practice yoga because it keeps me balanced, physically, mentally and emotionally. When I am balanced, I am happy :-).I practice yoga because it is my duty to continue to empower, promote and uplift the world through the yogic experience.

8. What message do you like to spread through teaching?


I encourage my students to live in optimum health physically, mentally and spiritually. I encourage my students to slow down and be patient. Yoga is a lifetime experience. Don’t rush, take your time. We must be mindful and patient with ourselves. With continued practice, all will come.

9. Where are you currently teaching?

Hot Spot Yoga in Sheepshead Bay,

Hot Spot yoga Williamsburg

Yoga Tribe Brooklyn in Park slope

Family of Light Holistic Center

10. What are the best ways that you have learnt of approaching studios that you would like to teach at?


I've learned that it is best to go and take class at the studio you want to teach at and learn about the studio and their method and how they operate their studio. Get involved, see if the energy is right for you. It’s all about the energy.

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?

Instagram @Gstegs & @YogiG Twitter: GstegsFaceBook: Garrett H.T Steagall FaceBook: Steagall Arts

12. Is Social Media easy or challenging for you?

Social media is easy however it has its challenges! You have to stay relevant, make consistent post and updates so that your viewers stay connected with what you’re doing. You have to create new material for people to see. You have to expose “YOURSELF” so everyone can see.

Bridgett Ane Goddard is most certainly inspiring!

What a pleasure it was when I met Bridgett Ane! We were both in teacher-training at The Lighthouse Yoga School. 

Her passion for yoga is evident in her postures, which seem so effortless and seamless. Her knowledge and care is infectious and inspiring! 

 

 

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1. How long have you been teaching?

Since 2005

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

  

I was asked to teach a series of private sessions for Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams - and very nervous but also happy my yoga school owners believed in me enough to have me teach Destiny’s Child. Over the years, I have learned how we are all uniquely the same, ultimately working toward balance and doing the best we can. I’ve become a more patient person, more forgiving, more accepting and continue to learn new ways to LOVE.

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?


Jared McCann taught me to let go of everything, holding faith that with practice all is coming and with more frequent, creative & diverse practice I experience much more joy and fun in both my practice and personal life.  

 

4. How many times a week do you practice? 

I practice 6-7 days a week. At least a little bit every day makes me feel better! I practice Hot Yoga 3-4 times a week, Vinyasa 2-3 times a week usually but sometimes more or sometimes less. 

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

The students I teach, the teachers who teach me and our fellow yogis around the world - so many people & places to receive inspiration!

 

6. Has yoga helped you through something painful? If so, what and how?

Yes, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder in 2008 - it’s usually unheard of but doctors are now saying as many as 12 million people are suffering from Interstitial Cystitis - so many people and such little awareness! The pain I was suffering was coming in waves and knocking me flat out every 30 days or so and sometimes for as long as 3 weeks at a time.  I took a break from yoga at first as I was so scared my practice was worsening my symptoms but that was not the case.  When I drew up enough courage to get back in the hotbox, I had no choice but to take it super easy and was delighted to find myself more flexible and not surprised to find my strength and stamina lessened.  While my physical strength was missing, I tapped into more mental strength and determination.  There is great power in practicing self-control and yoga helped me tap into my mind in this way and it became easier to make better dietary choices.  I was on a strict diet for two years and lost a lot of weight but then I gradually gained and returned to my ideal weight.  A huge part of my healing was realising the necessity of drinking high quality water as well as supplementing with key & trace minerals.  Practicing yoga in the hot room lessened my inflammation and helped me realise how negative self-talk was exacerbating my suffering.  I learned though yoga to express gratitude, even for the pain. As, it made me slow down and relax more deeply in my mind and body, to be more accepting, forgiving and practice faith in myself, my health, wellbeing and yoga practice. I decided not to take any medication for my condition, having spoken to several women who’d been on the meds for years and had all kinds of additional medications to deal with all the terrible side effects of the drugs doctors suggest for it. Yoga is the best medicine in the world; it helped me stay open and receptive to natural healing alternatives and utilise my self-control to maintain a balanced and healthy life. 

7. Why is it necessary for you to practice?


Yoga practice is necessary for me so to ensure I am the best version of myself.  I am so grateful to (without medication) be able to reduce inflammation, flush out my organs, stimulate and regulate hormones & biochemicals in my body and brain so I feel more relaxed and happy in my life.  When I practice yoga, I look younger and feel better.  It’s SO simple! 

8. What message do you like to spread through teaching?


That we have infinite potential within us all and that through yoga practice we ultimately realise this to be true and are able to make a real difference in the world around us and help each other move toward balance more gracefully. 

         9. Where are you currently teaching?

In the UK, Yoga in the Lanes in Brighton, Hot Yoga Society & Bikram Yoga London.

 

10. What are the best ways that you have learnt of approaching studios that you would like to teach at?

 

Show up!  The best way is to be present, take a class, introduce yourself to the teacher before and express gratitude after - to be open, friendly and persistent. 


              11. What is your Instagram, Twitter           and Facebook name?

bridgettane on IG - no Tweets for me - FB Yoga in the Lanes and/or Bridgett Ane Goddard

 

12. Is Social Media easy or challenging for you?

Social Media can be fun and easy when I use it more for creative and/or personal expression/connection but when using it for business, I find it a bit more challenging. 

Damian Joseph opens up to us about his yogic inspiration.

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I feel honoured to be able to feature Damian Joseph this week. His passion for yoga is very real and it translates into humility, kindness and durability. 

 

He opens up to us about his practice. Allow yourself to be inspired; 

 

  1. How long have you been teaching?

After spending a month in the mountains of Nasik in India, I completed my first yoga certification in January 2014. I did not start teaching until I completed my second certification in New York two years later and felt more confident with myself and my practice. Now teaching yoga is my way of life and I'm loving it.

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

My friend Kashiek dragged me to do this 'strange thing called yoga' and I immediately fell in love with the practice.

I felt a deep sense of peace and the urge to share the love I experienced became stronger. So then, I decided to get my certification. In as much as I am a teacher, I am also a student. I am always open to new experiences and approach every situation and person that I meet with love and compassion.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

Everytime I take a yoga class, I walk away with something.  Depending on where I am in my life, messages resonates differently. It's in the gap that we allow the connections to take place. A fellow teacher once said during class that, "The mirror was there for alignment - not for judgment." This has been one of the most profound lessons that I have learnt.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I incorporate yoga into my everyday living whether it's meditating, going for a jog, treating myself to a cup of cappuccino in a cozy cafe, calling an old friend or taking a yoga class. Yoga is my life and life is yoga.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

New students always inspire me because they bring a certain level of openness that I find refreshing.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

Having a daily practice of yoga keeps me equanimous. I try to respond as opposed to reacting to life's situations and live in the moment - this moment. 

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

It is through our cracks that we let light in. I connect to my personal truth and teach from that place, sometimes it's painful but that is the place I find my voice. Whatever challenges I'm working on in my personal life, I allow myself to face it then it's easier to talk about it. Also if I get inspiration from someone or something I sometimes share those messages while teaching.

 

8. Where are you currently teaching?

I am currently teaching Hot Yoga and Vinyasa Power Yoga at different studios in the New York City area.

 

 

9. What are the best ways that you have learnt of approaching studios that you would like to teach at?

If you want to work for a particular studio you must SHOW UP. Volunteer your time, help clean mats, check guest in or even stay back after the last class and offer to clean the studio. Be active, be honest, be passionate, the opportunities will follow.

 

10. Has yoga helped through some painful? If so, what and how?

A good friend of mine recently died tragically and I felt a lot of pain having heard this news. However through the practice of yoga, I was able to allow myself to feel the sadness and pain of this loss without becoming attached to these emotions. Through the awareness of my breath I am able to keep his memory alive.

 

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?

Damian Joseph Yoga is both my Instagram and Facebook name.

 

12. Is Social Media easy or challenging for you?

After many years of being inactive on social media, I am finally back on and excited to recreate my presence. I find that social media is easier now as I have removed my mental block and I am willing to be vulnerable and transparent.  We live in the age of technology, therefore it is imperative to go with the flow in order to keep current with our times.

This is why Mathieu Boldron inspires

Thank goodness that Mathieu Boldron is a part of the yoga community. He has a passion and thirst for yoga that is infectious and humbling. He definitely inspires people and yogis around him.  

 

Now, let him inspire you. 

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1. How long have you been teaching?

I've been teaching yoga for about 5 years

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

I got burned out from years of musical theatre when I started teaching yoga. It was my new way to express and share something deeper. My voice was broken because of too many shows and gigs on tv.
Teaching taught me that we have the power to help a lot of people change their perspective and transform if we practice and live what we teach on a daily bases.

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher? Teachers and teachings are all around constantly. If you want to teach classes, take classes, you want to teach workshops, take workshops, you want to teach retreats, take retreats, if you want to teach trainings, take trainings. There is so much to learn. The more you learn the less you know.
4. How many times a week do you practice?

Every single day 24 hours a day.

5. Who inspires your practice?

The number of people around the world suffering inspire me to be the best version of myself by practicing so I can light up at least people around me.

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

The world needs more teachers so the more we practice the more confident we feel in passing the fruit of our experiences. Practice is a lifestyle versus a style-of-life. So, to share from a place of authenticity is necessary to incarnate what I'd like to give.

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

I want people to awake themselves to a higher level of sensitivity, consciousness so they can see better, and make better choices for themselves and for their life. The more we learn to get control on what drives us crazy in life, the more we understand the ego, the conditioning and the corruption happening in our society. We can then integrate our personality better and become an inspiration to unify people around the True Self.

8. Where are you currently teaching?

Right now in Bali, then turkey, Greece, Paris and Mexico.

9. What are the best ways that you have learnt of approaching studios that you would like to teach at? Years ago it would simply be take classes at their studio and today is more about word-of-mouth.
10. Has yoga helped you through something painful? If so, what and how? Yoga asana has cured so much problems in my physical body: back problems, voice problems, allergies and food imbalance. In my mind: trust issues, power of decision and limited beliefs
11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name? mathieuboldronyoga on IG FB and Twitter.
12. Is Social Media easy or challenging for you?

I'm getting better at it. It used to be challenging in the past. But I understand now better how I can use it to share with more people the powerful yoga medicine.

Kristen Sweeney expands on her yogic inspiration.

I am so grateful to know this woman and yoga teacher, Kristen Sweeney. I have taken many of her classes and it is apparent that she is a great yoga teacher. She has a passion, yearning and love for yoga.  

And, let's find out why...

 

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1. How long have you been teaching?

Since 2011.

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

I knew I wanted to start teaching after I had been practicing hot yoga (Bikram) about a year. I considered doing the Bikram training but opted for vinyasa instead. At the time, I was an actor living in NYC. In between acting jobs, I was making money as a caterer, personal assistant, receptionist, restaurant host, etc. None of these things were particularly fulfilling, and the highs of booking those acting gigs weren't sustaining me through the in-between times. I wanted to teach yoga because I realized that it would be something I could that would be rewarding and fulfilling every single day. Becoming a teacher has taught me a lot. It's called me to step up to the responsibility of caring for the students in my room. It's pushed me to learn more about yoga in every aspect, from anatomy to philosophy. Probably the most important lesson I've learned as a teacher is the value of living yoga when I'm not in a class (I think of that as the practice of living).

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

So much! There have been teachers who illustrated creative class sequencing that inspires me to mix things up and innovate, and teachers who really lead by example when it comes to letting go of your ego, and so many teachers along the way who inspire me with their commitment and dedication to their practice, however that manifests for them.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I try to get my butt to an actual class 4 times a week. I move my body, connect to my breath, and ground myself in the present every day, so I guess it depends on your definition.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

Students, hands down.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice? Oh, I get so cranky if I don't practice regularly! :) For me, practicing yoga has a funny way of bending time. So if I think I'm too busy to get to class, but I go anyway, it seems like everything I had to do rearranges itself to all get done with plenty of time. Yoga makes me calmer, happier, and healthier.

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

That the practice of yoga goes beyond the mat, and is really a practice of living.

 

8. Where are you currently teaching? I am in the Boston area, teaching at: Coolidge Corner/Sadhana Yoga, JP Centre Yoga, Om Births, and Healing Tree Yoga.

 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

It's forced me to be more honest with myself, more aware of my habits and patterns, and more willing to sit with being uncomfortable during periods of change.

 

10.What has kept you practicing all these years?

Yoga is really the bedrock of my life. It's the foundation that informs and supports who I am.

 

11. How do you take use yoga practice in your daily stressful life? When my mind is starting to spiral out into unhelpful thought patterns, I get into my body. When I feel overwhelmed, I pause and take some breaths. When I'm making decisions, I'm guided by the principles of truth, honesty, and integrity.

 

12. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?  Instagram: @edgeofthemat, Facebook: /edgeofthemat and for teachers, I have a Facebook group called "Yoga Teachers Who Mean Business"

Brian Arsenault is full of inspiration

Being in Brian's presence, one feels like there is a deeper meaning to life. Who wouldn't want to be taught by someone who gets it? And by 'IT', I mean the devotional aspect of why we practice.  

Please, be inspired! 

 

 

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 1. How long have you been teaching?

I've been teaching for a little less than two years.

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learned from teaching?
A few years ago, I was in a rough place mentally and physically. I started going to yoga classes everyday and not only did these classes leave my body feeling great all day, but the practice gave me a new outlook on my life and helped improve my mood. During the classes, the teachers would announce the upcoming teacher-training. A few of the teachers kept suggesting that I do the teacher-training. Having felt strong benefits from the practice of yoga, I wanted to help show others the benefits of the practice. From teaching others, one thing I’ve learned that currently comes to mind is anatomy and the teacher’s responsibility to protect their students. Students put a lot of trust in their teachers. Because of the power dynamic, students will often do whatever the teacher tells them to do, even if they don’t realize or know that the movements or instructions are harmful to their bodies (whether in the short term or in the long term). Having seen teachers guide students through sequences that I think can be anatomically harmful and say things to students that I feel can be dangerous, I’ve tried to learn more about anatomy, sequencing, and modifications.

3. What is something that you have learned from a fellow teacher?
From Brian Nygard. That you don’t have to be liked by everyone. Having people like you is not necessary. What is important is challenging the students. Benefitting them. Telling them the truth in a supportive and gentle way. Being a teacher isn’t always about being a student’s best friend, but helping them to learn about themselves. Strengths and also weaknesses, so that they can decide what they want to practice.

4. How many times a week do you practice?
Managing and teaching many classes make it challenging to find the time to fit in my personal practice. I get to take 5 or so classes every week, but I try to carve a little bit of time every day for myself to do something. It could be seated meditation for 15 minutes or an hour vipassana sitting. Some days it’s lying down in a supported fish for 15 minutes, some days it’s practicing nauli kriya when I first wake up.

5. Who inspires your practice?
Myself. Everyone.


6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?
There are many reasons. In terms of the long term, the health of my spine, hips, and knees are very important to me. Typically though my drive to practice comes from the desire for my body to feel good and opened up all day long. Improved compassion, patience, and mental clarity are all reasons for me to practice as well. And to top it all off, I can sleep better at night.

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?
That you can be soft. That you can slow down. I feel like many of us go through life at high speeds and with a lot of tension. These things can cause stress and strain on our relationships, and prevent us from experiencing/appreciating all that life has to offer us. Slowing down and softening your body (as well as your mind and breath) can be transformative.

8. Where are you currently teaching?
NP Rock Yoga in New Paltz, New York, and at Jewel City Yoga in Brooklyn.

9. What are the best ways that you have learned of approaching studios that you would like to teach at?
There are a few things that go into approaching a studio that you would like to teach at. At first, evaluating whether you want to teach at that studio is key. Do I like the vibe of this studio? Does this studio’s philosophy on yoga match up with my own? Do I have something I feel like I can offer that would be beneficial to the students? Then, I have found that taking class at the studio is helpful. Especially if you take the manager’s or owner’s classes. Introducing yourself without sounding needy or aggressive is important. Once it feels right, asking if there are any sub opportunities is a good idea.

10. Has yoga helped through some painful? If so, what and how?
Absolutely. I think movement and meditation can be medicinal. Breathing with your feelings (whether it be pain, sorrow, depression, anger), forces you to acknowledge what is going on in your mind. In acknowledging, you’re not pushing these feelings into your subconscious where they can fester. Realizing that these feelings are not only impermanent, but that they don’t have to become you, is huge. Impermanence is a transformative concept that I really got to experience through vipassana meditation. Everything changes. Nothing is permanent.

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?
Instagram: arsenault9991

12. Is Social Media easy or challenging for you?
I feel like I grew up in a generation where social media is ubiquitous and the skills to use it are almost innate. That notion combined with my comfort with technology makes social media not too challenging for me. I understand it’s importance and how to use it, but sometimes can definitely struggle with broadcasting/marketing myself or putting myself out there.

Meet, Rasheda Charles! If you don't know her, get to know her.Because once you do you will be inspired...

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Photo by vir2ualrealuty

Rasheda Charles oozes of love, light and peace. I am grateful to say that I am one of her biggest fans, everything about her is inspiring. I highly recommend taking her class because it is most definitely worth it. She has also just opened up her own studio in Qatar, Congratulations!

 

1. How long have you been teaching?

 

I've been teaching for 5 years.

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

 

This many sound corny and cliché, but I really wanted to change the world. I was unhappy and was laid off from my final attempt at working a corporate gig and had been attending a great little yoga studio in Brooklyn called Jaya Yoga Center, every day. I was just so unhappy. I was sure that I wasn't living my purpose. One day this really old lady interrupted my savasana-literally stood over me and said, "I see you all the time. You're here almost every day. You should consider teaching. You look like you'd be a good teacher." I think of her as one of my angels now because she was right. I had been going to that studio every day but i'd never seen her before and I no lie, I never saw her again.  I thought to myself, wow, I'm here all the time because, in addition to these asanas the things that the instructors talked about, I carried with me after class. I started to apply what I learned off the mat and no, life didn't turn into a giant cake walk, but I was able to live a more stress free, I worried less, was more grateful and it felt so good. The more I focused more on the positive, it seemed like the more positive my life became. And more grateful I became, the more blessings seemed to come. It was about connecting to a higher frequency, a higher vibe and I remember laying thinking, wow! if I can teach my friends this, we'd have such better relationships and less stressful lives. That's how it started, just me thinking about me and my friends and our highly stressful, career driven, conflicted families and personal lives.

That year, I completed my first yoga teacher training.

Teaching has taught me that we all are just trying to do our best. We're all in different parts of the journey and to be ok with that. It has also taught me about perspective. I try my best to take the good from every experience, and either learn or leave behind the rest.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

 

One of my most valuable lessons was that it's all karma. Take the good and leave the rest.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

Asana 5x/week. I try to meditate every day, even if it's just 5 minutes. I remember reading somewhere, very early on, Eckhart Tolle said one conscious breath in and out, is a meditation. That's always stuck with me, so I feel like one can always find time for at least one conscious breath. No excuses.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

I'm inspired by good people. The everyday people that I meet in passing that share a smile, or that I see doing good work. I'm inspired by Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Mother Theresa. I'm inspired by my maternal grandmother, who marched on Washington with Martin Luther King. I'm inspired by my paternal grandmother, who took in and raised her sister's child, even after she found out that the child was fathered by her husband-yeah let that sink in. (My grandfather had an affair with my grandmother's sister and she raised the child that was the product of that affair.) I'm inspired by many of the public school teachers I used to work with in Harlem that were ridiculously underpaid, but still went out of their way to buy clothes for kids that needed them, give hugs to that kindergartener who didn't have a good night at home because their mom and dad work the night shift and crazy hours and they're left to be cared for by older siblings, or they have to look out for themselves. I'm really inspired by everyday folk who are kind of Spirit and generous of heart. I always try to live up to that. It makes me want to work harder, so I can try harder to live up to that.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

I practice for my sanity! Lol But seriously, I practice to keep connected to my Spirit and my purpose. 

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

My message is asana practice is not yoga. Yoga is how you live your life off the mat. I could care less how straight or how high your leg is in standing bow, if you're a dick when you step off your mat, because then the intention of standing bow, which is a heart opening and hip opening asana (heart and hips both are the gateway to releasing deep seeded emotional baggage) is lost. You might as well be doing gymnastics.

 

 

8. Where are you currently teaching?

Actually, I'm currently teaching in Qatar and exploring the idea of opening a studio in Doha, Qatar. However, I'm based in Brooklyn, NY and when I'm there, I teach at Yoga Tribe Brooklyn with an awesome squad of teachers in a great yoga community. I'm really blessed with that.

 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop?

Yoga has helped me develop my character because Its like a guide. Little things I can ask myself to check in with myself. Sometimes I'm on point many times, I see I have a long way to go. ☺️

 

10.What has kept you practicing all these years?

I keep practicing because my life just keeps getting better. I smile more, I give more and my heart just keeps growing. There's nothing better than that! I couldn't imagine going back to my life pre yoga. I was angry and would anger at the drop of a dime. My parents divorce was bitter and brutal and terribly long and drawn out. It left me jaded, hurt, cold and scarred. Yoga has taught me that that wasn't about me and it helped me cultivate enough compassion to not only forgive my parents, but to let that shit go. It was all my karma anyway and had totally nothing to do with them. That's a toughie. Learning that everything that happens to you is your karma-I'm still working on that. :)

 

11. How do you take use yoga practice in your daily stressful life?

Let's just begin with this: yoga is not asana alone. Yoga is a way of life and there are 8 pillars that help you along this journey. Asana is just one of the eight.

For me, the first two pillars are employed the most. Yama, the first pillars speaks to One's ethics and integrity & Niyama, the second limb of yoga, deals with the self discipline and spiritual observances and is what use most in my day to day life. Speaking the truth (satya), and being content (Samtosa) with what I have and being mindful of my spending habits (do you really need 60 pairs of shoes? And yes I was that girl. ☺️) are practiced everyday. Another one is cleanliness (Saucha), yes, how you take care of your body speaks volumes of ones yoga practice "off the mat." Lastly but definitely not least my breathing has helped me so much. Every take a subway in NY, in the morning, during rush hour? Yeah, consciously breathing, deeper, slower and with more gratitude, I easily overlook people literally pushing you out of the way for a seat than I could have ever imagined before I leaned the patience and happiness cultivated through my yoga practice. And you would be surprised how smiling at someone who just basically elbowed you out of the way, lol, also makes them more conscious. They even stop for a minute and look at you puzzled, or stop a smile back or for the ones that do, now your yoga has effected someone else is a positive way, and maybe just for that moment brighter their day, what could possible be better than that?!! 

 

12. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?

Instagram: Bikramcurlsandcurves

Facebook: Rasheda Charles 

 

I'm working on Turing my Facebook page into a business page and being more active on FB. But I'm active on IG. I really like that platform and love connecting with people on there. I post my schedule and pics pretty regular, which wasn't easy for this super private Scorpio in the beginning, but the page has evolved into a great, safe, honest space where I try not to get too political, 😜while still speaking my truth and I'm really proud of that.

Daniel Mullaney inspires us with his continual yoga practice

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Image by Chris Davis

 

 

Daniel Mullaney is so inspiring. The classes that he teaches are balanced out with his own experience, the body and the breath. Although I took his class a while ago, I remember leaving inspired.  

 

Now let him inspire you... 

 

1. How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching yoga for two years.

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

I didn't intend to teach when I did my first teacher-training. I wanted to deepen my practice and probably thought I could somehow "win" yoga! When I did teach my first class, something clicked. I really enjoyed it. I think ultimately what drove me to start teaching more and what continues to motivate me is the chance to share some of the process I've experienced that has been so beneficial in many areas of my life.


3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

To be myself, to teach and speak from my experience.


4. How many times a week do you practice?

I practice daily. Sometime in the morning, sometime later on in the day and usually with a day to rest somewhere in the week.


5. Who inspires your practice?
There are so many sources of inspiration. I get inspired by seeing people do what they love to do, whatever it may be. Passion is infectious. As for yogis,I feel blessed to have had quite a few impactful teachers who continue to guide me. Nikki Carter, Jason Crandall, Yancy Schwartz, Jared McCann, and soo many others have been big sources of inspiration.


6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?
There's lots of reasons. My mind is loud and quick to shout. My practice, especially meditation, gives me a buffer before I react. When I put in my time , I feel better: physically, mentally and emotionally.


7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?
I think this is something that shifts and changes based on where I'm at with my practice or whats going on in the week. For the most part, I want students to be more aware; of their stories, their strengths, their potential, but ultimately, I want them to meet themselves where they are.


8. Where are you currently teaching?
YTTP SF/Berkeley


9. How has yoga helped your character develop?
Everyday I have a chance to get a little more in touch with myself. It's not always stuff I want to get in touch with, but I have the opportunity to be aware and from there I have a chance to accept or become a little more willing to make a change.


10.What has kept you practicing all these years?
There's no end. It's just a continual process with peaks and valleys and something to be learned every step of the journey.

 11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name? @chillwaveyoga