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
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