I began my yoga journey in late 2009 when a friend suggested we try it. Coming from a competitive gymnastics background I thought, how hard could it be? I was able to do giants, backflips on the beam and a move called a Tsukahara. So, with all of that in the back of my head, we did our first yoga class. I must just add, that had been years ago, and I have up until that point not even attempted a cartwheel, but we all know how our egos can give us false confidence.
Haha well… I was knocked right off my Unicorn! Who knew sitting in, what I later learned was called Utkatasana, for what felt like 5 hours, would really live up to its name the next day! Once you sat down, that’s it. Thankfully I didn’t have the XL White Mocha from the Woolies that morning, because there would be no trips to the bathroom.
But all jokes aside, I did not think that yoga could be that tough but also so relaxing. Mind blown! I think the pain and numbness in my legs that day extended to my brain…
So, to cut a very long story short, that is where I fell in love with the practice. Maybe the fact that I got to do handstands and walkovers again and also take the little “nap” at the end of each class had something to do with that. From there I quit my job and enrolled myself in the next Yoga Alliance Certified teacher training in early 2010. Thank you to my wonderful (and did I mention super handsome) husband Ray for supporting me while I went on this life changing adventure and with opening my studio – Breathing Yoga mid 2010.
Teaching yoga for me is not about the teacher but about the student. I am 100% sure no one cares if I can do a one-arm-falcon-handstand-split (okay that’s not a thing…. but you get the idea). Students care how much you care about them and their practice. My ultimate goal is to get them to reconnect with their bodies signals or to teach them how to listen and interpret, because an untrained body will tell you ALL kinds of crazy things. We have become so engrossed in the monkey chatter going on around us that we have lost the ability to listen and feel. Yoga is a very personal practice and so as the teacher I will never fully understand what it means to be in that students body, so it is vital that they have open communication and understanding with themselves and can take accountability and introspect. When students are sympathetic and understanding to their instincts they will very rarely push past what is right for them. I believe it is very important to discuss the bio-mechanics of the movements the common compensations and how that can effect various different bodies. The more well-versed the student is the more focus and clarity they will gain in their practice.
Over the course of the past few years I have become increasingly more aware of the poor Pre/post natal instruction in the fitness community (at least my area). During one of my Pre/postnatal trainings Erica (the creator of the Knocked-Up Fitness Program) said something that stuck with me “once a woman has a baby, whether that baby is 2 months or 20 years old, she is ALWAYS post partum” in retrospect that makes a huge amount of sense. I make sure that every woman coming to my classes are fully aware of how to reconnect and strengthen the function of their deep core & pelvic floor to help heal Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation aka the mommy pooch) and hopefully help to stop future incontinence. Yoga is excellent during pregnancy so it is also very important to me that pregnant mamas who decide to join my yoga classes learn the correct way of stretching during pregnancy. More often than not they end up in yoga classes where all they do is collapse and dump into their joints and overstretch. The hormone Relaxin affects the your ligaments throughout your entire body, not only the hips and pelvis, so you have to be cautious when it comes to stretching when you’re pregnant.
When I stopped gymnastics I lost my flexibility and strength, so I understand what I means to start yoga from scratch, as I had to. Because of this I know that yoga meets you where you are at. You do not have to be able to touch your toes to start, you just need to be willing to start. It is off course called yoga practice and not yoga perfect.
Lastly I believe Yoga should be less “serious” and more fun. You can expect laughing in my class, in fact I would say it is mandatory. Laughter takes the stress and pressure off students which allows them to be more open and receptive. Their willingness to try new postures as well as success in achieving them is substantially greater. I teach with my heart full of love and if you join my class I will be your biggest cheerleader!