Vera

Vera Smith

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 thing 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.  I have since completed my BASI (Body Arts & Science International) mat Instructor course, attended many workshops to broaden my knowledge on yoga, prenatal yoga, pilates, women’s fitness and anatomy. I have branched out to pre and post-natal exercise with a certificate from Knocked-Up Fitness. I also spend hours online watching videos, courses and workshops to expand my understanding to better serve my students.

Teaching yoga for me is not about the teacher but about the student. My goal is to cultivate a space in them where they can hear their own body’s signals and instincts. I find that western living has severed that mind body link.  We have become so engrossed in the monkey chatter going on around us that we have lost the ability to listen and feel.  I have often seen students push past what’s right for their bodies, because they didn’t hear their own voice. Once you are able to listen to your body’s signals, that is where the real magic happens. Now you get to practice and grow safely in the studio and in your home yoga practice (which I recommend everyone starts, even if you do go to a studio), you basically become your own teacher. Being aware of what your own body needs that day and knowing when to stop and when to work a little harder.  Don’t get me wrong, if I say don’t push, I mean don’t push to injury, but push to progress.  Even though I used to be very flexible and strong I had lost all of that because I wasn’t keeping up with my gymnastics practice, so my yoga journey started from scratch. 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, just be willing to start.  It is off course called yoga practice and not yoga perfect.

I also 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 then 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!