In my 20 years of yoga experience, I still do not consider myself an expert. There is always so much to learn and explore, and the yoga world seems to be forever evolving through different styles and trends.
So why do I teach gentle yoga?
I came to yoga in 1997. I was 17 years old, in grade 12, and there were no yoga classes I knew of in my town. I had discovered books on meditation, and a small health shop that offered weekly meditation classes that I would drop into occasionally. I loved meditation (I still love meditation, more than yoga). I read books on spirituality, and different religions, and philosophy… so when I decided to extend this to a daily yoga routine, it wasn’t the fitness aspect of yoga I was looking for. I was interested in enlightenment (haha! so young and naive)… and I had to teach myself out of a book.
Fast forward to 2004, and I finally gained the confidence to become a certified yoga instructor. By this time I had experienced other instructors and classes, outside of my personal home practice, and knew I had something different to offer as an instructor: slow accessible classes. Meditative movement. Calmness. Stillness. Connection to self. None of the classes I ever took focused on the inner experience of yoga, this would be my goal as an instructor.
I have taken many incredible yoga classes over the years. I like to be challenged, I like to learn more, and it gets me outside my box. Yet I always find I return to my own gentle practice, and this is what soothes my body, mind and spirit.
“GENTLE YOGA IS BORING”
I hear this a lot. I will be the first to say, gentle yoga is not for everyone. Yes, it can be boring, and it can lack physical challenge for those who crave their deepest stretch and being pushed to their limits. For me though, it is not boring at all. It brings me so deep into my body, I become acutely aware of every subtle sensation and energy shift. It brings me back to awe of the human body in general. I do the same stretches almost every day, and yet they NEVER feel the same way twice. When I do my leg inversions day to day this is what I observe: sometimes I am tight in my hips, sometimes in my back, sometimes in the muscles of my legs. When I add circular movements to the inversion, sometimes small movements feels better and sometimes larger movements feel better. Sometimes, even after all these years, my legs shake like crazy. Sometimes, I can barely straighten my legs, and other times my body has the flexibility to straighten and deepen the stretch. This (boring) experience of repetitive movement helps me learn about myself, and teaches me to listen to and respect my body in it’s day to day needs. Our bodies are constantly changing, and responding to the world around us. Our mental, emotional, and energetic state, directly affects our physical state.
In my 20 years of yoga experience, I still do not consider myself an expert. I have trained 10 other teachers in “The Gentle Way of Hatha” and still I lack confidence in this modern world of yoga. I have had more people inquiring about my teacher training, and I hesitate because there are SO MANY 200-hour trainings out there now. We are saturated in teachers and studios, and conferences, and information. Books, magazines, videos, websites… it is all at our finger tips. Where do I fit into it all? I feel so small!
In 2014 I had an epiphany of “The Yoga Gap” and it has returned to me recently, as I start to gain more confidence in my unique style of teaching. Or more accurately: my unwavering style of teaching.
Fast forward 2019 and I am starting to wonder if maybe, just maybe, I am an expert. Not in yoga, but in gentleness. Unwavering gentleness.
If you are someone who is interested in trying yoga, but has felt intimidated or unsure, please contact me. We can explore your yoga options together.
In my 20 years of yoga experience, I still do not consider myself an expert; but I am getting there, slow and steady.