Yoga Teachers Who Inspire

yoga teacher interviews

Over the years I’ve interviewed some of my favorite yoga teachers.

Here are the highlights:

You’ve said yoga will “ruin” your life as you know it… What did you mean by that? And how has it ruined yours?

It’s completely ruined mine! I think you’re never off the hook. Once you know about the philosophy and “the path,” you know when you’re off it.  

Recently I went to a party and some friends were talking about another person who was not there. The talk was not kind (*not* ahimsa) and probably not entirely true (*not* satya).  

I didn’t get up and leave the conversation and it’s really heavy on me this morning. My body told me to get up—I felt a little nauseas (another way you’re *ruined*—you’re more aware of your physical and emotional feelings). I even had dreams about it last night.  

But I didn’t say anything or excuse myself, and I can’t change it, and there’s no sense in berating myself (back to ahimsa). So I take this experience and set the intention to do it differently next time.

For more with Michelle Marlahan proprietress of It’s All Yoga (Sacramento) – my primary teacher - excerpt from Part 2.

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Madeleine Lohman describing her first yoga class.

It was a beginner’s class, but an accelerated one intended for folks who were already “in shape.” I don’t know what led me to believe that described me. I’ll never forget the teacher kneeling beside me trying to encourage me to roll back into plough pose. All my efforts produced almost no movement, only grunting.

I do remember that I did my first handstand in that class. I actually cried out: “Jeezus!!!”

The teacher didn’t find it funny.

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Speaking of laughing and yoga….here’s how Anna Guest-Jelley describes her yoga classes.

I like to describe my classes as a choose-your-own-adventure book.  Remember those? I give lots of different options during class.  I always talk with my students before class to check in and see what’s going on with them so I have an idea of what modifications to offer.  The classes themselves are usually quiet with some bursts of laughter.

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Who or what inspires you? Who are your favorite yoga teachers?

Interested in learning more about our Featured Teachers? Here’s the full archive.

Are you interested in being a Teacher Goes Back to School Featured Teacher? Contact me at TGBTS blog AT g mail dot com – subject line: Featured Teacher

Image: sudheer and son mayan riviera by lululemon athletica on Flickr (cc)

All Together Now….A Long, Steady Exhale

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Michelle wrote an excellent piece about breathing called Epidemic Inhale. Please go read it.

No, really.

Go.

Read.

It.

Ok, while you were there did you follow her directions for a long, slow, steady exhale?

Feels good, doesn’t it?

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This is what yoga is for me now: one giant exhale.

A time and a place to just LET.IT.BE.

Reminders to pause, yawn, and be conscious of my breathing and how my body feels.

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It hasn’t always been this way.

I’m pretty sure most people are thinking I’m making funny shapes with my body when I’m “at yoga” and for a long time that is exactly what I did. The more difficult the class, the better.

I was ‘doing’ yoga, damnit.

But now, I’m focusing on the not doing. Letting things go. Asking myself what my body really needs in this moment.

More often than not, my body is craving rest.

And exhaling.

As a culture we spend so much going, going, going. Always pushing forward and racing from one project, meeting, soccer game to the next.  I am totally do this too. Even as I sit here with seven open tabs on my computer – including three email accounts, Twitter and Facebook.

So I rest.

You can too.

Ready?

All together now:

A long, steady exhale.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide for the Yoga Momma

Mother’s Day in the United States is Sunday, May 13th and I’m so excited because it is my first.

It’s recently come to my attention, thanks to Twitter, that Mother’s Day gifts need not be heart-shaped jewelry or flowers. Not that there’s anything wrong with those gifts (if you like those sorts of things), but not all mommas are into them.

So if you have a yoga momma in your life or if are a yoga momma yourself, here are some Mother’s Day gift ideas.

Photo credit: Vanessa Vitchit-Vadakan

Idea#1 – A Yoga Workshop

If I were to pick a workshop, I’d choose Mary Paffard’s Circles, Cycles and Spirals: Yoga and Ayerveda for Women’s Health.  It’s being co-taught by Mary and her daughter, Cyd on Sunday, June 3rd.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of taking a workshop with Mary, I highly recommend it. She’s wickedly, yet understatedly funny, infinitely knowledgable and is a huge proponent of rest. Clearly a teacher after my heart. Plus she has a British accent!

Idea #2 – A One Day Yoga Retreat

One of my 43 Before 43 was to attend a yoga retreat. I’ve already been to two in the last six months. I’m telling you, this is the absolute best spa day ever. Way better than actually going to a spa.

Michelle’s retreat (July 22nd) includes restorative yoga poses, journaling, silence, a delicious vegetarian lunch and a whole lot of heartwarming community. I couldn’t recommend it higher. Simply the best way to spend a day.

Idea #3 – A Private Yoga Session

Have you ever wanted to get pointers on a pose that just isn’t quite working for you? Do you have an injury or are you recuperating from an illness? Have you ever wanted the teacher in a regular class to focus on a particular area of the body?

Those are some of the reasons to have a private session with a favorite yoga teacher.

 Idea #4 – At Home Yoga Practice with MY favorite teacher

Sometimes life gets in the way of going somewhere else to practice. Wouldn’t it be nice to have what you needed to get on your mat at home?

Not sure where to start?

My favorite teacher, Michelle, has some videos for what ails you.

Work on your computer too much? Try this heart openers class

Feeling scattered and like your feet aren’t quite touching the ground? Try this grounding class.

Idea #5 – Yoga Props for Restorative Yoga at Home

I’m not going to lie, these props make me a happy, happy momma.

Click on the image for purchase information.

This list turns out to be MY real Mother’s Day wish list. Obviously not everyone is in Sacramento and able to come to workshops at It’s All Yoga, but there are studios close to where you live that your yoga momma might want a gift from.

Happy Mother’s Day!

What’s on your wish list?

At Home Yoga Retreat {and Mini Restorative Yoga Class}

This coming Sunday, November 6th, instead of teaching my regular Sunday Snooze restorative class at It’s All Yoga, I am lucky enough to be able to participate in the Emotional Rescue Retreat with Michelle from Love Wasting Time. {Don’t worry regular Snoozers, I’ll be back in the first Sunday of December}.

Check this out.

The purpose of the retreat is to:

• restore
• be pampered
• be in silence
• slow down, tune in, and align with your higher purpose
• reflect on the upcoming holiday season
• give yourself permission to take a day, just for you

A day of restorative postures, journaling, breath-work, discussion, meditation, an organic lunch and the support of a circle of women. Held in the sanctuary of the It’s All Yoga studio.

Sounds good, huh?

Want to join me in this day of retreating in the comfort of your own home?

What you’ll need:

45 to 90 minutes {or whatever you can do}

a quiet spot where you can be alone or with other retreaters

comfy, warm yoga clothes

yoga mat

pillows

blankets

eye pillow or dark scarf

ear plugs

blocks, bolster and straps if you have them {no biggie if you don’t}

quiet alarm

Or if you find this list to be too much, just yourself and a way to keep time.

To begin:

Turn off your phone, unplug your computer and shut off the TV.

Bring mat and all your props with you – including your quiet alarm.

Lie down in Constructive rest – flat on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor hip distance. Knees can be hip width or rest toward each other – whatever feels comfortable for your body. Hands can rest where they are comfortable.

Stay here and breathe normally 10 minutes.

When your alarm sounds, bring your knees to chest and gently rock side to side.

Find your favorite savasana (corpse) position using all the props you’d like. Some suggestions: knees over a bolster or pillow and covered up with a blanket, legs up the wall, a bolster running the length of your spine and soles of feet together with pillows/rolled blankets under the knees for support.

The idea is to make yourself as comfortable as possible so you can just relax. {For more information on restorative yoga}

Stay here and breathe normally for 30 minutes.

Yep, 30 minutes.

What if you fall asleep? You are probably tired.

What if your to-do list is suddenly in the fore front of your mind and you feel as if you must get up NOW? Let it go and know it will wait for you.

What if your mind jumps from topic to topic to topic? Just notice the breath coming in and out of your body and try to watch your mind instead of hanging on to each story.

When will the 30 minutes be over? In 30 minutes.

When your alarm sounds, gently awaken your body. Wiggle fingers and toes, slowly roll ankles and wrists, stretch arms over head and catch a deeper breath and maybe a yawn.

Wake yourself as if you’re sleeping in a really nice hotel and you have absolutely nothing to do.

Roll to the side – and rest – before you use your arms to push yourself to a comfortable seat on the floor.

Write about your experience while drinking a warm cup of your favorite tea and enjoying a healthy lunch.

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Have you ever taken a day for restoration? How did it go? Please share your tips, fears and thoughts.

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In Case You Missed It Edition! Volume 34 {back to school, expectations and enough}

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I’ve found some links to posts that made me laugh, cry, think or at least raise an eyebrow. Please click the links and check out the posts. You may find something that rocks your world too.

Leave me some feedback in the form of comments below on what you liked, what you hated and what you’d like to see more of. I’m here to help you find the best of what is online.

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So you may have heard, it’s already back to school for a lot of teachers. Many are already setting up classrooms, making new lesson plans and dreaming of how this year will be the best yet. Every August for the last eight years, I’ve  returned to work with big plans to help my students succeed and this year instead I’m turning my house into a home for a baby.

A lot of the same feelings are coming up: excitement, anticipation, anxiety, perfectionism.

In other words, I’ve had lots of opportunities to practice self kindness, managing realistic expectations and the concept of enough.

My Best Of…

….But no one ever bothered to tell the boss that her expectations were so completely unreasonable as to be inhuman….

Havi at the Fluent Self is talking bad bosses, expectations and teams of magic makers. Deadline? Oh Really?  spoke to my inner mean boss who simultaneously wants me to stay completely chill while making my house Martha-worthy. Or if I was in the classroom, making sure every.single.thing was perfect before the first day of school.

No pressure or anything. Ugh.

Let’s all try to keep expectations at least some what realistic, shall we?  

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10 Ways You Can Have Enough Money and Stuff from Be More with Less. Unexpectedly taking a year unpaid from work has my inner ‘enough’ alarm bells sounding on a pretty regular basis these days. This post helped me find some perspective.

How do you define enough?

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Back to School Jitters: Theirs and Yours Some tips for managing the return of school from Jen at Classic Play.

Any other tips to add?

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Socializing with Students: To Brunch or Not to Brunch?  Madeleine brings up the pros, the cons and the dirt on who can get hurt. So useful for teachers of all kinds.

Do you socialize with your students?

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Because I love you:

FREE yoga with my lovely teacher/friend Michelle.

Confessions of a Recovering Flowtard - yet another book I want to read {BOOK CLUB?} – Yoga Bitch: One Woman’s Quest to Conquer Skepticism, Cynicism, and Cigarettes On the Path To Enlightenment.

Do you think this Suzanne is my new BFF? 

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That is the In Case You Missed It Edition, folks.

Remember to click the links and leave some comments. This is a conversation, you know.

In Case You Missed Edition Archives -click it to see them all.


In Case You Missed It Edition! Volume 27

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Each week I’ll give you links to posts that made me laugh, cry, think or at least raise an eyebrow. Please click the links and check out the posts. You may find something that rocks your world too.

Leave me some feedback in the form of comments below on what you liked, what you hated and what you’d like to see more of. I’m here to help you find the best of what is online.

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2 words: SPRING. BREAK.

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My Best Of…

An interview with the It’s All Yoga Curvy Crew over at Curvy Yoga. Part 1 today and Part 2 later this week. So.Much.Love.

Good Enough Is the New Perfect is now a real book! I’ve read it and I loved it.

Yes and Yes makes me happy. If you aren’t reading it yet, please stop what you’re doing (ok, after you’ve finished reading TGBTS!) and get yourself over there.  Sarah has created a Post College Survival Kit I wish had existed when I was graduating. Some sound enticing now as a grown up. Do you think she’d notice if a 41-year-old signed up?

Loved this post from Seth Godin. Turning The Habit of Self-Criticism Upside Down

Have you checked in with your 3rd Chakra lately? Michelle’s exploration of this feisty one and her questions got me thinking.

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Curvy yogis Photoshoot/ Yoga Journal Talent Search Update:

Thank you all who five-starred our photos over at Yoga Journal’s Talent Search! A strange experience seemed to be had by all.

I’m still shaking my head about that rating business.

In any case you’ll be able to see the finalists on April 21st.

The Curvy Yogi Gallery is up! Check out the lovelies. One of them appears to be sleeping…

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Speaking of curvy (and not) Northern California/Sacramento friends – are you coming to the nextSwapAsana?

{THIS SATURDAY – April 23rd- start saving your swapables now.}

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That is the In Case You Missed It Edition for this week, folks.

Remember to click the links and leave some comments. This is a conversation, you know.

In Case You Missed Edition Archives -click it to see them all.


Celebrate National Library Week! Books I Love: Tales from the Yoga Studio {A Giveaway!}

It’s National Library Week and as part of that I’ve committed to sharing my favorite book, album and movie titles with my readers this week.

What a better way to start off the week than with a giveaway?

{Now you will have a chance to WIN THIS BOOK!}


{click the book to read about the book and more importantly to learn more about the author}

Title:  Tales from the Yoga Studio

Author: Rain Mitchell

Genre: Novel

Synopsis: A low-key local yoga teacher with a special gift for reaching people is targeted as the “Next Big Thing” by a high-powered company.

My thoughts: I made a connection right away. It reminded me of some of my gifted yoga teacher friends and what might happen if suddenly someone wanted to pay them a lot of money and make them famous. Would they sell out and become part of the yoga machine or would they stay true to themselves?

Being a part of a small studio that flies under the radar for most people, but totally changes lives, I identified with this story. How would I react if suddenly our studio became overrun with the rich and famous?  Or worse, if the teachers suddenly became like unattainable rock stars?

So are you ready to read this book yet?

A super quick read with some very likeable characters that clearly struck a nerve for me. I recommend reading it especially if you have a beloved teacher who (you hope) isn’t ever going to be on the cover of a yoga magazine.

Want to win my (advanced readers) copy of this book ?

Mandatory Entry is:

1. Leave a comment and tell me what you think makes a great yoga teacher.
Options for Extra Entries:
  • Subscribe to My Blog Via Email & Confirm Subscription (upper right hand corner)
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  • In order to ensure I see all your entries – please leave a separate comment for each entry.
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Am I eligible to win?
Anyone with a valid e-mail and a U.S. mailing address is eligible.

When do I find out if I am the winner?

Contest is open from Sunday, April 1o, 2011 – noon (PST), Sunday, April 17th.

The winner will be chosen the old-fashioned way: names in a hat.

The winner will be announced on Monday, April 18th. You will have 1 week to e-mail us back with your home address so we can mail the prize.

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This giveaway is now CLOSED.

And the winner is… Elizabeth!