An Interview With: My Yoga Instructor

09/20/2012

Hi friends! I am so glad it’s Thursday. Aside from the obvious weekend days, Thursday is my favorite day of the week. The work week is winding down, I’m starting to make fun plans for the weekend and I just start to feel really relaxed. And I’m even more excited about this Thursday because of this post. Tonight, I have so honored to have a Q&A with the owner of the yoga studio that I attend, Village Yoga. Bonnie is not only a wonderful yoga instructor, but a wonderful person.

Bonnie

This may sound cliche, but attending yoga at Village Yoga has truly changed my life. (And, truth be told, it’s changed my body too. Remember those abs you guys commented on when I was at Folly Beach? I give Bonnie credit for a lot of that tone!) I feel calmer, more at peace, centered, and kinder whenever I leave the studio. I’ve had multiple people tell me that I seem like a different person after attending yoga. It’s a place where I can let go emotionally – I’ve cried multiple times in savasana in Bonnie’s classes – and a place where I just feel at peace. Anyway, enough gushing from me. Let’s get to the Q&A! The questions I posed to Bonnie are in bold italics and her answers follow. If I had commentary, I put it in brackets. :)

When did you start practicing yoga and why? On the recommendation of a fellow runner, I began my practice in earnest in 1992 after suffering with back pain due to my weight lifting, running, inadequate stretching routine! I was physically fit and thought I was doing all things to benefit me but was frequently suffering, incapacitated by my back pain.

What got you hooked? Being naturally Type A I disliked the practice of yoga because it as strange as it sounds, I didn’t feel like I was working HARD enough. It wasn’t competitive enough for me. Obviously in retrospect, I was missing the point…what changed my mind and “hooked” me was with encouragement from my teacher at the time. {I totally relate to this!!! I was anti-yoga because I thought it wasn’t hard enough – Bonnie changed my mind! ha!} I reluctantly “stuck with” it. After about a month of a consistent twice – three time a week practice, I noticed I began to feel better. My back no longer hurt and additionally, I felt a change of mind and attitude..best described as a sense of mental well being and calm. I didn’t understand it (and frankly to this day still can’t adequately articulate it) but the consistent practice was transformative in body, mind and spirit so I wanted to learn MORE. {seriously….this sounds just like my experience! minus the back pain issues…but all mental/spirit transformations…me too!}

Where did you do your training? I completed my first formal yoga alliance approved 250 hour teacher training at a studio in Charlotte NC which offered training in a variety of styles. After my training and studying under various teachers, I found the style of yoga asana — the physical practice of yoga — that best suited me and have pursued education and training in that style. I am currently studying and in December 2012 will complete my 500 hour training in the Vinyasa Flow style under the guidance of Rolf Gates. {Congrats!}

Tell me about your studio. Village Yoga Studio is a space dedicated to helping students find their way on their yoga path as well as hopefully building community and brightening the world through the transformative practice of yoga. We hope to deepen your knowledge of yoga asana by providing clear, detailed instruction and guidance as well as hands-on assistant and adjustments as you experience each picture in your body on the island of your mat.

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What exactly is Vinyasa yoga? According to Ellen Stanswell, PhD in yoga literature and a Sanskrit scholar, the Sanskrit word “Vinyasa” translates in English to “connection.” In Vinyasa Flow yoga we connect the yoga postures with breath sequenced in a way to balance strength and flexibility.

It can be intimidating going to a private yoga studio. What realistic advice would you tell a first-timer, other than focus on yourself and don’t worry about others? That’s easier said than done! My advice is to keep in mind yoga is not a competition and I can only speak from my experience and philosophy–practicing and teaching yoga can be a very profound and transformative experience but it does not have to be somber! I encourage students to just literally be in the moment and get out of thir own way. Each time we come to the mat we have an opportunity to explore limitless possibilities!

What’s your favorite pose and why? (I know the what but don’t know the why!) Haha Teri so glad you know that! I love every posture in yoga except one and you will have to come to the studio if you want to find out which one! ;) My favorite posture in yoga is standing splits and the simple reason I love it so much is because it feels awesome in my body!

What makes a private studio different/better than a yoga class at the gym? In my experience people who come to a private studio have made a decision to explore yoga as more than just an exercise class, although that’s a great place to start! It may sound corny or cliche to those who are new to the practice but i truly believe practicing yoga in a studio allows us the opportunity to surround ourselves with like minded folks and together we experience the transformative benefits of yoga. Having said that, my bottom line is PRACTICE YOGA whenever, wherever you can! just be mindful and take a moment to inquire where/when and how well your teacher has been educated in teaching yoga asana. {I will say that Bonnie’s studio does a great job of taking yoga beyond exercise…it’s very much a mind/emotional/spiritual/mental health experience for me!}

What advice would you give a well-practiced yogi to take their practice to the next level? That’s a tough one! So I will quote my teacher who says “practice, practice, practice! All is coming!” He just never tells us what or when!

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Bonnie, thank you so much for providing such thoughtful answers! I hope to see you on the mat soon! If you are local, I cannot recommend Village Yoga enough. All of the instructors I’ve practiced with are wonderful and so welcoming. And if you see Bonnie in the studio, you’ll be thrilled to meet her. If you’re not local, I encourage you to find a local studio in your town. Yoga changes lives!

If you guys have any questions for Bonnie, leave a comment and I’ll follow up with her. Hope you guys enjoyed this!

{pictures taken from Village Yoga’s Facebook page}


7 comments // by Teri [a foodie stays fit]



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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Akanksha 09/20/2012 at 8:57 pm

Hey Teri, just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog. It is always fun and informative. Hope you are doing well :).

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2 Teri 09/20/2012 at 9:03 pm

thank you Akanksha!! I hope you are doing well too! I miss seeing you but I stalk you on Instagram. ;)

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3 Claire 09/24/2012 at 9:36 am

Hey Teri!

Love following your blog! You’ve really gotten me into the idea of yoga. I’m the kind of person who lacks patience for it but I’ve been going to some classes a few days a week and I already feel great! Definitely going to try to keep it up!

Thanks for writing!
Claire

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4 Teri 09/27/2012 at 9:48 pm

that is wonderful to hear Claire! thanks for sharing! I’m so glad you are feeling great! It’s addicting – the more you do it, the more you crave it.

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5 Carol Wickett 09/24/2012 at 5:08 pm

I loved all the information. I do all kinds of other exercises including rebounding which is one of my favorites. I have been toying with the idea of doing yoga for sometime and this interview has given me new motivation to do it. Thanks so much!
Carol Wickett´s last blog post ..What’s In Your Flu Shot?

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6 Teri 09/27/2012 at 9:50 pm

i hope you really do give yoga a try. it’s so wonderful! there are many different styles too so i’m sure you can find one that’s a perfect fit for you!

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7 how to be yoga instructor NYC 10/27/2012 at 7:09 am

Since yoga requires such control, you’ll be able to tell when changes happen in your body. This can help prevent a number of potentially dangerous conditions. Also, you will be more relaxed. Yoga is a great way to reduce stress. You’ll be able to more fully commit to whatever you are doing, because your mind is not occupied with problems all the time. Yoga will help you stay centered and focused.

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