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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

I Drank the Kool-Aid and I’m Never Spitting It Out

I’m insanely excited to announce MindFUEL Yoga + Writing, a three-hour workshop I’m hosting with my dear friend and yoga teacher Brynne Haflett on Saturday, March 7th at Karma on Newbury Street. Today Brynne and I are interviewing each other to give you a better sense of who we are and what we’re offering in this really unique and fun workshop. (You can read my As to her Qs over at Yogini B.)

 

armHow did you first come to study yoga? How have you grown through your practice over the past decade?

Thinking back, I actually came to yoga through writing. I had a wonderful substitute English teacher who is still a steady influence in my life. She trained to be a yoga teacher and when she opened her studio, my sister and I would go to her class in the mornings before school. I had no idea what yoga actually was when I went to my first class. None. But when I left the studio, I was hooked. I drank the Kool-Aid and I’m never spitting it out.

My practice over the last ten years has grown in surprising and sometimes indescribable ways. I was 14 years old when I started yoga, so I was mostly interested in aesthetics. As I grew into my practice, I started to care less about the physicality of the asanas and more about the internal work embedded in them. I fully believe that the person I am and the person I’m becoming is 80% yoga and 20% genetics. Yoga has been a part of my life through middle school, high school, college, and now in my baptism into the “real world”. There is an abundance of non-judgmental self-reflection in yoga–or at least that’s the plan. It’s impossible to not have transformational  growth in that space.

 

One of the best pieces of career advice I’ve ever received was from my fiction teacher during my M.A. year. He said, “Create a space for yourself on the shelf. Write something no one else is writing.” I wonder if you feel that way about teaching yoga—that there may be many instructors to choose from, and on the surface it’s a vinyasa flow regardless of who is cueing it, and yet you’re still offering students your own unique perspective?

Absolutely. I think from a self-branding perspective it is essential to make your own spot on the shelf. There are so many yoga students, teachers, and studios in existence that a teacher really needs to create her own voice to stand out. On the other hand, every yoga class has similar components to another style the same way any fictional book will have similar pieces. No one is reinventing the wheel. An original sequence is sisyphean (wheel pun completely intended) in a tradition as old as yoga. When I teach, I’m not thinking about how to be unique. I’m teaching based on my own practice, training, and perspective which will either connect with the student or not.

 

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How does your yoga practice enhance your creativity? Do you think it’s possible to cultivate a “flow state” on the mat that we can carry with us into our daily life?

In my experience, yoga enhances my creativity because it distracts me from what I’m trying to be creative about. A lot of my best ideas for classes, blog posts, or even professional goals come to me when I’m on my yoga mat. Yoga allows our bodies and minds to open (or our nadis) and that openness allows ideas that may have been passed over to be fully accepted and looked over. The magic of that openness is that once we learn how to find that state, we find other ways to get there. Runners High is incredibly similar to that flowing state. There is a “flow state” in video games that people are studying. I believe any activity that makes you feel safe and open can bring that same sense of flow to a person. Yoga can be that flow or it can be a tool to refine and enhance that state.

 

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What are some of your coping strategies or rituals, on and off the mat, when you’re having a tough day?

Oh man, I have so many! I learned a cleansing meditation from a friend this summer that has been extremely helpful. There are a series of colors that you inhale three times and each exhale the colors become more “pure”. After the series of colors, you create a giant light bubble around yourself where you are completely safe and open your heart to whatever you’d like. I get goosebumps every time at this point in the meditation. Whenever the meditation feels complete, you thank whom/whatever and shrink the bubble back inside your body. This mediation is something I love to do before or after classes especially, so students don’t get my own crap mixed into their practice and I don’t leave with theirs.

 

What are you hoping students will take away from our MindFUEL workshop?

I really want students to leave with a feeling that yoga has connections far beyond headstand. I feel like there is a lot of emphasis in yoga on the postures and I want to show students that yoga extends well beyond them. The postures are tools meant to take a yogi into a deeper and more meaningful state. If a student left our workshop with a deeper connection to his mind and something stirring a little more inside of him, I would feel completely satisfied.

 

Registration details on my Learn With Me page!

 

 

1 Comment to I Drank the Kool-Aid and I’m Never Spitting It Out

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    February 18, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    First, woah those are some impressive (and inspirational) poses. At first I thought that yoga was not for me. But the more I do it, the more addictive (in a good way) I find it. It makes me feel so much physically and emotionally stronger. While I don’t dedicate as much time to it as I would like, I have been trying to do at least a few poses every day (because I’ve been inspired by you!).

  1. By on February 18, 2015 at 10:01 am

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.