Photos via Yoga by Candace.
My mom brought me to Kripalu, a center for yoga and health in the Berkshire Mountains when I was 15. It used to be a monastery and it's this gorgeous, sprawling building with the most amazing energy. Back then, it was only $20 to take a class and spend the whole day there using the facilities and having a delicious lunch. Now, it's over $120 for the day!
What keeps you on your mat?
A connection to something deeper. I know that sounds a little out there, but my practice is like going to church. It inspires me, it fuels me, it motivates me, it nourishes me.
When did you know you wanted to become a teacher?
When I a kid, I used to make my brother play School with me. I was the teacher (obviously), and he had to be the student. I always, always, always wanted to be a teacher because I was inspired by so many great ones at such a young age (shout out to Mrs. Rutolo, Mrs. Neary, and Mr. Norris - my kindergarten, first and fourth grade teachers). When I started practicing yoga, I found a whole new love and another realization - that I could explain things to people in a new and innovative way. So I started a yoga blog after my teacher training with the hopes of sharing these ideas. I used my background (I have a Master's in Secondary Education) to create visual learning guides and explain things in simple ways.
What advice do you have for new yogis?
Let go of expectations for where you ought to be. So many people say they're not flexible enough or something similar. Not being flexible enough to do yoga is like saying you're too dirty to take a bath. New teachers? Always be a student first. Approach the class with the idea that it's for the students, not for yourself. Tune in to your best qualities and know what you can offer. Then find ways to infuse your gifts into the teaching of the class.
What has helped you grow your following on your blog, and in your teaching?
The secret to a successful blog is offering a solution to a problem. Identify a problem, help people, and they'll want to share it with their friends. That action of sharing is what will help grow a blog. In teaching, I've done one really important thing to grow my teaching: 1) Remain a student first. I try to take master classes and participate in in-depth study as much as I can. The more I learn, the more I can grow and share as a teacher.
How has yoga changed your life?
Ah that's a tough one! How hasn't it changed my life is probably more relevant, haha. Yoga has taught me so many things about how to handle challenging situations from anxiety to conflict to self-doubt. It's taught me self-acceptance, and the important lesson that everyone I encounter is doing the best that they know how so to take nothing personally. It's taught me that no matter where I find myself, and however stressed, angry or sad I might feel, the breath is the boss and it's always there to anchor me. It's taught me to breathe, relax, and let go. It's taught me discipline, courage, and strength.
Thanks, Candace, for your lovely insight!
For more awesome yoga routines and inspiring blog posts, visit Yoga by Candace. Here are a few of my favorite posts:
How to open your hips.
How to build core strength for handstand.