This quarter, we asked our featured teachers to tell us about their experience teaching at Yoga Seed and something about their teaching philosophy. Because our outreach students are as much a part of the Yoga Seed community as our studio students, we decided to feature both an outreach teacher and a studio teacher! Read about these amazing instructors below:
Outreach Quarter Feature: Sydney
“One of the greatest gifts that I receive as a yoga instructor is when a student comes up to me after class and says, “thank you, I needed that.” As a yoga student, I remember the times where I have experienced the “I needed that” moment after coming out of savasana, feeling more prepared to roll up my mat and face the world outside studio doors. It is the moment that has changed my life, and kept me coming back to yoga as a way to gain the tools and balance to face challenges that would have otherwise been overwhelming.
The first time a student shared an “I needed that” moment after an outreach class at a women’s shelter, my eyes filled with tears and my heart felt like it would explode. To be able to share this moment with individuals outside of the yoga studio is a profound experience. In this moment, we share a deep connection of past hurt, hope for our future, and an embrace of common humanity that sends ripples of healing into our community.
Connecting through yoga with people in jail and prison, women in shelters, university students who have experienced sexual trauma, and elementary school children has been the greatest honor of my life. I could not do it without the Yoga Seed backing me up every step of the way. I feel incredibly proud to be a part of this organization and our community that extends far beyond our studio walls. When a student shares an “I needed that” moment, I know with my whole heart that we are changing lives. I can’t help but smile to myself in recognition of how much I needed that moment too. “
Studio Quarter Feature: Kerry
“I have been practicing yoga for 12 years starting when I attended a 30 day practice/teacher training course at The Center for Yoga of Seattle, the premier Iyengar yoga studio in Seattle. I started teaching in 2010 at a local senior center where I continue to teach presently. In 2014, I received teacher training certification from The Yoga Seed Collective. My students at the senior center all say that my teaching style developed and gained more depth after my training at the Yoga Seed.
My style of teaching is Iyengar inspired in that I encourage focused awareness of the many elements and actions of the body in poses held for some time. This could be the grounding of the feet, expanding/opening of the ribs or a slight tilt of the head. I also tend to use a lot of props in my class. Inspired by my training I received from the Yoga Seed, I try to bring a sense of flow to my class that fits the individual. I hope to create a session that is challenging but still accessible.
Teaching the seated (chair) yoga class has offered me the most diverse opportunity to create a challenging but accessible session. Most poses are performed sitting or lying on the floor or standing. This can present unique challenges depending on the individual’s physical restrictions. Many modifications are available using a chair and the chair is always there for support. For example, Sun Salutation can be performed sitting on the chair making it unnecessary to go to the floor. For a little more challenge, the seat of the chair replaces the floor for the placement of the hands. In this way, the hands do not bear the full weight of the torso. The students have options to find what works for them. When the body is stressed too much the mind will want to focus on that. Modification of poses and the use of props allow the mind to be less burdened by restrictions of the body. The mind is then free to work on the elements of and body actions within the yoga pose.
I hope such work will encourage a student to be connected with their inner senses, to find a greater degree of concentration and commitment, and experience a clear meditative mind.”