What first brought you to yoga?
I confess: I started yoga for the body.The local Bikram studio in my neighborhood had a new student special and I enrolled. Maybe because I was in a small town far away from the urban centers, I got very lucky – the teacher incorporated a lot her belief about the intangible (mental, spiritual and emotional) benefits of yoga in addition to the Bikram script – classes regularly overran the usual 90 minutes. I was so hooked I signed up for the studio’s 100 (consecutive) day challenge. After a couple of years, my body craved learning the different asanas I was only reading about in books and I decided to pursue the yoga experience through other practice styles. So while I started practicing to get the “yoga body,” what’s kept me in yoga for eight years are the intangible benefits that have improved my life.
What is your favorite pose?
Smileasana – (that’s one you won’t find in Light on Yoga, guaranteed) One of my favorite yoga teachers told me that the most advanced form of any asana is the ability to smile (and mean it) while in your deepest expression of the pose. I always try to keep a little smile, even if it’s just in my eyes – constant in all of my postures.
But if I have to pick REAL poses: Natarajasana (Dancer’s Pose) and Svangasana (Archer). For me they occupy opposite ends of the spectrum of energetic expression that make me feel balanced: the former a really big, “energy out” posture and the latter a coiling, “energy in” moment.
What made you decide to join the teacher training at Bala Yoga?
I started to feel like: 8 years of yoga practice and all I got were these sweaty muscles!
Joking aside – my decision was culmination of a perfect storm: the right teacher, the right studio, the right yoga style, and the sense that that I’d gotten as far as I could go on my own just going to classes and workshops. I was mentally, physically and emotionally ready to do a deep dive into the practice. I’ve gotten so much out of my yoga practice, it’s exciting to think about one day being able to give some of that back.
What is the most challenging aspect of the 200 hour teacher training?
Figuring out my personal approach sharing what I know with others. For so long I’ve been on input mode: taking in information from as many teachers and styles of yoga as possible. Now its time to grok all that information, get solid in what I know and believe to be true about this practice, and switch to output mode. Ali, Liz (and our other TT teachers) ask us to really think critically and understand the reasoning behind the postures we teach – not just memorize cues and sequences. It’s challenging and refreshing.
Can you remember your best yoga experience?
The 100th (final) day of my first yoga challenge. I realized the level of commitment I was capable of and felt that commitment pay off in a really visceral way. I knew at that moment I had changed the direction of my life in a subtle and profound way.
What is your favorite music to practice to?
Zoe Keating and The Atlantic Arts Ensemble. Pandora is great for plugging in a song and having an instant playlist of complimentary music.
What do you do outside of Bala walls?
Once TT ends, I’ll be back to finishing my first novel and playing cello in a community orchestra.
What is your favorite quote?
“Faith is believing that one of two things will happen: That there will be something solid for you to stand on or that you will be taught to fly.” -Unknown
What class or classes can fellow Bala students find you in?
I’ll be in all of the weekend classes, along with the other Teacher Training participants. During the week, you can usually find me getting in a “power lunch” Tuesday at noon. My goal is to get myself up more often with the early birds at 6:15am….We all need a goal, right?
Summer has come to an end. What exciting things did you do over the summer?
I had my first outdoor gig, playing with the Rainbow City Orchestra, in downtown Seattle. I also enjoyed salsa dancing on Alki Beach.
Kirkland Yoga- Yogi of the month Rashida SMith.