To be held in a safe and nurturing space that invites you to turn inward and be still is a gift that yoga teacher, Roe Johnson, gracefully brings to her Yin & Restorative classes. If you’ve taken a class with her, you have probably experienced the ways she integrates loving touch, intentional sequencing, and heartfelt theming that honors your whole being. Some of you know Roe as instructor, some will recognize her face as our Fremont studio lead, and others of you have maybe sat alongside her in a Bala Yoga training. Her passion for living with her heart wide open is contagious, and we are so grateful for the energy she brings to our Bala Yoga community.
Read on to learn more about Roe, and her practice on and off the mat.
Name: Rebecca Roe Johnson
Seattle Neighborhood: Fremont
Years Teaching Yoga: Going on 4 years
Other Trainings or Services You Offer: Prenatal Yoga. I am looking forward to attending a Doula training, Reiki training and getting certified in Nutrition/Health Coaching within the next few years.
Zodiac Sign: Sun in Taurus, Moon in Virgo + Sagittarius Rising.
You primarily focus on teaching Yin & Restorative. What special magic do these practices hold for you?
The magic comes from the atmosphere. As the curator of the space, I aim for a safe, soft and welcoming room. It’s also incredibly powerful witnessing people soften + settle within themselves and the fact that these individuals trust me enough to let their guard down is unbelievably heartwarming. I also appreciate that these practices challenge us in a different way. We’re all so used to running around and being busy + these practices ask you to notice who you are when you stop ‘doing’. If you come to these classes and put in this subtle work, they aren’t always as easy as people assume.
What do you most wish to share with your students?
I come into each class hoping to broaden the experience of the room, as a collective and for each individual. In other words, I want to inspire a deeper connection to whatever practice it might be. In Yin I draw on Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Meridian System to bring a greater understanding of why to each shape. And, in general I enjoy guiding people back into themselves with a specific theme, meditation or visualization.
In addition, since studying with the inspirational Greta Hill during the Rasa Yoga Immersion, I’ve loved blending philosophies by incorporating mudra, mantra and other belief systems into both my Yin + Restorative classes.
You follow a fully plant-based diet! What made you decide to start eating this way, and what are some of your go-to meals?
I became vegan while at college in Asheville, NC (which is to this day one of my favorite places to eat). This lifestyle change turned out to be incredibly healing for me after struggling with food and body image issues that developed after I quit ballet at the age of 18. The plant-based lifestyle is about compassion and it was one of the tools that helped me regain a healthy relationship with food. Nowadays I remain plant-based because it is one of the single most important things I can do to help save our planet. If you’re interested in learning more about that, this is a great article on food and climate change.
I love to cook, which I think is important if you’re trying to eat a whole foods plant-based diet. In the Winter my parter and I live off of giant pots of chili, curry + soups. Now that we’re entering summer we tend to gravitate towards big salad or grain bowls – things that are easy to assemble, seasonal and fresh. I also love to play with raw recipes during the summer months, like raw Pad Thai with zucchini noodles.
What is your personal mantra these days?
Depends on the day. A few of my simple favorites are: I am pure love, I am pure light and, I trust my journey.
What book(s) are currently on your night stand, and what are some highlights on your upcoming reading list?
Whew, so many! I’ve started reading at least a few pages from one book each morning as an iPhone-less routine. Currently I have:
- Braiding Sweetgrass – Robin Wall Kimmer
- Your True Home – Thich Nhat Hanh
- Alchemy of Herbs – Rosalee De La Foret
- Radical Acceptance: Embracing your life with the heart of a Buddha – Tara Brach
I’m also hoping to deepen my knowledge and understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine, so I am slowly digesting The Web That Has No Weaver by Ted Kaptchuk. I am always looking for inspiration + would love some book recommendations from ya’ll!
All who have ever taken your class know that you possess a special gift for hands-on touch. What is this art to you and why do you offer it?
I’ve recently come to understand that I carry within me something worth sharing (as we all do) + touch is a lovely and natural tool for me. I am not yet trained in Reiki or any form of energy healing, so I’ve been practicing this simply guided by my intuition. When I offer touch I typically repeat a mantra of sorts, I match my breath to that of the person I am with and I visualize myself sharing with them light or love or something I think they may need or value.
Sometimes I feel that individual physically release into the shape, sometimes their breath deepens and on a few occasions there’s an emotional release and they cry. Through this practice I’ve come to realize how important physical touch is. I am definitely looking forward to developing these tools in a more refined way as I truly enjoy the connections created through this process.
You are one of the most laid back people we know, so we have to ask, when life gets crazy what are some of your go-to strategies for finding center?
Lol. It sounds so simple, but I have come to truly understand how important time alone in silence is for me (ideally outside). The world can be a draining place in both beautiful and challenging ways, so I just do my best to remain full so I can meet whatever arises with ease and grace.
I do have a morning meditation practice at home that will typically include a few yin postures. I also highly recommend journaling as a way to process + release.
What are you working on in your personal practice these days?
Ever since transitioning to teaching (mostly) Yin/Restorative my asana practice has shifted drastically. Nowadays I savor the process of slow movement and draw my attention to the body + breath connection. I aim to carry a mindfulness throughout my practice which has actually strengthened it in unexpected ways.
When you’re not leading the team at the Fremont studio or teaching yoga, where are you and what can we find you doing?
I’m probably at home! I’m actually quite the introvert and love to be in my own space. My partner Joel and I have two dogs who keep us busy, I love to play with food or create with my hands in some way. Plus, Joel and I are also planning our wedding which has been a constant and very fun project.
What has the Bala Community meant to you?
Bala has been my yoga home base for almost two years now. I feel incredibly lucky to have been scooped up + nurtured by this community right when I arrived in Seattle. I attribute so much of my personal growth to the people I have met, worked with + studied alongside of at Bala Yoga. Much love and gratitude to all of you!