We're very excited to have Grace join the Yoga West teacher group from January 2019. Grace teaches a creative, fun, powerful and challenging vinyasa flow and you can join her Vinyasa Flow classes on Wednesdays from 9:30-10:45am and Saturdays 3:30-4:45pm. To find out more about Grace please read on....
How did you get into yoga?
Like many yogis and teachers, I was initially drawn to yoga for the physical aspect of it. It’s no surprise that my first ever class which was a beginners yoga, didn’t do it for me. It was the sweat and the hot room of Bikram that had me glued to the mat some years later. I remember feeling like if I could put myself through 90 minutes of practice, I could pretty much endure anything. 9 years down the line, I have thankfully discovered that yoga is much more than that. My practice has matured and flourished into a healing essential in my life. The physical side of it is there of course, but yoga got into all other aspect of my life and I am so thankful for it. I am glad I explored many other types of yoga, a variety of teachers and styles which eventually led me to embark on my teacher training.
Was there a moment when you realised you wanted to pursue yoga seriously?
When I found a training that would work for me, I was determined to let it happen and that is when I knew I wanted to pursue teaching seriously. I was working full time in sales and I asked my manager if the company would be willing to give me 2 months unpaid leave. At that point, this was not a benefit offered to our employees so I was really trying my luck. My manager was a strong advocate of life-work balance and really pushed for the company to accept my proposition. Not only my request went through, the company officially introduced to all staff a sabbatical leave benefit.
How has yoga changed you?
There are times now that I am a mom, in which I realise how important yoga and my practice are and the tangible effects I feel when I don’t get on the mat regularly. Yoga is a journey; I am continuously learning and discovering which is one of the reasons why I love my job as a teacher. Yoga has smoothened so many of my edges and made me become a much more mindful and accepting human being. It gave me resilience, patience and balance starting from a physical practice and translating all those aspects into day to day life. It’s a moderator, a scale, a point of reference.
What’s your advice to people considering starting yoga?
Explore. Be curious. Have an open mind. There are tonnes of different practices and within each style so many teachers, some of which you might like, some not so much. I believe some styles and teachers might click at certain stages of life and some years down the line you might be practising something completely different. Yoga is so much more than just a physical exercise, it’s a journey and you want to know that you are creating the right balance between mind and body at all times.
Do you have a favourite yoga quote?
There are so many great quotes but I’ll go for one of the first ones I ever read in class by Vanda Scaravelli: “The mind and the body are so intimately connected that ultimately we cannot tell the difference between them. Ultimately, indeed they tell the same stories about us. But the body is the more visible aspect of the being and so may speak for the mind more eloquently than the mind can speak for itself. When we align the body we also align the mind. The body is the hologram of the being”
What is your approach to teaching?
My approach is not to stand on a teachers pedestal but to embark on the journey of people practising just like if I were practising with them. I observe a lot and I encourage people to really listen to their bodies, leave judgment off the mat and have fun with it. I prefer to think of my role as a teacher more like an initiator or a leader of the student’s journey. My classes are a mix of creative sequencing and curated playlists that aim to get students into a moving meditation.
Is there anything else outside yoga that would be interesting to share?
I’m a yogi who hits the gym because I don’t believe in one form of movement. I’m all about keeping functional and integrating different activities to achieve a healthy moving body. I also spend a lot of my time writing, eating dark chocolate and cooking healthy food.