When I became a yoga teacher 13 years ago, I was keenly interested in introducing yoga into hospitals and mental health centers. I began my own practice right after my father died, and experienced such grounding within my grief that I longed to share the benefits of yoga with people who’d experienced illness or trauma. I taught in hospitals, but it was five years later, in county drug court, that I found my true niche working with teens.
For over five years, my yoga practice brought me joy and fulfillment, but solely from my studentship. Teachers had always intrigued me with their beauty, strength, confidence and presence, but to actually become a yoga teacher seemed like entering a different realm — one that I thought could not possibly be as blissful as the space on my favorite coral-colored yoga mat.
But every now and then I would think about what it would be like to lead a class, spreading pieces of possibility and shining smiles to all the students. I would cue and they would flow, moving with ease to the perfect music I was playing that matched all the perfect words I was saying.
But then my daydreams would subside, and I would find myself happy to only be responsible for my own moves, my own mind. Why would I want to teach anyway? It would take up so much time. When would I get to do my practice? If I was teaching, I wouldn’t be learning.
But are the two job descriptions — writer and yoga teacher — really that dissimilar? As a writer, my true calling has always been found in the power of connection and inspiration, traits any good yoga teacher should possess. I like to set my own schedule, travel a lot, wear comfy clothes and work in bare feet. I love sharing my insights and experiences, spreading words of wisdom wherever I go.
So, yes, now I am not only a writer. My career of word crafting has united with my passion for movement.
One of the highlights of summer in Boulder, Colo., is the Hanuman Yoga and Music Festival, held on the banks of the Boulder Creek. Boulder is a spiritual Mecca and hot spot for yoga, and the festival is a representation of that booming community and its impact in the greater yoga world.
Hanuman Presents is an on-going event presentation that brings Hanuman Festival teachers into local yoga studios across Colorado in an effort to keep the essence of the festival alive throughout the rest of the year. This weekend, Hanuman Presents welcomes guest teacher Giselle Mari.
This fall, Elena Brower was one of 19 yoga instructors asked to teach at the 2011 International Ojai Yoga Crib in Ojai, California (along with fellow Gaiam blogger Jill Miller). In this photo essay, Elena shares her experience at this life-affirming event.
Dressed top to bottom courtesy of Zobha, I point out trigger points on my assistant Florence's back.
Last weekend I presented three Yoga Tune Up® workshops at the Inner IDEA Conference near Palm Springs, Calif. This yearly gathering brings together the leading innovators of the mind-body fitness world to convene at the serene La Quinta Resort in Palm Desert. As always, the event saw a great turnout. My Yoga Tune Up® workshops were packed, and Gaiam and its SPRI team generously provided a variety of props for my sessions.