Yoga is my favorite teaching tool. I am a teacher, and there are a lot of good tools out there: Venn diagrams, differentiated instruction, mnemonic devices…but, back to yoga. Yoga is my favorite because it teaches me first and always. I’m always going to be its student, there is always going to be something for me to learn, and it is always there to teach me before I teach others.
I started my study of yoga with a brand new VHS of MTV’s Power Yoga with Kristin McGee in 2003. I was freshly out of college and thought I knew more than I really did. I quickly learned that graduating is just the beginning. At that time, yoga taught me to be simultaneously empowered to take chances and calm as I waited for things to come at the right moment. One of those things was graduate school to become the art teacher that I am now. I of course took my MTV VHS to the University of South Carolina along with me, but I was ready for more. I had been to a few studio classes at the Yoga Haus in Greenville, so when I found City Yoga in my new Columbia neighborhood, I took myself to an intermediate Anusara class. Intermediate, that’s me, right? Not so much, but in that class of more advanced yogis, I learned patience with myself and the importance of an encouraging teacher like Stacy Milner-Collins. With assistance, I was doing handstands and backbends, growing my practice far beyond my living room. It was at City Yoga where I met Sarah Faircloth of the former Sangati studio here in Charlotte. Her teaching from a workshop stuck with me, so when my good friend Tracy Mott suggested we go to Sangati for a class after I moved to Charlotte, I knew it was meant to be. At Sangati, I learned the value of a yoga community. Some of the friends I made there are more like family members to me now. When Sangati merged with Be Yoga, I became what used to be known as a “Desk Deva,” the smiling face greeting you at the desk before and after each class. Through this opportunity, my practice has grown from an occasional luxury to an everyday need.
At Be, I have trained with Mags Maurice in the Grounded Yoga program for kids. Yoga is now not only a tool to teach myself, but also a tool I use regularly to teach my students in my art class and in the yoga studio. I know sometimes my art students think I’m silly when we do Breath of Joy or Eagle before a drawing assignment, but when I see a 5th grade boy close his eyes and inhale slowly during tree, I know it’s not silly. Yoga is now teaching him.
You can find me at the desk on Sunday nights, checking in and sometimes teaching the Be Yoga Family classes.