PRACTICE – TEACH – SHINE: a Yoga Retreat in Tulum, Mexico

Practice ~ Teach ~ Shine in Tulum, Mexico A personal account of a special yoga retreat by: Sarah Krawiec, Aparna Ravichander, and Brittany Zick, ILYS Class of 2013 Three amazing graduates from ILYS class of 2013 decided to venture out and create their own yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico. Sarah Krawiec, Aparna Ravichander, and Brittany Zick traveled to the Amansala Resort in January of 2014 for four days of yoga, meditation, and relaxation. They decided to make the retreat part of their continued Yoga journey in the spirit of ILYS’s motto – Practice – Teach – Shine. From their experience, they crafted a three-part blog post (stay tuned for parts two and three) to share their exciting and trasformative experiences! PRACTICE – teach – shine (from Brittany) PART ONE: I could NOT WAIT for this trip. Between my full time job, teaching several yoga classes every week, and my volunteer jobs that take up the rest of my time, I was really looking forward to taking a little mental breather where my phone wouldn’t work and I could not multitask. I began teaching right after my yoga teacher training was complete in October of 2013, and I was starting to have trouble making time for my own practice. As I’m sure is a struggle for lots of yoga teachers, maintaining a home practice, or at least a practice that they are not personally leading is vital to staying fresh and in touch with what is best for you and your students. On this trip, Sarah, Aparna, and I had planned to teach each other different styles of yoga that we had been wanting to try in front of a safe, nonjudgmental, audience. I (selfishly) was mostly looking forward to taking their classes! I just wanted some time to really dedicate to myself… since I had been neglecting my own practice since I started teaching. All of my time had been dedicated to making myself a better teacher, but in the process I forgot that being a good student reminds you what you need to do as the teacher! On this trip, in those four days, I practiced yoga. Not just asana, but mindful awareness of the present moment. When you’re on a warm sunny beach in Mexico, if you’re not present in the moment, you’re missing out. This has got to be one of the easiest places in the world to live mindfully. We meditated on the beach, under the sun. We even did a sweet walking meditation coordinating breathing pranayama with steps – although I’ll admit it was hard to concentrate on counting my breath while such beauty was all around me! Practicing with these ladies and having them teach me was both a pleasure and an honor. They have styles completely different from mine and it was just lovely. I came back refreshed and ready to be a better teacher for my students. It was exactly what I needed! By: Brittany Zick Check back soon for part two and hear Aparna talk about how she thrived in the teaching role in Mexico!

InnerLight Yoga School - Brittany

Student Spotlight – Brittany- Yoga Teacher Training Class of 2013

Meet Brittany- One of InnerLight Yoga School’s Teacher Training Graduates – Class of 2013 Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your interests and inspirations off the Yoga mat. A: I spend most of my time working as an automation engineer and I was looking for a little balance in my life. I started YTT because I love yoga and I enjoy teaching. Q: Can you share something about yourself that many people may not know? A: I am a karaoke addict. Q: What was the biggest surprise about your YTT experience? A: I came to YTT for a mental makeover, but was not sure what to really expect. I have been so pleasantly surprised how much it has actually improved how I feel. There is so much about this process that requires us as students to go inward and explore ourselves.  Susan gave us an assignment about “Finding your voice,” for which we had to answer questions and really take the time to think about these deep questions “ex: What is something that truly angers you?, When was the last time you cried?” This was a turning point for me. Being forced to really explore my feelings and having a structure to do it with was amazing. Q: When did you start practicing Yoga and why? A: About 10 years ago, I went to my first yoga class with my mom at the YMCA while I was in high school. We were just trying one new fitness class after doing aerobics, spin, kickboxing, etc. None of those classes fit me because I am NOT highly coordinated and I’d spend the class being frustrated because I could not follow the choreography and bike seats hurt. The yoga class was so much slower (which was good for me) and it was so challenging I was really surprised when sweat dripped off my eyelash in downdog – Ha!   Q: How has your perspective on Yoga changed since enrolling at InnerLight Yoga School? A: I look at Yoga as so much more than a workout now. I still use it to stretch out my muscles and gain strength and tone, but there’s more to gain than being proficient at asana. I use it therapeutically for my tight muscles and when I feel things are strained or pinched. I use it mentally to relax and keep my mind in a positive place. And experiencing these truly wonderful feelings inspire me as a teacher to pass those feelings on to my students. Q: What’s your favorite pose and why? A: I have so many favorite poses! I love headstand because it was the first goal I set for myself during my YTT that I achieved – practicing an inversion away from the wall. And pigeon. None of my practices are without pigeon (ironically this was also the first pose that made me laugh when I tried it because my body was soooo not ready for it). Q: What is your funniest and/or proudest Yoga moment? A: My proudest yoga moment was during one YTT weekend; I was teaching a short sequence to my fellow trainees. As I closed the class and the students opened their eyes, they couldn’t stop themselves from smiling because they were proud of me! Their support and genuine excitement for me was so special and it made me proud of myself too! Couldn’t be more proud of this amazing Graduate!  Congratulations Brittany!  

Student Spotlight – Alison

We’re so thrilled to be sharing another InnerLight Yoga School teacher training student spotlight with everyone today.  Meet Alison!  Read on for more about what inspires her Yoga practice and what her proudest Yoga moment has been to date.  Hope you enjoy!  As always, feel free to leave a comment for Alison at the bottom of the post.  Have a great day, everyone! PS – it’s also not too late to enter Week 2 of the triYOGA challenge.  Here’s how. Q:  Tell us a little about yourself and your interests and inspirations off the Yoga mat. Alison:  My story begins with my proudest accomplishment, my wonderful family. My husband and I met in college at the University of New Hampshire and in May of this year, we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.  We have two amazing daughters who inspire us with their positive attitudes and great zest for life. I have moved 12 times but Cape Cod, Massachusetts has always be a constant among all the change and I am lucky to know such a special place. I work full time as a Project Manager, enjoy traveling, staying active, keeping in touch with friends and, of course, yoga.  I am constantly inspired by the power a positive attitude has on life.  Q:  How have these inspirations shaped your Yoga practice? Alison:  My family has been my biggest cheerleader. They encouraged me to sign up for yoga teacher training and have supported me the entire way.  Bringing  the inspirational positive attitude to my practice everyday is so important.  As we all know, some days are better than others and a positive attitude always helps me appreciate the time on my mat with the gratitude it deserves.  Q:  Can you share something about yourself that many people may not know? Alison:  I was 5’10” tall in 6th grade. Q:  What motivated you to do Yoga Teacher Training? Alison:  Teacher training is something I’ve thought about for a few years but the top three motivating factors to do it now through InnerLight Yoga School were; #1 – Susan Jackson, #2 – Susan Jackson and #3 – Susan Jackson. Q:  What got you hooked on Yoga? Alison:  Savasana – Where else do you get to lay down, close your eyes and think about nothing after you exercise? Q:  What is your favorite inspirational quote? Alison:   “Life is a Boomerang” (author unknown but it could be me!) Q:  How has your perspective on Yoga changed since enrolling at InnerLight Yoga School? Alison:   I have a new awareness.  This includes – my body, my mind, my spirit, my posture, what I eat, what I read, what I say, what I think, my surroundings, people – EVERYTHING. I’m a whole new me or maybe I am just now aware of me! Q:  What’s your favorite pose and why? Alison:  Trikonasana.  My body loves Triangle pose.  The benefits I receive from this pose carry me through my day. I don’t let my day begin without a few good Trikonasanas. Q:  What is your proudest Yoga moment? Alison:  During one Teacher Training weekend, I accomplished a handstand, headstand and backbend. I never dreamed I could do them. What a feeling that was! Q:  What was the biggest surprise about your YTT experience? Alison:  The biggest and best surprise has been the relationships & friendships I have formed with my fellow teacher training yogis.  The support and love from these people, who I didn’t know 10 months ago, is amazing.

Latest Newsletter

Just in case you’re not on our newsletter mailing list, we wanted to share a quick link over to our latest newsletter that highlights all of the latest yoga happenings at InnerLight Yoga School in Cary, NC and the surrounding Raleigh area!  There’s even some new information about a complimentary yoga session Susan will be hosting in mid-October in Raleigh.   Just click here to view the newsletter: PS – If you haven’t signed up for newsletters but would love to, just click here.  We don’t spam you or give away your email address…promise.  Plus, you’ll only see us pop in your inbox every 30-45 days.

Student Spotlight-Peggy Ann Richards

Hi everyone!  We’re so excited to share yet another yoga teacher training student spotlight with you all today.  Please say hello to Peggy Ann!  She will be graduating along with the rest of the Class of 2013 a month from now. Q:  Tell us a little about yourself and your interests and inspiration off the Yoga mat. Peggy Ann:  I have been married for 41 years and have a daughter that lives on the west coast with her husband and a son living on the east coast with his family.  I became a grandmother less than 24 hours after starting yoga teacher training.  That is a lot of life changing and excitement for one weekend.  My background is in education with a Bachelors degree from Georgia State University and a masters from UNCW.  I have used this background for teaching and volunteering.  I love being outside which is one of the reasons I enjoy running, working in the yard, and travel. Q:  What motivated you to do Yoga Teacher Training? Peggy Ann:  I felt like Yoga Teacher Training with Susan was a wonderful opportunity, and the fact that it was being offered in my backyard, I knew I would have regrets if I did not seize the opportunity. Q: What was the biggest surprise about your Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) experience? Peggy Ann:  My biggest surprise about yoga teacher training is how close and important the people in my class have become.  We are a very diverse group each offering something different that has enhanced our learning experience.  It is a group effort to succeed on this journey with each individual giving love, support, and encouragement to one another.  We were told in the beginning how close we would become, but I am pretty sure none of us believed it until now, because it is something you have to experience for yourself. Q:  What is your favorite inspirational quote? Peggy Ann:  I was teaching a seva class for college students before their final exams and I used this quote.  “Promise me you’ll always remember:  you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”  -Christopher Robin to Pooh Q:  When did you start practicing Yoga and why? Peggy Ann:  About six years ago, I had “another” running injury and my daughter encouraged me to try yoga as a way to recover and prevent injury. Q:  What is your favorite pose? Peggy Ann:  I have a couple of favorite poses, but Balasana or Childs pose is the comfort zone.  Sometimes when I am going in 90 directions, I can go to balasana and breathe and after awhile my head will start to clear. Q:  How has your perspective on Yoga changed since enrolling at InnerLight Yoga School? Peggy Ann:  Yoga is no longer just a way to recover from or prevent injury.  It is a way of life. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and words of inspiration with us today, Peggy Ann.  If you have a comment or words of encouragement to leave Peggy Ann and the other 2013 class members, feel free to leave a comment below.