A Yogini Takes Flight Enjoying life from above… Meet Alicia…that’s (Ah-lee-sea-ah). Alicia recently graduated from ILYS in 2015. During her journey we asked her to share a little bit about herself and her yoga. Of course we couldn’t just keep this to ourselves so we want to shine a spotlight on this beautiful and intriguing soul. She embodies strength, creativity, and passion. Her heart is golden and we hope that you enjoy meeting this incredible woman as much as we did! Alicia, thank you for sharing with us, we are forever grateful! ILYS: Tell us a little about yourself… Alicia: I’m 22 years old and currently putting myself through college. I am at Wake Technical Community College and transferring to UNCG as a business major. I hope to acquire all the proper business skills to be able to maintain my own yoga and aerial arts studio one day. I love to go on adventures and explore new things. Growing up in a small town I didn’t have a lot to do or the resources to do so. Now I take as many opportunities as I can to see this beautiful world and experience life changing things. I also love to record my yoga and aerial arts journey daily. It is like a visual diary. Recording my progress over the last year has really helped me strive to find myself and to reach my full potential. It has been great to receive feedback from friends, family, and complete strangers. I have watched myself grow in to a yogini, aerialist, and the true Alicia Jurado. ILYS: What first peaked your interested in Yoga? Alicia: I made a new years resolution in 2014 to start a yoga practice and stay with it. My goal for that year was to become physically and mentally healthy. I practiced daily and fell madly in love with yoga. ILYS: Do you have a favorite style of Yoga that you practice most often? What draws you to this style? Alicia: I really like the Vinyasa style of yoga. I love to flow and create new sequences on the ground but I also love aerial yoga! I am an aerialist so I like to take my yoga to the next level in the aerial fabric. ILYS: What is the most surprising/profound thing you’ve encountered on your Yoga journey? Alicia: During my yoga journey I have discovered that I AM capable to do absolutely anything I aspire to do. I never in a million years thought I would be able to bend or move in the ways that I can. My yoga journey has really molded me into a completely different person. I greet each day with a positive attitude and finally found my purpose. Before yoga I felt so lost and like my life didn’t have a meaning. Yoga has shown me that my life does have a purpose, I do matter, I can do anything I want to do, and that I can be anything I want to be. ILYS: What inspired you to begin Yoga Teacher Training? Alicia: When I was I growing up I always thought I wanted to be a teacher. I realized after taking some courses to teach in a classroom that I didn’t exactly want to be in that particular setting. I’ve always loved movement, always dreamed of being a gymnast or dancer but was never given the opportunity to. At the end of 2014 I started to feel like I needed to start to head in the direction of my dreams. I always really enjoy teaching my friends and family yoga. They all encouraged me to look into starting a Yoga Teacher Training program. I looked all over the Triangle to find the one that best suited me and InnerLight really stuck out to me. ILYS: What words do you live by? Alicia: We are capable of so much. Don’t be afraid to try new things. If you never try something then you never will know the outcome. Get out there and find your full potential! You will amaze yourself and blow everyone else away. ILYS: How do you live your Yoga off the mat? Alicia: I love this question. Yoga isn’t all about the asana. There is so much more to it and that’s why I love discovering more about yoga and myself each day. I try to take what I learn about myself on the mat into daily life and apply it in all aspects of my life. I have learned patience with myself and others is extremely important. We all are at different places in our lives and grow at different speeds but patience is essential to function in a healthy and positive way. Life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies so I try to remember that there are always darker days before brighter ones. Which means, keep going, your goals are achievable, it may take some battles to get through but it’s worth it in the end. Be patient, trust the journey, and never stop believing in yourself. ILYS: What is one thing that most people do not know about you? Alicia: My other passion is practicing aerial arts! I love practicing in my aerial silks and aerial hoop. I started my aerial journey a couple months after I began practicing yoga in 2014. I found an awesome circus studio in downtown Raleigh and couldn’t believe I had the opportunity to practice and perform something so beautiful. After one aerial silks class I was hooked! I invested in my own equipment and started practicing as much as I could whenever I couldn’t make it to a class. Being an aerialist and a yogini has been one awesome life experience! ILYS: Where is your favorite place to spend time “unplugged?” Alicia: I love to spend my time by the water or in nature. Some of my favorite places to flow are at local lakes around the Raleigh area. This is the time I take to be away from […]
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!
A Journey to the Heart of Yoga Teacher Training By: Susan C Jackson “Life is a journey, not a destination.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson What exactly is Yoga Teacher Training? Taken at face value, it is exactly that: a program designed to teach yoga students how to become yoga teachers. We practice poses (Asana) and their mechanics, study anatomy, learn methodology for effective teaching (of ourselves and others), and through it all, become more disciplined in our own personal practice on our mats. We breathe together, move together, and meditate together. In fact, it’s pretty amazing how much one’s personal practice evolves in the course of 9 months of intense study. So what makes InnerLight Yoga School, different from just any old training program? “Not only did I learn about the asana part of yoga, the history of Yoga and different kinds of Yoga but I also learned so much about myself. InnerLight Teacher Training was an unbelievable journey and it has changed my life forever.” – A.E. – ILYS Class of 2013 Things are rarely what they seem at the surface [of the mat]. If we truly want to live deeply and happily we must begin at the depth of our being: we commit to digging deeper, we give ourselves permission to take risks, and we learn to live fearlessly not just on our mats but off of them. Thanks to Ralph Waldo Emerson, most of us have been inspired multiple times to ‘go with the flow in good times and in bad’ by his famed quote: “Life is a journey, not a destination.” These simple and inspiring words convey a great truth that this moment, here and now, is the only moment we truly have. So why stop at mere inspiration when we have the flame of transformation already within us? Below the surface of InnerLight Yoga Teacher Training lies exactly that, and invitation to look at our whole journey – what drives us, who are we at our very core, and what is our purpose (Darshana) and path (Sadana) is in life? “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” -Steve Jobs When I envisioned InnerLight Yoga School I was determined that it would be more than just a teacher training program, more than just a place where students could improve the physical part of their practice and learn about someone else’s Yoga. Either this school would live up to its name and its philosophy or cease to exist. So what is the philosophy? There is of course the long “official” version but simply put, YOU are the philosophy. ILYS is a safe haven for you to learn more about yourself through the study of yoga…but not my Yoga, or the sage’s Yoga,…but a Yoga that is truly your own. “I came to ILYS looking for improvement in my asana practice and I was hoping for a bit of a mental makeover. My experience far exceeded my expectations; my individual practice makes me feel so empowered and confident (I can’t thank all of the instructors enough for inspiring me to try new and challenging poses!). The biggest thing I took away from my experience however, is self-acceptance: a willingness to accept my weaknesses along with my strengths. This has already changed my life and keeps me motivated to continue my […]
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!
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.