The following is from an interview with Tracy Weber, my original yoga teacher.
- Why and when did you start practicing yoga? 1996, during a dark night of the soul, depressed, with an eating disorder. I felt so good and grounded from yoga, I knew if it could help me, it could help anyone!
- What do you specifically appreciate about Viniyoga? The breath connection and presence, and the look in people’s eyes after class. A spark!
- Any yoga horror stories? Too many to list! Farting when I was adjusting someone’s head in shavasana comes to mind. Another time while teaching, during a stretch, I split the back of my pants.
- Most humbling moment as a teacher? I usually share a few thoughts before we begin the asana. A woman would always come to my YMCA class 10 minutes late. I finally gentle, kindly asked her if it is difficult to arrive on time, and she said “I purposely show up late to avoid listening to your psychobabble!”
- What would you tell people interested in trying yoga for the first time? If you don’t like it, don’t quit. Try another teacher or style until your body purrrs ………. I’m biased, but I feel there is a yoga for every body.
- What are the most important qualities of a great yoga teacher? Authenticity, humility, kindness, and one who is doing the inner work and has a spiritual practice (not just asana).
- Kate (the yoga teacher/sleuth in my series) has anger management issues, but she uses yoga to mitigate them. What challenges do you face, and how does yoga help you overcome them? I have no issues–except denial! Truthfully, I feel like it may take several lifetimes before I truly love myself, sigh. Practice practice practice …..
- Who is your yoga hero? Krishnamacharya. Talk about devoted and committed! Not too many yogis like that these days.
- What would you change about the American yoga scene, if you could? I’m trying to stop controlling everything so I think I’ll just let it be! I’m thrilled that 36 million Americans are now doing yoga, including 10 million men, according to a recent study. It has to start somewhere, but again, I wish there was more breath connected, gentle, slow, traditional yoga aimed less at developing six pack abs and more on ahimsa (nonviolence), satya (truthfulness) and ishwara pranidhana (honoring the inner divine).