James Dickinson - June 07 2021
How important are the social aspects of yoga to you?
It is very important to me to build up relationships with my pupils so I can see them go through a journey and develop. I am not saying that it is all about transformation but it’s just so rewarding seeing someone going from not knowing what yoga is, seeing how it influences them and helping them make positive choices in their lifestyle. From a personal point of view, I feel much more comfortable teaching a class of people that I know.
Do you think that the digital world has changed how we interact with people?
Of course. As yoga teachers we are no longer allowed to be introverts and are expected to showcase our skills on a platform that is available for anyone to see. If you don’t conform to this expectation, then people start thinking that there is something wrong with you. I love teaching and connecting with my pupils but when it comes to social media, I sometimes struggle to understand the return from the effort involved. I am so grateful that when I started as a Yoga teacher that social media did not exist, pupils just attended, and teachers taught. On the other hand, Zoom classes have become a comfort to me, it’s not daunting, I do not get anxious and I enjoy the experience. Now the lockdown is opening up, I am keen to get back to teaching face to face and I am looking to Zoom as a supplement.
You have taught Yoga in Essex and now in the west-midlands. Has it been a difficult move?
I have to keep reminding myself that when I was a teacher in Essex, it did not happen overnight and that is so easy to forget. Not only that but I have only been teaching online for the last 6 months or so and I will need time to find my own way. Several of the biggest players in online fitness are still learning how to manage the platform and build their respective businesses. Either way it is important that the growth is organic and sustainable.
Do you think that you teach better in front of strangers?
Sometimes friends ask me to cover their Yoga classes and I am flattered by their offers. However, I sometimes find it intimidating teaching a group of people who I do not know. You get over this fairly quickly and then just get on with what you do and teach what you know.
Have you always been a Yoga teacher?
Well, I used to work in offices and for me it was not a positive environment, I just got used to taking all the hits and not saying no. During my last office job, I had a manager who I eventually opened up to. It was the first time that I could talk about things honestly and she didn’t mind so long as I got the work done. It was strange, after finding a team of people who fully accepted me and that I got on with…I guess it gave me the confidence to do what I really wanted and become a yoga teacher full time. Pregnancy also played a part, I was told specifically not to sit in a chair that was jinxed, after a few weeks of handing in my resignation I was pregnant.
Do you think that yoga is good for pregnancy?
Yes, definitely. Every pregnancy and everybody is different. On my first, I was teaching all the way through my pregnancy and my pupils were wondering how big I could get while teaching. I stopped teaching yoga 3 days before giving birth! Yea! I was riding on the waves of good positive vibes. I was just so grateful for everything, the pregnancy, my pupils and the support. Yoga can help massively in healing and recovery. Because of all of that I was back teaching 3 weeks later. No matter what the sport and you have a good group of people around you then that is all that matters. That is why things have to happen organically, commercialisation can work for some people but how real is it? Everyone’s measure of success is different.
When does a yoga teacher feel that they are advanced enough to teach other people?
Well that’s a difficult one. The more that you know, the less you realise you know and many of us try to measure where we are and where we will be. We are all learning continuously and sometimes this can be really exhilarating, while at other times extremely frustrating. The most important thing is to keep going.
Do you do meditative practice?
No. I would like to and acknowledge that breathing plays a vital part in my practice. Currently I like my coffee too much and as a mother with a hectic lifestyle, it can be difficult to make the changes needed in your practice. Ten years ago I did not think that meditation was that important but I can totally see that this would be beneficial to my classes.
Does yoga provide you a break from the daily grind?
It’s a massive break but also it is how it is used. If it is being used on as a daily escape from the stresses and strains of one’s life, then that is fine. But if there is an overreliance on it for one’s mental health, patterns can form and a lack of focus on resolving the underlying issues may occur. An hour of yoga a day will never relieve the stresses of an overburdened individual. For me personally, it provides clarity and a positive energy for the rest of the day but this may be achieved through a number of activities depending on the person such as going in the garden or going for a walk. It is important to not use yoga as a mask for underlying issues or problems. This occurs more frequently than most people assume.