Profile of a yoga teacher : Audrey, the peaceful kindness

Hey everyone ! This is my first article in english in my yoga blog. This is a special opportunity to share with you the profile of Audrey Lane, a US yoga teacher. I’ve met last march, in France in Marseille, during a forrest yoga workshop led by Sita Menon, a forrest yoga guardian. Audrey was just in front of me. She was the unique english people of the workshop. She seemed so calm and have a beautiful smile on her face. It is not obvious to come in a foreign country and to share vibrant moment above all when many people do not speak very well your language.

Audrey is very smart and I really appreciate the way she listens to you. There is a sort of peaceful kindness in her eyes and smile. She is so humble .. and she loves what she does. She is curious and you are gonna to discover an amazing people.

Please take time to read this article and to discover what is yoga for Audrey. I hope this can be the opportunity for you to define once again what is yoga for you. By meeting so many wonderful people, I’ve found a complete practice of love.

If you can, go to INNERSTELLAR STUDIO in Berkeley (near San Francisco) to meet her !

Audrey, thank you very much for your testimony and I am SO EXCITED to share your profile here. It is for me the first time I write in english and in french !

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Audrey, what is your yoga training?

I did my first training in Vinyasa Yoga at Yoga to the People. After that I did my Forrest Yoga training with creatrix Ana Forrest and Jose Calarco.

How many years have you been a teacher?

Almost 10 years.

How did you come to the decision to be a teacher? Why did you take training?

I have always been a teacher of many things but before teacher training none of them related to moving the body. I took teacher training because I was very much searching in my life and I knew I wanted to be around other yoga people and learn more about why I wasn’t so drawn to this kind of movement. It was something I knew that I really wanted to do from my first time taking Vinyasa Yoga. When I signed up for teacher training I was very scared of the idea that I could be a yoga teacher but I just knew that I wanted to spend more time learning about yoga and training was the way to do that. Sometime during training I realized that I wanted more than anything to be of service to others and hold space for them to feel. Even though I was terrified and even though I thought I would never be good enough to, I made it my mission to be a teacher.

Did you practice a lot before?

Yes! Two years before doing training my New Year’s resolution was to go to yoga 2x a week. It’s the only resolution that I’ve ever consciously made and kept. Soon, 2x a week wasn’t enough and I started taking class 3x a week then 4 and eventually every day.

What yoga do you teach (we agree that we only talk about postural, yoga being yoga)?

I mostly teach Forrest Yoga these days as developed by Ana Forrest. I also teach Vinyasa Yoga. I teach weekly classes at Innerstellar Yoga in Berkeley.

What would be the definition of yoga for you?

For me, yoga is happening all the time. It is not just about the poses but it is how I do everything. If I was to make one definition I would say that yoga is mindfully and consciously breathing to connect more to oneself and more to the oneness in all of us.

What do you like in your personal yoga practice?

In my personal practice, I like to move a lot. I love backbends and inversions and anything where I get to feel my strength. There is something really exciting about doing a pose I had previously thought I couldn’t do.

What do you like when you are a yoga teacher?

72423375_547260849150383_8687213230432452608_nAs a yoga teacher, I love being able to hold space for anyone who shows up. As a new teacher, I loved teaching huge, 50+ person classes- sweaty, fast paced vinyasa classes. There’s something incredible about the energy of a big group. More recently, I’ve really been enjoying teaching smaller groups of students Forrest Yoga. Forrest is a really different way of working where the student is asked to slow down and feel. It makes me feel more vulnerable to teach Forrest because it asks me to take my shields down. Regardless of the size or kind of yoga, I love working with students to put down their shields and feel. Regular practitioners, regardless of what poses they can do, as such a joy to teach because they are willing to drop in and do the hard work that yoga requires.

What is your most important yama or nyama for you?

Ahimsa – doing no harm and Svadyaya- self study are both very important to me. I have been vegan for most of the last 10 years and it’s important to me that I eat in a way that doesn’t harm other living things. But Ahimsa goes far beyond that for me and is really important in communication with other. While sometimes we can’t help it, it’s important to me to communicate clearly in a way that is not purposely harmful to the person I’m communicating with or about anyone we are communicating about. For me this is where Svadyaya comes in. I will spend more time with myself than with anyone else during my life so it’s important to me that I like myself and I’m continuing to get to know myself better. This is also the niyama I encourage most in my teaching. Self study and non harming is a daily practice for me that I consciously work to embody in everything I do.

What is the book (or books) that has marked you most in your yoga path? Did one teacher in particular score you more than another? Why ?

Fierce Medicine by Ana Forrest is definitely the book that has most inspired my yoga journey. I met Ana while taking her workshop at a Yoga Journal Conference in NYC in 2013. I remember the first time she talked directly to me was at the beginning of one of her workshops. I had moved my head quickly to get my hair out of my face. She pointed at me with such a no bullshit attitude and said, “Watch that, your neck doesn’t need that.” I appreciate teachers who are willing to be direct and tell the truth, regardless of how it could be receive. I knew from that first workshop that I wanted to teach Forrest. I picked up her book because her style of teaching was so intriguing and I wanted more. When I first started her book I was actually annoyed many times. She says right at the beginning that she starting drinking at a very young age- something like 4 years old. I didn’t believe her- I thought she was exaggerating even though now I know of course she wasn’t. Then later in the book she asks us to stop and do a very deep process called Death Meditation during the book. I was so annoyed I had to stop and meditate instead of just reading her story. But I stopped and I did the Death Meditation one night as the sun was setting. This meditation- where you meditate in a very real way on your own immediate mortality- ended up being a pivotal meditation that changed the course of my life.

If you have to give advice to a beginner in yoga, what would it be?

Breath and feel. Don’t worry about being “good at it”- breath and feel and everything else will take care of itself.

What would you like to develop further? A particular project?

71645401_1428299673989133_5059243841421312_nI’m currently about to finish my 300 hour Forrest Yoga training. This has been so exciting because I’ve gotten to work with lots of different Forrest Yoga Guardians and I’ve learned for each of them. I have two more modules for the training that I’m completing in the next few months. I also will get to assist Ana and Jose again next year and I’m so excited for that experience.

Pole dancing is a big part of my movement practice. For the past two year, in addition to yoga, I’ve danced several times a week. Pole dance sparks something in my that is different from yoga but also so similar. I love the strength work that I need to do to be able to do pole tricks and I love the sensuality of dancing freely. I can’t imagine my life without either form of movement and there’s no way I would have started dancing if it weren’t for my yoga training. I have a dream to one day own a Forrest Yoga and Pole Dance studio. To my knowledge it has never been done! Perhaps one day I’ll be the first!

Do you have a posture that you like in particular? Which ? Why ?

My favorite posture changes over time but one of my all time favorites is forearm balance. I love it because it makes me feel strong and I love balancing and riding the waves of my breath.

What part of this can I do?

Do you have a phrase, particular mantra, that you really like?

One phrase I first heard from Ana that I’ve kept close was, What part of this can I do?’ I remember her mentioning this during a workshop when she had offered a hard pose. She said something like, “This took me years to figure out and I’m just giving it to you.” To me this is a reminder I hold close in both yoga and every part of my life. When there is a big task at hand, I can simply take a breath and consider, “What part of this can I do?” and I only have to do that part. It helps me to begin and be able to move forward from wherever I am.

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