OCTOBER 2, 2019
One thing that makes Alë such an amazing teacher is that she continues to sit in the seat of being a student with a willingness and openness to keep learning. The best students are the best teachers. In the midst of an intensive yoga therapy teacher training Alë took the time to share with us some of her trainings, who her most inspired teachers are and what a typical day looks like for her. Learn a little more about this incredible Yogini and meet her on your mat at Yoga Santosha Kensington Sundays @10:00 am (Peak Inspired), and @6:00 pm (Hot Hatha), Tuesdays @9:30 am (Therapeutics), and @8:00 pm (Peak Inspired), Fridays @12:00 pm (Therapeutics). You will find her at Yoga Santosha Mission on Sundays @2:00 pm (Therapeutics) and Mondays @7:30 pm (Therapeutics).
Alë you have so many gifts to offer. One of the classes you teach is Therapeutics. Can you please share with us where you took your training and what those classes offer.
I’ve studied with (and continue to study with) Danielle Pechie of Back to Mobility (formerly Yoga Therapy & Bodywork) to learn Critical Alignment Therapy (CAT) and movement therapy in general. This forms the foundation of the Therapeutics classes we offer at the studio. I study with Danielle once a week at her studio where we work with a combination of the CAT props (felt pads, black straps, head standing and back bending benches) along with advanced asana (inversions, arm balances, back bends). Last month I went to Toronto to do a 6 day yoga therapy immersion training with Susi Hately. Susi’s model incorporates awareness of oneself as well as the client/student to develop an individualized therapy plan to help the client feel ease in their body and as a result get them out of pain. Susi’s background includes her degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology (same as me) as well as her yoga therapy training in India along with a couple decades of experience working with clients and helping them get out of pain. I plan to do an 800 hour apprenticeship with Susi over the coming year to really hone in on my ability to see what a student is working with and to assist them in bringing ease into their life.
The therapeutics classes we offer at the studio focus on aligning the spine to create space in all of the joints (including hips and shoulders) and the overall body. We move slowly in order to cultivate an awareness of the inner space so that we can connect with ourselves through our breath and the pose that we are in to really pay attention to what the body is trying to tell us. Our bodies are always trying to tell us things but most of the time we either miss the message or override it.
I would also love to ask you about Vipassana and how that has influenced your teaching.
My experience at Vipassana (10 day silent meditation retreat) was easily the most profound of my life. It changed everything from how I experience my breath to my relationship with my mind and how often I am held back by the doubt or anxiety that lives in the mind. Through the experience I cultivated a very acute awareness of myself in all ways, from how I think and how that impacts how I feel to the thoughts and experiences that live in the back of the mind which I normally don’t get around to noticing. With this awareness I learned that I am not a slave to my mind and my thoughts do not hold me captive. Thoughts are just that- thoughts. They have no power over me unless I give meaning to them and indulge in them, then the body will start to react to them which can cause suffering. As a result of this awareness and deep connection to myself I’ve become a much stronger and more articulate teacher, by being aware of myself I have created much more meaningful connections with my students. I am so grateful for this.
What does life look like off your mat? Give us a glimpse of a typical day.
The first thing I do when I wake up is use the washroom and wash my face then I get my dog up and cuddle with him, after that I let him out for a pee and then I feed him and hop in the shower. Once I’m showered and ready I take Jasper to the dog park and then I come home and have my smoothie for breakfast, after this I head off to teach my morning class which is sometimes followed by a lunch class. My afternoons are usually free unless I have a private and I spend them meditating, doing a home practice, getting some work done and taking Jasper back to the dog park. Most evenings I teach with the exception of a couple where I like to spend conscious time with my partner, Steph or friends and maybe catching some live music (and hopefully dancing!) when I can. When I’m not teaching in the morning I usually practice a class, every Thursday morning I practice with one of my teacher’s Danielle Pechie of Back to Mobility and other classes at Santosha.
Who are your teachers/mentors?
Ram Dass, Ekhart Tolle, Oprah, East Forest, Susi Hately, Danielle Pechie, Jeff Mah, Ally Bogard, Celeste Needham, Tanis Fishman, Shivani Howe.. to name just a few!
Alë you are one of ours. Thank you for being you. Magical.