Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do in the world.
I am a dancer, a bodyworker (trained in Esalen massage, deep tissue and Visionary Craniosacral Work™), reiki practitioner, and yogini who has been teaching yoga since 2007. I am also a singer and musician who does sound healing and is finally ready to share my voice with the world.
What does being a yoga teacher mean to you?
Being a yoga teacher means a lot to me. Most importantly, it means truly being a yogini and living my life in accordance with the principle teachings of yoga (such as ahimsa, non-violence). If I don’t practice what I preach and walk my talk, then I am living a life out of integrity.
There have been times in my yoga “career” where I was so busy running around teaching that I didn’t have time to actually practice. Without practicing, one can’t possibly teach from a place ALIVE inside. A transmission can happen when you are in the space with a teacher who lives their practice. You can literally feel the dedication to their yoga… as everything is energy… including our ability to feel it, cultivate it, move it in our bodies as we learn when we practice… and to give/receive it. I feel there is a responsibility and dedication to living and sharing a balanced peaceful life as a yoga teacher, or even a yoga student for that matter.
What role has it played in your life so far and where would you like to take it?
When I first received my 200-hours in 2006, I was very blessed. Doors opened up quite quickly. I was very fortunate to live the dream of being a full-time yoga teacher in San Francisco for many years. It enabled me to share the practice that literally saved my life from living inauthentically (in advertising) for a decade! I can not give enough thanks for that.
My experience as a yoga teacher has shifted, partially as a result of watching the changes in yoga in the West since ’99 when I first started. While at the same time, feeling called to learn how to weave what I was learning in yoga and apply it to other healing modalities. I was fortunate to have experiences through learning Ayurveda, massage, Visionary Craniosocral Work™, travel, and working with plant medicine that healed and inspired my life as much, if not more than my yoga practice ever did.
In the past few years, I have begun leading international yoga retreats with fellow collaborators which weave all of these modalities into experiences I can share with others. The transformation I have watched people go through in these gatherings, partially because they are out of an urban dwelling and so deeply immersed in nature, is beyond magical. Continuing and expanding these offerings is where I see my yoga taking me… not me taking it. I’m along for the lifelong ride! It started the first day I stepped onto the mat.
What are you personally learning from being a yoga teacher?
I am learning how to truly be of service. I am learning how to stay present. I am learning I have gifts to share. I am learning so does everyone else. I am learning how to breathe. I am learning how to be breathed. I am learning you don’t always have to perfect. I am learning to walk and fall with grace. I am learning to be humble. I am learning to always speak from a place of truth. I am learning to show up just as I am. I am learning to be in the moment, again and again and again. I am learning I love to share my voice. I am learning the power of mantra and mudra. I am learning the importance of community. I am learning unconditional love. I am learning how much I have to learn.
What’s your practice like?
My practice has definitely shifted over the years. I started off regularly taking vinyasa classes, as it fed my vata (Ayurveda dosha with predominant air quality). I needed to release pent up energy that was in my body from a stressful corporate life. Yet, it wasn’t really what I truly needed and was more of a work-out than a balanced, safe and peaceful practice. So, I studied and practiced everything from Jivamukti to Anusara to Ashtanga to Iyengar to Kundalini. After a decade of searching, I came home to Shadow Yoga and dove in deep for many years. My time with Shadow Yoga has also shifted but it strongly influences my practice and teaching.
If I had to describe both my personal practice (which changes every day based on what my body/mind/sprit needs in that day/moment) and my teaching style, I’d say it is a gentle to sometimes medium-paced flow practice, influenced by Shadow Yoga and my life as a dancer… super focused on deep stretching, spiral joint movements, uddiyana bandha (belly “lock” that pulls energy into the dantian/hara or energy center), pranayama (breathwork) and complete presence.
What other parts of your life/lifestyle support you to teach and/or do your practice?
I feel very blessed to have a life dedicated to Spirit. I have been part of a Native American Church in the Bay area for many years now and very often participate in a weekly pipe/prayer circle. It has been as integral to me as my yoga practice. It is a chance to connect with like-minded community (much like we do in the yoga studio) and to hear/share our prayers. It can be vulnerable, humbling, inspiring and so very supportive of honoring my intentions. I constantly receive reflection on how/why it is of such importance to share the teachings and gifts I have been given with others.
I have also been learning about and working with plant medicine for many years. I have traveled extensively to learn and heal in various ceremonies that have served to completely support and inspire my personal work and the work/service I share with the world. I could not be more grateful to the myriad of teachers I have been gifted to learn from in this lifetime, including those that grow straight from Mother Earth’s soil.
If there is a main message you want your work/teaching to convey, what is it?
Accept yourself just as you are…
in this exact moment, that is ever changing.
Living in the past is story, the future is imagination but this moment is a gift. There is no need to worry, ever, about anything. It will only cause dis-ease. We create our own reality, so think positively. With complete presence, breathe into your being… your healthy strong body… your calm clear mind… and your vitally alive Spirit… so that you truly know and deeply feel the Union (yoga) of all that is… that we are truly One. OM SHANTI!
Wendy’s website: wendyfaith.com
Yoga & dance clothing provided by: Queen of Hearts Clothing