Yoga has become a go-to for anyone looking to improve their physical and mental well-being, Fortunately, we are blessed with professional instructors who dedicate their time, sometimes lives to deliver our much-needed dose of Zen. Blessed with the patience of angels, they ensure that we all leave class feeling at least a touch more blissful that when we arrived.
Have you ever wondered what goes on beyond the surface of their serenity? Do they ever experience times when the most spiritual thing they can do pour themselves a large glass of red or white and turn off their phone?
We spoke to very busy London based yoga instructor, Tracey Liles to find out.
TheTalko (TT): Hi Tracey, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. My first question is, what made you want to become a yoga instructor?
Tracey Liles (TL): I have always worked with the body through acting, yoga was an intrinsic part of connecting breath to body and being present to what is now what was or could be. When my Mother died suddenly and my relationship of fourteen years ended, I found my yoga my meditation practice nurturing and healing. It filled a void deeply and profoundly with love and kindness. It became my space to breathe. It was then I decided to take my yoga teacher training inspired by then teacher, Miro Kherson.
TT: What is a typical day like for you?
TL: There is no such thing as a typical day with yoga. You never know who will enter your studio and what they come with. You can plan a skeleton class but if the students are not suited then you have to breathe in to what’s in front of you. As such my day ends always so far from how I intended. I balance it with finding pockets of outdoor peace. Cycling from studio to studio and usually my day starts at dawn and ends just past dusk. It’s a joy indeed.
TT: What is the best thing about your job?
TL: It is without question watching people morph from caterpillars to butterflies. To see people shift within their practice be it physical or inner deepening. It is an honour and joy to witness.
TT: And what is the most challenging?
TL: At times you can stand before a class, maybe its your fifth of the day and you feel as if you have nothing left to give. No energy left and you are at a loss as to where to begin. The challenge is in trusting, getting yourself and the ego out [of] the way and trusting the yoga to flow. Asking people not to be in their phones in a yoga studio, ha! That is a pet hate. Increasingly we cannot sever from the virtual. Oh and getting people not to fidget in Tadasana, it’s a pose people.
TT: What's your cure for a bad day?
TL: It is my mat, going to hide at the back of a yoga class anonymous and moving without thinking. Breathing and letting it go. Coupled with tea and dark bitter chocolate. The world is a better place indeed with tea and chocolate. And I have a huge circle of friends spanning all professions. They always make me see the funny side of any situation.
PREVIOUSLY: KAPALBHATI YOGA CAN BUST BELLY FAT
Speaking to Tracey gave an incredible and humbling insight into the behind-the-scenes of a job many consider to be a walk in the park. It delivered a newfound respect for the wonderful teachers that continue to show up and give themselves to their students in hope of turning them into butterflies.
Her journey is inspiring and as for her hard work, quite frankly, it was exhausting just writing about it.
Yoga teachers like Tracey are a special gift and London is very lucky to have her.