Why Vinyasa yoga: Q & A
An Interview with teachers Kristen Folkens and Mary Renee on their upcoming 40 hour Training...
Advanced Vinyasa Practice, Complex Sequencing, & Creative Community.
Q. Why do you practice vinyasa yoga?
Mary: I first began practicing Ashtanga yoga. It was the perfect practice for me because I was lacking discipline and had an overactive mind. The intensity of the practice had a grounding effect. Then I began to be a bit more creative with my practice, and would sequence according to what I needed. It became very clear to me that the postures and breathwork have the ability to not only change your body, but shift your energetic state. Therefore, what I currently love about practicing Vinyasa is that there is always an opportunity to heal or improve your physical/mental/energetic state with the right sequencing of poses and breathwork.
Kristen: As an ex-dancer with a highly active mind, vinyasa yoga was the way I came home to myself. While I do practice more gentle styles of yoga now, I fell in love with yoga through the challenge of vigorous flows and the community of practitioners dancing together on breath. It sounds cheesy but most days I’d rather practice yoga with people than have conversation, I believe there is a feeling of coming together that happens so naturally in this practice.
Q. Why would someone take 40 hours of Vinyasa training instead of just going to class?
Mary: In training there is time for questions, an opportunity for dialogue and room for real exploration. Although you can find some of this in a public class, there is an additional level of depth in a training because of the personal attention and the support of your fellow trainees.
Kristen: Simple answer is for 500-hour credit, but the long answer is that 200 hours is not enough! You can get more personal attention from senior teachers with both vinyasa and yoga therapy backgrounds. This means that as you go deeper into advanced practice you can have a guide, learn precaution, and take real responsibility for your practice long-term and that of your students. You will also get tricks of the trade that took us both years (if not decades) to discover. This will ultimately help you to stand out in the extremely saturated yoga market we are in, but more importantly to grow your students with building blocks that you can chew on for a lifetime (or more).
Q. Why are you inspired to teach this training?
Mary: I am very lucky that I get to teach what I love and am passionate about. What inspires me most is being able to share some of the things that make this such a beautiful practice, from creative/therapeutic sequencing to exploring the depths of yoga philosophy as a daily practice.
Kristen: Mainly safety (as there is a lot of crazy stuff being taught out there in the wild west of yoga), but also progression, creativity, and paying it forward. Essentially I wish I had it when I was a new vinyasa teacher. Additionally, I believe vinyasa yoga gets a bad reputation for seemingly being one-sided around working out or doing more physically difficult poses, but as a yoga therapist and vinyasa practitioner there is SO MUCH MORE to it than that, and there is no reason we can’t appreciate this beautiful dance of a practice for what it truly can be!
Q. Who is this training for? Not for?
Kristen/Mary: This is an intense training for someone who is ready to dive in. For any serious practitioner that wants multiple workshops on advanced postures, sequencing patterns, and a safe place to practice using their teaching voice or deeper assists. This is not for anyone with major injuries or a casual practice. You do not have to be a teacher (in the formal sense, as we all have a teacher within).
Q. Last year was the first time you offered this training. What did you enjoy the most and what would you like to improve upon this time around?
Mary: Last year we had a group of about 10 yogis. It was amazing to have such a small and dedicated group. The intimate setting and openness of the group allowed us to have an evolving dialogue throughout the training. Seeing how the trainees responded to their fellow practitioner’s feedback regarding their sequencing, alignment, etc, showed me how beneficial it is to have a supportive community. So this is what I enjoyed most and also what I want to emphasize in this year’s training.
Kristen: It felt like we were just freediving in last year whereas this year we’ve got our scuba gear ready ;) My favorite thing about it was having the space to yoga nerd out with serious practitioners. Rarely do we get this kind of opportunity. Many times as teachers we feel like separate lone wolves out there teaching to people who enjoy yoga but would maybe not consider themselves die hard yoga loving connoisseurs, but with this training you can now come howl with the pack!