Hello Blog Readers.
Today I have a Priorhouse Interview with Yoga Teacher Nancy Kim.
I wanted to feature some yoga teacher interviews last month (September) because it was National Yoga month, but yoga can be celebrated any month, right? Also, it is that time in my blogging life where I am ready to do some interviews. My goal is to share 50 interviews – not in any major hurry to reach the fifty mark – and I am starting this journey with three yoga teacher interviews.
Priorhouse Interview with Nancy Kim
How often do you teach yoga?
I usually teach 6-12 classes a week.
Favorite class to teach?
My favorite class to teach- is not quite a traditional yoga class- I like to weave in flowing movements and create unconventional combinations and in put them into a vinyasa sequence.
How long have you been teaching yoga?
I have been teaching for almost a year- it will be a year by October 2017. Yoga has gotten me through some very difficult times in my life. When I began my training, in August 2015, I was at a point in my life where I needed to feel like I was connecting with and contributing to my community in a way that was meaningful to me. Teaching yoga was a dream I had for quite a long while but it was always that – just a dream – until I decided to make it happen. I pooled all my savings and put it toward my 200-hour training with one of my favorite teachers, J. Miles, and I began my journey as a yoga teacher.
Any tips for someone who wants to teach yoga?
Figure out why you want to take teacher training.
How often do you practice yoga?
I practice yoga every day when I’m at home. It’s a little harder when I’m traveling.
Favorite yoga quote?
My favorite yoga quote is by Allison Dearling
“It ‘s about showing up to your mat consistently not knowing what is going to happen and being okay with that. It’ s about rehabilitating yourself and not believing the “experts” when they say you are too injured or too old. It’s about believing that you can do anything even if it’s the most scariest impossible thing you could ever dream of. It’s about uncovering who your really are. It’s about being kind to yourself so that you can then be kind to others. Yoga is about discovering that most of the crazy thoughts in your head are not true. It’s about being healthy without pushing yourself to your limit. It’s about slowing down to get strong. It’s about breathing and moving and smiling on the inside. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done, but also the best.”
Don’t laugh, but my favorite pose when I started teacher training was Savasana (Corpse pose) and I think it still is!!
Favorite place to do yoga?
Tough to say if I have a favorite place to do yoga. There are way too many venues to pick only one. So I’d say wherever there are people who can share a good “ohm” together.
Can you share a little bit about your yoga teacher training?
My instructor, J. Miles, is a co-founder of Project Yoga Richmond (PYR), a non-profit organization (in Richmond, Virginia) dedicated to making yoga more accessible. He passed along his passion for creating a yoga community that welcomes everyone, no matter who you are or where you come from. I currently volunteer at PYR as a check-in assistant, but I would love to be an ambassador for them someday and would love to help with their outreach in the Richmond area. In addition to helping PYR make yoga more accessible to others, I eventually want to earn my 500-Hour Teaching Certificate in Yoga Therapy. My overall aim is to deepen my knowledge of yoga so I can continue to provide further guidance to those interested in a therapeutic approach to yoga.
My 200-hour teacher training was in Vinyasa/Hatha Yoga, which provided instruction in a variety of subjects – such as the history of yoga, human anatomy, physical adjustments, Sanskrit, Ayurveda, a full break down of classical yoga poses, and readings of spiritual texts.
I have taken additional workshops for training in anatomy, adjustments, and trauma informed yoga.
Do you have any tips for beginning students?
Start where you are. What I mean by this is to let yourself be a beginner. Yoga is about so much more than being the most flexible person in the room. Yoga is all about your awareness, which comes from within you. Everyone is different so don’t compare yourself to someone else or how perfect your practice was yesterday. It is about the present moment, where you are…
Be faithful to yourself- meaning treat yourself as kindly as you would your best friend or loved one. This may mean taking a moment to reflect in between poses to catch your breath or using an extra blanket under your seat to make a pose a little sweeter.
Make it your own- meaning- modify the practice to work for you. For example, maybe you have an injury and you cannot reach the floor you can then bring the floor to you! Grab a couple of blocks and set them up so you can reach them. We are all different and what feels good to some of us may not be right for others.
Thanks so much for reading. And many thanks to Nancy Kim for allowing me to interview her for this blog series.
In closing, here are a few tidbits about why I asked Nancy for an interview.
Nancy has not been my teacher for very long, but she has a “teacher’s heart” and that exudes from her as she teaches. The styles and energy “put off” by various teachers covers a broad spectrum and after practicing yoga regularly, I started to become very picky about who I spent my hours with.
Nancy’s classes have this rippling “teacher’s heart” kind of energy (if that makes sense) and she also seems to have a plethora of new ideas to share. The analogy that came to mind comes from my son’s kindergarten teacher. When we lived in Northern California, my eldest son had this amazing teacher, Mrs. Henderson, who was fresh out of school. She brought all this zest and zeal to her classroom – with the latest in phonics, math, and learning strategies. We were already registered for a school in a “better” district and we were grandfathered in for the year, but I took a chance and kept him enrolled with Mrs. Henderson’s class. Well – – what a great call that was and when my son left her class, he was doing third grade math, writing little paragraphs, and reading so well. Our family was super blessed. She even let my youngest son visit her class (a few times) and he could say hello to the other students. Anyhow, Nancy’s fresh approach to teaching yoga is like Mrs. Henderson’s fresh ideas. Nancy sometimes incorporates props (but not too many) and offers fresh sequences that integrate traditional poses. I also love her music choices – almost always instrumental – and she plays it loud enough to where it enriches the class. (That is a personal preference about the music – and some folks like it off – or kept super quiet…. to each their own, eh?)
My favorite memory from one of Nancy’s classes comes from earlier this year.
I was having a rather busy few days and my mind was distracted. I had also missed a bunch of classes that month and so I was trying to get back into my regular schedule. So as the class unfolded, she said something about, “Not comparing today’s yoga class to any other classes you have had that might have been better than today’s class.” She was subbing for a teacher and I think she was just reminding students to stay open to her style…. but in my mind, I was thinking about comparing my own yoga output – which she later did ended up talking about – but at this class she was talking about comparing teacher guidance… and that day, I had not been to yoga regularly and I was feeling rusty. Her words about not comparing to “better classes we had before,” which led my mind racing back to the time I was progressing so much – like when I moved into crow and held it smoothly. Then I flashed back to one of Alec’s 2016 power yoga classes when I was also advancing in my practice. Even though yoga advancing cannot be measured the same for everyone – and Nancy reminds us that it is so much more than a pose – ahhhhh
So there I was… thinking that my yoga on this day would maybe be sub par….. As the class moved on – my mind was settling – as Nancy’s awesome music was playing – well I realized that I misunderstood her comment about not comparing “today’s yoga classes with other classes we have had” – She was referring to not comparing the teacher experience and the overall class instruction to other teacher’s we have had – she was not necessarily referring to each person comparing their individual performance that day. I kept cracking a smile as I realized my error – because it was funny how I was thinking – “yeah, today I might not be cranking out my best – not like the days I was “working it” good back in 2016….” lol. I told Nancy and we both laughed (I hope I explained the misunderstanding clear enough because it still makes me smile to think of it now).
If you tried yoga and did not like it – well I want to remind you that there are many different yoga styles and maybe there is a style – and teacher – that is right for you.
Please let me know if you have a favorite photo from this post. I like the opening trio collage and the one with the quote from Nancy.