What does a typical day look like for you?
I love the fact that I no longer have a “typical day” as each one is varied which I love. As well as teaching most days, more Restorative classes than Hatha, I also volunteer with Crisis and my borough (Waltham Forest). Being of service is important to me and I alternate weekly as I have become busier with yoga but don’t want to give up either role (Admin & Befriending).
I’m enjoying teaching in community spaces which is starting to increase as I’m approached for my connections with social prescribing and community classes.
My own yoga practice varies too as I listen to what I need; which is not always a physical practice it could be mediation, being of service or reading yogic texts which I am trying to do more. I am also aiming to attend at least 1 in person class with another teacher each week for both development and support.
How did your yoga journey begin and what inspired you to become a yoga teacher?
Curiosity took me into my first yoga class in 2006. My interest in yoga and practice deepened over the years since meeting my teacher Anna Ashby in 2007. As I approached 50 (48, thought long & hard!) I knew it was time to plan how to exit my long HR career, I believe the space and clarity that yoga provides me with helped me to arrive at the decision to join Anna and Tony Watson on the 350 hour yoga teacher training at triyoga (much love to TT22!) in 2017 aged 50!
Once qualified (2019) the decision was made to leave HR completely after working part time in both HR and teaching yoga; it truly felt as though yoga was my calling, it felt so special to share the practice I gained so much from with others. Notice handed in, new classes booked, my P45 was dated 10 March 2020 and you know that happened next…the national lockdown.
I literally cried when studios had to close and all the classes planned for my new yoga career were dashed but thank goodness for Zoom and deep friendships that led to a connection with owner and MD of Yogamatters, Twanna Doherty*, now a dear friend.
Deepest gratitude to Twanna for her trust in me that led to the awesome opportunity of being Yogamatters Community Leader from April 2021 to December 2022 that I truly believe elevated my yoga career.
What inspired you to specialize in restorative yoga?
The quote below answers this question, it is taken from my contribution to Anna’s book Restorative Yoga | Power, Presence and Practice for Teachers and Trainees. Honoured to have been a model and shared my experience of Restorative Yoga, thank you so much Anna.
“ I teach Restorative Yoga because I want to share the benefits I have had from the practice over many years with others. Plus, I genuinely believe that society could do more to promote the importance of pause. That said, I believe the pandemic has helped people to slow down a bit more and realise what is important to them”.
How have you seen yoga benefit your students?
A student shared recently that they have become more present in their practice and not irritated or distracted by other things going on like the late student rattling the door!
Do you have a favourite quote or life motto?
“Your posture should be steady and comfortable.” Patanjali” (2.46 Yoga Sutras)
This sutra reminds me that our practice is not confined to the mat, how we navigate life off the mat should also be without discomfort where possible. I remind students of this sutra often especially as we approach December a busy month where we will no doubt be invited into spaces we may not necessarily want to be for many reasons.
What is coming up for you for the last few weeks of 2023 and 2024?
Proud to be part of collaboration between TripSpace and Hackney Council to provide free classes for 55+ Hackney Residents to build strength and balance, preventing falls. I’ll be sharing 6 week classes in 2 community centres Oct – May 2024. Details on my website
Naturally I’m looking forward to returning to Yogamatters Community Class between 5 – 19 December with 3 offerings. 5 December will be special as once again Yogamatters are kind enough to support Crisis where donations are optional to raise funds for Crisis at Christmas that I will be volunteering at for a 6th year.
19 December will be my penultimate online class as I have decided that post my final online offering (training) in January 2024, the time has come for me to cease online offerings completely. I will be forever thankful for online connections and the warmth of Yogamatters community but since stopping my own Zoom and live stream studio classes since August last year, I have noticed my preference for in person teaching and plan to honour that fully for 2024.
Proud to have completed my top up training with Yoga in Healthcare Alliance (YIHA) to now offer Yoga4NHS in 2024. Yoga4NHS is an evidence based 6 week staff wellbeing programme that aims to prevent burnout, decrease stress/anxiety and staff absence, offering staff a toolkit of gentle yoga and breath practices to increase their wellbeing. Yoga4NHS is built on the success of the social prescribing protocol Yoga4Health.
Where to find Yvonne:
Instagram – @yvonnehenriettayoga