I AM YOGAFIT: GWENDOLYN
Gwendolyn's YogaFit Story #IAMYOGAFIT
By Gwendolyn Elliott
"Yoga has allowed me to connect more deeply with members of my community, as well as connect with people that I would never otherwise meet and I feel like I am a part of something bigger."
Our Mission: Sharing the stories of our amazing YogaFit Alumni with the world. Gwendolyn is a 200hr graduate and she is currently working towards her 500hr certification. Thank you so much Gwendolyn for letting us get to know you better.
What's Your Day Job? Fitness instructor
Your Morning Must-Haves? Coffee and a hot shower, regardless of how hot it is outside.
Your Favourite YogaFit Training? Therapy 1
The Title of Your Biography? "Neon is the new black"
Why YogaFit? The accessibility for teachers and students
GWENDOLYN'S STORY - IN HER OWN WORDS
What brought you to your mat?
It came to me little by little. My grandfather and my dad started doing yoga together in the 70s and it was passed down to my generation, but it was just mat stretches and body awareness. I can remember from the time I was 8 doing stretches and core work before going to bed at night. I dabbled a bit during middle school and high school in the form of exercise videos. Through high school and university I took acting and movement classes that involved a lot of visualization, breath work and reflection. A really bad time in my life led me to be more consistent with a studio and home yoga practice as a way of healing myself. It was then that I began to understand what yoga means as a physical and spiritual practice and it started to come together for me.
How did you discover YogaFit?
I had already been teaching yoga as part of my other classes and I was looking for something from the fitness world that I could sample before taking an entire teacher training. I saw an ad in the Can-Fit magazine for Level 1 and the rest is history!
What made you decide to choose YogaFit as part of your yoga journey?
I loved the fact that I could study at my own pace on weekends. It made all the difference being able to learn a little and then teach a little to solidify new concepts. Plus, when I signed up for the courses I got a detailed description for each one and I knew what to expect. Other schools offer a 200-hour training without the option to choose different specializations. I also loved getting separate textbooks for each course that I can now use as part of my reference library.
Why was Therapy 1 your favourite YogaFit training?
Therapy 1 helped me in my own practice and confirmed a lot of my suspicions about things I had seen and felt in classes. It gave me the tools I needed to work with clients in a 1-on-1 yoga environment with confidence. It really changed the way I teach my group classes, too. Now I like to allow more options for my students to learn from their own bodies and find balance by developing an asymmetrical practice. If you know that you’re much tighter twisting to the left, why would you spend equal amounts of time twisting both ways? Or if your right side is much stronger, why not give your left side some extra work? We’re all human and we should work with that. Plus, Brandi is such an amazing teacher I learned so much from her.
What has been the impact of your yoga teacher training in your life and in the lives of those you teach?
It never fails to make me laugh… I’m the youngest member of my family so I always got teased for being the baby (as if I could help it), but now everyone comes to me for help with their bodies! They even come to me with questions regarding business, spirituality, emotional health and how to lead holistically healthier lives. About a year ago I realized I had somehow become the family expert and they’re always calling me for advice. I love it because it has given me a way to connect more deeply with the people I love the most. On that same note, yoga has allowed me to connect more deeply with members of my community, as well as connect with people that I would never otherwise meet and I feel like I am a part of something bigger. It’s so cliché for a yoga teacher to say, but it’s very humbling.
When you look forward, what does your yoga journey look like?
I am looking forward to taking as many yoga therapy courses as I can as well as Ayurveda. I have been doing a lot of self-study of Ayurveda and therapeutic uses for yoga, but it makes all the difference to have an expert teacher in a live format. I love seeing the opportunity for therapy everywhere – sometimes it can be found in the most unexpected places. In the same way that yoga is often perceived as being “just stretching,” therapeutic yoga is also often seen as only gentle movement, but it can be any type of movements or activities that balance your body, mind and spirit. My meditation practice has been on the back burner for a while so I am planning on attending an outdoor meditation event this August that I am really looking forward to.
Finally, give us one of your favourite, go-to cues you use to teach your students.
I’m all about freedom of expression in my classes so I love, “Let your body tell you how to do the pose.”