Here are Summersalt Yoga we’re proud of the team of incredible yoga teachers at our retreats. Yogi Brigid Brennan is a new addition and we’re more than thrilled to have her teach at Foodie and Summer yoga retreats this June!
Why and when did you decide to become a yoga teacher?
After practicing yoga for several years living abroad in Florence, Italy, I decided to undertake my yoga teacher training to deepen my own understanding of yoga and asana practice. I was not intent on teaching right away, but I did anyway! Overcoming my nerves during the first few months of classes has definitely helped me grow as a person. Teaching has developed my self-confidence and ability to show up and be present – both on my yoga mat and in life. It has also developed my intuition and ability to give and receive, both so important in yoga and in life.
Practicing and teaching for several years and thoroughly understanding the benefits as well as potential, I decided to immerse myself in this craft and began teaching full-time since May 2016. I am now committed to developing my career in yoga as a lifelong journey.
What do you enjoy most about teaching yoga?
I love the feeling that I have an impact over people’s positivity and well-being. As a teacher, I feel instrumental in creating a calming environment, time out from daily stressors, and offering a way to connect with yourself. It feels amazing to be able to help people feel their best.
I also love noticing progress amongst my students! This is not always or even necessarily physical, though a lot of times it is. I love being able to break down seemingly complex poses into a more approachable manner, and seeing the delight on students’ faces at getting into an arm balance for the first time. Most of all, I enjoy the sense of peace that arrives at the end of practice, and the inner glow that practitioners take with them.
What are the yoga benefits to you personally?
The sense of calm that washes over a room during savasana is probably the main reason I practice and teach. I love that we are able to tap into our unlimited potential during a few moments of quiet, where we can really pay attention to what is going on in the mind without distractions. This awareness helps with focus, and this carries off the mat into daily life as well. Physically, I truly appreciate that Yoga can be an excellent workout for the body without putting too much stress or strain on any particular area of the body.
Another main reasons I am drawn to yoga is for the sense of community and connection- both to ourselves and to others. Yoga has a way of developing compassion amongst ourselves, and seeing that we are all in this together. Because yoga is a non-competitive activity, the only person we need to be better than is ourselves. This is great for self-development, and also helps us lift other people as well.
Do you have any advice for new yoga students and why they should not be afraid to start practicing?
This relates to my last note, about not needing to be better than anyone else. We all have to begin somewhere! Everyone is so focused in on himself or herself, that there is no room for judgment. We are all here for our own self-development, so just show up and do the best you can!
It really helps to begin in a basics class where you are able to take a look at the other students to get an idea of the poses, and also watch the instructor for cues and demonstrations. Also, let the instructor know beforehand that it is your first class, and he or she will be better equipped to help you.
What changes do you notice students after some time practicing yoga?
Many people begin practicing yoga for the physical health benefits of lengthening, strengthening and toning the muscles; calming anxiety; aiding digestion and circulation, and countless other benefits. But so many people realize that the physical postures are only one aspect of a very multi-faceted practice!
Practitioners who keep coming back to the mat tend to be more consistent and dedicated, not just to their practice but also in their daily tasks and work. They are clearer, calmer, and more collected. Yoga can also be very healing for people going through a traumatic experience, to work through grief or pain on an emotional, physical, mental and spiritual level. Therefore, a greater sense of presence is achieved by letting go and releasing anything not serving our greater purpose.
Why do you think participating in a yoga retreat is a good experience?
Yoga itself is time dedicated outside of the normal daily routine towards bettering yourself, and so a yoga retreat will absolutely amplify those effects. We all need a good break sometimes, to hit the “reset” button so to speak. We need to be able to step back from our phones, computers, and the daily grind to check in with ourselves and notice things like: How are you feeling? Are you on track towards achieving your goals? Are you participating in any activities that are counter-productive to your own health or benefit?
Participating in a week-long yoga retreat provides the perfect opportunity to take a step outside of yourself and look at your life objectively. Coming back from retreat, you will feel refreshed, renewed, and full of energy with a zest for living your life to the fullest.
Do you have any times on how to find a balance between living a healthy life, but still indulging in life’s pleasures?
Listen to yourself and what your body wants is asking for… and that includes cravings such as wine and chocolate! It is amazing to indulge sometimes, especially when we feel we deserve it. Anything you take into your body should be done with a positive attitude, so if you are feeling guilty already, then maybe reconsider. The body is amazing, and we should treat it with respect and gratitude for everything we are able to accomplish.
As a yogi, I have definitely been on both sides of this scale, from “overindulging” (like drinking wine every night while in Italy), to avoiding all caffeine, alcohol and sugar during periods of cleansing. I definitely advocate for the middle path, which is treating yourself well on your journey and enjoying the process along the way.