This summer our team has welcomed two yoga teachers. One of them is the smiling Rosie Moreton from New Zealand. She’s a teacher, a Thai massage therapist and a happy soul who we’re happy to have!
Rosie will be teaching at Summer Yoga retreats this June and oh summer – can you come fast enough?
Why and when did you decide to become a yoga teacher?
I never really decided to become a yoga teacher, it was just a series of fortunate events and a matter of following my nose towards the things that make me happy. I was working on yoga retreats doing work exchange and volunteering around Europe, and I just met a series of inspirational people who taught me a lot, and I learnt a lot about yoga, and I knew I wanted to learn more. I wasn’t even sure if I would teach from there, or if it was just for me, but now its both.
What do you enjoy most about teaching yoga?
I love seeing the difference in a person between arriving at the mat, and leaving it. I also love to see the difference between arriving at a retreat and when they leave. This practice, on and off the mat, can change your life, if you are open to it.
What are the biggest yoga benefits to you personally?
Strength – I think physical strength makes me feel more emotionally and mentally capable.
Stress Response – I think learning how to breathe properly has changed my response to stress. I used to get all tied up in knots in stressful situations but yoga teaches me to stop, take a deep breath, and respond rationally and efficiently. Proper breathing has changed my body’s biomechanics and taught me a healthy way to deal with stress. Rather than getting sucked down into an anxious state, I can rise to the challenge of a stressful situation.
Noticing the little things – I find I am much more aware and I am constantly noticing little coincidences, that I think about people and then they turn up in my life somehow, I see patterns in my life, I see little connections between people, I can read people a little better and trust my intuition. These are the things you start to notice when you drop your guard and start to trust the process.
Body Awareness – I feel I am much more in touch with my body and when it is trying to send me signals. And it’s a work in progress – I still ignore those signals sometimes! But I am always reminded that my body is my temple and I have to honour it and listen to it, and that if I treat it well, it will treat me well. We are one and the same.
Do you have any advice for new yoga students and why they should not be afraid to start practicing?
The hardest thing is getting to your mat! I like to joke about setting your expectations very low, just lying down on your mat, and once you’re there you will probably do at least 10 minutes, and a little is better than nothing. Also, don’t be scared to attend a class. You will find that everyone is so involved in themselves that they don’t even notice what you’re doing.
What changes do you notice in students after some time practicing yoga?
Something I have noticed more and more is a students ability to let go and surrender to the things they cannot control. People start practicing yoga and they buy all the yoga clothes and the fancy mat, and they want to know when they will be able to touch their toes, they fidget through all the restorative poses, and they leave in the middle of savasana because they have places to go and things to do. Over time, as a teacher I can see them physically relax as soon as they arrive on their mat, they become much more curious about their body rather than demanding of it, and they surrender to the experience rather than thinking about what comes next. This is something that can be applied to everything in life. Its a beautiful thing to see, and I think sometimes its much easier for a teacher or a friend to see this gradual change than for the student to see it in themselves.
Why do you think participating in a yoga retreat is a good experience?
I think its such a wonderful way to immerse yourself fully in your yoga practice. So many people I have taught on retreats are curious about yoga and maybe do a class every week, but giving yourself the gift of a full week is the best way to fully experience the benefits of regular yoga, maybe kickstart a life-long practice, and also meet lots of interesting people from all walks of life. I always say that a group of people on retreat are brought together for a specific reason, and its always so interesting seeing the relationships and connections that develop over the week.
Do you have any times on how to find a balance between living a healthy life, but still indulging in life’s pleasures?
This is my motto in life. I am all about the balance. I believe that a yoga retreat should not be all about cutting out all of life’s little indulgences. If we spend a week practicing yoga and being 100% pure and virtuous, of course we will feel physically good, but we will leave that space and go home and its impossible to maintain that kind of lifestyle, so I think a yoga retreat should be about cultivating balance – practicing yoga, drinking wine, laughing with good people, learning about a new culture, and bringing more colour into our lives, rather than stripping it away. A balanced life is so much more than just eating well and moving our bodies. Then we go home and we don’t beat ourselves up about living a life full of exciting and unpredictable things. Sure, sometimes we need to take a break from the indulgences, and sometimes we need to visit an ashram and be devoted to a certain way of life, but my kind of yoga retreat is about learning how to live more fully. I think there is no need to leave your full life to go to a cave and meditate – becoming aware of your actions, your intentions and your habits are much more challenging in this time, and we can only learn this when interaction with the world and its all temptations.