Last week I got a chance to visit Tiffany at the studio for an interview. Tiffany teaches Hot26, Yin & Kids Yoga at the Hot26 Yoga studio. Spend more than 2 minutes with Tiffany, and you'll notice her gentle voice and sweet spirit. Come and attend one of her classes and you'll know just what I mean!
When did you discover yoga?
I was first introduced to yoga when I was probably 10 years old. My mom did yoga for awhile when I was little, and that was my first introduction to it. I remember it was a really good time for us, a really nice bonding for us, but I kind of went away from it for awhile. I did other forms of body movement. I did martial arts and gymnastics and cheer leading and things, and it really wasn't until my second pregnancy when I ended up with some really bad sciatica in my left hip that my yoga knowledge came back to me. I got back in, and I've been pretty dedicated ever since. I've had a daily practice for the last probably five and a half years now.
When and why did you decide you wanted to go into teaching yoga?
That was fate and serendipity I think! I saw myself taking a teacher training at some point, mostly to deepen my practice and knowledge. I'm not a big "studio yogi" so I needed a teacher, and what drew me to Emily were the small class sizes and the personal atmosphere of her home studio. You got more one on one time, and she could understand how you learned best and modified to meet your learning needs. My husband stumbled across her web page and I saw it and went in and took a couple of her classes and really just fell in love with Emily, the space and the atmosphere almost instantly. As far as actually teaching, that would be Emily herself because she decided that I was going to be a teacher! She is the reason I am here today.
What was it like to transition to the new studio?
That was a change. The nice thing, as you know, is that Emily brings her passion with her wherever she goes so it's allowed it to be a safe environment. So that's nice that I can still step in and know that, with my fears of public speaking for example, that even though I'm going from teaching one or two students to potentially a class of 10 or more, Emily is still here keeping it a safe and calm environment. So actually it was a really nice and easy transition compared to what I feared it would be, to be honest!
What did Yoga Teacher Training bring to your life that you expected & that you didn't expect?
It definitely deepened my knowledge of my practice for sure. It brought meditation back into my life really hard and heavy, which brought about a lot of personal growth. The teacher training, it pushes you. It pushes you beyond what you think you're capable of, and so I got a lot more out of it than I ever really expected. It brought calm into my life even in other parts of my life like parenting and being able to be a good kids yoga teacher because of that calm that I've learned through teacher training.
Favorite Hot26 yoga pose?
It changes over time. Right now I look forward to Camel and Bow Pulling Pose. Any of those heart openers I'm really enjoying.
Any of them you're glad when they're over?
Yes! Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana (Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose). It's a killer.
Any and all fruit!
Women Who Run with Wolves
Guns & Roses, Sweet Child of Mine
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
If my husband has his way we'll be traveling the globe doing homeschool international. He wants to retire and travel the world! Still teaching yoga for sure. Loving on my kids. Growing. Playing. Always.
Why kids yoga?
I have kids, and I've really seen the impact yoga has on my kids. My son, for sure, has big emotions all the time, and yoga has had a huge impact on how he deals with the things that go on in his life, so seeing it first hand has definitely been huge. Just because of my life I've always had a passion for taking care of kids. I was the oldest of my siblings and the oldest of the daycare group that we had, so I've always had that "nurturing, follow the little chickies around" need. It's always been a calling for me to have children in my life.
Why do you think yoga is important to children?
Oh my word! Bringing awareness. Bringing the awareness that A. they have control over their body. That that is THEM and they have total control, and B. no matter what is going on around them that they have the choice and the ability to come back to their breath and choose how they respond in that situation. I think that's huge. And then probably my favorite thing to see is when they come back to class over and over they can not only see how much longer they're holding the postures, but they can feel how much stronger their body is, and it really builds their self-esteem and their confidence. You you start to see them blossoming as their practice grows. So that's amazing, and I think that's very impactful for children at a young age to learn the body awareness and confidence and own it.
How do you bring play into the class?
We focus less on the alignment of the postures in the kids class for sure and make it playful - more about moving their bodies and taking control of that. We definitely do a lot of singing and dancing and games. Sometimes they get to do postures together, pushing and pulling each other, so that's fun. They get to build friendships and connections and have that interaction. Then I also invite them to honor their own space on the mat and be respectful of others' space on their own mats. There's a lot of play involved in just that, "So how far can I stretch without touching my friend?!" Then of course we have the balls, which are always fun. We use them to get into back bends. We use a lot of explosive movements for burning off that energy. A lot of visualization in the poses, like "Reach out and grab an apple..."Just a lot of fun things.
To wrap up our time together, Tiffany wanted to share the final meditation from Good Night Yoga, the book she uses in her Kids Yoga class. Enjoy & hope to see you (and your kiddos) at the studio soon!