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Teacher Profile – Zoe Stewart

January 26, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been teaching yoga for two years now since training with The Power Yoga Company. I teach at The Power Yoga Company, The Harbour Club and private classes all over central London. Alongside teaching yoga I run a small company selling beautiful jackets, waistcoats, jewellery, scarves and gifts that I get made in India (www.saraandzoe.com). I live near Worlds End, Chelsea with a flatmate and feel very lucky to live in such a wonderful vibrant city (although I definitely like to escape to the countryside from time to time).

Why did you start yoga?

I started practicing yoga when I was in India working just because I was curious of the hype surrounding it; I immediately loved the sense of peace it gave me. I began to learn about the history of yoga and its philosophies and realised what a vast and inspiring subject it was. I wanted to know more. Once back in London I continued to practice with the Power Yoga Company and enjoyed the more modern take where you got a really good work out as well as calming the mind and learning tools to help you both on and off the mat.[Soft Break]Alongside the training with the Power Yoga Company and the hands-on experience from now teaching yoga full time I am constantly learning about yoga, people, anatomy, the philosophies, the breathing and sequences. It is an unending and wonderful journey of exploration.

Why do you love yoga?

Yoga connects me to my most authentic self. I leave a yoga class feeling like I am more in touch with my body and mind; stronger both physically and mentally; harmonised, balanced and stress-free.

What is your favourite pose and why?

This definitely depends on my mood and what I need at that time.

If I feel tired and lacking energy then I love forward bends and inversions getting my head below my heart and feeling the energy come back to my senses.

If I feel run down I love doing lots of twists to cleanse the internal organs and kick start my liver and kidney as well as toning the core.

If I am feeling the need to calm myself I love a slow practice concentrating on really deep meditative breath and probably hip openers to de-stress.

If I need energy then a fun fast sequence with some challenging poses such as forearm stand gives me this.

This is what I love about yoga – that our bodies need different things each day and yoga offers us this.

What do you think makes a good yoga teacher?

There are so many wonderful yoga teachers around. I think that what makes a good yoga teacher is someone who continues to learn themselves. You have never ‘finished’ learning about yoga, there are always new poses, sequences, body areas or challenges to learn and then to teach. I also think no one should take it too seriously. It is meant to be enjoyed first and foremost and then however much people want to get from their practice is up to them. As long as they have fun then hopefully students will come back.

Hobbies/interests?

I love travelling and learning about other countries and cultures, I tend to travel to India as I design clothes out there but am longing to go further east to the plains of Mongolia next. I love exploring our own country whether it is exploring hidden corners of London or the beautiful countryside with long walks and fresh air. A new world right on our doorstep. I love food – eating it, finding it, buying it or making it.. all equally fun and delicious. Music keeps me ticking and we are so lucky to be surrounded by amazing live music, gigs and festivals that I adore making use of. This summer I went to Glastonbury, Burning Man in the USA, Secret Garden Festival and endless gigs and DJ sets. I also love creating new playlists for my yoga classes and think that some good flowing music can really help you switch off and get into your practice. I confess that I definitely get it wrong sometimes though!

Recent experience?

This summer I went to The Nevada Desert to go to an amazing festival called Burning Man. It is not like your average festival – it is more like a social experiment. The people who go to the festival create it themselves. You take all your own food, drink and supplies as you cannot buy ANYTHING once there in the desert. Even the huge music stages and bars are given by other festival goers. The whole idea is to give and share.

We flew into San Francisco and packed up our rented RV with endless food, fancy dress, tables, chairs and bicycles for the week. We eventually arrived to an 8 hour snaking queue at the entrance to the festival with RVs as far as the eye could see, swirling in dust, with people dancing on the roofs of their vans.

Once inside the week was spent exploring this vast desert area with music, art installations and people from all walks of life. You would go from a huge Trojan Horse which you can climb into with a free bar to a mutant fire breathing vehicle which you dance on as it travels around the Playa to jumping on your bicycle in crazy fancy dress both day and night to explore the desert, the parties, the music, dancers, exhibits scattered across the desert. It was mind-boggling – the most incredible, inexplicable experience. I will definitely go again.

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