Tracey's style seems to connect with everyone, no matter who you are. She brings a positive, kind energy into every class that she teaches. She was kind enough to sit down with us and answer a few questions about her life, what motivates her and how she ended up becoming a yoga teacher. Here is what she had to say.
1.When did you start practicing yoga and why?
I started practicing yoga when I got pregnant. I was inspired by the breath more than anything, and what followed was such a gift. Completely by accident I found space in my body, muscles and joints that had been so tight for so long. I was such a 'jock' that I never really bothered to stretch. I guess it's safe to say that I've changed my view on that now!
I really got hooked when yoga and music was introduced to me together! I LOVE music and when it landed in a class and I was guided through sun-salutations like a dance I knew then ~ I was hook, line and sinker.
2. Where have you trained?
I have trained with Shiva Rea, and Janet Stone. I am so inspired by so many more teachers though ~ and any chance to take a workshop or class, I'm in.
3. Who are your biggest influences?
Currently my biggest influences are my students ~ who continually inspire me with their dedication. They keep me on my toes and I love bringing in what I learn from ALL my teachers.
4. Tell me about your style.
My style is most definitely Vinyasa Flow. Over the last few years I've become addicted to the Anusara Principles and I work in strong guidelines of cueing, safety and alignment. It is so important to open the body in such an intricate and connected way to experience the lightness in the bigger peak poses.
5. How do you help beginners to get started and not hurt themselves?
I love working with beginners as well as intermediate students. I always offer options, and intuition as an inner guide to your practice. I also offer private sessions if students want to pursue that option.
6. What advice would you give a well-practiced yogi to take their practice to the next level?
I think the best advice I can give to that is to expand your boundaries. Explore different teachers, different styles, even different studios. Take workshops, take time at home to build a meditation practice and even a self practice.
7. What advice would you give students when doing yoga online?
Yoga online is such a gift to us! I love it ~ when I can't make it to a studio and feel I need to be guided rather than guide myself. Best piece of advice is to set the space, set the stage sort of speak. Roll out your mat, make the time, remove distractions and pick a class appropriate for the level you are at. Listen again, as always to where you are at on that day, as we know, it's always changing.
8. How has yoga helped you in your personal life?
That is such a BIG question. It has helped me find me. It continues to inspire me to be a better person as a Mom, as a daughter, sister, friend. It has also helped me look at relationships, and expand upon being a better partner. Patience, Balance and Self-confidence are all up there too. But trust me, there is so much more conversation around this that would take, tea or wine depending on your pick.
9. How do you motivate your students to do Yoga in their daily lives?
Motivation! I also like to call that inspiration! My best tool is to lead by example. To shine our light big and bright, to live what we teach, and when I arrive on my mat to motivate, inspire and guide a class I show up 100% present.
10. Do you have any memorable yoga experiences you would like to share?
I have so many, here's one .......during my teacher training I shed tears, even sobs attached to nothing. For me that was so new, and I was always so shy to let go in front of other people. I had no idea what was going on, yet chose to go with it. I've never looked back from there, and now trust what I feel on every level. I think that is another gift we give ourselves every time we choose to roll out our mat. To enhance and trust our intuition, that's a strong guide through life.
11. Which is your favorite yoga posture and why?
I don't know that I have a favorite, but up in the top 5 would be Downward Facing Dog. Why? It feels so "right" in the body ~ a simple inversion, the changing direction of spinal fluid, blood flow to the brain, spinal re-alignment, strength of lower and upper body, connection to core, to self. If you watch a dog, every single morning get up and move through a downward facing dog, to upward facing dog without hesitation, un-guided and definitely not taught. That's it ~ there's intuition.
12. Should yoga postures be hard to hold?
Of course! Well to some degree at least. If you are not feeling something in the pose then it is not really helping to release tension or increase mobility. The sensations should feel like a sweet discomfort when you are working with a pose that increases flexibility. When a pose is building strength, stability and structure, such plank pose, then the difficulty is muscular fatigue and often mental strain as so much of the practice takes place in our head.
13. Why do you think so few men take yoga classes and is this trend changing at all?
I think it is changing. I see more men than ever in my classes, and I work with men on an individual basis as well. Perhaps the earlier trend was only women and I'm not sure why .... but I am happy to see more men out there of all shapes, sizes, lifestyles, and attitudes. It is a non-judging practice, and bring it on guys, even playing with a class called 'yoga for dudes'.