Get to Know your Teachers: Traci Andes
The newest interview is here and these answers are golden! Yoga Pulse family, meet Traci. Traci teaches hot yoga at 8:00am Saturday mornings and subs for our other teachers frequently. Enjoy :)
1. What or who inspires you to get up every morning?
2. What brought you to the practice of yoga? Why did you start? Can you describe your first experience of yoga?
I started practicing with a Groupon my friend suggested we both get. She moved on to Orangetheory Fitness or something, but I was hooked.
3. What does yoga mean to you?
Practicing yoga is like going to couple’s therapy with you and you. It’s time spent recognizing what it’s like to be you and allowing you to be and feel things, whatever you are. I started to think kinder things to myself and find ways to spend quality time just “us” (me and me) because of yoga. And I think that practice just expanded to being kinder, realer and more present with other people.
4. Has the essence of your yoga practice changed throughout the seasons of your life? If so, how?
I was never in yoga to do the most “impressive” looking postures; handstands and the like. Still, my first studio yoga teachers made me feel like I was doing so great at yoga! Sometimes when I felt like I was failing at something else, I’d come to yoga and feel that at least I was good at yoga. Now, of course, I know they were right because to be good at yoga all you need to do is breathe, be safe, and practice connecting to the experience. That’s another thing about yoga: Yoga can be a great place to find joy in movement even if that’s something you have gotten away from.
5. How has yoga impacted your life?
I have met tons of other people who are dorky about yoga over the years and that’s pretty cool. To me, every reason someone uses for why they can’t do yoga always sounds like a reason they should DEFINITELY do yoga.
“I’m not flexible enough”- Yoga can help you cultivate flexibility with your body and your life circumstances too.
“My mind is just all over the place”- Yoga can help your mind settle down a little.
“I’m too old,” “I’m too fat,” “I’m too awkward,” “My body is somehow too weird for yoga”- Yoga can help you be more healthy and it can help you feel goodness in your own skin. So you should get your weird body to a yoga class! You just have to find the right one!
6. How do you hope your students are impacted by your class?
I want my students to feel welcome and at ease. I want to feel like their practice is beautiful and plain perfect.
7. What style of yoga do you teach/practice/resonate with the most? Why?
I like vinyasa flow because of the synchronization of breath with movement and the freedom teachers have to incorporate their own personality and style into classes. Vinyasa flow classes often mix flowing with holding postures give students variety and a lot to occupy their minds which is really important when you’re learning how to just do the thing that you're doing without all the judgements of yourself. Just doing the thing that you're doing or being mindful isn’t easy. It’s a key component to having better relationships with yourself and other people- the stuff I was talking about before, in question 1.
8. What made you decide to become a yoga teacher?
I’ve been working as a therapist/counselor for a while trying to talk to people about mindfulness as key to having better relationships with yourself and other people. It’s always seemed to me that mindfulness or that living in the moment stuff isn’t something you learn so much by having someone explain it to you; I think you have to experience mindfulness with the help of guides, like yoga teachers. So now I’m a yoga teacher.
9. What’s your favorite quote?
and i said to my body. softly. ‘i want to be your friend.’ it took a long breath and replied ‘i have been waiting my whole life for this.'
I love this one so much. I love Nayyirah Waheed. She really gets stuff.
10. Your favorite yoga pose (or family of poses)? Least favorite yoga pose (or family of poses)? Why?
I like to move around my shoulders and do backbends to try to counterbalance all the sitting and typing I do. I like to get my hip joint moving all the ways for the same reasons. The older I get the more my body has to say to me when I practice including my hands and feet: I love the way it feels to open my palms into the mat in downward facing dog or the sensation in my feet when I teeter in a standing balance. My favorite pose is savasana. Always and forever.
11. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in life?
Treat yourself with the greatest kindness. Self care done well is an act of service to everyone else who has to deal with you.
12. Do you have any advice for someone just beginning their yoga practice?
It’s just yoga. It’s just a practice. If you keep bringing your mind back to your breath and your body, if you watch to keep yourself safe by backing off when you need to; you’re doing great at yoga. There are so many wonderful variations of every posture. Whenever you fall out of a pose in yoga, let that be a reminder to smile playfully at yourself until the smile is a reflex.
Thank you so much, Traci! You are awesome! <3