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Teacher of December 2013 - Betty Ford

My Yoga Path…

Some things you might not know about me...

- I was born in Shanghai, China but grew up in Colorado
- One of my favorite foods is 魯肉飯
- I love to cook
- My junk food weakness is Fire Cheetos
- I have a little sister who is my best friend
- I can wiggle my ears

Where did it all start?

I stumbled upon yoga by accident. I was at the gym with my girlfriend and since I am a fairly curious woman I said “Hey, let’s try!” My friend came to the first class with me but it also ended up being her last class. I on the other hand, had fallen in love. I loved the way I felt, I loved my teacher, and I loved how I could challenge myself in a way I had never done before. Playing different sports growing up, I was familiar with moving and pushing my body to new limits. I played volleyball, ran track, and was even a cheerleader (that’s my little secret!) but never was able to continue with any of it. After that very first yoga class I felt like I had come home to something, and it just felt right. Something familiar but new every time I stepped onto my mat.

My process...

Eventually I outgrew the gym yoga, and wanted to practice more seriously at a studio that offered only yoga classes to learn more. After keeping a consistent practice I took my first teacher training at CorePower Yoga which focused on Vinyasa flow. While Vinyasa was good for me at first, eventually I found that I felt something missing in my practice. That was when I found my true love, Iyengar Yoga.

Why Iyengar?

I have always been a nerd for the little details in life. When I found Iyengar Yoga I knew what had been missing for me in my yoga practice; the refinement of asana. After struggling with a back injury for a few years, through Iyengar Yoga I was able to make adjustments to my body that helped me deal with the pain and eventually heal. I found it amazing that some of the students attending Iyengar classes with me were physically handicapped in some way. At one point I was finally able to realize why. This style allowed for anyone with any body type to attend class. No matter what your current physical condition, Iyengar Yoga found a way to adjust to those body differences. Through the use of many different props and correct sequencing I saw fat people, small people, achy knees and backs, severe scoliosis, disfigured feet, and broken limbs able to be part of a yoga class. Not only did I see students that had physical challenges, but also teachers. One of my most memorable teachers Bobby Fultz practices and teaches Iyengar Yoga despite her scoliosis. As she teaches there are times when she is not able to perform the pose properly herself; in that case she will ask a student to assist her. We always say that you should listen to your body and not push yourself to a place of pain, and in Iyengar yoga, I see this demonstrated every day from my teachers and students alike. Although Mr. Iyengar is known for the harsh teaching style, I can see the love that is demonstrated in the teaching as well. Any student is able to participate even when they might be restricted by physical limitations.

My teaching…

As I continue to grow as a teacher, I study closely with Cathy Wright and Leslie Bradley whom both live in Colorado, my home. Their experience and devotion to the practice is admirable. They have allowed me to teach students by looking at what is in front of me and not hold any expectations for what we believe to be true. My teaching style has evolved to be at a much slower pace but one where I do not feel like I am doing himsa (Harm) to students’ bodies. If I have one goal for every class it would be that a student never gets hurt in one of my classes. I always tell my students “Please, tell me if you feel pain so that I can change the pose for you.” Yoga asana should be a challenge and a push for the physical body but never EVER to the point of pain.

What’s next?

After some years of practice within the Iyengar method and knowing this is the path I want to follow, I continue to study closely with my teachers back in the States. I have been preparing for my assessment for almost 3 years now and plan to go up for assessment (Iyengar teacher test) in Fall 2014. Wish me luck! Yoga and living a healthy lifestyle are very important to me and I hope while living in Taiwan I can share my experience with health and exercise to encourage women to have a positive self-image. I’m always open to chat to students and love learning from new people all the time. My journey is one that continues to evolve and I hope for my students they can say the same.

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