Teacher Feature: Meet Cliff!

Aug 7, 2020   //   by Ayoka   //   Teacher Feature, The Blog, Yoga District Community, Yoga Teacher  //  No Comments

Teacher Feature Intro

Meet Cliff, one of our teachers at Yoga District! Learn how he turned the harsh realities of life into a yoga practice that healed himself. His ultimate goal is to serve as a bridge between yoga and those that need it most.

 “Sharing yoga has helped me grow into a true practitioner because the more I teach, the more I learn. Since I’m teaching about joy, love of self, and positivity I get to relearn it consistently.” 

Check out Cliff’s current class offerings below and sign up here!

Mondays 7:30, Flow Yoga @ online

Yoga in the ParkThe Healing Power of Yoga

Back in 2014, yoga was a healthy cope to my adjustment into the real world as a postgraduate. The anxieties of life stood abound and the only way out was to look within. I tried yoga and I stuck with it. It has taught me to always pay attention to my body, to intently listen to my breath, and to breathe through the tension of the real world. 

While watching the video –‘Yoga for Happiness’, I was inspired to actually tune into the speaker’s voice. It broke down my barriers to gain physical and mental relaxation.

I’ll never forget the day a trauma was triggered while I was teaching. I did not know what I could do about it. I continued to teach and breathe through it. It was not my greatest class but it definitely gave me the courage to not let my trauma get in the way of my success. 

Yoga has helped me change my relationship with myself. It has aided in my understanding of my imperfections and uniqueness as a source of power rather than a source of pain. My life is Garudasana (Eagle Pose) filled with balance and twists (1). 

Teaching Yoga Online

Yoga in the ParkWhat’s great about online yoga classes is that I get to teach in my safe space from the comfort of my own home where I started my practice. I like to teach Vinyasa Yoga online. I get to move and groove to the tunes and rhythm of our souls. In addition, I get to put some pretty cool sequence combinations together.

As a teacher, it is important to be clear with your cues and to know your poses. Keep a healthy rhythm and know when you need to demonstrate poses for the students. I’m prepared to turn around on my mat several times so that the poses can be demonstrated. When sharing music on Zoom, I’m careful of anything with drums or words since it runs the risk of interfering with my cues. Instead, I choose soft melodic music.

If you are new to yoga, take your time to get to know the poses. You can set goals and intentions for your practice. Some benefits of fulfilling a yoga practice virtually is the versatility. You can personalize your yogic experience! If you mute your mic, you can play your favorite music in the background. If you turn your camera off then you can take as many modifications you would like without fear of judgement.

 The Importance of Sharing Yoga

Contemplation

Students can expect to get a sincere and authentic connective practice from my class. I teach from the heart so every pose, every breath and every sound counts when spending time together. Oh, and they might laugh a bit too. I tend to have meaningful conversations with my students. We talk about where we are at the moment, share resources to help fight against injustices, and discuss the areas of the body we would like to work on.

I like to teach Bakasana (Crow Pose) to help my students feel empowered(2). It is an accessible pose with confidence boosting results. For stress, I have our students practice handstand hops. This way they can have a little fun and experiment with going upside with low risk. 

Sharing yoga has helped me grow into a true practitioner because the more I teach, the more I learn. Since I’m teaching about joy, love of self, and positivity I get to relearn it consistently. I wanted to share yoga because it made my life better! I truly believe it is a key to unlock yourself, your perception, and your peace. Once I discovered it, I thought everyone should know about it – especially Black people. 

Sources

  1. Garudasana (Eagle Pose), https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/5204/eagle-pose
  2. Bakasana (Crow Pose), https://www.yogapedia.com/yoga-poses/crow-pose/11/11803

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The Teachers

The diverse family of DC yoga teachers at Yoga District are dedicated to making yoga accessible to everyone through a huge variety of yoga class types, from vinyasa flow to restorative and beyond. Most Yoga District teachers are graduates of Yoga District’s nationally-attended 200 hour teacher training program. All Yoga District classes focus on coordinating breath with body movement to promote flexibility, strength, and peace of mind. We strongly believe in yoga as therapy, so catch one of our classes whenever you need a healthy dose of self-care.
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The Next Step

The Yoga District 200 and 500 hour teacher training certification programs, registered by the Yoga Alliance are unique in their emphasis on diversity of teaching styles studied, personal attention, and trauma sensitive yoga. It's no coincidence that Yoga District is regularly voted the leading studio in the nation's capital, and that most of its classes are taught by graduates of its training program. As a full time yoga school, small group trainings are led up to eight times a year by a dedicated faculty including Jasmine Chehrazi, contributor to the Harvard Karma Yoga Project teacher training, teacher training faculty at George Washington University, Yoga Alliance Standards Committee Advisory Board Member, Yoga Activist Founder, and Yoga Service Council Advisory Board Member. So take your practice and community involvement to the next level by joining a training. There's a reason why our graduates call the training "transformative."
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