Meet Morgan, one of our teachers at Yoga District. Read about her perspective regarding honoring oneself through yoga. Also how yoga continues to be a learning experience for her and her introduction to the practice through a random encounter.
“I remind students that they have no obligations to me but only to themselves.”
Check out Morgan’s current class offerings below and sign up here.
- Friday 5:15PM, Flow Yoga 1-2 w/ Focus on Hips @ Petworth
- Saturday 1:30PM, Flow Yoga 1-2 w/ Focus on Hips @ Bloomingdale
Introduction to Yoga
The start of my relationship with yoga is actually a funny story. Several years ago, I was at the grocery store shopping for fruit, and the lady beside me was humming and talking to tomatoes. She was infectiously happy. I commented on her joy and asked her, “What’s your secret?” She replied, “Yoga,” and then shared that she was a local yoga teacher. I started attending her classes, eventually branched out to different types of yoga, and then attended YTT (Yoga Teacher Training) to become a yoga teacher myself.
I teach a Flow 1-2 hip-focused class on Fridays and Saturdays. I love teaching this class because it’s a slower pace, features chill music, and hosts wonderful people. We take our time getting deep into some great hip poses. I just love the energy of these two classes. About half of the attendees are regulars, and the other half are people new to the class. It’s beautiful to watch someone explore ways to honor the body during yoga practice. It’s so rewarding to see people challenge themselves with different variations. Witnessing new and returning yogis alike laugh, enjoy themselves, and build community. Because my classes often consist of people of varying degrees of experience, I will often look around and see everyone doing a different variation of a pose. I love seeing this because it creates a more diverse experience for us all.
Lessons Learned from Yoga
1. Yoga taught me how to make time for myself and how to be lovingly aware of my thoughts, feelings, and body.
2. Through yoga, I became appreciative of both my body’s abilities and limitations. When I first started practicing yoga, I was ego-driven and convinced that everyone counted how many inversions I did per class. I was surprised when I found out that no one cared about it. I used to act as though yoga was about impressing others rather than honoring myself. Eventually, yoga helped widen my perspective.
3. Yoga guided me to incorporate a gentle curiosity into the things I do, say, and think. As a teacher, watching other people practice allows me to grow in my understanding of the beautiful complexities of all body types and ability levels.
My Yoga Classes
I like starting off with a brief story relating to our intention for the class. I typically share a personal lesson, mistake, or learning moment. It helps loosen up the class and encourage students to be comfortable with imperfection and making mistakes during their yoga practice. I find stories to be a great way to connect our practice to our lives outside of our mats while still upholding yoga-centric values.
In my classes, I intentionally try to create a safe, non-competitive environment that encourages students to do what feels right for their bodies. I introduce myself and check in with each student before class begins. Although I believe that yoga is a practice that should be taken seriously, it should also be fun, enjoyable, and spark joy. I pride myself on having great taste in music and creating perfectly curated playlists for class, which I select depending on the energy of the room.
Advice for Yogis
Everything truly starts from within. I always encourage my students to listen to their bodies more than they listen to me.
Early in my yoga career, I left yoga classes feeling absolutely spent and physically drained. I spent more time following the teacher than following what my body was telling me. Several injuries later, I realized I owe it to myself to honor my needs and my body before I try to honor, listen to, or follow anyone else. I try to incorporate this mindset into each class I teach. I often joke with students that although it might seem unbelievable, no one is counting how many chaturangas they do. So, they might as well just have fun and do what feels good in their body. I remind students that they have no obligations to me but only to themselves.