Teacher Highlight:: Kelly Watson

KellyWatson

Yoga is the Science of Self-Realization. This time-tested path found me when my body and mostly my mind needed healing and guidance. I believe that the world of yoga is so vast and full of so many transformative tools that anyone can become a practitioner of this great science and make it a way of life. As an instructor, I push my students to develop a “sadhana" or personal practice that keeps them in touch with their higher Self and in harmony with the cyclical rhythms of nature and life. My classes are full of passion; utilizing music, mantras, and mudras to convey very specific themes, relevant to the culture we live in. To teach is simply to learn twice as they say and so I am forever grateful to my own teachers Annie Okerlin, Alison Cramer, Kelly Morris, Barb Newborn and most importantly Tony Nenov for providing guidance on the path of yoga and always reminding me of the importance of practice and detachment. Namaste-
Kelly is the owner and founder of Sattva Yoga Seminole Heights and is a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance. She completed her 230-hour yoga teacher training with Asheville Yoga Center in 2009 and has recently received her 500 Hour advanced teaching certification through Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in NYC. She has a background in dance, a degree in Fitness and Wellness from the University of Florida, a love of Ayurveda, and is slowly and steadily studying her way through the Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali sutra by sutra with the guidance of Tony Nenov and A. G. Mohan.

What led me to yoga?

A major dance injury in college sort of “forced” me into a yoga practice actually! As a dance minor in college at UF, Yoga postures were typically used in warm-ups, even within the choreography. I always despised them, haha! I had really tight hamstrings, and like zero upper body strength back then. Postures like Downward Facing Dog were a lot of work and uncomfortable in my body! After severely spraining my ankle and moving home to Tampa for an internship, I found Yogani in South Tampa and began practicing Bikram. I loved the mirror, the sweat, and being able to “do” the poses. My obsession with having a fit & thin body kept me coming back. It is very weird to reflect back on that mindset now, in 2017 about 10 years later. My purpose for practicing is almost completely to benefit my heart and mind now!

What does your personal practice look like?


My personal practice or Sadhana as it is referred to in Sanskrit is made up of 5 staples.

  1.  I open the windows. In my home, my yoga room, my studio, hotel, etc. Wherever I am practicing has to have a lot of light. If I lived in the mountains, I would almost always sit outside I think! But Florida heat isn’t the best for that!
  2.  I meditate. I try to sit daily. A few years ago I took a vow to sit every day that year. I believe it was 2015. That made all the difference. It became such a commitment that I got used to it, made space for it, began to CRAVE it. Can not imagine living my life and not meditating. It is probably the single most important thing that I do in my day.
  3. I chant. I began to incorporate chanting into my life about 6 years ago. It was weird at first, and now it brings me so much peace. I love mantra. I consider myself a practitioner of Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga of the Heart. Chanting can be whatever you want it to be, serve any purpose. For me, it is an act of devotion to the divine.
  4.  I offer gratitude. To my teachers specifically. And then for my life. To practice yoga is a gift. To teach yoga is an even greater gift. I am in love with my life. Every day there is stress. I opened a yoga studio and even though I am living a life I love, things can feel overwhelming at times. Gratitude keeps me balanced, and HUMBLE. It keeps my heart soft.
  5.  I touch the ground. Out of respect for the Mother Earth and all she provides. Namaste.


Books I recommend:

1. The Path of Practice by Bri Maya Tiwari. This book changed my life, a couple of times! It taught me how to start to heal myself. And how to use rituals as a way to help honor my life and ancestors. It also taught me about the power of the MOON!

2. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, commentary by Aranya. This edition of the sutras has a bright yellow cover, and it is DENSE! But an essential resource for any serious practitioner of yoga. Changed my life, and continues to change my life.

3. The Journey Within by Radhanath Swami. A book about Bhakti that I am reading right now written by an American Swami. Founder of the Bhakti Center in NYC. Full of beautiful insights and stories. An inspiring read so far!

Notes on Sequencing

SEQUENCING YOGA EXPERIENCES In each classification of poses—warm-ups, standing poses, backbends, inversions, and so on— progress from simple, less strenuous poses to more complex, difficult and strenuous poses. A well sequenced session the practitioner is able to reach below the skin, the muscles, and the bones to the energetic and bliss body. The best way to learn to sequence, besides practicing the creation of well thought out yoga experiences, is to practice what you create and see if each pose contributes to the next posture.

 

In general, while you might see variations depending on stylization and tradition, the organization of a class or session begins with a meditation pose and warm ups and then progresses to poses that safely and effectively open up the shoulders and hips. The climax of the class is composed of poses that require the most strength, stamina, and flexibility. The latter part of the class contains cooling and quieting poses.

 

A good rule of thumb is to remember the concept of parinamavada and pratikryasana. When creating a class, consider the following: • Who are you sequencing for (age, lifestyle, illness)? • What is the weather like? • What is the season? • What is you students experience level? • How do you expect your students to feel emotionally, mentally, and physically? • How do YOU feel emotionally, mentally, and physically?

 

PRINCIPLES OF SEQUENCING

1. Move from simple to complex

2. Move into stillness

3. Cultivate energetic balance

4. Integrate the effects of actions

5. Cultivate sustainable self-transformation

 

GENERAL SEQUENCING TIPS • Standing poses are good preparation for forward bends and backbends • Downward dog is good prep for all poses and a good cool down after forward bends and backbends • Don’t alternate back and forth between forward bends and back bends • Don’t add heating poses after cooling poses • Remember that different categories of asana have a different effect on the body, the mind, and the emotions. The best way to learn these effects and sequence from them is to understand them in your own body

STUDENT INTERVIEW:: Jodi Ross

 

 

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Jodi Ross

'17 Summer Immersion Student

What lead you to yoga?

I have always been drawn to things that cultivate spirituality and connection with other living things. I was introduced to yoga at a young age growing up in Colorado, and at first, I used it as a practice to increase my strength and flexibility for dance. As I really dove into my practice, I realized that the aspect of stillness was one that was missing from my life and really craving. I found a huge connection in meditation and pranayama, or breathing, as things that I really needed in my life.

Why YTT?

I wanted to bring the things that I have experienced and learned to others. I just finished graduate school and am in a state of transition and needed something that I could really have to give me a sense of purpose this summer. The Summer Immersion YTT was the perfect option for me to have something meaningful and grounding in my life while everything else seems uncertain. I love that YTT is giving me the philosophical, anatomical, and practical foundations to deepen my own practice and develop the skills and knowledge to teach others.

What are your intentions?

My greatest intention right now is to cleanse my life of anything that is harmful to my physical, emotional, and mental well-being.