Sunday, March 12, 2017

Shree Expert Teacher Focus: Rachel Dewan

Rachel Dewan, E-RYT 500 Anusara Certified Yoga Teacher 

Rachel sought out yoga in college to help cope with the physical aches & pains that are the gifts of a performing musician, and soon found not an exercise system, but a way of life. Yoga has become a path of learning that has helped her to shape her life in all aspects, reminding her that when she opens to the power of grace in every moment, she can choose the life she desires to live. Rachel has been actively teaching yoga since 2004, practicing and studying extensively since 2001. In addition to classes and workshops, she teaches Immersions, has co-taught several teacher trainings and will be co-teaching the upcoming 200 hour Shree Anusara Teacher Training with Chaya this Fall. Rachel's classes infuse teaching deeply rooted in scripture of all kinds, while also reflecting living as a modern yogi for a seamless integration of contemporary and spiritual themes woven throughout postural and breath instructions to integrate body, mind, and heart in a powerful way. With an eye always on careful alignment, her classes include dynamic sequencing and movement with breath to skillfully open the body and harness its unique potential to bring forth the most satisfying and beautiful pose each individual body can create. Her ultimate goal as a teacher is to help guide her students to recognize their own inner teacher, the aspect of themselves that already knows how to live a full and meaningful life, but maybe has forgotten along the way.  Below Rachel gives a peek into her own asana practice and how she stays connected...

What does your personal practice consist of?

Some kind of yoga, every single day. Dedicating at least part of my day to my own sadhana, even if it's just 10 minutes because that is all I have time for between teaching and children, is one of my highest priorities. I tell myself 10 minutes is better than 0 minutes! What it looks like varies- some days a full practice at home. Some days an end of the day wind-down pranayama and restorative practice on the floor of my son's room while he falls asleep. Some mornings I sit for meditation, other days I sit before I go to bed. The days I get to a class are a real treasure. No matter what it looks like, I am a firm believe in #yogaeverydamnday!

What pose are you currently working on? How?

Lowering from handstand to bakasana, and vice versa. Working on it from a number of directions- pressing up from plank to L pose and back slowly with my legs on an exercise ball, then in a tuck, hips over shoulders. Lots of ab work on the floor lifting and lowering both upper and lower body slowly. Lowering from handstand to a tuck slowly at the wall. Practicing bakasana about 12" from the wall and trying to press up (this is MUCH harder for me!). Working on just holding handstand for longer to build my arm and core stamina. Hopping from down dog into bakasana.

What is your biggest physical challenge in your practice? 

An old hamstring injury that I recently re-awoke. Forward bending is incredibly painful right now so I am working on backing off, which is probably my second biggest challenge in my asana practice (although not a physical one).

What is your biggest mental challenge?

Not beating myself up about things I can't do yet. Not comparing myself to other people. Worrying about my weight and how my body looks. Ok thats 3 things... clearly focus should be on this list!

How do you keep inspiration alive in your practice?

The ultimate goal of my yoga practice is to be inspired. Said another way: for some aspect of my practice to help me make a connection to my own divine essence, my true nature, the part of me that is beyond my own self-limiting ideas and false labels. To that end, studying scripture, reading poetry, deep and challenging asana practice, regular mediation practice and taking classes with great teachers all help me feel lit up. Preparing for teaching immersions and Trainings also keep the fire inspiration burning for me - every one that I teach deepens my own learning and practice in ways I never anticipated. It is so joyful to share this system that is so integral to my own life, and watching it transform the lives of my students is deeply fulfilling. Imagining the reverberations of all those teachers then going on to teacher their own students, rippling waves of grace out in wider and wider circles to a world that so desperately needs it, is what keeps me going.

Stop in to experience the magic of one of Rachel's classes at the following times:

  • Monday 9:30 to 11:00 am Level I&II Yoga
  • Monday 11:15 to 12:30 pm Gentle Therapeutic Yoga
  • Sunday, April 23 2:30-4:00 Yoga Nerd

In addition to teaching her regularly scheduled classes, Rachel will be joining Chaya Spencer in co-leading the Fall 2017- Spring 2018 Shree Yoga Teacher Training. This will be her second time in this training with Chaya.

Shree Yoga Teacher Training Fall 2017 – Spring 2018

Find Your Voice.  Transform Lives.

Approved by Yoga Alliance RYS-200

With E-RYT 500 Chaya Spencer, and E-RYT 500 Rachel Dewan

You will be guided with patience and compassion to find your unique voice and a personalized way to bring forth your gifts through learning to teach yoga. This is a rigorous 200+ hour Anusara® yoga teacher training program led by one of the most senior and skillful Certified Anusara Yoga teachers in New Jersey.  This program is for those wanting to learn how to teach, or for teachers wanting to learn how to teach using Anusara methodology and techniques.

Click here for more information.