This month we would like to introduce you to Jonathan Boyd. You can enjoy his Hatha Flow Yoga class here on Sundays 12:30-1:30pm.
1. Jonathan, When did you start practicing Yoga and why?
I started practicing yoga when I was 21 and working as a summer student in the Yukon Territory. As a ridiculously inflexible guy, I sought to increase my stretch-ability by purchasing and self-instructing myself with Richard Hittleman’s Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan. If it was published in 1969, and still available in bookstores, it had to be good. It was HARD. I mastered triangle (kind of) and cobra (sort of), but eventually creeped myself out performing lion’s breath and scalp exercises. Check out the book! Books led to DVDs, which led to classes, which led to workshops, which led to trainings.
2. How has Yoga helped you in your life?
Yoga taught me to love myself. It provided the tools and a method to explore the inner realms of who I am. Plus, it has given me the gift of handstands. Always a useful party trick.
3. What style of Yoga do you teach?
For the past 3 years, I have taught a 60-minute all levels Hatha Flow class on Sundays at 12:30at Hemma. It is an alignment based flow class that is inspired by the Universal Principles of Alignment of Anusara Yoga.
4. What can students expect from your class?
My class is not vigorous but not gentle. It is moderately in the middle. It features a buzzing community that ranges from total beginners to seasoned teachers (and even my parents!). Classes feature specific alignment instruction, heart-centered themes and a laugh or two.
5. How do you support beginners in your class and emphasize their safety?
When I teach yoga, I don’t practice yoga. It is your time on the mat, not mine, and my role is to serve the students. I offer clear verbal instruction, watch students as they perform postures, and offer appropriate modifications or enhancements as needed. For many poses, I give clear stages and allow students the opportunity to choose the stage that empowers them. I try to meet every new participant before we begin class. Finally, my classes tend to be fairly light-hearted, playful, and not so serious.
6. What advice can you offer students with a regular practice to take their practice further?
Find a great teacher that inspires and encourages you, and latch on. Someone who continuously feeds your hunger, but leaves you thirsty for more. Pepper them with as many questions as possible and let them know your desire to grow. Ask them who their teachers were and ask them where they continue to learn and grow. It is possible to progress very rapidly in hatha yoga. I know from experience and I owe it to a handful of extraordinary teachers. If you are up for a challenge, once a month, on Sundays from 2 to 4pm, I offer a 2-hr Intermediate/Advanced group practice at Hemma.
7. How do you take yoga off the mat?
When I became ‘serious’ about yoga, I thought that I had to physically practice on my mat, in a studio, everyday. And if I didn’t, I would get angry. Eventually, I realized that yoga is not my practice. My life is my practice. In the studio, I cultivate skills like mindfulness, sensitivity, endurance, softness, ferocity, perseverance, and connection, so that I can live a life of integrity.