How long have you been teaching yoga?
I have been a student of yoga for sixteen years, and I began teaching in January 2014.
Yoga is my passion. I began teaching to delve deeper into the many aspects of yoga and to share my love of it with others.
How has yoga helped you to be a better person?
I often joke that a regular yoga practice doesn’t just give you a stronger rear end—it also makes you less likely to act like one! I think yoga is helping me to be a keen observer of the world around me, and I am better able to fully experience and stay in the present moment when I practice regularly.
What is your personal mission statement as a yoga teacher?
With an open heart and sharp focus, I want to inspire and empower my students to safely push past their perceived limits both on and off the mat.
What do you think constitutes an excellent yoga instructor?
To quote Rod Stryker, “The best teachers are the best students.” Excellent teachers are constant in their personal practice and have a strong desire to never stop learning.
What was your most challenging teaching experience?
One of the first classes I taught was subbing for a friend at another studio and the front door of the studio actually fell off the hinges and onto the students I was about to teach. Let’s just say a great deal of centering was required on that evening.
What do you recommend to the beginner student? To the seasoned student?
As a society, we are in such a hurry to advance past the beginner stage, and yet that beginning stage is when we are most open to the limitless possibility of learning. I would recommend for both the beginner and the seasoned student to let go of the idea that the mastery of the postures we teach is their ultimate goal. The greatest benefits yoga has to offer happen to you as you work thru the postures, such as clarity of mind, focus, and connection to the breath—to name a few. It’s mastery of the self through the practice.
How do you take your yoga off the mat?
I do my best to stay present in the given moment, and to cultivate a life of gratitude and service.
What is the one pose you are most proud of getting into?
I face-planted in Bakasana eight or nine years ago; it was epic! The result was two black eyes and a bloody nose, and it took me awhile to get over that fear. That is why I am most proud of achieving arm balances like Astavakrasana and Eka Pada Koudinyasana. I had to conquer my fears and it required a great deal of time and focus for me to achieve that.
What is your favorite time of day to practice yoga?
Anytime I can, but I mostly practice and meditate in the morning.
Where is the best place you have ever practiced yoga?
On a group of rocks on the Bay of Banderas in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I woke up every morning before dawn and practiced for an hour while watching the sun rise across the bay and listening to the water crash into the rocks just below me.
What is your favorite music to listen to while practicing yoga?
I am a pretty musical person, but I don’t listen to music much when I practice as it tends to carry me away.
What else do you want students to know about you?
I love science fiction; I could spend all day in a museum (any museum); I have a background in theater and music; and I can throw a football with a mean spiral.
Why do you love teaching at Pulsation Yoga?
Kathy and Jim have planted the seeds for a wonderful and continuously growing community of teachers and students. Whether I am a student in a class or teaching the class, I leave Pulsation feeling blessed and enriched by the people I have shared yoga with that day.
Christine Chodil teaches at the Pulsation Yoga studio in Lake Zurich and subs in Arlington Heights. Check out the class schedule to attend her classes.