Q&A: Betsey Downing


Betsey Downing is spending Oct. 10-11 at Pulsation Yoga with five workshops that include an all-levels backbend practice, meditation session, and a free presentation on global warming. Check out all the details here.

How long have you been teaching yoga?  

I started teaching in 1973 at the urging of my yoga teacher.

Why did you become a yoga teacher? Who and/or what are your biggest influences?

I started studying yoga in 1972 and instantly loved it. I was hooked after the first Savasana! After about a year, my teacher Joel would call on me to lead poses. Then he asked me to sub for him when he was away for a month. When he returned, he encouraged me to start teaching yoga, which I did. I would say Joel was one of my biggest influences.

How has yoga helped you to be a better person?

Yoga has helped me become a more conscious human being. It has helped me to see myself as a soul surrounded by layers of denser energy which our yoga practices loosen up. It has helped me see others also as a soul with many layers around the same spiritual essence. It has helped me connect easier and more quickly with another’s heart.

What is your personal mission statement as a yoga teacher?betsey-contact-1

To assist the global heart awakening in the consciousness shift that is taking place around the world. To do my part in fostering the idea that everyone is a soul underneath their different layers/koshas.

What do you think constitutes an excellent yoga instructor?

Compassionate, empowering, encouraging, enthusiastic, authentic, creative, insightful, knowledgeable, courageous, spaciousness, dedicated, committed, disciplined…

What was your most challenging teaching experience?

Teaching at an Omega Conference at 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. The topic was inversions, in the ballroom, with over 100 students!

What do you recommend to the beginner student? To the seasoned student?

Learn the fine art of listening to your body…and not your mind!!

How do you take your yoga off the mat?

I remind myself that everyone I meet is of the same Spiritual Essence that I am, and I treat him or her accordingly.

What is the one pose you are most proud of getting into?

Press up handstand from Uttanasana. It took me 9 months (of about 50 handstands a week) to figure out how to do it…so I was proud of my perseverance!

What is your favorite time of day to practice yoga?

Morning. Then the whole day benefits from the effects!

Where is the best place you have ever practiced yoga?

Yoga poses in Hawaii looking out over the ocean.

What is your favorite music to listen to while practicing yoga?

Sometimes I listen to classical music or Andrea Bocelli singing opera when I practice, but usually I don’t have music playing.

What else do you want students to know about you?

I am speaking out on the opportunity yogis around the world have to make a significant contribution in the planetary shift of consciousness.

What is the best part of traveling to different studios and leading workshops?

Meeting the students and getting to know the sponsors and their teachers better.

betsey handstand beach