Unlike a lot of people, Elizabeth got an early start on her yogic journey. She recalls a neighbour giving her a book on yoga philosophy, “I just loved the connection with humanity, there was no angry God, it was all about connecting to people.” At age 11 she received Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar and began teaching herself the poses, “After practicing I used to feel so happy and joyful and I think I enjoyed it so much that it became my own religion. I thought if everyone practiced yoga there wouldn’t be fighting anymore”. When she was 16 she took a course at an Iyengar school and volunteered at a juvenile home teaching yoga. She explains that yoga was always coming in and out of her life until she suffered a really bad accident where she fractured her tailbone that made yoga a more permanent fixture. At the time of her accident she explains, “the breath in the practice became really key to me. When I would breathe deeply I would feel a release in my body.”
Growing up in India, Elizabeth has always felt spiritually inclined. She loved being in a spiritual environment so much so that she decided to join the convent but left after one day to her father’s delight. Elizabeth began her yoga teacher training in India and dabbled with different teachers and styles including Sivananda (a form of Hatha) and Kundalini (a form that focuses on awakening energy). She also did a teacher training in the UK and one here in Canada. She describes the differences between yoga here in Canada and yoga back home in India, “It was very different when I came over here because I found there was more emphasis on asana. In India yoga was a spiritual practice. The main reason to move your body was so you can sit, and meditate. I don’t want people to get bored (in her classes) but I want to bring a little bit of everything and be true to what the practice is. It’s about connecting to your higher self.”
Elizabeth teaches the Restorative class at Yoga Truly every Thursday at 6:30pm. Her Restorative classes are challenging in a different way than the traditional classes like Hatha or Ashtanga because the major task is to be still. She explains, “We are human beings not human doings!” She says this is one of her favourite classes because, “I find everything is so fast-paced in our lives so it’s a nice time to allow your body to find that space to relax. And finding balance from the busyness to restore your body, and your nervous system, so you feel a sense of calm and go back to your day.”
When asked what her favourite aspect of yoga is, “Yoga is life. Every time you take a deep breath and relax, that’s yoga. Every time you look at a mountain or a painting or listen to a piece of music that’s meditation. Any time you feel connection, that’s meditation, and yoga is meditation. Everything is yoga. I love to sing and chant; that’s one aspect of bhakti yoga. Volunteering is karma yoga. Any time you tune your mind into yourself, at home when you do your dishes, whatever! “
Elizabeth teaches a truly magical and relaxing Restorative class every Thursday at 6:30pm at Yoga Truly.
She is also hosting a meditation and yoga retreat in scenic Brighton at the Lotus Heart Centre June 12-14, 2014. For information or to register email email@example.com.
Stay tuned for an upcoming restorative workshop!